Composed with Martin Herman.
bloom/cascade is a piece for piano and computer that explores plant morphology and bifurcation theory. The electronics part features a “phantom pianist” that acts as a ghostly foil to the live performer, sometimes foreshadowing new sections, sometimes reflecting on past material, sometimes acting wildly independently. The computer is also listening to the live pianist, interpreting what it hears, and acting upon it by generating new ideas unique to each performance. In this way, one could imagine the form of the piece as one of forking paths and diverging branches that grow, die, and germinate new verdant shoots. The piece follows a trajectory of relentless, fast, pulsed music in the first few minutes followed by destabilizing rhythms and higher registral material. After an explosive cadenza, the computer “phantom pianist” becomes dislodged from the live pianist and moves into microtonal regions while the live pianist’s material becomes more chordal and sparse. The piece ends with the emergence of harmonic centers and fleeting branching gestures that animate the soundscape.