Entropy (2023)

Entropy is an ongoing series of aleatoric compositions that incorporate cosmic ray detectors into the performance.

Cosmic rays are high-energy particles that are constantly raining down on us. They may have travelled for millions of light-years from deep in the universe - from exploding stars or distant galaxies.

They are the most random thing in the known universe, so I thought it would be fun to make some chance compositions using this phenomenon…

So, each time a cosmic ray passes through a detector, it triggers a light.

The colour and brightness represents the energy of that particle.

Each musician is ‘linked’ to a light/detector

They must respond every time a cosmic ray is discovered.

Each performance is different; dictated by various compositional methods as well as the intensity of cosmic rays at that moment.

73 Muons - For Solo Marimba & Cosmic Ray Detector

Entropy II - For 3 Musicians & 3 Cosmic Ray Detectors

Entropy III - For 3 Musicians & 3 Cosmic Ray Detectors

Entropy IV - For 3 Musicians & 3 Cosmic Ray Detectors
The rules for each composition varies slightly, but in general:

  • Every time the cosmic watch is triggered, you must respond to each reading immediately by playing your chosen/given phrase as close as possible to the moment the flash of light begins.

  • If an additional reading interrupts your phrase, you must abandon the current phrase and begin a new phrase as soon as possible. You may repeat the phrase you were playing or select a new one. The phrases may intertwine.

  • You may always choose the octave that you play in.

  • The length of pieces are either dictated by a fixed time frame or by the amount of readings

  • For fixed time frame pieces, you must play the phrases as many times as dictated by the cosmic watch during that time slot. Once the time runs out, move on to the next selection of phrases / time frame.

  • If a phrase is still being played when the time of that section runs out, complete that phrase before moving on to the new selection of phrases.

  • Some pieces you will be given 3 phrases to choose from. You may select any phrase and can repeat phrases as many times as desired.

  • In some pieces, the dynamics of your phrase will be controlled by the colour, intensity and duration of the light.

  • Short blue flash = p

Medium length blue flash = mp

Pink to blue flash = mf

Long pink flash = ff

  • Be aware of other players' performances. Let their musical choices and density of their readings influence your own decisions.

Recorded live at Brunel Goods Shed, Stroud, UK 4.10.2023

Composition & concept by Christo Squier

Solos by the respective musicians
Catherine Ring - Marimba
Christo Squier - Tenor saxophone
Stevie Toddler - Double bass

Motz Workman - Filming & editing

Bill Brooks - Recording & mixing

Chris Ball - Creative technologist

With thanks: The Faculty of Natural, Mathematical & Engineering Sciences, CosmicWatch, SVA, Hidden Notes, d&b Audiotechnik and King's College London

Christo Squier

Composer /
Creative Director /  
Multidisciplinary artist /

Christo Squier

Composer / Creative Director / Performer / Artist