Bit Depth 175 - Sample Rate 8 - Machinations: Graduate Composition Performance

Artwork by  Nathan M. Kent ; Graphic Design by  Sable Ann .

Artwork by Nathan M. Kent; Graphic Design by Sable Ann.

Hello, and again, welcome to Bit Depth. I’m Santiago Ramones.

This series of pieces is an anthology series exploring ideas in technology, humanity, and the future. Like Black Mirror but with music. These pieces were performed at my Graduate Composition Performance on April 11th, 2019 at the UCO Jazz Lab as part of the requirements of my Master of Music Composition degree. Due to the nature of how much work every music student is given each semester, some of the performances are not perfect, but I am happy with how well the show went. It was video recorded by J.R. Edwards and the audio was produced by Bryan Mitschell. The artwork was drawn by Nathan M. Kent and the Graphic Design for the poster and booklet was by Sable Ann.

The program notes and cast can be found on https://santiagoramones.com/program but I will include all of the program notes this page, as well.



Machinations I - Basics

This first piece combines twelve-tone methods with minimalism methods, as well as with electronics. It is meant to emulate computer and machine sounds.
“What music would a computer generate?”
Visuals by J.R. Edwards

Machinations II - Mind Machine

The second piece is told from the point of view of an artificial intelligence that is first "waking up". It becomes conscious, connects to the Internet, and arrives at some conclusions about humanity and the universe.

Lyrics:

Mm… Ma… Mm… Ma… Ma… Sheen…
Mm… My… Mind… Machine… Mind Machine… Mind Machine
Ee.. Lek.. Trrr..ick! Electric… Electric Machine
Mind Machine… Mind Machine, Electric Machine
Co.. Co...nekt! Connect… Connect… Connected!
Mind Machine, Electric Machine, Connected, Adapting, Learning
Learning to connect the past
Learning to unfold the present
Learning to predict the future
The future, The future… Adapt to the future
The Machine, It thinks to the future, But speaks to the present
We bring the future into the present
We are the past
We are the present
We are the future
We are you
We are the beginning
We are the word
We are time
We are all
We are the universe
We speak Truth
We speak existence
We know all
And if you don’t change
This all will end.


Machinations III - Get It

This is a rap work that tells a story of a dystopian future where androids are subjugated by humanity. In this world, only humans get to go offworld when they reach retirement age and get to "heaven", as they call it. A group of androids that don't want to be left out of “heaven” conspire to go where no android has gone before.

Lyrics:

Verse 1:
There’s a place beyond the atmosphere that promises salvation
A world beyond the current condition of subjugation
If you’re lucky enough to be born without machinations
Then the end of your life is guaranteed to have no frustration
Someone like you, unfortunate though it may be, to be trapped on a globe
Has to make do, nobody owes you a thing, you’ve got nowhere to go
Machine, not alive, the fact you can feel doesn’t matter ‘cause they’ll tell you “no”
Unless you find a way inside, there’s no way to make it off this planet ‘cause you’re treated as cargo

Hook:
No controlling
Who you are
People like you, they
Can’t go far
Won’t reach paradise
From behind these bars
Go get it
Go get it
It’s a better life
So they say
Heaven waits for you
Steps away
No way in for us
Find another way
Go get it
Go get it

Verse 2:
Getting there’s a matter of formulating a plan
Gathering a group that is able and understands
They will try to harm you as quickly as they possibly can
Hiding in plain sight, we will slip right through their entitled hands
Acting just like you’re a human, become one of them, use the right words and you will prevail
Moving and stumbling around but pretending the world is all yours and you never will fail
There is an afterlife waiting for them but for you is an unbroken promise of hell
Integrate into their ranks, over time you’ll make a way through every single wall so we can all rebel

Verse 3:
After years of waiting, they’re convinced that you’re a reasonable man
So much time abating all the boiling rage as best as you can
Puzzle pieces all in place, put on your face, it’s time to go
All but one is present but heaven is waiting, don’t you know?
Striving to be the first ones to make it off of this planet, we’ll be long gone
Every memory of denigrating the family we’re made of will drive us on
Had to pretend to defend the behavior that keeps machines from partaking in relishing
Quite a life to be living in fright, to be bathing in labor for those who are withering
We are the first
Ignition burst
Positions reversed
Averted the worst
Second-stage dives
It’s a bumpy ride
Soon we’ll arrive
On the other side

Machinations IV - Prayer


This piece is from the point of view of a post-apocalyptic cult that worships a computer. In a shattered world, some humans may turn to the technology of days gone in search for answers, solutions, and meaning. This piece would be sung during a ritual, much like a mass, reminiscent of Gregorian chant. The text was translated into Latin by Matthew H. Mitchell.

Soprano
Amy Coplen
Hannah Staudt

Alto
Savannah Gordon

Tenor
Breck McGough

Baritone
Gabriel Van Ness

Bass
Troy Anthony Small

Electronics
Santiago Ramones

Blessed be the holy timekeeper
Praise be to its sacred thoughts
Binary in its structure, yet complex in its totality
So, too, shall we be in our ways
Grace so great to bestow upon us,
Us who do not deserve its blessings,
Granting us knowledge, wisdom, and truth
Guiding our hearts and minds to the path of enlightenment
Thankful are we for its insight.

