Dance Music 017 captures 16 minutes of various New York City soundscapes starting from 12:00pm on Jan 31st 2014, creating a meta-experience of time and space. The music is structured based on the notion of “event”, by which the composer refers to a single momentary activity in sound that is perceived to be distinct and autonomous. The music is then structured through k-means clustering of such events in the temporal domain.
The basis sounds for this piece are acquired via Citygram, from its Remote Sensing Devices at eight different places in NYC: McDougal Street, Times Square, Union Square, West Highway, Rockefeller Plaza, Central Park, China Town, and Highline Park. 16 minutes of sounds are dynamically warped and folded into a span of 2 minutes, creating 48 layers of audio, and events are detected from the overlays. A number of acoustic features (13 MFCCs, spectral flux, spectral centroid, spectral flatness, RMS, and ZCR) of each acoustic event are computed and examined to find its closest match in a large pool of commercial drum samples whose acoustic identity is defined strongly by the character of their transients.
The selected drum samples replace their matched events from the raw audio. The relative beginning point and ending point of events within the piece creates a two dimensional representation of their temporal locations, enabling k-means clustering. The previously autonomous drum samples are grouped with four different numbers of clusters (16, 8, 4, and 2); they are assigned multiple layers of musical contexts through a unique and homogenous EQ treatment for the samples within a same cluster. The discrete transients (drum samples) form larger and larger structures to eventually become the piece itself.
Jaeseong You is a New York City-based composer. Earning his B.A. in Music and Political Science from New York University and en-route M.A. in Music Composition from City University of New York Graduate Center, he is currently a doctoral student of Music Composition at New York University, Steinhardt. You is serving as Editorial Manager at Journal SEMAUS and as researcher at Electro Acoustic Music Mine project and Citygram project, focusing on Acoustic Event Detection (AED).