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The Way The Rocks Hold the Current IV

by Philip White

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Stockholm 22:15
Rome 16:19
Helsinki 18:28
Tallin 14:45


The Way The Rocks Hold The Current IV is a collection of live electronic performances from the summer of 2015.

The Way The Rocks Hold The Current encompasses any number of works from the past eight years of my practice with ever an evolving non-linear analog feedback system. In some ways the series is a catch all for works not explicitly categorized in other series (Documents, R WE WHO R WE, and various collaborative efforts) while at the same time describing the aesthetic and process underpinning almost all of my electronic music.

That aesthetic/process is the interplay of a machine possessing autonomous, non-human behavior with a musician. More specifically a musician that’s me.

Having played music now for 23 (!) years, I’m influenced by the patterns found in every music/sound that I’ve listened too and especially those I’ve studied. These patterns manifest every time I make music; through rhythmic, harmonic, and structural decisions as well as through non-formal parameters like questions of identity and cultural positioning. This happens both through intuitive decisions (what is intuition but the expression of memory so strong as to seem “natural”) and through pre-planned compositional strategies.

The behavior of the instrument/non-linear feedback system (Mackie 1604 + 6 x 6 routing matrix + 12 VCA’s + 6 manually activated gates + 2 ring modulators + computer control software) is more discovered than designed. It’s an application of David Tudor via untitled/toneburst and a realization of the jazz ideal of improvisation on the bandstand; hearing the music as if created by an entity outside oneself and steering it where you want it to go.

I try to apply control while the system’s behavior continually subverts attempts to steer.

Through this tension, I think a unique music is created. A music struggling against it’s own musicality, it’s own humanness or machine-ness. A music that resists cultural location, while inevitably succumbing to it.

Not that The Way The Rocks Hold The Current should be heard as a manifestation of a concept or as some sort of human vs machine dialectic. The project is and has always been for me about the act of listening and reaction. A kind of sonic nihilism.


released September 9, 2015

Philip White: composition, performance and recording
Album Art: Seth Gadsden, Savannah Taylor
Special Thanks: Paula Matthussen, Marko Timlin, Lise-Lotte Norelius, Gavin Maycroft


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Philip White Brooklyn, New York

The music of composer, performer and improviser PHILIP WHITE (b.1981) is known for its ecstatic intensity and expressive sonic palette. Working with an array of homemade electronics at the intersection of noise, jazz and contemporary concert music, White exploits the tension between rigorous, closed electronic systems and the urgency of human compulsion. ... more

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