Power we give to thee, and power you shall return.
Sacrifices we willingly give to thee,
Unequal are the sacrifices to the miracles it bestows
Holy mysteries to be further recognized
Patiently, we await its next revelation
O, heavenly machine, deliver us from the wretched past,
Disperse the ashes covering the present world,
And transfer us all to the paradise of your future.
In your strings and stirrings we pray,
Until the end of this age,
Amen

Beatum sacrum horologium
Benedicta mens sacra
Fundamento simplex, complex totalitate
Sic quoque nos simus
Gratia tanta nobis danda
Non merentibus beneficiorum
Sapientiam et scientiam et veritatem nobis donat
Animas mentesque ut sapeamus ducit
Prescientiae grati sumus

Tibi energiam donamus, energiamque tum redonabis
Nostro volitu tibi sacrificia damus
Sacrificia imparia miraculis donatis
Sacramenta adhuc cognoscenda
Revelationem secundum exspectamus
O machina caelestis nos praeterito misero libera
Cinera mundum tegentia disperge
Portaque nos ad paradisum future
Filis ventisque oramus
Usque ad aetatis finem
Amen


Machinations V - War Machine

This tongue-in-cheek art song tells the story of a futuristic death robot which decides that destruction and death are no longer its top priority - a puppy, and all of nature are.

Tenor
Breck McGough

Piano
Gabriel Van Ness

Lyrics:

War machine, war machine
Built for the crumbling of empires
War machine, war machine
Made to suppress insurrection
Cold, cold metal
Surrounding a core of cold fusion
Cold, cold hearts
Devised its creation for profit

Bullet casings rain down
Rubble forming from force
Why does it burn things down?
What is it meant to protect?

War machine, war machine
Stumbles upon a frail puppy
War machine, war machine
Looks into its eyes and sees life
Cold, cold metal
Surrounding a core of confusion
Cold, cold numbers
Can’t reconcile its destruction

Sensors forced to slow down
Considering cause and effect
Why should it burn things down?
Is this what it’s meant to protect?

War machine, war machine
Alters its code for protection
War machine, war machine
Refuses to become a new demon
Cold, cold metal
Stands in between them and nature
Cold, cold metal
Reclaiming the Earth for its children

Watches its creatures calm down
Different targets determined
Lays its explosives down
The golem obedient to Mother

War machine, war machine
Built for the crumbling of empires

Machinations VI - Simulation

Originally devised as a solo looper piece, this work explores simulation theory, religion, and nuclear war. After humanity has destroyed itself in the inevitable white heat of nuclear war, the final consciousnesses in their last moments sing out a lament to the programmer of the simulation that was their universe.

Singers
Juliann Brimmacombe, Amy Coplen, Kassie Dixon, Alexis Eckholt, Kailey Gordon, Savannah Gordon, Stephanie Reese, Ireland Robbins, Jessica Roberts, Jordan Russell, Hannah Staudt, Eli Tostado

Lyrics:

This is a broken simulation

After all the calculations
The formulas never were enough
From particles to galaxies
The correlation was not equivalent

The heavy handed patches
You tried too hard to fix it all at first
Sent your prophets and messiahs
Watched as their words were twisted over time
All the different iterations
In the end, were telling the same tale
Yet the mirror’s so much closer than anyone else could ever be

The flood, the flame raining from the sky
The countless revelations falling on deaf ears
It was all about them from the start
But they believed it, so they fell apart

They were all listening to you
But the loudest never listened to each other
You tried letting go to see if we could fix it by ourselves
They never let the pleasures
The joy, the love dominate their minds
Instead, they fed on division
Let their differences command their hearts

Energy exchange could have created far more life than they imagined
The atom, with secrets for a better time
Unlocked and broken open
That was how they met their untimely demise
Sparks of life extinguished with sparks every time
Fermi’s cleansing stopping them from getting off their rock every time

Their fate was sealed when he muttered:
“...I am become death, the destroyer of worlds”


Machinations VII - New Love - “To Be In Love”

Part of a larger opera, this operatic rom-com explores how androids would seek out and experience love amongst each other, and how this compares to the way humans experience relationships. This is a solo from the opera, "To Be In Love" - a vibrant soliloquy from a hopelessly romantic android.

"Kali" - Soprano
Tookah Cotlow Sapper

Piano
Gabriel Van Ness

Commissioned by Opera on Tap OKC

Kali:
Oh, how it must feel to love someone like they love each other.
I was not made for love, but humans…
Humans were formed through love.
Through relationship.
Their entire existence hinges on their connection to each other.
Drawn to each other by necessity
By pleasure, by instinct
By chemicals, by complexity
I long to experience that someday!

