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MP3 Chris Armstrong - A.I. Awakens

Electro-acoustic, SciFi-soundtrack-esque, with world-music influences.

14 MP3 Songs
AVANT GARDE: Electro-Acoustic, ELECTRONIC: Ambient

Show all album songs: A.I. Awakens Songs

A.I. Awakens is the first recording in the Spaceage Furniture Music series by Chris Armstrong. The title of which is inspired by the 1960s recording, Space-Age Bachelor Pad Music by Esquivel. The term, "Furniture Music," was coined by composer Eric Satie to refer to music used as a sonic backdrop rather than as the primary focus of a listener''s attention. It is music that provides an ambiance and sets a mood.

The music for A.I. Awakens was chosen for its atmospheric and generally "cinematic" vibe. It is programatic, in that it depicts the evolution of artificially intelligent robot-insect, macro/nano bot type beings from servitude to sentience and then, soon afterward, to total neural cascade failure...a false start in the rise of artificial intelligence...but leaving the door open for possible future successes...and more recordings in the Spaceage Furniture Music series.

This recording is my first major undertaking as a composer and is dedicated to the memory of James Tenney (1934-2006), American composer of, in his words, "unpopular music." I was lucky enough to have taken several of his classes at CalArts and had in-depth conversations with him about composition and the theory and practice of experimental, contemporary "art" music.

He was always very generous with his time and also very patient with my many critical statements and questions about modern music. He once wrote on one of my papers: "I''m very surprised at your ultra-conservative attitudes about music. I wonder if there''s anything I can do to help change your mind." He did eventually help me to extend my aesthetic boundaries a bit and I''m very grateful to him for that.

Other CalArts professors who influenced my ideas about composition through discussions and/or classes were: John Bergamo, Art Jarvinen, Marc Lowenstein, and Stephen "Lucky" Mosko. Thanks for your patience and wisdom as well.

Track Information

1. Prelude - Like Nanobots to a Flame 1:30
A cloud of flying nanobots is attracted to various energy sources around the robot insect factory.

Chris Armstrong: metallic percussion and sample sequencing

2. Robot Insect Factory 6:04
Robot insects are being constructed and then go on to construct more of their kind, geometrically proliferating.

Chris Armstrong: metallic percussion and sample sequencing
Jonathan Miller: Roland HandSonic and Parker MIDI guitar

3. Prelude - Stimulus-Response 2:46
Macro and nano bots interact and begin refining their sensory sub-nets and genetic algorithms.

Chris Armstrong: superballs on toms and various bell tarangs

4. Reptilian Mind 5:55
Primitive, instinct-driven, proto-minds begin emerging and evolving.

Chris Armstrong: various bell tarangs, metallic percussion, superballs on toms, Absynth 4 sequencing, and sample sequencing
Kate Conklin: vocals and vocal effects

5. Prelude - Connecting the Bots 3:47
Swarms of bots develop interconnections, linking them into large meta-networks.

Chris Armstrong: metallic percussion and sample sequencing

6. Neurons Coalesce 11:04
Connections are reinforced, both within each bot and between bot-clusters that comprise the newly forming networks of networks.

Chris Armstrong: metallic percussion, Absynth 4 sequencing, and sample sequencing
David Philipson: bansuris

7. Prelude - Cerebral Swarm 2:02
Perception-cognition-inference links careen through the bot-net, creating embryonic conceptual dependency patterns.

Chris Armstrong: Absynth 4 sequencing

8. Neural Critical Mass 7:54
The proliferation of connections reaches a tipping-point and the beginnings of consciousness start to emerge.

Chris Armstrong: Absynth 4 sequencing
Kate Conklin: vocals

9. Prelude - Society of Minds 3:07
All bots and bot-nets begin exhibiting intelligent behavior and system-wide interconnectedness.

Chris Armstrong: cowbell tarang, metallic percussion, Remo spring drums, and sample sequencing
Kate Conklin: vocals and vocal effects

10. A.I. Awakens - A Tumult of Inner Voices 7:27
Self-organizing neural wave-patterns propagate exponentially and goal-directed perception-cognition correlates attain a level of non-linear hyper-integration. This pushes the entire network across the critical sentience-threshold. Self-awareness and full-consciousness emerge throughout the entire neural-plexus hierarchy, from the individual bot level to the interconnected bot-cloud, meta-network level. The Singularity is nigh.

Chris Armstrong: cowbell tarang, metallic percussion, Remo spring drums, and sample sequencing
Kate Conklin: vocals

11. Prelude - Outside Normal Parameters 2:12
Fundamental instabilities in the inter/intra-network structure begin to surface, causing random firings and misfirings of excitatory and inhibitory signals throughout the convoluted multi-level substrate of the newly evolved holo-tronic consciousness.

Chris Armstrong: sample sequencing
Kate Conklin: vocal effects

12. Cascade Failure 9:04
Progressive waves of systemic neural collapse surge through the A.I. in torrents of chain reactions, leaving the entire distributed organism in a state of near catatonia.

Chris Armstrong: metallic percussion, Remo spring drums, brushes on zither, and sample sequencing
Kate Conklin: vocal effects from the top through    8:40
Lisa Popeil: vocals and vocal effects from 3:44 to the end

13. Prelude - The Dying of the Light 2:42
While consciousness rapidly ebbs away, the final impulses of disconnected images and sensations ripple across the remaining fragments of the A.I.''s cyber-subconscious.

Chris Armstrong: Absynth 4 sequencing and sample sequencing
Lisa Popeil: vocals and vocal effects

14. So Newly Dead 4:59
Total neural collapse. Brain death. The void. The Singularity will have to wait for a future, and more stable, confluence of complexity, massively parallel interconnectedness, self-organization, and emergence.

Chris Armstrong: Absynth 4 sequencing and sample sequencing
Lisa Popeil: vocal

All compositions copyright © 2007 Chris Armstrong. On tracks that include guest artists (except So Newly Dead), full instrumental tracks were composed by Chris and then given to each artist, who added their improvisations. Chris then edited, mutated, and arranged their harmonic and melodic contributions to create the final compositions.

Chris Armstrong has been a drummer/percussionist for over 38 years and owes his success to his incredible teachers. He has a BFA and MFA in World Music from CalArts where he studied music from India, Africa and Indonesia. He studied Ethnomusicology and Systematic Musicology at UCLA and took classes and private lessons in Afro-Latin music at Cal State L.A.

He has performed with several African drumming and dance companies and recorded African drumming for Survivor: Africa, a CBS Steven King production, Ghanaian Master Drummer Alfred Ladzekpo''s CD "Hosu - Horsu," and Disney Studios.

He has studied extensively with African master drummers from Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Senegal, and Ivory Coast in the US as well as in Ivory Coast, West Africa, and is currently working on arrangements for a recording of his djembe drumming group, Djembe Nova.

Chris has performed and recorded percussion and drum-set with numerous pop, jazz and world music groups in Phoenix, Nashville and Los Angeles. He has also been playing percussion from North and South India since 1979, which will be featured on an upcoming recording of his world-percussion music called Indica Plexus.

With 30 years teaching experience, Chris continues to teach and perform for the CalArts Community Arts Partnership and ArtsCOOL programs, has many private students and has given many African and Indian drumming workshops in high schools and colleges.

He is currently composing music for future recordings and records percussion and creates atmospheric sound designs for TV and indie film soundtracks. Chris is also designing a new kind of hand-drum and drumming method that combines concepts and techniques from many different cultures into a new eclectic hand-drumming style.

Chris also has been a computer programmer, studied artificial intelligence (particularly neural modeling) at ASU and has dabbled in several different martial arts for over 35 years.
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