Douglas McCausland: [neo]Lalia


Neolalia: Noun // ne·​o·​la·​lia // nēōˈlālēə

Speech, especially of a psychotic nature that includes words that are new and meaningless to the hearer.

“[neo]Lalia” is an intermedia work for video and third-order ambisonics audio. Created as a companion work to “Autoimmune”, a collaboration with artist Marcos Serafim, “[neo]Lalia” would not exist without his generosity and artistic input.

Compositionally, “[neo]Lalia” is a meditation on the human voice and the intersection of the organic and the artificial.  Aesthetically, in this work I’m seeking to engage with the liminal points which can be found between these two concepts.   To this end, both the video and audio were constructed with the assistance of machine-learning systems, which were trained using a corpus of hours of recordings of human speech.  This training was then utilized to manipulate elements across the audiovisual spectrum, including the manipulation of newly recorded materials, the synthesis of completely new materials, the distortion / fragmentation of video, and so on.  Though often highly chaotic and removed from its source material, materials which are innately human can be found throughout the entirety of “[neo]Lalia”.

The title of the work further serves to tie this work to my previous “[re]//Glossolalia” project, which similarly meditated on the sonic qualities of human speech.


Douglas McCausland is a composer and performer of electro-acoustic music currently based out of the San Francisco Bay Area in California, USA. Fascinated with new sonic territories and processes for creating music, his work engages with the extremes of sound and the digital medium. As an artist, he has focused in recent years almost exclusively on the creation of experimental electronic music and digital art. Ultimately, his current compositions / research particularly explore the intersections of real- time performance of electronic music with handmade interfaces, live-performance in higher-order ambisonics, interactive systems, machine-learning, experimental sound design, and DIY electronics / hardware-hacking.

His works have been performed internationally at festivals and symposiums such as: Sonorities (SARC), SEAMUS, San Francisco Tape Music Festival, Splice, MISE-EN, Klingt Gut!, Sounds Like THIS!, Electronic Music Midwest, NYCEMF, Sonicscape, CEMEC, Eureka!, CEMICircles, and many more. Notable recent events include a performance and installation series at the Talbot Rice Gallery and the Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh, UK, an installation at Stanford University’s Anderson Collection as part of “CCRMA x Anderson: Sound Happenings”, and being named an as an honorable mention in the International Confederation of Electroacoustic Music’s 2019 CIME Prix. Additionally, his love of collaboration has led him to work with many incredible performers such as: the TAK Ensemble, bassist Aleksander Gabrys, the Quasar Saxophone Quartet, Duo Illegal, the T2 Duo, and many others.

Douglas is currently a doctoral fellow at Stanford University, working towards his DMA in Composition while studying with Chris Chafe, Patricia Alessandrini, Jaroslaw Kapuscinski, and Fernando Lopez-Lezcano. In the year preceding his doctoral studies he completed a second master’s, an MSc in Digital Composition and Performance, at the University of Edinburgh under Martin Parker and Tom Mudd. Prior to that, he completed an MM in Music Composition at Michigan State University, studying with Mark Sullivan, Lyn Goeringer, and Ricardo Lorenz. Doug additionally holds a BM in Music Theory and Composition, Saxophone Performance, and Music Education from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, where he studied composition with Kimberly Archer.


CCRMA @Home, Online Streaming Concert (2020, during COVID-19 pandemic)


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