The seed for this music was planted when I participated in one of Glenn Branca's 100-guitar symphonies.
The sound was incredible: a deafening, electric choir incorporating so many voices that the each element was
subsumed within the group sound.
But I was struck even more by the unrealized potential in Branca's approach; the sound was separated into several identifiable voices, so that the impression given was of a conventional counterpoint-driven music. I wanted to make a particulate music that presented itself as a single mass of varying density, comprised of tens of thousands of individual events.
Soon afterward, I began to immerse myself in the piano music of Charlemagne Palestine. I learned from him that when two notes share a particular frequency in their overtone series, that frequency can be made to sing out clearly -- a ghost tone, not played directly, but arising from the interactions among the directly played notes. I began to compose and improvise with this in mind -- I could sketch out desired pitches, and then arrange webs of lower pitches that coincided to produce those target pitches within their harmonic series.
This music deals with overtones. I listen not so much to the direct-played notes; instead, I let my mind wander through the web of throbbing harmonics that arise as a result of their interaction. There are obvious sounds on the surface of the music, but eventually my ears penetrate beneath the surface to where harmonics overlap in countless reinforcements and cancellations. I love the glowing acoustic haze that seems to hover above the obvious notes, and the sustained ghost tones that emerge and recede within that cloudy texture.
The Brain Cloud pieces are through-composed according to the principles of overtone confluence and particle density. There are no special electronics on these recordings -- the humming sounds are the result of the acoustical interaction of voices, violins, horns, and above all, piano (Brain Cloud III was recorded live with three pianos, each played by three people; 18-handed piano). The harpsichord interludes are solo improvisations for harpsichord, equalizer, and slight delay.