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Playing with audio.
Sounding out technology.
Composing in code.

tag: live-performance

Greg Davis & Keith Fullerton Whitman Live in 2002

"the live set was recently unearthed"

Greg Davis and Keith Fullerton Whitman have posted a half-hour set from 2002, recorded on WVUM in Miami, Florida, during a spring tour from March and April of that year. It’s an early document for both. Davis released his first album, Arbor, in 2002, on the Carpark Records label. And while Whitman had been since the late 1990s making recordings (generally self-released), 2002 would also see the release of his breakthrough, Playthroughs, on Kranky.

According to the brief note on Davis’ SoundCloud account, “the live set was recently unearthed.” The two are heard “trading off playing live tracks.” These veer between gentle folktronic material from Davis (ruminative field recordings, guitar above a pixelated beat), and more frenetic, often IDM-flavored material from Hrvatski (rubbery breakbeats, scattered metric logicistics). The tag team approach is emblematic of their camaraderie.

I was fortunate to have seen them play when they hit New Orleans later that month at a show at the Mermaid Lounge. The full tour itinerary is archived at the microsound discussion list. It started at Bard College mid-way through March and ended in Montreal at La Sala Rossa toward the end of April. The microsound-list announcement humorously depicts the tour as a trio, splitting Whitman between his given name and his Hrvatski moniker. Here’s part of the announcement:

hello microsound listers. i’m going on tour starting tomorrow, will most likely end up in a town near you some time over the next few weeks. if you’re in the area come and say hello… -k

starting very soon: spring tour.

featuring:
hrvatski (planet-mu, reckankreuzungsklankewerkzeuge).
greg davis (carpark, autumn).
keith fullerton whitman (kranky, apartment b).

hrvatski will be performing material from his forthcoming album swarm & dither (planet-mu).
greg davis will be performing material from his recently released debut album arbor (carpark).

keith fullerton whitman will be performing material from his forthcoming debut album playthroughs (kranky) on select dates.
greg davis and keith fullerton whitman will be performing material together as a duo on select dates (as they see fit).

If you want something to read while listening to the performances, I interviewed Davis later that year (“Woodshedding”), and Whitman in mid-2001 (“Army of One”).

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/greg-davis.

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The Piano Among the Patch Cables

A formidable live ambient performance by Carl Mikael

This video from Carl Mikael’s Cabinet of Curiosities YouTube channel is an exemplary live ambient music performance. The 14-minute piece shows him at his piano, a modular synth to the side, and a laptop visible just beyond that. He begins at the piano, mic’d closely so the physicality of the instrument’s mechanism is almost as present as the intended notes themselves. Especially when listened to through headphones, the sound is very much caught within the piano, deep in its wooden cavern. Shortly thereafter, the external tools, that array of patched synthesizer modules and the software running on his laptop, is heard echoing, looping, and transforming the piano, gentle chords fading softly as they go. As the loops come to the fore, he then returns to the piano, adding notes, sometimes as accompaniment, sometimes as a source of subsequent looping. Rhythms, albeit gentle ones, are introduced. There’s a mechanized beat early on, and later, near the five-minute mark, he taps on the piano to get a wooden percussion sensation. Later still he knocks a glass bottle against the device. There’s an formidable mastery to Mikael’s performance, how he moves back and forth between the old and new music-making tools, as well as the makeshift ones.

It’s the latest piece I’ve added to my ongoing YouTube playlist of fine “Ambient Performances.” It was originally posted at YouTube. When I started collecting this playlist, I was looking for videos that manage to display the act of making ambient music — something that is rightly associated, in general, with studio production, but that also has a wide range of live practitioners. I’ve collected many such videos so far, and Mikael’s may be the first to show (almost) all the equipment, and the musician’s face as he makes decisions, and the musician’s hands as he makes his way back and forth from one device to another. It’s a great piece.

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Argentinian Feedback

Federico Barabino at the no-input mixer

Institutional murmurs and jackhammer pounding, hovering drones and mellifluous waveforms — these are among the expressive sounds that Federico Barabino summons from, in essence, nowhere in this brief live solo recording.

Barabino’s instrument of choice is the no-input mixer, in which a tool associated with neutrality is fed back into itself to yield all manner of wily noises. The mixer is intended as a clear path for numerous signals. They enter and exit according to the various mixing opportunities — volume, panning, effects. When looped back into itself, the mixer causes feedback noise, noise that can take on the qualities of an instrument after considerable trial and error, as slight fluctuations yield room-filling sounds.

Barabino charts the course with a sequence of volume-level variations that focus the ear on each successive sonic approach. In a post at his website, federicobarabino.com.ar, Barabino, who is based in Buenos Aires, Argentina, describes his approach:

No-input mixer works as a tool to use in various situations performative, sound art, audiovisual , installations or mixed. The starting point of these investigations on the console is the redefinition of the object itself. Changing its primary function of being a medium between the sound source and amplification to be a sound generator itself. Sounds radically pure as sinusoids or noise frequencies through feedback internally produced material which can then be re-developed and complexify simply the sum of the sound waves through different effects thereof or digital/analog external.

Connecting the inputs to the outputs by wires, the entire system of knobs becomes itself an instrument, a tool for sound generation, requiring an interpreter aware micromovements within the object itself. The “error” as a point of departure for an exploration is often denied, the natural extension of what we believe can make objects as a whole and a continual search inside and outside margins are concept and essence of this constant work in progress.

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/federicobarabino. More from Barabino at federicobarabino.com.ar.

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Disquiet Junto Project 0244: Euro Mixin

The Assignment: Combine tracks from three different European netlabels (Portugal, Spain, Switzerland) into one sonic union.

