Hellstrom, Sten-Olof (2013) Algorithmically driven synthesis and feedback systems: an investigation into the aesthetic and technical processes in my compositional practice. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

This commentary and portfolio of works documents my compositional research into algorithmically driven synthesis and feedback systems. The foundation on which all my work rests consists of self-reference, feedback, emergent properties and algorithmically mediated interaction. Feedback is the lowest common denominator in this process and is for me an essential part of evolution and life and provides a means to create organic sonic forms that generate complex behaviours and phenomena. The predominant approach taken to realise such behaviours is by means of sound synthesis. The preference for sound synthesis is also a means by which compositional elements can interact with each other in a purely sonic manner. To me working with synthesis is like working with organic and living material instead of piling static sounds on top of, or next to each other. In order to work with complex synthesis in an intuitive and direct way I have investigated and developed new methods to control the large number parameters required. To achieve this my main tool has been algorithmically mediated interaction in combination with simple input devices such as a joystick.

When sound files are utilised in a piece they are means to engender a way of working that is outside of my comfort zone. This ‘painting oneself into a corner’ is an important practical and aesthetic choice and is demonstrated in a number of documented instances in the creative portfolio.

Even though a large part of my work consists of solo work my main source of inspiration comes from working with other people whether it is performing, composing, rehearsing, or building sound installations. All the collaborations I have
been part of have been of great importance for me but I have chosen to discuss those that have been significant in the development of my aesthetics, my performance and studio set-up as well as my working methods.

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