Wednesday, April 29, 2009

quoting Jalopy

I was reading this and thought I would rip it off and call it my own
A few years ago, I wrote:

Everything you love, everything meaningful with depth and history, all passionate authentic experiences will be appropriated, mishandled, watered down, cheapened, repackaged, marketed and sold to the people you hate.

Well ok, it's not mine, but I certainly like the sentiment. From Mister Jalopy

Saturday, April 25, 2009

play again

Last night I was unable to fall asleep because I had a headache. This is extremely unusual for me. I had spent the day working, in the form of reading and taking notes on Microsound (yes still going). So as is often my way, I got up and went into my studio and started implementing the ideas that were spinning in my head. The resulting audio is only what I consider a sketch at this point. Which gets to the core of it, why do I label it "sketch," versus "finished piece?" Here it is

So after staying up until 5AM making I spent the day reading again and then watch this video.

Again I remember the importance of play!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

micro structure

I have been reading Microsound and extracting and thinking about every sentence that grabs me, that is pretty much every other sentence. My favorite quote of this process so for is from page 108

"It is easy to granulate a sound file and take the results 'as-is.' A more sophisticated strategy is to take the granulation as a starting point . For example, one can create a compound cloud - one with interesting internal evolution - by mixing several granulated sound files."
Mixing is also effective in creating rhythmic structures. When the density of a synchronous cloud is below about 20 Hz, it creates a regular metrical pulse. To create polyrhythmic clouds once can generate several different densities, amplitudes and in different frequency regions to stratify the regions."

This quote embodies so many of the parameters of composition that can be approach on a wide range of time scales. This specific discussion is related to the creation and manipulation of clouds that are 20 - 500 milliseconds long. It also eludes to the discipline and dedication one must put forth in creating great art.

To really appreciate the cover of Microsound, I suggest you stare at this, then back at the cover.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Great Gatsby

This reminded me of the Great Gatsby, I thik I will start performing in a suit again.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


I just read this fabulous article on the use of echolocation by blind persons in order to determine the the specifics of their surroundings. We all do this to varied degrees, but what is so fabulous here is that you have expert users. By learning to hear echo reflection with great specificity, one can reveal the surroundings through auditory sensing.

Immediately I begin thinking about the musical application, but realize that theis is what microsound and convolution are all about. What is remarkable here is the ability of these expert listeners to use only limited amounts of noise bursts (which are not full spectrum as they are not likely short enough to cause the spectrum to be be a full frequency noise burst and that they are coming from a human vocal apparatus they are filtered by the mechanics of sound creation i.e. mouth, device) to reveal with great precision the size, position and composition of objects.

Of course, we all do this and that is why a dry recording of a violin sounds unnatural, there are no room acoustics, those are inherently part of reality for humans. When the acoustic situation does not amplify for mute certain frequencies, the sound is thought to be unnatural. The other example that springs to mind is the closing of a car door. Instantly, the sound changes and it is a very familiar sound that we take for granted.

This does make me imagine music that unfolds a variety of spaces on a variety of time scales.

Here is the World Access for the Blind Website

Friday, April 10, 2009


Roughly 5 years ago I was a career minded budding young composer in my first semester at New England Conservatory. I went to a concert of the music of Brian Ferneyhough in New York one night and heard Tony Arnold sing, she is spectacular. Today, five years later, she arrived in Santa Barbara where I found myself beginning to approach a sense of what a mature composer is and seeing how I might evolve to that. I had the amazing fortune to hear her sing Kafka Fragments by Kurtag and it was a relentless tour de force of solid 20th century virtuosity. After the performance, which I was instrumental in organizing and facilitating I had the opportunity to speak with Tony. It felt almost surreal to realize all that has happened since I last saw this person and to realize that I am no longer on the outside looking in, but that I am someone who is respected and appreciated as a member of the music community. Seeing Tony helped to remind me of the distance traveled and to remind me of what a wonderful and stunning talent she is.

The other components of this concert, the part which I was thoroughly involved with was the creation of the tape part for Gyula Csapo's Krapp's Last Tape. This is one of the few pieces that approaches the elegance and reductionism of Feldman while maintaining the voice of the composer and not some pale imitation. In fact, I am thinking I would like to perform this piece in due time. The other component of this piece was that I worked with Movses Pogossian a truly remarkable violinist. We spent many hours making the tape part which accompanied his performance tonight and it was very rewarding to create this electronic sound and project it in concert.

To top it all off, Clarence threw a wonderful Hungarian themed reception after the concert. Here I savored a glass of wine while rolling into my 34th consecutive hour awake.

I should note, that the hat that I am wearing in the above picture is in the process of being retired as my parents replaced it in honor of my 33 + 3/3's years of existence. On top of that, the picture features my absorbing sun on the beach where I learned to surf and also where I took my parents when they visited several weeks ago, that was an amazing afternoon, following our breakfast at Cody's Cafe. I will report that Carl and Laura even went kayaking, in the ocean!

UPDATE.... The fabulous wife reports that she had artistic vision, so she took the photo. I have never heard of a woman refering to me as the classical vision of pure artistry, but then again.....