It’s been a while since I’ve posted things. As usual, I’ve been busy. But I’ve been preparing things for the website – it was just a matter of robbing enough time from other commitments in order to be able to post things. Here are 5 new posts, with 5 new pieces for your reading and listening pleasure.
Jacques Soddell has been organizing the Undue Noise performance series in Bendigo and Castlemaine for the past several years. When we moved to this area, he soon got into contact with us, and asked if we’d like to be involved. We (Catherine and I) were delighted to be asked, but my very demanding teaching and commuting schedule worked against us doing things, so far. Then in early August, Jacques asked us if we’d like to be part of an improvisation evening he was organizing at the Old Fire Station, which is a lovely Black Box theatre in, not surprisingly, the Old Fire Station next to the Capital Theatre and the Bendigo Art Gallery. The timing was perfect – I am currently working at Bendigo TAFE on Saturdays, and finish work at 5pm. The concert was at 8 pm. There would be time to set up and have a nice meal before performing.
Catherine and I decided to do a performance with her Sruti Boxes, and my Netbook, using similar materials to our online performance last November.
Catherine has 6 Sruti Boxes, Indian drone harmoniums. There are three pairs, one each tuned to a B, C and C# fundamental, with each pair having a slightly different tuning. These were custom made for her. I was using my netbook using the Cakewalk Dimension Pro synthesizer with tones I’d made myself, where the harmonics of the sounds were tuned to the sub-harmonic series, using prime numbered sub-harmonics from 17 on down. Four different versions of each timbre were made (using the additive synthesis features in Cool Edit Pro), and in performance, using two sliders on my Korg NanoKontrol, I can fade between each of these timbres, making any combination of them. This made tones where the spectrum was a bit unstable and dissonant, but always changing. I only played these tones at 12 different pitch levels, which again, were the 12 prime numbered sub-harmonics starting on 17.
In performance, Catherine is continually changing which Sruti Boxes she is using, and which pitches are playing on which Box. I’m slowly changing which pitch or pitches I’m playing (pitches are triggered off by on-off buttons, not by a keyboard), adjusting the timbre, and also changing the overall volume, adjusting the balance between Srutis and Electronics.
The performance went very well. We, and the audience, were very pleased. Jacques had recorded our performance, and on listening back, we thought it was good enough to share with friends in web-land. On listening back, Catherine said that the cross fading of different harmonic textures that happens continually in the piece was similar to the idea that animated her making her 30 meter long graphic score, “Blue Line.” For those of you unfamiliar with that score, here are a few photos from the 2009 performance of it with Speak Percussion (Eugene Ughetti, Matthias Schack-Arnott, and Leah Scholes) as part of the “Catherine Schieve: Graphic Music” concert at the Melbourne Recital Centre.
(Photo credits: Siri Hayes, Catherine Schieve)
So our piece for Sruti Boxes and Electronics is now called “The Idea of Blue Line.” Here’s the recording of it, for streaming and downloading, in mp3 and ogg. Many thanks to Jacques Soddell for inviting us to play, making the recording, and then sending it to us so promptly. Enjoy.