Variations on a theme by Casey & Finch

Between 2002-2011 Erik Bünger composed the piece Variations on a theme by Casey & Finch, in which the sound of a CD skipping is recreated and written out as a score. Bünger described the process of creating the piece:

The chorus line of the disco tune ‘That’s the way I like it’ was chopped up into short fragments, the order of the fragments rearranged and the result written out as a score.

The resulting piece, consisting of a downloadable score, was performed live by a group of nine musicians:

Aside from the admirable skill of the musicians, the video is impressive in how, using the skipping CD as inpsiration, it creates a sound which still has a sense rhythm amidst the chaos.

When watching the piece I am reminded of Hyperactive (2005) by Lasse A Gjersten, the erratic editing style of “YouTube Poopers” including cs188, DaThings1 and DurhamrockerZ, and more recently the Videomusic work of Gabriel Shalom (who introduced me to Bünger’s work).

One thing is notable in the work of all the aforementioned artists: The editing and composing is done manually. This allows for the artist to have control over the piece but means that erratic nature of a skipping CD cannot faithfully be reproduced. This isn’t a criticism, just an observation, as perhaps it was never the intention of Bünger to faithfully reproduce this sound, more inform his own editing and composing techniques.

In my reinterpretation of Bünger’s piece I aim to explore what happens when randomness and chance are introduced into the editing and composing process. I aim do so through writing of computer scripts that take a video file of the performance of That’s The Way (I Like It) by KC & The Sunshine Band, dissect it in segments of varying sizes, and then recompose them in a variety of ways.

In the upcoming blog posts I’ll take you through four of the results of my experiments, along with my methods and a few observations. But first, an introduction from Don Cornelius: