The Telephone Game

Oil/Water/Ether

May 2008

Supported by New York State Music Fund

The Telephone Game: Oil/Water/Ether is an exploration of a real-time collaborative composition local network. All of the performers have identical performance / composition programs — a custom flexible step-sequencer — that invite play with rhythmic cycles of various lengths and timbres. The real fun starts, however, when the players begin spying on their neighbors, secretly, via the network, and stealing their ideas with the click of the mouse. Unplanned structures begin to emerge, like oil on water, as riffs propagate and evolve, sometimes returning unrecognizable to their creators.

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