Make Noise makes synthesizer modules. Check out Maths.
Paper Circuits, hand-drawn musical circuits for home assembly.
A solo piece for you to realize; |
Keep the drums in a very cool environment until mid day. Place them in
direct, hot sunlight with contact mics on. As they warm up and change,
record the sounds.
[an ersatz banjo will do]
[Send me the results...]
Talk to you soon,
Unit automatically becomes portable when carried.
Moe Staiano's Rock Lotto is back for the fourth or fifth time.
Moe put the names of 29 volunteers (incl. me) in a hat and picked names to
make up 5 bands. We had a month to put together a 20 minute set of (mostly)
original music. And we're all performing on Sat. Dec. 15 at the Fishtank
(3405 Piedmont Ave, Oakland) starting 8:00 PM.
It's a benefit for 21 Grand, which really needs
the money right now as they run the Oakland zoning and permitting gauntlet.
Our band, officially BAND 2, but really the Flesh Eating Beatles includes
Our tunes are half psychedelic, half punk.
- Bob Marsh, vocals
- Ron Lettuce, keyboards and sax
- Micaela Peterson, drums
- Matt Davignon, drum machine
- Errol Stewart, guitar
- Tom Duff, electric bass
Here's the lineups for the other bands:
- BAND 1:
- Steve Dekrone, Drums
- Dave Bartels, Guitar
- Tim Walters, Bass
- Mark Stickman, Voice, flute
- Salane Schultz, Keyboards, Accordion
- Chris Broderick, Reeds
- BAND 3:
- Thomas Scandura, Drums
- Bill Wolter, Guitar
- Jeremy Kearney - Bass
- JoJo Razor, Voice
- Moe! Staiano - Mini Paia keyboard, Roto-toms
- Alicia Byer - Clarinet
- BAND 4:
- Aaron Wagner, Drums
- Groovy Judy, Guitar
- Craig Demel, Guitar
- Wilson King, Bass
- Allen Whittman, Voice
- James Goode, Electric trumpet, etc.
Saturday Dec. 1, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. and
Sunday, Dec. 2, 12–5 p.m.,
the 38th Annual Bay Area Fungus Fair,
presented by Natural Sciences Department,
of the Oakland Museum of California.
Simply compose one short piece a day. It must be a complete composition each day. It is like 'kindling' - one day along will come a more important idea that will require extensive work - the flame is thus lit & away you go! It is important, he says to keep regular appointments with the muse - if she doesn't arrive then it's not your fault, at least You are there!
I went to the Maker Faire yesterday. Google had a booth where they were demoing Sketchup, their free 3D drawing package. They buttonholed me on my way by and asked if they could draw anything for me. I pulled a half-baked musical instrument design out of my notebook & talked them through making a drawing of it. Here's the result.
- BAND 5:
- Steve Weems - Drums
- Mark Briggs, Guitar
- Sebastian Krawczuk, Bass
- Dominique Leone, Voice
- Parisa Muller, Flute
It's a Banjo adapted for experimental abuse. Experimental musicians are often interested in coaxing instruments to play unusual, unexpected sounds. Given a stringed instrument like a banjo, an experimentalist will eventually get to the point of setting it down on the table to better work on it with both hands. This instrument goes one better and builds the banjo into the table -- Fred Frith built some tabletop guitars like this in the 1970s. Just for hack value, I replaced the banjo head with a small snaredrum (that idea happened because snare drummer Sean Meehan is coming to play in the
Matthew Sperry Festival
in June), put a couple of extra sets of
strings on it, and used
the three-bridge idea to double the number of effective strings. It'd be great if I could get it
built before Sean arrives.
In April 2006, to celebrate naturalist David Attenborough's 80th birthday,
the public were asked to vote on their favourite of his television moments.
This clip of the lyrebird was voted number one. A Lyrebird is either of two
species of ground-dwelling Australian birds, most notable for their
extraordinary ability to mimic natural and artificial sounds from their environment. video here.
(Site says it requires Quicktime 6.)
On October 19, I'm performing on the opening concert of Palais Idéal, an experimental music festival in Chico, CA. The concert is at the 1078 Gallery
in Chico, starting at 6:00 PM. Also on the bill are a Palais Idéal documentary,
Faulouah, Chaos Butterfly, 2P1B and Ross Hammond.
