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Virtual Memory was an intermedia group formed at the University of California San Diego's Center for Music Experiment during the latter half of the 1980's. The nucleus of the group consisted of composers Rick Bidlack, Robert Scott Thompson, Robert Willey, who were joined by Tom North, Victoria Bearden, Russ Kozerski, Carol Vernalis, Roy Tamanaha, and others in concerts integrating computer music (software synthesis and interactive systems), multi-channel video synthesis, and live performance.

It was during this time that personal computers and MIDI systems first appeared, making it possible for musicians to develop computer music performance systems, and a library of programming functions was developed at CME by Xavier Chabot, Rick Bidlack, and Andy Voelkel.

The Book of Names resulted from two improvisatory sessions recorded on December 14 and 15, 1987 at Rebel Road Studio. The three players were linked by a MIDI network running their own custom software, creating cyclic structures and note events based on data gleaned from the trio's keyboard gestures. The textures that
resulted arose without editing or overdubs.

The name of the group is a reference to the software technique of addressing additional memory when running a program, allowing it to use more RAM than what actually exists in the computer. This allowed the Center's VAX-11/780 to run the software synthesis programs developed there. It was not unusual to have to wait hours or days to hear the results of a musical request.

Virtual Memory is Rick Bidlack, Robert Scott Thompson
& Robert Willey.

Recorded in 1987 in the digital domain using Sony digital recording equipment.


released June 3, 1988


all rights reserved



Robert Scott Thompson Atlanta, Georgia

The term musical alchemist best describes modern music composer Robert Scott Thompson. Combining his mastery of the electroacoustic, contemporary instrumental, and avant-garde genres into a swirling cohesive whole, he is an important pioneer on music's new frontier.

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