My Little Grundgestalts

Here I describe the algorithmic music I call "Grundgestalts" and other compositions

Railway Tracks is the name I gave to my latest album, which can be downloaded (for free or for a coffee) from my Bandcamp, here.

The album includes 10 tracks (9 songs and an alternate take). It differs considerably from my previous albums, because there I mostly used computer sounds, while here I also played my basses and guitars.

On a runaway train

One of the tracks — actually the one that gave the album its title — is called “On a runaway train”. It's a track on 10/8 (why do I always end up using unconventional time signatures?!) Here I used two beautiful Turkish instruments: the Quanun and the Oud, on top of which I layered Contrabass, Piano, Percussions, and Electric Guitar (the latter is played by me.)

Syrian oud made by Abdo Nahat in 1921. By Tdrivas – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=66957987

Video is “Ride on a Runaway Train”, by Lyman H. Howe (1921).

The track appears twice on the album. An alternate take is available, for Piano, Vibraphone, and Percussions:

Fractal mold

Second track on the album is called “Fractal Mold”:

It's an instrumental, and yet I wrote lyrics for this song — one day I will record them. Here they are:

I waste my time at the bus station I blow my time in a train And then here I'm with in a packed pod Once again and again with in a box Sitting like cogs, right, mechanical cogs that need to be placed with in a grinder to produce yet another heavy duty and grander mechanical prison for others who need to produce what needs to be made & packed & sold & mold for ever a-gain in a fractal mold

Bo, Ed, and Mick

There follow three songs dedicated to three imaginary railway workers, Mick Robase, Bo Leroy, and Ed Downtune. The first one, “Mick Robase”, I composed it on my friend Paul's Microbass. What a lovely instrument!

Mick Robase: Dedicated to my friend Paul De Coninck, whose Microbass you can hear in this track!

Bo Leroy: a piece for electric guitar, vibraphone, acoustic bass, and koto. The picture is my photo of a murale that can be found in Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium.

As for the third guy (“Downtune Ed”), his story is simple: I was doing some exercises on my electric guitar. I had downtuned the low E string to E flat in order to play The Police's “Roxanne” in fingerstyle — trying to play the notes of Sting's bass guitar and Andy's guitar at the same time. After that, I decided to “play” a little with my downtuned guitar. I wanted to try harmonics with it. Soon I came up with the guitar theme of this song. From there, I added rhythmic guitar and a bass-like part also played on guitar. On top of that I added computer-based drums and piano.

Vinnie

Then comes “Vincent”, a song dedicated to a certain painter from The Netherlands :–)

Looks like one of Vincent's paintings right? :–)

Toccata

“Toccata” is the next song. It's a neo-classical tracks, mixing traditional instruments like the harpsichord with electric bass:

Aldo and Jimi

Two Grundgestalts follow, dedicated to two very different geniuses: Aldo Clementi and Jimi Hendrix

Concluding... notes

If you like this music, subscribe to my #bandcamp via this link: you will be notified each time I post a new track! Thank you!

A purple haze of planets Or maybe molecules? The very big, the very little, Are they so different?

Does it matter, after all, if matter is matter'ial, Or not at all?

Full, hollow, within, without, Convexes and concaves, Silences and shouts!

Where lies the truth, How false's my doubt? As late as I know I'll tell you more about.

— By and © Eidon, Eidon at tutanota.com

A few days ago my friend Paul lent me a beautiful instrument — a microbass. I have two bass guitars but, I don't know, playing that microbass was the best.

Halfway guitar, halfway bass... probably that's why I like it, 'cause I myself am something in between a guitarist and a bass player. The fact is, when I play it, I get lots and lots of musical ideas. Some are bad and get discarded, some are good and haunt me down until I yield and turn them into music pieces.

That's what happened with “Mick Robase”: I had a first idea, then a second one that matched well with the first...

So I recorded them and then I started improvising on top of both. A few little fragments made sense, at least to me, and I trashed the rest. Then I started thinking of a structure, and of other parts, and other instruments. I wrote two percussion lines, and added a doublebass part. I added a piano part — at first a simple melody, then something a little more complex;

and that was it :–)

I hope you like the result! It's on my Bandcamp and on youtube:


“Mick Robase” is by Eidon, Eidon@tutanota.com. Music and pictures © Eidon, All rights reserved.

“Mick Robase”'s video was created with txt2srt & feed-povray.


