106 Kerri Chandler Chords

By Jack Callahan (die Reihe)


In 2016 I began a project of sampling chords from house music tracks from the early 1980s to today. House music has its roots in the harmonic language of modern jazz, which I studied for many years, so the idea of a popular dance music with a sophisticated sense of harmony is intriguing to me. This endeavor resulted in the piece “Housed”, a living archive of 850 chords of varying length from over 150 artists. I realized a large percentage of tracks I sampled were produced by Kerri Chandler, a legendary producer and DJ from New Jersey who got his start in the late 1980s. I decided to take all the samples from his tracks, 106 in total, and transcribe them. Over the years the piece has taken the form of a string quartet, piano and chamber pieces, a jazz lead sheet and more. This version was recorded with a Roland SVC-350 vocoder, Max/MSP and a Shure SM57. It consists of Max/MSP playing the chords as saw waves (as the carrier signal) through the vocoder and the speaker (me) activating them by reading the name of the chord (as the modulator signal). Once a name is read, Max/MSP detects a pause and triggers the next chord. The process is repeated ad nauseum.