Friday
Apr252014

Five Rehearsal Videos

Currently, I'm working on a suite of 8 pieces for various iPad controllers used to perform live computer music.  Seven of these use the Lemur app, in which I'm making different kinds of control surfaces.  Some of these directly control sounds, just like a traditional keyboard or mixer, while others are used to steer an algorithmic process into areas of sonic interest.

These videos were shot in the late morning and early afternoon of April 25, 2014.  I was performing and Catherine Schieve was operating the camera.  After this, we repaired to Anshuman da Dhaba, our local Indian restaurant, for a superb lunch.

These are rehearsal videos, which show the performing techniques involved in five of the eight pieces in the suite.  Eventually, the pieces will probably be longer than these, exploring the musical material in each of the pieces in greater detail.  Here are the pieces, with the notes to them included in the YouTube site.

1. Lucas C Right Drone

 This is a rehearsal video for a piece for iPad controlling the LinPlug Spectral, a computer synthesizer.  It's the first of eight pieces in a suite.  This one uses a specially designed 

microtonal keyboard, made with the Lemur program, which divides the microtonal scale into groups of 5 and 7 notes each.  The keys on the right sustain notes, the ones on the left act 
like normal musical keys.  The scale is based on Erv Wilson's "The Scales of Mt Meru" papers.

This is a rehearsal video for a piece for iPad controlling the LinPlug Spectral, a computer synthesizer.  It's the first of eight pieces in a suite.  This one uses a specially designed microtonal keyboard, made with the Lemur program, which divides the microtonal scale into groups of 5 and 7 notes each.  The keys on the right sustain notes, the ones on the left act like normal musical keys.  

4. Sprott Canon

This is a rehearsal video for a piece for iPad controlling an algorithmic process, which is composing a 3 part canon.  The canon derives its musical material from one of Julien Sprott's Chaotic Equations.  This piece is the fourth of eight pieces in a suite.  This one uses a specially designed interface, made with the Lemur program, which allows me to control many aspect of the musical-chaotic process, such as range of the melodies, register of the melodies, tempo, scales, (subsets of a 12 note scale based on Erv Wilson's "The Scales of Mt Meru" papers), dynamics, pedaling on the Pianoteq4 Pro virtual piano, etc.  A lot of the performing of this piece involves me just standing and listening to the music in progress, deciding where next to steer the process.  In this piece, listening is as important as moving.

5. Four Parisian Mods

This is a rehearsal video for a piece for iPad controlling an acousmatic piece, in which a loop of hand-drawn electronic music is modified by 4 GRM Tools Plugins, which I control by performing gestures on the screen.  The original sound was made with Henry Lowengard's Tondo app.  This piece is the fifth of eight pieces in a suite.  This one uses a specially designed interface, made with the Lemur program, which allows me to control whether or not the original sound is heard, and the balance and settings of the GRM Shuffling, Reson, FreqWarp, and Delays plugins. A lot of the performing of this piece involves me just standing and listening to the music in progress, deciding where next to steer it.  In this piece, listening is as important as moving.

7. Tenebrae Chorale

This is a rehearsal video for a piece for iPad controlling the Sunrizer soft synth.  The keyboard is a hexagonal keyboard made with Lemur, which is playing an 11 note microtonal scale based on Ervin Wilson's Moment of Symmetry scales.  This piece is the seventh of eight pieces in a suite.    In this piece I perform by either selecting individual keys, or by sliding along the 3 axes of the hexagonal keyboard, performing arpeggios based on the different setups of two different microtonal keyboards.  This piece is an exploration of the harmonies and melodies implicit in specially laid-out keyboards.

8. A Degenerate Practice

This is a rehearsal video for a piece for iPad using the Samplr App.  Samplr allows you to perform directly on the representation of the waveforms of up to 6 different samples simultaneously.  Samples of electronic sounds, acoustic instruments, and voice (the voice of composer Harry Partch) are used.  This is the last of eight pieces in a suite.  In this piece I'm improvising, rapidly combining different sounds and treatments of those sounds.  This piece provides a lively finish to the entire suite of live computer music pieces, closing with a quote from Harry Partch, which hopefully ends the piece with a smile.