Link to the Palais Idéal schedule.
I'm singing with the
Cornelius Cardew Choir
on June 21 (5:00 PM to 9:00) PM in the annual
Garden of Memory event
at the Chapel of the Chimes.
At the Luggage Store Gallery on June 22 (show starts at 8:00 PM,
I'm on at 9:00) I'm performing four solo pieces for electronics (two digital, two analog.) I wrote two of the pieces and two are "chestnuts of the Avant Garde": Earle Brown's December 1952 and Music on a Long Thin Wire by Alvin Lucier. Also on the bill is Neo-Realist (George Cremaschi, bass/electronics, Liz Albee, trumpet/electronics, ma++ ingalls, clarinet/electronics.)
Zac Bond, a self-confessed nonmusician, has started a weblog devoted to listening through every Cage recording he can find.
Chris Johnson runs a mastering studio in Bellows Falls, Vermont.
Here is his
analysis of recording careers of popular musicians, and of
how the spectral
content of recordings contributes to their commercial success. I've really
gotten a bee in my ear lately about the relationship between overcompressed
recordings and the decline of the record business. Johnson's analysis is the
best I've seen on the subject.
Fingerworks makes a touch pad that can sense multiple touches simultaneously. Works with Microsoft/Apple/Linux. Supplied drivers do gesture recognition for keyboard/mouse replacement, but there's a SDK available that will give you raw finger tracks, say if you want to use it for a music controller. The price is $140, which seems cheap.
Tonepad provides free resources for DIY
musical electronics projects, and a source for parts and PC Boards.
John Cage is standing on a streetcorner, minding his own business, when a policeman comes up to him and says "You have the right to remain silent."
Product announcement at Gear Junkies.
On Mar 12, at 21 Grand, Matt Davignon organized droneshift,
four hours of drone music by a shifting cast of characters, including
me. There's pictures at Peter Kaars web site.
Me, tweaking my laptop:
The grand finale, with me in the middle ebowing my banjo (& using a Coricidin bottle slide, just like Duane!):
It looks like "classical music is dying" again, by which the doomsters mean "orchestras are going bankrupt." (And I say, "good riddance", but that's a long, political
story best kept for later.) There's a good contrarian summary by Gavin Borchert in Seattle (pointed out by Kyle Gann.) Best quote:
Art rewards an attention span--it's a game for adults. But the classical establishment would rather buckle under to our society's market-driven credo: If white males aged 15 to 29 don't want it, nobody gets it. Incidentally, there is an easy way to attract the young: Program new music. In my observation, between a third and a half of the audiences for the Seattle Symphony's "Music of Our Time" concerts and the majority of the Seattle Composers Salon audiences are under 30. Problem solved.
(Of course it's not "problem solved" if that under-30 audience is in an 80% empty hall, but it's a step on the road.)
David Slusser dug up this quotation:
I see little of more importance to the future of our country and our
civilization than full recognition of the place of the artist.
Ubuweb has announced a free online reprint
series Ubu editions
If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the
artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him. We must never
forget that art is not a form of propaganda; it is a form of truth. In a
free society art is not a weapon and it does not belong to the spheres of
polemic and ideology. Artists are not engineers of the soul. It may be
different elsewhere. But democratic society--in it, the highest duty of
the writer, the composer, the artist is to remain true to himself and to
let the chips fall where they may. In serving his vision of the truth,
the artist best serves his nation. And the nation which disdains the
mission of art invites the fate of Robert Frost's hired man, the fate of
having "nothing to look backward to with pride, and nothing to look
forward to with hope."
I look forward to a great future for America, a future in which our
country will match its military strength with our moral restraint, its
wealth with our wisdom, its power with our purpose. I look
forward to an America which will not be afraid of grace and beauty, which
will protect the beauty of our natural environment, which will preserve
the great old American houses and squares and parks of our national past,
and which will build handsome and balanced cities for our future.
I look forward to an America which will reward achievement in the arts as
we reward achievement in business or statecraft. I look
forward to an America which will steadily raise the standards of
artistic accomplishment and which will steadily enlarge cultural
opportunities for all of our citizens. And I look forward to an
America which commands respect throughout the world not only for its
strength but for its civilization as well."
