bang bang (a phase canon)
2015/2016 marks the 50th anniversary of Steve Reich's early seminal works It's Gonna Rain and Come Out. bang-bang (a phase canon), celebrates the phasing processes that Reich employed in these works and exploits the process to its ultimate end. The intentionally noisy recording of the word "bang" is shifted 1 sample out of phase with each playback iteration of the file. At a sampling rate of 44,100 hz, the short 326 millisecond recording requires over 14,000 iterations (approximately an hour and 15 minutes) to become re-aligned with itself. In addition to the large variety of rhythms that are created through the process, at a local level the changing phase alignments create a number of different artifacts, including comb filtering, and changes in amplitude due to phase cancellation and reinforcement. Below are excerpts from the beginning, middle, and end that demonstrate these qualities.
The word "bang" was chosen to also celebrate Miller Puckette and the visual programming environments he created that make the process for "bang bang" relatively simple to realize. However, the onomatopoeic connotations of the word also loosely relate to Reich's content for Come Out. While reveling in the process that persists in compositional practice today, we must remember the struggles that defined the content of Reich's early work, and unfortunately, also persist 50 years later.