Michael McNabb - The Lark Full Cloud

Eight Pieces for Grand Hope Park, Los Angeles

1. No Response - very early morning

Processed wind sound, saxophone with synthetic harmonics

2. Mirage - early morning

Processed water sound, NeXT DSP synthesis, TX81Z

3. Pixillated - morning

NeXT DSP synthesis, TX81Z

4. The Lark Full Cloud - noon

Violin with digital delay, NeXT DSP synthesis

5. Third Sight - afternoon

NeXT DSP synthesis, TX81Z

6. Sky of Flames - early evening

Recorded percussion, NeXT DSP synthesis

7. River of Pearls - evening

Processed water sound, NeXT DSP synthesis, TX81Z

8. The Pale Child - midnight

NeXT DSP synthesis, TX81Z

©1990 Mad As Birds Music

Lawrence Halprin, Clock Tower, 1993.
Entrance to Grand Hope Park.

The Lark Full Cloud was commissioned by the Community Redevelopment Agency of Los Angeles in 1989, and was realized the same year in the composer's private digital music studio. The eight short pieces, interleaved with 16 other short works by two other composers, will be played one piece on the hour, 24 hours a day, from a permanently-installed sound system in the new Grand Hope Park in downtown Los Angeles.

A real-time performance application called Ensemble, running on the NeXT Computer, was used to simultaneously synthesize many of the sounds, control a Yamaha TX81Z and Lexicon PCM70 through MIDI, and generate algorithmic material. In addition, Lisp software written by the composer, the Scorefile package, was used to transform composed material into NeXT Music Kit Scorefiles. The wind and river sounds were recorded in the Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, Wyoming, U.S.A.

Technical Requirements for Performance

All pieces are for stereo digital audio tape only, except The Lark Full Cloud, which also requires an amplified violinist and a digital delay capable of 2 independent delays from a single input. The version heard here uses a synthesized violin part (also accomplished on the NeXT computer).

Lexicon PCM70 Multiband Delay program for amplified violin in Lark Full Cloud

100 +3 0 0 20% 20%
1 0 Full Full Off Off Off Off
2 0 400 664
3 0 170 170
4 0 15k 15k
5 0 50L 50R
6 Off Off Off Off Off Off