Monday, August 8th, 2016 | Blog, Work


This work was commissioned and produced for the Soundwave 7 Biennale. The theme was architecture. My co-creator John Brian (“JB”) Kirby aka Nonagon and myself created a 30 minute audio/visual work that explored the changing human landscape over time. It began as an exploration into the architecture and rapidly changing face of the city of San Francisco, our home. We interviewed architects and had many conversations. The best part was starting from scratch and building through our ideas both socially and visually together. As we worked and developed the concept, it expanded into showing change over different timescales.

Here’s the trailer:

Here’s the blurb:

San Francisco. We’ve been here before. Booms and busts that leave residue and ghosts. This was the starting prompt for John Brian Kirby (Nonagon) and Colin Evoy Sebestyen (CSTNG-SHDWS) when producing their new work, Timescale. First was to make sense of the time in the moment in the city of their lives. A city with architecture that is rapidly changing. The artists then moved to exponentially larger and smaller understandings of slices of time. Moving from the visible changes they saw in their personal experience, they began wondering how to expand the changes from the time of the city, to the time of the society, to the time of the geology, and finally the time of the cosmos. Once they were done scaling up, the piece ends scaling down. What does it look like to hold infinity in the palm of your hand? What does it sound like? The work that results explores different markers of time through movements and sequence. This 30 minute performance is broken into 6 acts, each of which operates on a different scale. The electronic music flits through a rich and full sonic palette. Drones, downtempo beats, melody, and cinematic instrumentals all make their way into the work. The visuals are similarly varied, pushing multiple styles and explorations to the screen- at times generative and abstract, at times representational and personal. The work is an audio/visual single channel video performance and is approx. 30 TRT.

Timescale makes extensive use of VDMX and Abeleton Live in all kinds of crazy ways. Each movement is a different setup with some different control or performance paradigm according to the concept of each movement. Some movements dictated a generative approach, with custom shader code using ISF, others called for a mix style performance with dozens of layers and blend modes. The audio side also employed a raft of techniques from generative to sampling to instrumentation. We had to create all kinds of pathways and bridges between the rigs to get the control we were looking for.


We performed Timescale at Gray Area Theater in San Francisco, in August of 2016.

Full Video:

A guide to the movements:

i. Open (Hawking)

     Big bang -> heat death

I. Sonata (Geologic timescale (the mountain, tectonics, fault lines)

  1. exposition
    1. melody 1 ‑topology the surface of the earth-
    2. melody 2 ‑sedimentary layers
  2. development
    1. plate tectonics — dramatic shifts and changes material from the exposition and chopping it off switching time signatures, switching keys
  3. recapitulation
    1. Bring the melody and themes from exposition.

II. Adagio (Societal timescale (the church; man worships/subverts nature)

Church 1 — white space

Church 2 — build the spiral (allegiance)

-build the star (allegiance)

-build the church (allegiance)

-show them as the texture (allegiance)

III. Minuet (Urban timescale (the office; commerce; economics)

Information and industrial revolution

Start Up/Shut Down

(Interlude) time feedback

IV. Rondo (Eternal now. “When? Just then.”)

far away, so close