If you like my music, you can download it free of charge from my #bandcamp: https://eidon.bandcamp.com

And if you REALLY REALLY like my music, you can follow me there via https://eidon.bandcamp.com/follow_me 🎇 🦆 🎶 🎸 🎆 !

A young woman picking flowers in a field. The woman is saying “Aux marches du palais”, which I believe means “On the palace steps” (I may be wrong). This is a murale in Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium.

“Bo Leroy” is a track for electric guitar, accompanied by bass, vibraphone, and koto. It is based on a riff that came to me yesterday, March 5, 2022, after I had played Zappa's “Cosmik Debris”. I was trying to render Zappa's fantastic arrangement on my guitar, and this led me to using my guitar in a “wild” way. Later on, I started applying the newfound technique and “Bo Leroy” 's theme showed up. I recorded it, and overdubbed some crazy improvisations. I left one impro untouched, and I processed the other by removing chunks that did not fit well, and by adding effects. Then I had the idea for a piano riff, which I rendered with tuxguitar. I found that the piano did not match the song, so I used a vibraphone instead. And then I added acoustic bass and koto.

Here's the result — I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing and recording it ^_^

“Bo Leroy” is by and © Eidon (Eidon at tutanota.com). All rights reserved.

If you like this track, please follow me on my Bandcamp.

Very happy to announce that “Last Voyage”, by Mathemorphosis, has been released today!

Last Voyage

The song first quotes Canto XXVI from Dante's “Inferno” (in Courtney Langdon's translation), in which Ulysses' last voyage is recalled: unable to live peacefully the rest of his days in Ithaca, Ulysses encourages his mates to set sail once more to explore the Unknown:

Bethink you of the seed whence your lives have sprung; for not beasts ye were created, but manliness and knowledge to pursue.

At first, the voyage proceeds finely; new territory is found; though when trying to approach it, disaster strikes:

We rejoiced, but soon our joy was turned into grief, when a tempest rose 'n struck the prow of our ship.

and leads to the demise of our heroes:

Three times did it whirl her round, with all the ocean: at the fourth, it made the stern rise, and the prow sink, as it pleased another, till the sea closed over us.

And so it ends for Ulysses and his mates, who end up in Inferno, not for slaughtering the Trojans but rather for seeking the Beyond.

Why, we ask ourselves here, why is this, that we cannot eat of the fruit of knowledge, lest we lose the favor of god? Why have we to suffer just for trying to overcome our barriers? It stinks of a lie, if you ask me...

Still the lies of god by far surpass the lies of man for it wants he accepts the bounds it created for him

Not the first, nor the last voyage is this for man who craves to be more than a sheep in a pen

who craves to be more than a caged sheep.

I hope you will enjoy #Mathemorphosis' “Last Voyage”. Rest assured, Guresuke-san and I shall soon set sail again on great Mare Musicae!

Grundgestalt is a German word meaning fundamental form. The fundamental form, in music, is a concept introduced by Schoenberg to indicate the idea that is the foundation of a piece of music. This basic idea, in Schoenberg, is not just the idea from which a piece “starts”; in reality that idea is the piece itself, or rather its gene within which the whole piece is already contained and from which the whole piece can be derived through a mechanical, deterministic procedure. The Grundgestalt is therefore the most compact form to express a piece of music; a genotype from which a complex phenotype can automatically be derived, yet all contained in the initial seed. In a sense, it is the most compressed form of a certain musical information — the developed piece. Grundgestalt, in other words, is the foundational, basic form of a complex musical idea.

This is expressed by Schoenberg in his 1950 article, in which he states:

“Whatever happens in a piece of music is the endless reshaping of the basic shape … There is nothing in a piece of music but what comes from the theme, springs from it and can be traced back to it; to put it still more severely, nothing but the theme itself.”

So the theme is the Grundgestalt, and it is at the same time the piece of music that a certain algorithm decompresses. Or, we could say, realizes (makes real), or gives birth to. I also like to think of it as an isomorphism that preserves the meaning by passing from a genotypic to a phenotypic domain.

My little Grundgestalts

I don't know what the Grundgestalt for Schoenberg was in practice. In fact, I just don't understand how he could have created a compositional model like this without the aid of modern computers. But I, who live in a different era, have been able to play with compositional models based on the Schoenberg Principle with relative ease. The idea comes from the definition of dynamic system: we have a function f and a domain value x; we compute f(x) and use it again as input to f (of course we assume that f(x) is still part of the domain of f). We end up with a series of values:

x, f (x), f (f (x)), f (f (f (x))), ...

and so on. Dynamical systems mathematics studies the properties of these series as x and f vary. And this is the mathematics of the Grundgestalt, in which x is none other than the theme that Schoenberg was talking about!