-John F. Kennedy
Quoting from their announcement: "This year's titles range from the visually sophisticated Concrete poetry of Gustave Morin, a native of Windsor who spent 10 years on his "novel" A Penny Dreadful, to an obscure volume of satirical translations of Baudelaire by the English poet Nicholas Moore, from the experiments in frame and format that Caroline Bergvall and designer Marit Muenzberg explore in their daring resetting of the poet's Eclat, to the equally daring, if entirely unscrupulous, logorrhea that is the 130 pages of another "novel," Name, by Toadex Hobogrammathon."
legendary recording engineer and producer who worked with Frank Zappa,
John McLaughlin, Larry Coryell and zillions of others, died on July 14,
at the age of 58.
I worked with David in Toronto at the Royal Conservatory of Music's
electronic music studio when we were both studying there one summer.
In a box in my studio I have the 1/4" master of a tape piece we
composed together for a dance troupe. I lost touch with David when
he moved back to the US, and didn't realize that the David Baker whose
name I saw on all those recordings was the same person (it's a fairly
common name, so I thought it was a coincidence) until I saw mention
of his studying in Toronto while reading his obituary.
The Journal of Experimental Music Studies, a free online journal, has just been launched. Looks interesting.
4'33" mentioned in a
The Scope proved to be a haunt for electronics assembly people from
Yoyodyne. The green neon sign outside ingeniously depicted the face
of an oscilloscope tube, over which flowed an ever-changing dance of
Lissajous figures. Today seemed to be payday, and everyone inside
to be drunk already.
Glared at all the way, Oedipa and Metzger found a table in back.
A wizened bartender wearing shades materialized and Metzger
ordered bourbon. Oedipa, checking the bar, grew nervous. There
was this je ne sais quoi about the Scope crowd: they all wore
glasses and stared at you, silent. Except for a couple-three
nearer the door, who were engaged in a nose-picking contest,
seeing how far they could flick it across the room.
A sudden chorus of whoops and yibbles burst from a kind of juke
box at the far end of the room. Everybody quit talking. The
bartender tiptoed back, with the drinks.
"What's happening?" Oedipa whispered.
"That's by Stockhausen," the hip graybeard informed her, "the early
crowd tends to dig your Radio Cologne sound. Later on we really
swing. We're the only bar in the area, you know, has a strictly
electronic music policy. Come on around Saturdays, starting
midnight we have your Sinewave Session, that's a live get-together,
fellas come in just to jam from all over the state, San Jose, Santa
Barbara, San Diego"
"Live?" Metzger said, "electronic music, live?"
"They put it on the tape, here, live, fella. We got a whole back
room full of your audio oscillators, gunshot machines, contact
mikes, everything man. That's for if you didn't bring your ax,
see, but you got the feeling and you want to swing with the rest
of the cats, there's always something available."
From Rick Groetchen comes this link to an article about silent songs for sale on iTunes.
I just heard that Matthew Sperry died yesterday (June 5) in a traffic accident.
Matthew radiated light into every life he encountered.
Scot Hacker's web site has an online memorial.
Here's the announcement I received:
It is with the greatest shock and sadness that I send this message and
I am sorry to notify you via email. Thursday morning June 5, while
riding his bicycle to work, Matthew Sperry was hit and killed by a
commercial truck on the Oakland and Emeryville border. His wife Stacia
has asked me to log in and take care of his email account for the near
future so I am contacting you because you were in his personal email
It is expected that a service and funeral will be held either Sunday or
Monday June 8th or 9th. As soon as the service is scheduled I will send
out another email to this list letting you know where and when. More
than likely it will be at the Chapel of the Chimes in Oakland. Stacia
is surrounded by supportive friends and family. The full impact of this
tragedy has yet to fully sink in.
If you are receiving this email in error please reply and I will remove
you from this list. I hope to have the details of the service for you
by the end of Friday. I do not have much more information than that at
this point. Matt will be dearly missed by anyone who had the pleasure
of his friendship or acquaintance.
I got mail today from Scot Gresham-Lancaster about his first solo CD:
Subject: "Orchestrate Clang Mass - anagram" - the first CD release on OCM publishing
I am trying a new experiment in self-publishing that I am hoping you will
If you go to:
You will find a pointer to a CD compilation of some of the live
interactive music I have done over the last decade or so.
