Unauthorized Duets: the authorized editions

Between 1997 and 1999 I used imager to produce a series of pieces that I called Unauthorized Duets. Each was a “collaboration” in which I visually interpreted already recorded music. These interpretations, in the form of computer code along with a player, could be downloaded from the Internet. Viewers placed a copy of the original artist’s CD in their computer to experience the collaboration in its original form. Because the musical portion was not included, performance releases were not required (hence the title). Later I produced a CD-ROM of some of the pieces that we made with (licensed) music by contemporary recording artists Brian Eno, David Bowie and Eileen Ivers.

Blue Groove, this wonderful studio jam by Irish fiddler Eileen Ivers, is from her 1996 album, Wild Blue. My friend Lisa Lehman designed the interpretation that we produced together.

Blue Glass
Music written and performed by Eileen Ivers (Green Linnet Records)
Visuals by Lisa Lehman & Fred Collopy, 1997

I have long wanted to do abstract visual interpretations of some of the pieces on Brian Eno’s 1978 album Music for Films. This is one of several that I did while at IBM’s Watson Research Lab in 1998-99. This piece started as a study of color values and clipping rectangles. Only when I was preparing notes for the finished piece did I notice the cut’s title—Slow Water.

Film for Music
Music written by Brian Eno and performed by Brian Eno and Robert Fripp (EGMusic, Inc)
Visuals by Fred Collopy

weDDDing is an interpretation of the David Bowie instrumental The Wedding from his 1993 Black Tie White Noise album. While I was working on this piece, Cliff Pickover of IBM Research dropped a pair of Chromatek 3D glasses on my desk and wondered out loud what I might do with them. The glasses work by shifting warm colors forward and cool colors back and moving less saturated colors toward the center plane. Both of these effects are used, particularly in the latter half of the piece.

Music written and performed by David Bowie, Black Tie White Noise (Savage Records)
Visuals by Fred Collopy