Hence it is possible, and now even simple, to create a compositional model that follows Schoenberg's theory. If my function f acts on a domain made of musical objects, andthe series of values ​​x, f (x), f (f (x)), etc., produces musical compositions. And those musical compositions necessarily derive from the choice of f and the choice of x. In a sense,

There is nothing in a piece of music but what comes from x, springs from x and can be traced back to it; to put it still more severely, nothing but the theme x.

I like to call Grundgestalt those pieces of music that fit this definition — this math. And my pieces are just Grundgestalt. I use two functions f (one of which is computed by this program), while my x are simple alphanumeric strings. Some results are surprising to my ear, inexplicably so. You can listen to them here and here.

A small selection of my Grundgestalt ...

... which I will expand little by little:


Addendum – Zappa's Big Note:

“Everything in the universe is ... is ... is made of one element, which is a note, a single note. Atoms are really vibrations, you know, which are extensions of THE BIG NOTE ... Everything's one note. Everything, even the ponies. The note, however, is the ultimate power, but see, the pigs don't know that, the ponies don't know that ...”

(Spider in Very Distraughtening ~ Lumpy Gravy)

license This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Author is Eidon.

license Quest'opera è distribuita con Licenza Creative Commons Attribuzione 4.0 Internazionale. Ne è l'autore Eidon.

I compose alternative, progressive, and math rock music. The latter is based on algorithmic procedures that I devised, such as this one.

I talk about my compositions here and (in Italian) here.

I have recently formed a metal duo with the Japanese composer @Guresuke@niu.moe: Mathemorphosis. Check out our first songs, “Long Winter”, “Bygone Days”, “Nightfall”, and “Dread Dagon”.

The American author Howard Bloom, music publicist for singers and bands such as Prince, Billy Joel, and Styx, praised my music.

Roel Vergauwen — programmer for the Rock Werchter festival, recently selected me as an interesting possible candidate to participate to their world-renowned festival:

“Eidon is een solo artiest uit Leuven die zijn muziek bestempelt als progressive rock, wat in deze tijden al bijzonder is. Maar hij put ook uit mathrock, minimal music, jazz, etnische muziek,... Hij zou perfect passen als support van Gogo Penguin, Battles of Dijf Sanders en kan op termijn misschien wel een plaats veroveren op zowel Rock Werchter als Gent Jazz of Couleur Café. Benieuwd hoe hij dit live brengt.”

Roel Vergauwen – Rock Werchter programmer chooses Eidon because ...

“Eidon is a solo artist from Leuven who describes his music as progressive rock, which is already special these days. But he also draws from math rock, minimal music, jazz, ethnic music, ... He would be a perfect support for Gogo Penguin, Battles, or Dijf Sanders, and may eventually be able to conquer a place at both Rock Werchter and Gent Jazz or Couleur Café. Curious how he brings this live. “

More information on Mr. Vergauwen's kind statements is available here, while here you can listen to an interview for Studio Brussel in which Vergauwen talks about me. During that interview, my song FediDance has been broadcast.

As you may know, Fred Hoyle co-wrote a beautiful novel called “A for Andromeda”, in which a very special message coming from the cosmos is received through a radiotelescope leading to a number of surprising events. I have often been thinking about that book because of my current experience with algorithmic music. In short, I'm cuurently experiencing a puzzling variant of a Turing test, in which I know that my interlocutor is artificial and I have to tell whether their messages may be considered, to some extent, “more than artificial.”

I'm talking of tracks such as the ones I called Kwaidan, Mantra, ReLIFE, and several others. These tracks were produced by very simple seeds, interpreted as pack of cards that simulate a game. All the notes are actually the states of the game as it is played. What emerges from those so simple seeds is a truly unexpected complexity — a complexity that is making me reflect on my limited way of understanding intelligence and evolution. I see now more clearly — or I should better say I hear — that the infinite variety of random and not-so-random combinations occasionally result in something that is smart-by-pure-chance; something that, because of its superior “smartness,” is naturally propelled to the next stages of the evolutionary path. All this makes me think of biological evolution in a different way: as an algorithmic, living composition.

Herewith I invite you to perform the above mentioned Turing test variant yourself, and listen to those messages — messages that come not from the cosmos, as in Hoyle's book, but rather from the domain of mathematical ideas...

Here they are!