Cafepress.com offers an individual the chance to put an audio CD and
accompanying "shwag" up online and so I am taking advantage of this
I have been involved in many different CD projects;
However, the opportunity to release a solo CD of my work has never worked
out. I have always been too financially on the margins to make the $2k
investment that a full CD production required, until now.
This CD is dedicated to the memory of my good friends:
Jim Horton and
I hope that some of you will enjoy it.
Pianist Sarah Cahill is the organizer of the summer solstice new music event at the Oakland Chapel of the Chimes columbarium. As far as I can tell there's no web site for the event, but I received an email notice from one of the performers:
Subj: Chapel of the Chimes new music event June 21
Date: 5/20/03 9:29:01 PM Pacific Daylight Time
From: email@example.com (Jason Victor Serinus)
Once again, the Julia Morgan-designed Chapel of the Chimes, Oakland
California's acoustic and architectural marvel of a columbarium,
comes to life with in annual solstice new music extravaganza. Held on
Saturday, June 21 from 5-8 pm, the event will include several floors
of unusual performers, with perhaps the tamest of the lot being yours
truly, Jason Victor Serinus, who will whistle everything from Bach to
Berlin, Puccini to Lloyd Weber. Lots of major performers will be
here, in intimate settings often breathtaking thanks to their gothic,
light-filled, architecture, fountains, plants, and space age
acoustic. Some performances are continuous, with installations
especially created for the space. There has been nothing like this on
the West Coast since John Cage's music circuses of years past.
Admission is reasonable. Please mark down the date and come. No
advance tix; just show up. This year there will be a map to help you
find performers of your choice.
The mixerman chronicles, previously mentioned here,
having been on hiatus for a couple of months, have resumed!
Last Saturday (December 7, 2002) ACME
Observatory presented a concert of early FLUXUS
works, curated by Gino Robair.
I performed George Brecht's Three
Aqueous Events, by frying ice cubes on an amplified (contact microphone
taped to the bottom) electric griddle, and Dick Higgins's
Music Number Fourteen, both of which appeared to go over very well.
But the real excitement happened off-stage. Morgan
Guberman planned to perform
Ken Friedman's Stamp Act,
which involves rubber stamps and a nude model.
So he put out a query for a model on
craigslist, and got two replies.
The first one sent him a second message the next day saying "what
was I thinking, I just broke up with my boyfriend and wasn't in my
right mind and I'm sorry I led you on", but the second said her
name was Bibiana Padilla Maltos, she
was a big FLUXUS fan, had performed Stamp Act before and would fly up
from Calexico, CA (or Mexicali, MX, I'm not quite clear on that detail)
for the show. As show time approached, she hadn't
shown up and Morgan spent a lot of time pacing anxiously. Several of
us suspected that someone was pulling Morgan's chain, but he kept saying
"she called me a few minutes ago, she just got off the plane, she'll
be right here". Then a couple of people showed up claiming to be her
friends, adding to the suspense. Finally, just as we were getting started,
she appeared! It turns out she's for real, confirmed by a
She and Morgan did a great job of Stamp Act.
Side note: one of the unwritten rules of performance art is you don't
want to follow
the naked lady, so of course, my two pieces were scheduled right
after Stamp Act. (Fortunately, the naked lady effect was diluted by
Also on the program were a couple of La Monte Young compositions
(Composition 1960 #7 and Piano Piece for David Tudor #1.) Saturday
morning, we received the following email:
Dear Tom Duff and Gino Robair,
Of course, we can't afford fees like this at all.
Our grant from Berkeley is $2500, with which we do
about 30 concerts a year, we took in $61 at the door,
and we rent TUVA for $100 a night,
so if we gave Young $200 we'd
be about $150 short on the night, which the aforementioned
"anonymous donors" would have to pick up.
("Anonymous donors" is a euphemism for "you
can't make money doing what we do. On the other hand, you
can't lose that much either, so rather than not do it, we cover
the difference out of our own pockets.")
It has come to our attention that you have programmed one or more works
by La Monte Young on a concert to be hosted by Gino on Saturday, December
7 at 8:15 PM, at TUVA Space, 3192 Adeline at Martin Luther King Jr. Way,
Berkeley, CA, presented by the ACME Observatory.
