‘Supralateral’ is a piece for ensemble about the molecular scatterings of light found in atmospheric halos and their associations to sound. It is based on computer generated halos that are altered to make new and varied formations. The outcome is an abstract monochromatic surrealism a process of multistructural warping and an extrapolation of lines. This ‘surrealism in sound’ involves automatic drawing and ‘chance marks’ that branch out and turn into surreal objects. The lines of atmospheric halos and lines of sound are amorphous materiality which challenges the the brain’s innate gestalt mechanisms. There was a battle in the creative process to identify and breakdown objects into indistinguishable parts, reshaping them into unrecognisable forms. The music is about the nebulous difference between an object and a non-object while listening as the brain tries to encode distinct shapes of attention through time in a multitude of mutating architectures. A ‘non-object’ may simply be something that lacks a focal point, be unfamiliar, difficult to grasp, non-representational but disappears when language and familiarity form around it. The piece uses a music harmony based on Ervin Wilson’s tetradic diamond, but rather than using only just intonation whole number ratios, the tuning is slightly altered/warped to fit with the concept of surrealism in sound.

A custom setup with paper clips stuck on between frets on with tape.

A diagram of all the microtones on the guitar 

(1) C+12c
(2) D
(3) Eb-20c
(4) Eb+27c
(5) E+47c
(6) F+10c
(7) Gb

(8) Gb+29c
(9) G+14c
(10) Ab-22c
(11) A
(12) A+45c
(13) Bb+29c

A list of note values taken from the tetradic diamond

A microtonal scordatura guitar tuning was used to obtain these note values, but I created further microtonal intervals using paper clips attached in between the frets. You can do this by cutting off a piece of a paper clip using pliers and sticking it on using a small piece of tape. It works really well and can be done easily on most guitars. It is a much cheaper option than buying a custom made microtonally fretted guitar and allows guitarists to engage with non-western tunings. The performer can choose to make more or less of the crispy cracking sound as their fingers brush across the tape. As a personal choice, I decided to keep these sounds in and encourage the performer to make these accidental sounds as part of the aesthetic. 

I experimented with sun halo simulation software, and feeding it through AI that allows you to animate images. I used the same image multiple times to get different variations on the same form. The musical harmony is like light shining through a prism, each angle produces different lines and curves. The resulting light morphology became choices between harmonic nodes (like in the tetradic diamond), the shine indicated different levels of vibration, sustained high frequencies, dissonance etc. By looking at how the AI morphs and shapes this abstract image can it say something about how it is programmed, its inner structure perhaps? and can this image variation be translated into the multi parametric aspects of music.