Work » Projects » songs of fuel and insomnia 2016

songs of fuel and insomnia was a project that began initially during a residency at STEIM in 2004, working with pianist Kathryn Woodard. The goal of this way of working was to improvise with unpredictable electronics and create a series of recordings from highly volatile electronics systems.

The project laid dormant for several years until in 2015 I was able to begin working on a noise synthesizer in Max based around some coding I had found on the Max community forum developed by Patrick Lechner. Lechner’s code realized linear congruential generator within the gen~ extensions of Max. Immediately impressed by the sonic, gritty, and explosive potential of this implementation, I began adapting it into my own programming, working with the Manta Controller by Jeff Snyder in mind. What evolved was a highly expressive system that was more guidable than controllable. I began revisiting songs of fuel and insomnia as a way to continue this practice of improvisation.

The score fragment pictured above is from an excerpt of one of these improvisations arranged for composer, improviser, and violinist Michi Wiancko for her album Planetary Candidate, recently released on New Amsterdam Records. Wiancko’s extraordinary improvisations with a range of guitar pedals and other effects formed a dynamic contrast to the recorded improvisation that forms the fixed media track of this version of songs of fuel and insomnia.


Michi Wiancko · violin