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Darkness Visible - EP

by Stephen Roddy



“An experimental composer from Ireland, Stephen Roddy proves equally adept at crushing soundscapes as he does mysterious melodies.” - Bandcamp New & Notable Mar 13, 2022.

“unsettlingly beautiful ambient landscape with moving pads, arcing sounds of processed guitar and electronics and uneasy drones and percussive patterns.” - Tome to the Weather Machine

“Distorted synths sketch the sonic landscape while a steady beat, high energy drones and simple electronic arpeggios serve as a path through this fraught world where a sense of menace hover all around” - Queen City Sounds and Art

Darkness Visible is a follow-up, companion piece to my last EP 30 Epoch Opus.

In terms of composition, this EP is getting back to basics with a more grounded approach to generative music composition. It integrates lessons learned from 10 years of data-driven and generative music performance, with the past 3 years of machine learning experiments. The 3 generative music compositions included here, make heavy use of stochastic/probabilistic techniques. I grounded this approach in the second-order Cybernetics theories I explore in my ongoing Signal to Noise Loops project, which will be more fully explored in the 2023 release "Signal to Noise Loops".

This is a departure from the purely machine learning based approach explored on my last EP: 30 Epoch Opus. You can download that for free here also: stephenroddy.bandcamp.com/album/ep-30-epoch-opus

Aesthetically the results fall somewhere between Brian Eno and early Nine Inch Nails with shades of Iannis Xenakis' and John Cage on the 3 generative tracks.

Conceptually this release is built around and inspired by John Milton’s revolutionary characterization of Satan in his epic poem, Paradise Lost.

The character of Satan in Milton's poem has an interesting backstory.
Milton had strongly anti-Irish views, and according to Canino (1998), he used the 1641 Irish Rebellion as a model for Satan's rebellion.


Milton's Satan influenced the 'complex villain & anti-hero archetype in pop culture. Think Tony Soprano, Darth Vader, Walter White, etc.

I think it's kinda great that Milton's Satan has the 1641 rebellion in his DNA albeit for dubious reasons.


The link to the political climate around the 1641 rebellion puts an entirely new spin on the poem.

The title choices across the tracks are intended to highlight these new layers of meaning.

"Better to reign in Connaught....." -John Milton (probably)

The art features a Gustave Doré plate from John Milton's Paradise Lost.
The high-resolution scan of the plate is from a 1983-ish copy digitized by the University of Michigan Library and maintained online by the Hathi Trust Digital Library [ www.hathitrust.org ]
It should be noted that Dorés illustrations were created with wood engraving techniques!


released February 11, 2022

Composed & Produced by Stephen Roddy.
Recorded at Lava Wall Studios between September and November 2021.
Artwork by Gustav Doré.


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Stephen Roddy Cork, Ireland

“An experimental composer from Ireland, Stephen Roddy proves equally adept at crushing soundscapes as he does mysterious melodies.”

- Bandcamp New & Notable Mar 13, 2022.

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