I design and build expressive interfaces that empower people to explore and transform sound, light, and space. My work draws from a breadth of experience with interactive audio and physical computing and aims to inspire others to create.

I hold a Master's degree from Stanford University's Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics and a B.S. in Physics from James Madison University. Please have a look at my CV for more information.

Please say hello via carlsonc (at) ccrma.stanford.edu. I'd love to hear from you!

Prix Ars Electronica Award of Distinction in Digital Musics and Sound Art, 2013.
Featured at Sónar Festival of Advanced Music and New Media Art, 2013.
Create Digital Music review of version 2.0

Borderlands Granular is a new musical instrument for exploring, touching, and transforming sound with granular synthesis, a technique that involves the superposition of small fragments of sound, or grains, to create complex, evolving timbres and textures.

The software enables flexible, real-time improvisation and is designed to support interaction with sonic material on a fundamental level. The user is envisioned as an organizer of sound, simultaneously assuming the roles of curator, performer, and listener. Gestural interaction and visual feedback are emphasized over knobs and sliders to encourage a sculptural and spatial approach to making music.

Please see the press kit for more information.

A project by Second Story, part of SapientNitro.
Technical Director, Software Development, and Sound / Composition.

"Nestled between commercial and residential spaces in downtown Portland, Lawrence Halprin’s Open Spaces Sequence is regarded as one of the most important pieces of late 20th century public art in the US. Our goal was to stay true to Halprin’s original intent of creating a civic space choreographed for movement and performance while highlighting the late Modernist aesthetic of the fountain. Using the fountain as the armature, we created a luminescent string sculpture that extended the radiating geometry of the fountain and created a stage for interaction. A console at the foot of the fountain invited visitors to highlight the natural beauty of Halprin’s architecture with focused beams of light, resulting in a continuously evolving interplay of color, shadow, and structure. A sparse, textural soundscape accompanied the interaction and shifted in and out of focus in response to the changing light environment."

Take a look behind the scenes.

A project by Second Story, part of SapientNitro.
Touch interactives, responsive environment engine, and LED control software.

"In the fall of 2014, the Denver Botanic Gardens opened its Science Pyramid, a space dedicated to highlighting the institution’s scientific research and conservation efforts. Second Story created the permanent exhibit Learning to See, sharing with visitors stories of plants, ecosystems, and science through digital and physical interactives, large-scale graphics, and a lighting environment that responds to the weather at the Gardens.

Learning to See finds inspiration in the geography, landscapes, and plants of Colorado. The exhibit is designed to evoke the feeling of an aspen glade, and contrast of scale is used to mimic the state’s vast elevation differences. Three interactive tables, boulder-like in form, provide grounding information throughout the visitor’s journey and are surrounded by tree-like pylons that each host individual interactive experiences. Activated surfaces throughout the space, as well as the interactive software itself, respond to the temperature and wind speed in the Gardens through color and animation, with technology serving as a bridge between the Pyramid’s interior and the natural world just outside."

A collection of recordings composed and recorded in 2011/2012. Compiled and released in 2014. Viola on “Morning Frost” performed by Hunter McCurry.

"Morning Frost" was featured in the 2015 Academy Award Nominated Short Documentary, "White Earth," by J. Christian Jensen.

A project by Second Story, part of SapientNitro.
Multitouch application and multiple resolution LED environment. Music for project video.

"On December 2, 2014, over 200 media, technology, and design professionals were invited to the LED LAB in TriBeCa where they became conductors of their space, a beautiful atrium of uniquely shaped LED screens. With the goal of educating guests about LED technology in a fun and dynamic way, the experience began with an interactive table. Our team was inspired by fireflies, specifically their similarity to LED technology in how they illuminate. Guests ‘caught’ uniquely colored and shaped animated fireflies and could release them to eight different LED screens. Through interacting with the fireflies on the table, guests learned about LED resolution and pixel pitch. On the surrounding LED screens, we created ambient, animated landscapes that enveloped the room. Guests could send their fireflies into the environment and experience their pixel pitch lessons in real-time."

This recording documents a live performance with two instances of Borderlands Granular at the 2013 Ars Electronica Festival in Linz, Austria. Borderlands was honored with an Award of Distinction in Digital Musics and Sound Art. In addition to the live performance, the app was exhibited for several weeks in the annual Cyberarts Exhibition in Linz.

Borderlands is a new musical instrument for exploring, touching, and transforming sound with granular synthesis, a technique that involves the superposition of small fragments of sound, or grains, to create complex, evolving timbres and textures. The app encourages a sculptural approach to working with raw sonic material. Users are envisioned as organizers of sound, simultaneously assuming the roles of curator, listener, and performer.

Composition and software for 16 performers with hemispherical speaker arrays. Each participant is outfitted with a GameTrack 6 axis continuous controller with mappsings to control a custom 6 channel granular synthesizer (Max/MSP). Performers continuously affect the volume, pitch, grain size, and playhead position. One individual from the group is the conductor, selecting the current audio file that is sampled by every perfomer via a footswitch.

The performance documented in this video took place in the construction site of the Bing Concert Hall at Stanford University. The ensemble is the 2012 Stanford Laptop Orchestra (SLOrk).

PCO

This interactive sound and light sculpture is inspired by the behavior of synchronous fireflies, which interact through a process called pulse-coupled oscillation. A network of tuned electronic chirping and blinking entities is suspended from a large sculpture. These creatures initially pulse at random rates, out of phase with each other. When a single creature "fires," its neighbors slightly adjust their cycles to try to match phase with the firing oscillator. Eventually the entire group converges, only to be disturbed by the sudden presence of an onlooker.

PCO was exhibited at SOMArts in San Francisco for the 2011 edition of CCRMA Modulations.

This album collects a variety material from 2005 to 2010, including beat-driven, ambient, noise, and algorithmic works (self-released in June 2011).

The Feedbox is a prototype handheld feedback machine. Performers strap their fingers into each ring and touch the box to create feedback paths between microphones around the enclosure and a battery powered speaker contained inside the box. While the connections between the speaker and the primary contact surface on the outside of the box could have been made internally, an input and output jack were added to reinforce the fact that this instrument is designed for feedback. Users must plug the instrument into itself before performing.