Sun & Rail

Each Thursday in the Disquiet Junto group, a new compositional challenge is set before the group’s members, who then have just over four days to upload a track in response to the assignment. Membership in the Junto is open: just join and participate. A SoundCloud account is helpful but not required. There’s no pressure to do every project. It’s weekly so that you know it’s there, every Thursday through Monday, when you have the time.

Tracks were added to this playlist during the duration of the project:

This project was posted in the morning, California time, on Thursday, September 1, 2016, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, September 5, 2016.

These are the instructions that went out to the group’s email list (at tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto):

Disquiet Junto Project 0244: Euro Mixin
The Assignment: Combine tracks from three different European netlabels (Portugal, Spain, Switzerland) into one sonic union.

Please pay particular attention to all the instructions below, in light of SoundCloud having closed down its Groups functionality.

Big picture: One thing arising from the end of the Groups functionality is a broad goal, in which an account on SoundCloud is not necessary for Disquiet Junto project participation. We’ll continue to use SoundCloud, but it isn’t required to use SoundCloud. The aspiration is for the Junto to become “platform-agnostic,” which is why using a message forum, such as llllllll.co, as a central place for each project may work well.

And now, on to this week’s project.

Project Steps:

Step 1: This week’s project is a remix. The following three tracks are available for creative reuse thanks to a Creative Commons license. Please download them and extract the specified source segments:

Use the first 20 seconds of “The Station and the Underclass,” performed by the Phonetic Orchestra, released on the Insub. netlabel based in Geneva:

http://insub.org/insub44/

Use the first 20 seconds of “Cloud Scissors” composed by Lo Wei; performed by Cristián Alvear, Santiago Astaburuaga, Gudinni Cortina, and Rolando Hernández, released on the Impulsive Habitat netlabel based in Portugal:

http://impulsivehabitat.com/releases/ihabp001.htm

Use the first 20 seconds of “Zraerza,” performed by Geeksha Beka and Berio Molina, released on the Alg-a netlabel based in Galicia:

https://archive.org/details/alg-set05-zraerza/

Step 2: Create an original piece of music based on the source audio from Step 1.

Five More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Per the instructions below, be sure to include the project tag “disquiet0244” (no spaces) in the name of your track. If you’re posting on SoundCloud in particular, this is essential to my locating the tracks and creating a playlist of them.

Step 2: Upload your track. It is helpful but not essential that you use SoundCloud to host your track.

Step 3: This is a fairly new step, if you’ve done a Junto project previously. In the following discussion thread at llllllll.co post your track:

http://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0244-euro-mixin/4361

Step 4: Annotate your track with a brief explanation of your approach and process.

Step 5: Then listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

This project was posted in the morning, California time, on Thursday, September 1, 2016, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, September 5, 2016.

Length: The length is up to you. Around three minutes seems like a good length.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0244” in the title of the track, and where applicable (on SoundCloud, for example) as a tag.

Upload: When participating in this project, post one finished track with the project tag, and be sure to include a description of your process in planning, composing, and recording it. This description is an essential element of the communicative process inherent in the Disquiet Junto. Photos, video, and lists of equipment are always appreciated.

Download: Due to the Creative Commons license allowing for this work to be remixed, it is necessary that your track is set as downloadable, and that it allows for attributed remixing (i.e., a Creative Commons license permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution).

Linking: When posting the track online, please be sure to include this information:

More on this 244th weekly Disquiet Junto project — “Combine tracks from three different European netlabels (Portugal, Spain, Switzerland) into one sonic union” — at:

http://disquiet.com/0244/

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

http://disquiet.com/junto/

Subscribe to project announcements here:

http://tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto/

Project discussion takes place on llllllll.co:

http://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0244-euro-mixin/4361

There’s also on a Junto Slack. Send your email address to twitter.com/disquiet for Slack inclusion.

Image associated with this project is by Thomas, used via Flickr and a Creative Commons license:

flic.kr/p/92xKFZ

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The World-Weary Robots of Wouter van Veldhoven

Something akin to a team-up between Pierre Bastien and Nam June Paik

Before hitting play, consider expanding this video to full-screen, and turning off your lights, and wearing headphones, and maybe even dimming the screen a bit. For 10 minutes, immerse yourself in this compound-like studio installation of Wouter van Veldhoven. The performance is titled “automated reed organ, old televisions, radios and other machines,” which is helpful, because otherwise we’d very much be in the dark, quite literally, about what’s going on. Lights swell and recede, giving snapshot glimpses of equipment, notably a wide array of old reel-to-reel tape recorder-players, and cathode-ray TVs tuned to no channel in particular. The pacing and the clack of the momentary illumination suggests a slide projector is in effect. The “automated” aspect of the title gives some sense of what’s going on, that the machines are being triggered in various ways that treats them more like samples in physical form than as musical interfaces, and the line items of equipment explain what’s being triggered. The result is something akin to a team-up between Pierre Bastien (robotic derivations of old-world instrumentation, notably that sad-sack reed organ) and Nam June Paik (Cold War–era media art). It’s a tremendous piece, bringing to mind steampunk aesthetics, but exploring them without the emphasis on fashion filigree. There’s little here that doesn’t need to be here. There’s no visual artifice added to the tape machines or the TV, for example. They’ve just been jacked into a hand-made system that produces archaic, romantic music. Part of the romance relates to van Veldhoven’s presence. He’s seen coming in and out of view, apparently tweaking the apparatuses, like a custodian from a Hayao Miyazaki movie who is charged with the constant maintenance of some fragile, failing infrastructure.

Video originally posted at the YouTube channel of Wouter van Veldhoven, who is based in Utrecht. More from him at twitter.com/WvVeldhoven and woutervanveldhoven.tumblr.com.

It’s the latest piece I’ve added to my ongoing YouTube playlist of fine “Ambient Performances.”

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