s_traits

  • Audio Recording, Musical Composition

"s_traits" is an album of generative electronic music written by composer John Supko and media artist Bill Seaman on the Manchester, UK label Cotton Goods. s_traits is the product of three minds: two human, one artificial. With a discarded electronic track to the early version of Supko’s percussion duo Straits as a starting point, Supko and Seaman compiled more than 110 hours of audio source material over a three-year period, including field recordings, analog and digital noise, acoustic and electronic instruments, cassette recordings of Supko’s juvenilia, recordings of Seaman and Supko playing the piano (inside and out), and soundtracks from documentaries made in the 1960’s and 70‘s. During that time, Supko developed – in part in conversations with Seaman – the intelligent bearings_traits software to “navigate” this vast ocean of sound. The program selects samples from the database – ranging from barely a second to a few minutes in length – and juxtaposes them to create spontaneous, multitrack compositions. Twenty-six of these “first drafts” have been developed by the two collaborators into the 77-minute album that is s_traits. Thirteen tracks were shaped by Supko, thirteen by Seaman, alternating odd- and even-numbered tracks (though they don’t disclose who worked on which.)

Duke Faculty Artists/Collaborators

Cited Artists/Collaborators

  • John Peter Supko; William Seaman

Creation Date

  • November 4, 2014