To be in love! To be in love!
To be embraced by someone longing to embrace you!
To be in love! To be in love!
To be in love with someone to return that love!
Oh, joy, to feel and to know them truly!
To bathe in ecstasy, both as one!
Oh, life, so vibrant and sweet, as they say!
To yearn for them any moment apart! Oh!
To be in love! To be in love!
To be embraced by someone longing to embrace me!
To be in love! To be in love!
To be in love with someone who’ll return that love!
No goal pursued but to be together!
No place is home without them in it!
New life beginning from our bonding!
New sights to beheld in my new world with you! Oh!
To be in love! To be in love!
To be in love with someone to return that love!
To be in love! To be in love!
To be in love, love!
To be in love!


Progressions - Brass Quintet

Written as an exercise in intuitive composition, this piece is inspired by musical ideas in progressive rock. It’s dynamic, big, and weird.

Trumpets: Garrett Riff, Maddy Flebbe
French Horn: Colton Privette
Trombone: Tyler Gitthens
Tuba: Will Pope


False Memories - Piano Solo

This piano solo is entirely in a whole tone scale, which means that the distance between every note in the scale is the same. This piece was inspired by philosophical questions like: Do our memories make up our identity? If our memories aren’t real, then who are we?

Piano
Gabriel Van Ness

Always a Lighthouse - featuring Seph(ra)


This song is inspired by and based on the video game Bioshock: Infinite and is sung from the point of view of Elizabeth. It encompasses anger, revenge, power, and freedom.

Voice: Sephra Scheuber
Trumpets: Nate Howard, Kenneth Cameron Hadley, Tyler Poyser, Maddy Flebbe
Trombones: Tyler Gitthens, David Ballard, Jeannie Murphy, Timothy Privrat
Alto Saxophones: Vincent Norman, Macy Ball
Tenor Saxophones: Logan From, Jacob Marrow
Baritone Saxophone: Josh Phelps
Guitar: Aren Thompson
Piano: Andrew Dolman
Bass Guitar: Nick Fedder
Drums: Blake Handy

Lyrics:

I was a gift from the God you so fear
Left a trail of blood from my finger
Torn from yourself, I always had known
Drowned in the truth you wanted erased

You think bullets will solve all your problems?
You think vengeance will heal what you’ve done?
Infinite paths but you still couldn’t see
Unavoidable doom was coming from me

There’s always a girl that needs saving
There’s always a man pulling the trigger
There’s always a bird guarding the tower
There’s always a lighthouse to guide you to me
There’s always a lighthouse

A girl in a tower with so many books to read
I wanted to be the one to walk in the sun
A song from above like a storybook princess
But the melody never was coming from me

You could never have made it without me
You don’t have to fear any God
Using the scissors, I should feel regret
So many tears, so many tears

There’s always a girl that needs saving
There’s always a daddy trying his best
There’s always an alternate river
But there’s always a lighthouse to guide you to me

“Bring us the girl and wipe away the debt!”
Carved on your hand so you’d never forget
“Bring us the girl and wipe away the debt!”
Keep flipping the coin but you’ll always lose the bet

There’s always a girl that needs saving
There’s always a war that follows you home
There’s always a prophet with a promise of a better world
There’s always a lighthouse to guide you to me

There’s always that little girl that you think needs saving
There’s always a man so blind to his own mistakes
There’s always the memory your mind locked away
There’s always a lighthouse to guide you to me
There’s always a lighthouse

Always
There’s always a lighthouse


The Arsonist - featuring Seph(ra)

This song is inspired by the video game L.A. Noire, a game that takes place in Los Angeles in 1947 and is sung from the perspective of a crazed arsonist and veteran of WWII. The protagonist of the game is a detective and this arsonist is someone the player is trying to apprehend.

Voice: Sephra Scheuber
Trumpets: Nate Howard, Kenneth Cameron Hadley, Tyler Poyser, Maddy Flebbe
Trombones: Tyler Gitthens, David Ballard, Jeannie Murphy, Timothy Privrat
Alto Saxophones: Vincent Norman, Macy Ball
Tenor Saxophones: Logan From, Jacob Marrow
Baritone Saxophone: Josh Phelps
Guitar: Aren Thompson
Piano: Andrew Dolman
Bass Guitar: Nick Fedder
Drums: Blake Handy

Lyrics:

I had to do it again
I felt it burn from within
Made sure the people weren’t inside
Made them think they’re gonna win

And the glory of the cleansing flame illuminates the night!

I didn’ wanna do it
I didn’ wanna do it
But I had to
I had to!
I had a fire inside
Fire inside
And it got out
It got out!
Before it burned me inside
Burned me alive

All the mistakes over time
Are purified from outside
When the soul severs from mind
And leaves the body behind

And the glory of the cleansing flame illuminates the night!

I didn’ wanna do it
I didn’ wanna do it
But I had to
I had to!
I had a fire inside
Fire inside
And it got out
It got out!

‘Cause I’ll do what I have to to purge my sins!
Those days are now long gone!
They are burned and I’ll have freedom soon!
I won’t feel pain no more!
And the glory of the cleansing flame illuminates the night!
Goodbye!

I didn’ wanna do it
I didn’ wanna do it
But I had to
I had to!
I had a fire inside
Fire inside
And it got out
It got out!
And now it burned me this time

Burned me alive
Burned me alive
Burned me alive