by Alex Smith
Instrumentation: Snare drum (snares off), Hi-hat (played with foot) or a “squeaky” kick drum pedal, Ice bell, Kick drum, Crash cymbal, Cowbell (or other trash metal), Tam tam (with chain attached), Vibraphone (set to half pedal)
Electronic equipment: Laptop (Mac or PC), Audio interface with at least 1 input and 2 outputs, MAX software (free download from Cycling ’74) to operate included software player, Headset or lavalier microphone for voice, MIDI controller with sustain pedal, Expression pedal for cutting off certain samples*, 2 speakers for audio output
* If an expression pedal (or port) is unavailable, this function will also work with a volume pedal/slider, or modulation wheel connected to the MIDI controller
Cotton Gindustrial is Alex Smith’s ode to the invention that changed the world: the cotton gin! This wild and contrasting piece not only requires some demanding performance techniques like speaking and singing, but also requires the performer to trigger a series of audio samples throughout the piece.
Some source materials that served as inspiration for this piece are an educational video from the 1950’s on Eli Whitney and the cotton gin, an African American prison song entitled “I Be So Glad...”, and a North English folk song entitled “Leaving of Liverpool.”
Cotton Gindustrial comes with a full, bound score and includes a CD-ROM containing the customized software player, and a reference recording of the full piece. Source audio files are also accessible for those wishing not to use the software player.