Wednesday, September 23, 2009

work relief

When I work a lot I end up watching of videos.

Great audio. Interesting narrative as well.

BCAST 1: Brooklyn. from theworldofadam on Vimeo.

I love the opening sounds.

This is quite fun, Inside Bill Mooriers Head.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

some work and some play

I got my life back in order today after a week of holiday. Kayaking Tomales Bay was spectacular, the highlight being either the stars or the paddle up to grilled Oysters.

Today I completed the first assemblage of the viola piece that I have been at for over a year. That felt amazing! Now to get together with Shannon and shape it into a full on piece.

This afternoon I made some bread and this evening I finished up a little project of audio processing video. The story goes that I made a sound file by drawing each sample by hand and then reworking it a bit. I then took an Impulse Response that I like and made 3 different versions of it by granulating it. The point of this was the repitch the grains of the IR and spread it out in a different fashion. I then played the sound file through the 3 different Convolution Reverbs and scripted the quantity of each of the three and the amount of dry.
This is what it looks like. (Yellow = dry, Orange = Reverb 1 etc)

I played this for Christine and she noted that when she saw the playback in Logic it made more sense to her. This made sense to me, so I thought why not map the quantities to elements of a video. The result is a combination of a video that I shot while in Nebraska this summer (looking into the water of the Missouri river), where the Red, Green, Blue and Overall Brightness is controlled by the amplitude of each track.
Here is the video.

Waiting for the star show and watching the world spin.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

History Lesson

This popped into my head
Those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it.

Turns out it goes like this.
Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
and it is from George Santayana. An Italian philosopher and writer who is considered an American "man of letters".

The quote given on wikipedia is
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,"[1] (sometimes called Santayana's Law of Repetitive Consequences)

Ok, it seems there are many ways to phrase and mis-phrase this aphorism, but they all get at the notion that we should study the errors in history and learn from them. Right? Is that not what we did in grade school? Study the wars, the conquest, the Holocaust, the Reformation, the .... You get the picture. Well, that indeed was history class for me (you can contrast this with your own educational background). There were other classes in the Social Studies area, where one would look at how the government works or economics, but history's lessons are, the things that we should not repeat.

Now I ask, have you ever taken a music or art history class? All that you look at are success stories. You study it so that you are not doomed to repeat it? No, you study it to learn why and how it is great. Fine. But what about the failures? Why not study these and why they do not work? If you have taken a class in counterpoint or some other compositional discipline you will recognize that when it comes to critique of your student work and deciding the merit of the work, that is left to the teacher and it is hoped that in the process you learn the pitfalls of your ways and construct your own ability to critique your future students. If you are lucky, you find a way to do this.

In reality, one of the most important skills that any artist can learn is that of critical analysis. Not an analysis of how a great piece works, but rather, why a section or component is not working. Why and where failures occur, that is what we strive to avoid repeating, but we hope that by surrounding ourselves with success we will find ways to make our own versions of it.

Of course, lurking in the notion of studying failures (war, conquest etc.), we are on some level celebrating these things. Indeed, there is an aspect of greatness in overcoming Hitler or Napoleon or rising against the British so as to avoid paying taxes. But with this truth also comes the admission that our means of achieving these goals are quite despicable. Yet, we study them as great works. One quickly jumps at the notion of our having surpassed such barbaric means of enslaving other people, yet with any small degree of reflection one soon recognizes that the imperial forces that sustain the Developed Worlds reign are certainly just as barbaric, if not in a more discrete fashion.

And so I am left with the question, if you teach people the failures, will they learn how and why not to repeat them? Or is one better off to teach success stories and hope that we aspire to those pillars? Certainly it is not an either or, but lurking below the surface, each of these methods has downfalls, might we not consider a middle ground?

Wednesday, September 09, 2009


These are the images that got me going today, they are the design work of Naoto Fukasawa.

I found a link to an 2007 interview of Naoto Fukasawa this AM and find myself captivated by the notion of hari, which is characterized this way in the intro.

a Japanese concept that in physical terms implies surface tension and in the emotional milieu refers to balance and fulfilment.

While the article is full of matter for contemplation, I particularily liked the notion of designing the atmosphere versus the flower.
EK Is there ever any point in challenging people’s core awareness of design? Is it ever productive to try and make people accept what they don’t immediately understand?

NF Making tables that exactly fit the expectations of the environment creates a kind of disappearance. People don’t feel a new table there. I like that challenge. Even my design in this room: the body feels, ‘Oh this is a nice room’, but nobody knows why it’s good. Either the chair you design is very quiet, not really expressing anything, or it can be like a flower in the room, like a Philippe Starck chair. There are two different tendencies in design. There are those who like to create flowers and those who prefer to sort out the atmosphere for those flowers. I would say I am more towards the latter kind.

Then I came along to this

Neurosonics Audiomedical Labs Inc. from Chris Cairns on Vimeo.

So many wonderful things happening in our little world (I watched
Carl Sagan's Cosmos, Part 1 in Entertainment  |  View More Free Videos Online at">Cosmos last night, which has turned me to considering humanities minute role in the universe). Human happiness is creating and observing.

Today's work brought me to contemplation of this image of DC offset. Not a problem to clean it up, maybe a bit tedious with lots of different files, but it just makes my sound work look so animated (in a way that is not auditorily perceptible.

Saturday, September 05, 2009


I have been exploring generative strategies to mix and extend various sound files, one of which is generative and one which is hand made. The core of my interest came from reading about some about auditory cues and considering the notion of dividing the frequency space and then delaying these divisions. Here are the results
The file that is being processed is something that I made with a generative patch 2 years ago when I was first learning Max/MSP.


The sound file here is a granulation of some twigs scratching. After generating several versions, I pulled these together in Logic to clean up the rough edges.


Christine reminds me that it is almost time for the 9.9.09 blog (part 2, as I thought happened last month, as I have a habit of not knowing the number of the month at all times). I should note though, this is the 9.6.09 blog....

Wednesday, September 02, 2009


"Tickle that toggle over there" WOW! That is really good. I spent my day working with the Algorithmic Composers Toolbox. I have been meaning to get my mind around this and this video is a great break.

Interesting to consider the paradigm, toggles in place of what are often drop down menus. Not sure one is better, although having a rack of toggles to tickle, that would add a bit of weight to my laptop.