Akira Rabelais

An intellectual pioneer as much as anything else, Akira Rabelais issued forth musical creations and inventions from his perch at CalArts. Born and raised in South Texas, one of his childhood pastimes involved shooting metal plates with BB guns so that he could experience the unique sound that it caused. That fascination with sound, combined with a philosophical and literary bent (his favorite surreal and magical realist snippets of literature are on his website, www.akirarabelais.com) helped lay the path for the musical creations he has been issuing since 1990 -- he describes himself as a "composer writing software, not an engineer making music." The software that Rabelais made reference to in that quote, or at least the most famous among his inventions, was the Argeïphontes Lyre. With functions like Eviscerator Reanimator, Time Domain Mutation, Morphological Disintegration, Verwechslung Kaffeetass, and the Lobster Quadrille, the Lyre was a program that allowed the user to make a number of alterations to a piece of pre-recorded sound. The program quickly became a favorite of electronic music composers such as Terre Thaemlitz and Scanner, who used it to create disorienting sound shifts. Rabelais' own CD, Elongated Pentagonal Pyramid (Ritornell, 1999), showed the stamp of the Lyre, with its multiple layers of gently wavering sound. Eisotrophobia followed in spring 2001. ~ Stacia Proefrock

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