Sometime before the end of the year, I hope to present the complete suite of all 8 pieces somewhere.  When I do, I hope to be able to have the performance recorded both with video and with sound.  Stay tuned, and I'll try to present those on this site.  For now, enjoy these as hints of the larger piece to come.

 

Wednesday
Mar052014

If you're in Berlin this Sunday or next.... (March 9 or 16)

You could do far worse than to drop into the ohrenhoch Gallery, at Weichselstr. 49 12045 Berlin between 2 & 9 pm, where my radio work, "Like Billy Pilgrim, he had come unstuck in time..." will be played.  Here's a link to their website for more information: http://www.ohrenhoch.org/en/news-ohrenhoch-sundays.html. Many thanks to Knut Remond and Katharina Moos for putting my piece on in their very interesting series.

Saturday
Feb222014

Quiet Noise Feb 15 2014 at Clinton Green's place

One of the nicest concerts/gatherings I've been to in yonks happened last Saturday at Clinton and Jenny Green's lovely house in West Footscray.  Clinton calls these backyard concerts Quiet Noise.  The practicality is he can't use amplification because that might disturb his neighbours.  The delightful spin-off of this is that the music is mostly acoustic and very convivial and friendly.  Tim Catlin and I have been wanting to do a duet with my tuning forks and his Vibrissae since early last year.  Finally the opportunity presented itself.  I did a solo - or a duet for Quarter-Tone Baritone Ukulele and iPad, using the iPad's internal speaker so that the electronics were considerably softer than the uke itself.  The iPad(using Thumbjam) was playing ukulele timbres in quarter-tones, controlled by two different sequencer programs at once, each in a different tempo. (One of the delights of the iOS routing is that you can route multiple control signals to a single sound producer.)  So that was a quiet duet between live uke and machine uke.  Then Tim and I did our duet. 

Also on the concert was a delightful performance by Ernie Althoff with one of his inimitable machines.  Ernie's strength as an improvising percussionist impresses me more and more each time I see him.  And there was a duet between Clinton Green and Barnaby Oliver.  Clinton played turntables, percussion, and his house as an instrument.  Barnaby did absolutely marvelous "violin as an extended noisemaker" music.  Both were very theatrical, and totally natural.  For me, their performance was very happiness making.  

As you'll see from the photos, Clinton and Jenny's living room, which opens out onto his backyard, is just a wonderful place to do a concert.  I hope more of these events start happening around the town.  It's a wonderful addition to the many other kinds of venues we have in Melbourne.

Here's the poster for the event:

And here's a photo of me playing Quarter-tone Baritone Ukulele looking out into the backyard:

 

That photo is by Clinton.  Here's one by Ernie Althoff:

Here's an overall shot (by Peter James) of me and Tim playing our instruments:

 

And from the other angle, here's me and Tim playing(this one's by Clinton):

Ernie snapped this wonderful portrait of Tim with his Vibrissae:

and finally, here's a lovely shot by Peter James of me playing tuning forks, shot through the grapes.

Clinton recorded both pieces.  Here's the recording of my Improvisation for Quartet-Tone Baritone Ukulele and iPad,  Those of you on iPads or similar non-Flash supporting devices, just click HERE:

 

And here's the recording of the Duet for Tuning Forks and Vibrissae by Tim and me.  I think the persistent thumping in this recording is people walking around on the hardwood floor in the living room.  Well, it WAS a Sunday afternoon informal event, so people aren't going to just sit still in one place.... (Again, if your on an iPad or similar non-Flash supporting device, just click HERE. )

 

I had a great time at the concert and hanging out afterwards.  It was quite a nice gathering of the Melbourne (and interstate!) new music tribes.  I hope to have many occasions to play at similar events in the future. 

Saturday
Feb222014

David Tolley 1936-2014

We lost one of our finest on 20 Feb.  David Tolley, composer, improviser, artist, teacher, warm human being passed away.  One of the very souls of Melbourne new music, he'll be missed, and missed greatly.  Vale, David.

Thursday
Feb132014

Work in Progress

Catherine took a picture of my desktop desktop while I was working on a new piece using Lemur on the iPad controlling the Linplug Spectral on my laptop.  Seeing all the little soundmaker friends to my right, gives me the idea that they could be incorporated into this piece.