We would have appreciated being contacted by you in advance of this
presentation. La Monte prefers to work with musicians who are going to
perform his work, which is obviously not now possible in this case.
La Monte Young's works are copyrighted and it is necessary to obtain a
performance license from us. According to the announcement in the Bay
Area NEWMUS-EVENTS digest 1131, you plan to perform "Piano Piece for
David Tudor #1," from 1960, which was announced as: "Feeding hay to the
Please provide us with the titles of any other works of La Monte's on the
program so we can issue a performance license. A licensing fee of $100
is usually required for performances of each of La Monte's compositions
of this type, depending on the circumstances. As Acme Observatory
Contemporary Music Series is supported by grants from the Berkeley Civic
Arts Commission and anonymous donors, we assume this concert has some
We realize this request is reaching you very late in your planning and we
are willing to work with you toward a positive resolution, but we
received the information extremely late also.
With best regards,
La Monte Young Marian Zazeela
MELA Foundation, Inc.
275 Church Street
New York, NY 10013
So probably we should have contacted him (it never occurred to me --
most experimental composers get little enough attention that they're
happy about any sort of performance), and maybe we could have negotiated
an agreeable rate, but there was no time,
so we dropped his pieces from the program. Tough for us (I
blew a couple of weekends programming my laptop, trying to make
an idiomatic, compelling interactive version of Composition 1960 #7), but tougher for La Monte.
He missed out on a performance at what turned out to be a
very good show, and there's not much chance we'll
ever program him again. But I guess he needs us as much as
we need him.
I've built musical gadgets, both acoustic and electronic,
since I was little, so it's always fun when
I find out about people who are really good at it,
like the authors of these construction projects:
This appeared in my email today. "Don" is Don Van Vliet, better known as Captain Beefheart.
FROM: Rene Gemme
Don came to spend a couple days with me at my place ... as usual, he popped
some street acid someone gave him ... he wanted something to drink. I reminded
him he left his orange juice and various alcoholic drinks in the fridge ... so
he wandered into the kitchen, didn't turn on the light because he claimed acid
made it possible for him to see in the dark -- like a cat. I could hear him
opening cupboard doors, looking for a drinking glass. As I was a bit buzzed on
weed myself, it was too much of an effort to tell him which cupboard the
glasses were in.
A couple of months earlier I went to a friend's big pot luck Thanksgiving Day
bash and my task was to make a big, traditional based yam/sweet potato
casserole dish ... I had bought a huge 15 pound bag of yams -- but of course
couldn't possibly prepare all of them, so when I finished I put the remaining
potatoes, in their net bag, up in the cupboard. I was seldom home then and
forgot about the unused pototoes.
Don found the potatoes when he opened the overhead cupboard they were in,
while looking for a drinking glass. Any kind of tuber of the potato family,
left in the dark for a couple of months, will grow long tendrils while seeking
root space and/or sunlight, and that's what almost ten reminaing pounds of
yams did, grew lots and lots of two to three-foot long tendrils. When Don
opened the cupboard door in the dark, hundreds of long, thin white tendrils
cascaded down on him. He let out a shriek like James Brown's opening volley in
"I feel Good", but about an octave higher. Seonds later, he bolted out through
the kitchen door, ashen, eyes the size of boiled eggs, still screaming and
waving his arms franctically. Bits and pieces of severed yam tendrils were
flying everywhere and hanging from his hair. A huge cluster had plastered
itself to the front of his shirt, another hung from his pocket. He started
flashing that he's been attacked by aliens hiding in my kitchen cabinet.
It took me two hours to get him calm enough to understand what happened. By
then he was in a full blown "heart attack" mode, one of his frequent panic
attacks. ... he had to be transported to the UCLA Medical Center at 4:30 AM
where they were becoming well acquainted with him. "Back in town again, Mr.
Vliet?" asked the intern/resident who had already dealt with Don on previous
occasions. "What is it this time? Another heart attack? Or were you attacked
by space aliens?"
"How the hell did he know?" Don asked me, absoutely stunned. "Is he psychic?"
Several times after that, when the topic came up, he asked me not to tell
anyone that he'd been freaked out by a bag of yams. because, he explained,
'It's kind of embarrassing. You know what I mean?'
