Tuesday, October 30, 2007

cSound and Maggie

Today was one of the wonderful days with eleven hours spent in front of the computer creating sound. I am working on creating a series of small yet interesting sounds as a means of exploring command line computing and sound synthesis. The results are below, you can listen and vote for your favorites or download them and make something new from them. These sounds are composite waveforms where I am determining the
relative weighting and amount of overtones, in addition to the amplitude, frequency and temporal length and position. To generate data I began with things like sine waves and saw waves then decided to see what I could invent. I used a very simple equation 1/3+(1*.2) and then repeated that for each of the roughly 10 overtones substituting the result in for the 1 [so it is more like x/3+(x*.2)].I like the way that these look.
I also used the batting averages of the players of the in game one of 2007 World series, creating different wave patterns for the Red Sox and the Rockies. (the Red Sox sounded better and they won!) Here is a picture of the two wave forms that result from the Red Sox -f9- and then the Rockies -f10-

After that I decided that this could be more interesting so I found a formula for the decay of radio active matter which required 3 variables, so I used amplitude for the initial amount of nuclei, pitch for the disintegration factor and duration for the time variable, this made some really great graphs and sounds basically everything after 23 I think. Oh the equation is here
I played with some different distributions and the insertion of 0's in order to make only the odd harmonics sound. Here is what they looked like.

Here are sounds
A mostly complete catalog, there is a definite evolution of sound material and the similarities are interesting. Basically the idea was to create some little sounds for other projects and this is the first step, there are obviously many more to come.

In other news Maggie said her good bye to Anchorage this weekend and is on her way to California. For those of you who listened to my radio show while I was in Wrangell AK, those updates were not in vain, as she is now on her way to the promised land.

Saturday, October 27, 2007


It rained today (1 minute and 35 seconds) which makes Christine very happy (less dust). But here is what I found this AM, a 1965 skate film, notice the cinematography and the classic narrative. My favorite scene is when the young couple is sitting by the water and the alternate parllalel universe of his skate group rolls by, reflected in the water. What what drama! THe black and white has better sound and the color has more color.



Notice that Michael Moore is in the credits! (B&W)

Next time somebody puts rocks in my path I am going to do headstand and flip the world around on them!

Monday, October 22, 2007

salsa and mustard

I just finished making some tomatillo salsa and while I was making it I realized a great deal about my approach to music composition (or sonic organization as it should be called). This entire summer when I was in Chicago, I would spend the day working and then in the evening I would cook, experimenting with what I found locally and what was unique. Eventually it occurred to me that this experimentation was an extension in a way the trial ground for my musical ideas, the difference being that I layered flavors and smells, not sounds and physical gestures.

As I made salsa tonight, I once again found myself exploring and thinking about how this was so similar to the piece that I am working on. I then got out some pretzels and tried out my new salsa. At this point my brain thought about eating Weber's horseradish mustard with pretzels and that I should be eating salsa with chips. But the reason that I was able to use pretzels in place of chips is that they are both salty grain products, essentially. Then the idea of hot peppers in the west and horseradish in the east arose in my mind and I realized that these were acting in similar ways in both salsa and mustard. The exposure that let me experience both makes me realize that they are similar and that makes me think about the difference between musics from different places; employing unique indigenous flavors but essentially functioning similarly.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Dick Raaijmakers

I found this fabulous video online titled "Intona: dodici manieri di far tacere un microfono" (twelve ways to make a microphone shut up) by Dick Raaijmakers. His experimentation at the edge of electronic musics technology is very compelling, I think of it as a parallel to the experimentation and that yields "extended techniques" in western classical music (such as bowing the tail piece of a violin, a brass flutter tongue and eventually the burning of a piano). An email that I received that alerted me to a festival of his work in Berlin mentions "unpredictable results of unsolvable problems". This is particularly well stated and important. When one is working with a violin the sound that results from bowing the taunt string is the summation of a myriad of random spectral interactions (I mean that the overtones are interacting and influencing each other and this is happening within the context of a physical setting which is forcing those sounds to collide and interact in a unique fashion). When we listen to a violin we do not hear the randomness but rather concentrate on the "violiness" yet on the microscale (time experienced at the thousandth of a second) there is infinite variation. With Raaijmakers work I am forced to consider and interact, even observe the unpredictability and interactions at the edge of the instruments range of functionality, sort of like glimpsing the final heroic moments of the human race or a virus before it is obliterated from existence. Art on the


of being

as it were.

Also found this nice collection of links
and a video to round out the sensorial stimulation

Sunday, October 14, 2007

This is a picture of the temporary festival headquarters and theater that was built for Steirischer Herbst 2007. I attended the sound week, Modes of Listening and made field recordings, listened to concerts by Philip Jeck, Francisco Lopez (among many others) and discussed the logic of music with philosopher M. Vogel. It was 50 years of this avant garde festival of sound, dance, theatre and general rowdy art making and I enjoyed most every minute of it. There are countless events and people I could mention, but rather I wasn't to note that this was about the act of listening as a The Kunsthaus has beautifullights at night (as the video shows and looks marvelous in the context of the city (below).means for approaching music. We in fact uncovered that many of the common terms associated with music have very little basis in the perceptual reality of the experience of organized sound. I am looking forward to reconnecting with many of the people that I met there, but the immediate result is that I find myself developing an appreciation of for the wide range of possibilities that organized sound encompasses and that the term music simply has to many connotations. So many that I almost prefer to not use it, as it nest the idea of sonic artistic design within the historical context of the imperialistic western music tradition and that has less and less appeal to me.

As regards the place, Graz Austria, this is a beautiful corner of the planet and the people are warm, kind and very well mannered, even if I could not understand 98% of what was said as I do not speak German! This was actually a very interesting thing for me. I was in a place where everyone was speaking a language that I can understand parts of but can not speak at all. I began to listen for meaning less and less and focused on the sounds of the language more and more, so at night (after a beer or so) I would launch into a Dada-esque composition of German language sounds, much to the amusement of Christine. What I really loved about this place was the architecture, the US is really one of the more ugly countries in terms of buildings, it was refreshing to see such interesting and adventurous buildings juxtaposed with very old and sometimes bizarre buildings.

I came away from this event realizing that I have a fairly good sense of what it is that I do and an ability to articulate my ideas and my aesthetic rather clearly. I feel that I need to perform more of my work live and explore more than my provincial definition of organized sound (or music) has let me do in the past. (The fault is my own).

Back in Santa Barbara the quarter has begun and this is a busy one, but if all goes well I should have most of my, if not all of my requirements out of the way at the end of this year. So that would mean having some time to actually do some work. Speaking of work, the trombone piece that Mark Brochinsky commissioned is moving along and I even synthesized a 6 and a half second section this evening.