When Glucose enters the cells of the body, it has to be chemically modified with a phospate (4 oxygen atoms and 1 phosphorous atom). Enzymes, such as beta-PGM, re-orient glucose so that a phosphate binds to a different side of the glucose. If the glucose is not acted upon in this way, it gets stored as fat. If the glucose does get acted upon by beta-PGM, it goes through a series of other enzyme-reactions, entering the glycogen cycle.
Beta-PGM is extraordinarily efficient. Without it, this reaction would take 10,000 years. Instead, it happens in a matter of seconds.
The data used in this composition comes from two different force-fields (Polarised and Solid Sphere), which are used to measure the reaction, and evaluates the reaction in solution. It is acting upon the live guitar in real-time, and all of the other sounds have been created using these numbers in some form. This is created using Max MSP with the data being sent to the Compressor, Filter, Granulator, Pan, Reverb, Delay, and Pitch.
This piece reimagines one iteration of this incredible reaction. The cells are serene and relaxed but as soon as beta-PGM forces the phosphate to bind on to the glucose compound, it is acted upon by more and more enzymes, highly efficiently, until the cells go back to their relaxed state.
The sound sources are 5-string electric guitar (because I couldn’t source another string during lockdown) and different kitchen appliances, because I felt that they best emulate how a chemical reaction would sound. All sounds (fixed-media and live) are manipulated using the data, through a max patch.
The score and indeed the mixing does not use the data – this is entirely compositional and creative, thereby displaying a balance between creativity and data. The player controls the data by using spacebar to switch between presets, which change the scale of each data-set in real time.
The piece describes one instance of this chemical reaction over 5 minutes.