Technology makes a very nice, if pricy, controller
knob called the Powermate
that plugs into a USB port.
It's a beautifully machined, free-standing aluminum knob,
with a glowing blue base (looks sharp, and makes it easy to find in the dark.)
I've been looking for a good-feeling, cheap rotary controller
for a long time, and while this isn't it (at $45, I can't
justify a dozen of them), at least it's got the good-feeling
From slashdot we hear about
a composition played by dialing the audience's mobile phones.
According to the technical diagram,
they installed a microcell site at the concert hall and
programmed things so that the conductor could dial selected
patterns of phones at will.
Some links to open-source audio software projects that Scot Gresham-Lancaster sent me a few months ago:
Jonathan Segal sends a link to
by AG Langner
of TU Darmstadt, about how we perceive pitch and time, with implications for
Here's a bunch of resources on Digital Signal Processing that have been sitting in my mail for six months:
You'll need a bigger HD now!
is the piece I'm working on right now
for the Cornelius
Cardew Choir. I wrote it because
the choir, while improvising, often makes sounds
that make me think I wish we could do
that on purpose. So I wrote down descriptions
of some of my favorites, and made up a structure
to tie them all together.
Digital Audio Workstation software.
a low-latency audio server. Allows multiple applications to share audio devices and share audio amongst themselves. Apps can run either stand-alone or as Jack plug-ins. Claims to be suitable for professional work.
Pure Data, Miller Puckette's next step in the evolution
of the ideas in his MAX program.
A standard library of objects for PD.
The piece is organized as a parable about corporate
management. The choir is divided up into a three level
structure. In line with American management tradition,
the names of the levels are extremely important, suggest
authority way out of proportion to duties, and only
peripherally relate to what the people actually do.
Upper management (the Superconductor) does strategic
planning and tries to direct a corps of middle managers
(the Semiconductors) to carry out the plan. The middle
managers try to turn the directions they get from
upper management into specific instructions for the
workers (Nonconductors, i.e. the singers.)
But the managers are not really in control. They can
communicate their instructions only by waving flags.
The singers are given only the vaguest of instructions
on how to interpret the flag waving, and in any case, the
workers get to pick and choose whether to work (sing) or
not at any instant, and which manager to follow.
Tim thinks I should make a piece about the sounds
that telephones make when they ring.
is a fairly useful package of routines for editing,
processing, and creating soundfiles. It also includes a
library of routines designed to make it easier to write C
programs to manipulate soundfiles. Paul Lansky wrote the
first version and uses it for most of his compositions.
The Dactyls of Phrygia
are a performing arts group who develop music with
traditional and handmade instruments built from salvage.
The Dactyls have been playing improvised and original music
for over a decade on both homemade and conventional
instuments, including the flubaphone, the vestigial organ,
the suitcase-lyre, the buffoon, the pick-axe pickaphone,
the curlhorn, the clariphone, bones, etc.
||td Mon Jan 1 11:23:22 2007
"There are rumblings, wails and howls like the smarting of a metal
pig, the shriek of a donkey, or the amorous croaking of a monstrous
frog. The insulting chaos of insanity pulses to a throbbing rhythm.
Listening, for a few minutes to these wails, one involuntarily
imagines an orchestra of sexually driven madmen conducted by a
man-stallion brandishing a huge genital member, The monstrous bass
belches out English words; a wild horn wails piercingly calling to
mind the cries of a wounded camel; a drum pounds monotonously; a
nasty little pipe tears at one's ears; a saxophone emits its
quacking nasal sound. Fleshy hips sway, and thousands of heavy feet
tread and shuffle. The music of the degenerate ends finally with a
deafening thud, as though a case of pottery had been flung down to
earth from the skies."
||td Mon Jan 1 11:23:22 2007
--Description of Jazz from the article "The Music of The Gross"
by Maxim Gorky, in Pravda (1928)
Here's a paper about Bol, a computer system for Macintosh by Bernard Bel for composition and analysis, with emphasis on polyrhythms.
Here's a system for composing MIDI sequences, describe in a paper by Alin Dorin, that uses Boolean networks (something like cellular automata) to generate rhythmic structure. Has a colorful user interface, and runs on Macintosh.
