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Lula Romero - MTRAK (​מ​ט​ר​ק​א​)


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Segmod is a non-standard sound synthesis that embraces the discrete nature of digital sound. All sounds created with Segmod result from the concatenation of simple periodic waveforms, such as sine, triangle, and square waves. The sixteen contributing composers have employed a vast array of different compositional, aesthetic, and technological strategies, ranging from inaudible sounds, to neural networks, chaotic functions, careful micro-montages, and analysis-resynthesis techniques. While the results differ widely in sound, all lead back to the idea that synthesis can be seen as a form of composition.

MTRAK (מטרקא) in Aramaic means a whip, something that hits. It is derived from ṭrq, (to hit, sting, bite, close a door, mix.) It derived later to dialectical Arabic مَطْرَق‎ (maṭraq) (stick, hammer) and from it to Spanish matraca. Matraca in Spanish designates a percussion instrument, a rattle, that was used in religious ceremonies and festivities. In colloquial Spanish “dar la matraca” is to be annoying. I like the long linage of the word and all these different connotations, from a violent hit, through mix, to an instrument and to something annoying. I also find the wandering of the etymology from Aramaic through Arabic to Spanish very interesting.
MTRAK was created in two main steps. First a sound material of around 25 seconds was created in SEGMOD from the data of frequencies collected in an spectral analysis of three different field recordings. These field recordings were of three places in Venice (the market, a vaporetto, the street). I was working on these recordings for another piece and I find them very interesting because of their different spectral content and the fact that they can provide the amount of data necessary for SEGMOD. In the second phase the resulting sounds from SEGMOD were re-worked with granular synthesis in SuperCollider in order to create several layers of activity. I created a system with the granular synthesis that I do not control entirely in order to enhance contingent elements that I then explored. The different layers created with this process were later superimposed over each other and reworked to create the piece.
Therefore the piece hits and is a mix, it is a superimposition and a continuous transformation from one process to another, from one word to another, from one meaning to another and it is also a product of contingency and planning. It is contingent as the derivation of a word, as a violent hit.


from SEGMOD, released April 6, 2019
Composed by Lula Romero using the non-standard sound synthesis programm SEGMOD
Mastering by Willy Strehler at Klangdach, Guntershausen 2019


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