Motion 1: Theoretical Composition

by Nicholas Uccan

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“Motion 1: Theoretical Composition” is the first installment of a four part composition that will explore the theoretical mysteries of sound using mathematical analysis to create a spectrum of experimentation. The 46 minute track was recorded using techniques that shaped the musique concrete compositor. From creating instruments that were fabricated and designed with modified formulas both mechanical as well as electrical engineering fields, to using the self as a conduit to instrumentation. Starting in 2010, the idea to create a series of academic compositions with the foundation of math and science was when the research began to take place. After three years of studying human anatomy, classical music theory, theoretical physics (quantum field mechanics, specifically), and increasing the aperture of the self to a macro level of wildlife (biology, botany, etc) December of 2013 was when recording would take place for two more years till ending up on a single 5” tape. “Motion 1” was recorded on a reel to reel tape deck on multiple audio tapes from different decades as well as different countries (to increase the chance of exposure to an array of climate influence on the medium). Conducting what is now portrayed as an archaic technique, the art of tape splicing was used to join and modulate clips of audio. Over 121 ft of tape was used, resulting in 14 hours of audio recordings. 11 months of cutting, taping, and setting resulted in the final form. The edited reel was then transferred directly to a found 5” tape reel that holds the archival recordings of a religious sermon on the topic of the Book of Genesis. Upon playback, the voice of a priest discussing the creation of earth can be heard at “zero points” or places on the tape that have zero recording.

For the sake of academic and research purposes, the track was split into two parts. The tape was transferred to a digital format for this reason, however it is intended to be played back on a tape deck. This reason is to have the voice of the owner's machine playback a sound that will sound different when played on the one it was composed on. “Motion 1” has a 31 page thesis explaining each part in it’s entirety with drawings, detailed explanations, and scans from journals used in the process of recording.

Every sound that is heard was created by fabrication using either found materials or purchasing audio equipment that were sold for parts only. Repurposing them to compose different gradients of sound and scientifically understand the transferring of wave depth.

I wanted to feature elements of the self. Using my own body as a conduit. As an instrument that can produce sound through mechanical interaction. Backing this is to bring the listener to more personal grounds with the composition. In some parts of the recording, there are recordings of my own heartbeats while using techniques in breathing to control the rate of beating. This was a study piece and will be further explored in “Motion 3”. Figures such as “Figure One; Scratch” are recordings of objects with contact microphones scratching my skin (objects include scissors, comb, glass jar, light bulbs, bone, and more outlined in the full thesis).

Noise boxes and formulas were used to map out scenes where placing tones for an allotted period of time, filling most of the composition. This is the main point of the composition. Implication of theoretical physics formulas and making them speak. Resulting in a cacophony of controlled chaotic tones.

The full thesis will be released at a later time.


released August 21, 2015



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