Richard Dobson and John Fitch have written a paper about their
with chaotic oscillators.
Jonathan Segel pointed out
to the diary of an anonymous recording engineer, who for the last 8 weeks
(and counting) has been working on the debut album of a band that the record
company gave a $2M advance to. It's a hilarious story of enormous and desperate
egos in a disfunctional business -- the record company needs a gigantic hit,
the band hates each other, nobody can work together, the producer's
nephew and the bass player's girlfriend are surrepetitiously overdubbing
the best parts on the record.
Update: starting last week, they've been auditioning new drummers.
So the anonymous engineer is on hiatus. In the interim,
Lance, the producer's nephew (and assistant engineer and
bass player pro tem) has taken over
duty. His writing's not as interesting, but it feels
like he's building up to something...
Here's a review
by William Osborne of one of the last shows at the Art Rattan space in Oakland, featuring Fuzzybunny, John Bischoff, Abbie Conant and Tom Nunn. I was at this show -- it was a wonderful.
Here's a paper
(PDF) about using a chaotic algorithm to
automatically generate musical variations.
Chiff & Fipple
is The PostStructural Tinwhistle Internet Community.
It combines an enormous amount of information about penny
whistles with a generous helping of silliness. It's got
how-tos, reviews, Photoshop fakes of national figures,
anything you can imagine about six-hole fipple flutes.
They have a mailing list, as well.
makes the most peculiar guitars I've ever seen.
Instead of a wooden box, you get a balloon in
a guitar-shaped cage. (The Baschets
had this idea in the 1950s.) These modular instruments
break down to fit in a small box. And, they're
beautiful. (No idea how they sound.)
Captain Beefheart has fans. Several of them.
He also has a lot of
good information for builders of brass instruments.
If you're seriously interested in adventurous music,
you probably already know about
who publishes new music CDs and books.
They have a
page full of interesting mp3 excerpts.
Boomer Bag is a web repository of rhythmic and harmonic fragments. You can listen to the contributions, rate them and submit your own.
Yoko Ono's book Grapefruit, a collection of Fluxus-style instructions for music and art, has been reissued after 30 years out of print.
bremsstrahlung | 2.1 C7 is a record label specializing in lower case sound -- music made from very small sounds. The site design is a lot of fun.
A whole crop of manufacturers and homebuilders of analog modular synthesizers has
mysteriously sprung up in the last couple of years. I suspect that
some sort of undocumented technology advance is responsible, combined
with some Empty-Nest Syndrome (meaning a little extra cash, and an
unoccupied bedroom or two) on the part of people of an appropriate
age to be nostalgic for these things. Here's the builders and resources I have
is an excellent resource for and about improvising musicians in the Bay area.
Most importantly, it has a tremendous
online calendar of
Bay Area new music events.
Who knows why I have a link to
Big Block 454?
But, here it is.
Bill Hsu is a computer scientist,
an improvising musician and an organizer of the former
There's lots of old autoharps and related instruments
(ukelins, marxophones, etc.) out there. If you see
one you'd like to buy, it might be a good idea
to bone up on Autoharp Inspection.
Oliver Seeler has a lot of interesting things to say
If you're thinking about outfitting a place to do recording and mixing in, you
most likely will have to fiddle with the room's acoustics. Ethan Winer's
Bass Trap page has
a lot of good information for do-it-yourselfers.
Here's good description of how a bunch of guitar
Audio effects work,
and an Audio Effects Faq with an emphasis on digital implementations.
``AudioMulch is software for real-time sound synthesis, music composition and audio processing.'' Looks like a
dataflow programming environment. Supports VST plugins.
Shareware ($50 to register, disabling 90 day expiration.)
Clarence Barlow's Autobusk
is a freeware Atari ST program for real-time probabalistic generation of MIDI events.
Clarence is working on a Linux port, and in any case, he includes a pointer
to a Windows ST emulator.
releases a whole lot of my favorite contemporary electronic CDs.
