Composed in 1998 for my ensemble Orchestra Carbon, SyndaKit utilizes a collection of biological metaphors to create an ever-shifting rhythmic and timbral matrix. Improvisatory and algorithmic but not improvisation, SyndaKit’s essence is a transformative organism consisting of 144 composed cores on 12 sheets divided among the 12 players with a set of simple rules for their use through processes of imitation, addition, recombination, transposition, and mutation. These actions are based on the activities of flocking birds, African drum choirs, cellular automata, hunting packs, and recombinant amino acids.
Cores are looped by the musicians or may be used as “objects” to be injected into the flux. The four pitches C, G, Ab, A act as nodes of attraction in SyndaKit and draw all sonic activities towards them. Cores are composed of these pitches or nonpitched materials. Pitched Cores may be transposed to any octave. When imitating pitched Cores, players may transpose to any interval.
Players may add one of their Cores to any other one that is looping to form a new loop but they may not add together their own Cores unless they happen to be attached to another Core already in use in the flux. Players may “pop out” with short improvised statements at any time and then return to the flux. These “pop outs” may be used by players as source material for looping thereby adding fresh “genetic” material. Players may enter or leave the flux at will.
Theoretically, an entire set of SyndaKit could be performed without players ever consulting the sheets of Cores and a “valid” performance of SyndaKit might be unison quarter notes or a single held tone for whatever duration. While seemingly contradictory, this organism’s prime objectives are to form rhythmic unisons while continuously evolving and transforming.