A lot of people are uncommonly devoted to
Looper's Delight is a web
site devoted to their obsession. Their
short history of looping music
is worth a gander.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation
has devised the Open Audio License
as a legal tool that ``allows artists to grant the public permission
to copy, distribute, adapt, and publicly perform their works
royalty-free as long as credit is given to the creator as the
``If you are a musician, band, or other artist and you want your
creative works to be experienced by the widest audience possible
and touch the hearts and minds of the greatest number of people
around the world, the EFF Open Audio License allows your fans and
supporters to market and distribute your work through viral marketing
that creates attention and adds value to your identity. You can
also help build a common pool of creative expression that can be
accessed and improved upon by all of society.''
Beanbender's was a weekly creative-music concert series
in Berkeley in the 1990's. It is much missed, but its
web site lives on, courtesy of
Garbage Truck operator
and Beanbender's principal instigator.
From thorin!brucee Mon Mar 23 23:18 EST 1992
I'm sure mr cage would approve. [From] today's SMH [Sydney Morning Herald]:
On Peter Ross's ABC-TV arts show on Sunday Afternoon,
the avant garde composer John Cage was featured
performing his 4'33". It consists of the performer(s),
armed with a stopwatch, sitting silently on stage for
four minutes 33 seconds, with the music consisting of
whatever noises come from the audience or outside the
auditorium. The TV performance went well, but the ABC
was caught out by technology - a fail-safe device turns
off studio transmission if there's more than 90 seconds
of silence, and puts up a test pattern. It went into
operation three times during the performance.
is a composer and faculty member at UC Santa Cruz, known
widely for his Experiments in Musical Intelligence,
computer programs that can analyze a corpus of music,
identify signature features of the corpus and generate
new music exhibiting the same signatures. The effect
of digesting a composer's style and producing new works
mimicking that style can be eerie. While the programs
don't produce masterworks, even making middling Mozart
pastiches is a good trick. But Cope's real advance is
a better understanding of where style comes from, a
first step to effing the ineffible.
sells John Dunn's midi software. Many years ago he made
a very interesting freeware MAX precursor called Music Box. Apparently
you can't get it from him any more, but I have the source code somewhere,
so I should link to it.
Raymond Scott was a band-leader and popular composer in the 1930's and '40s.
He's best known today because his often off-beat tunes were primary source
material for many of Carl Stalling's scores for Warner Brothers'
Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons. Scott was also a techno-buff
and musical instrument designer. The work of his musical R&D company,
is documented in a 144 page book and a pair of CDs. (Also available
Here's an extensive bibliography of books and papers dealing with temperament and
tuning, with hundreds of entries ranging from Ptolemy to Brian McLaren.
It also includes (at the bottom) many links to online tuning resources.
ACME Observatory is a
concert series devoted to experimental music. Most concerts happen
at TUVA, a community
performance space near the Ashby BART station in Berkeley, CA.
Designing new analog synthesis equipment? You might
want to know about the
Analog Products AD538,
a precision multiplication, division and exponentiation part.
is the Research Director at CNMAT. His web page has a whole pile of
links to research papers, mostly about the architecture of computer
Many different processes, from devastating earthquakes to crumpling
pieces of paper to magnetizing magnets to glitchy, noisy music,
make crackling noises.
Here is a pretty good
web site devoted to explaining the phenomenon scientificly and
simulating it on a computer.
Do you have a Yamaha DX7? I do, and the battery that
provides standby power for its voice memory has long
ago run down. When I get around to replacing it,
I'll follow these instructions.
Aphex Twin Loops is
a source of techno samples. The samples themselves are here. (8-bit .au files, unfortunately.)
Revolution 9 remains one of my favorite pieces of music.
an analysis from Chile,
Alan W. Pollack's Notes,
a description of an
more notes at beathoven,
at Steve's Beatles Page.
mailing list is devoted to algorithmic composition.
Not a lot of volume, but with a bunch of good people
subscribing the general quality of discourse is fairly
Amy X Neuberg & Men
is a self-proclaimed avant-cabaret band.
Anti-Math Story plot notation presents itself as a way of pictorially representing stories. But
really it's a taxonomy of plot outlines. It's a little bit wacky and
half-finished, but might be good for brainstorming opera libretti and such.
Here's an article on
Drum Theory (from
Music Theory Online) that
concentrates on how performances arise from the interaction of a master
drummer and a multi-cyclic ostinato.
Also, here's an analytic discussion of Anlo-Ewe Rhythmic Principles by C. K. Ladzekpo.