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Listening to art.
Playing with audio.
Sounding out technology.
Composing in code.

tag: live-performance

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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The Generative Patch as Fixed Recording

A live video by Flohr of Atlanta, Georgia

Like yesterday’s featured video, this video pushes the legibility of live filmed performance. Yesterday’s technically involved multiple live takes overlaid, each obscuring the others, and the ambient quality of it having less to do with any individual performance in the first place and more with the chance correlations that occurred as a result of the post-production act of accrual. Today’s video, by Flohr, is too murky and unidentifiable to ever be mistaken as a tutorial. And, of course, any modular synthesizer piece, such as this, that employs self-generating patches thus involves little if any human interaction. The hand comes down from above, the scale and surprise a bit like a Monty Python animation, a couple times, but by and large, this is really a live performance as fixed document — a patch playing out in realtime as something set in stone nonetheless, or in this case set in plastic and metal. The piece, “Spring Reverb Feedback Paths” by Flohr, is a shiny, rapidly cycling shimmer worth putting on repeat.

Flohr is Eric Flohr Reynolds of Atlanta, Georgia. More from him at soundcloud.com/flohr and ericflohrreynolds.bandcamp.com.

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

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Amanda Feery’s Cello + Electronics

A rough draft of her "Stray Sods" — plus a video excerpt

“Stray Sods,” as heard here, is a rough take of a piece for cello and electronics by Amanda Feery, the Dublin-based composer. The first thing you hear in the piece isn’t the cello, at least not in recognizable form, but a pulsing, filmic, beading field of percussion. The effect of these tiny percussive tones is caught somewhere between a tossed snow globe and the sound design of a particularly heightened moment in a contemporary thriller. A cello enters that zone and saws long, held notes. It fills the space between the many pointillist dots. At first the cello is halting, cautious, and then it gains melodic complexity. This isn’t a whisper-to-a-scream composition, however. Pauses come at appropriate increments, and the percussion fades back and forth between modes in a manner that suggests time shifts and tectonic adjustments. There have been times when I’ve let the nearly seven minutes of “Stray Sods” play on repeat for hours, and I recommend doing so.

As a bonus, here’s a video excerpt of “Stray Sods” performed by cellist Amanda Gookin. It’s the latest piece I’ve added to my ongoing YouTube playlist of fine “Ambient Performances.”

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/vanessaparody. More on Feery, who is completing a PhD in Compositon at Princeton, at amandafeery.com.

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Lucia H Chung and the Mixer

A feedback-based preview of her forthcoming Inner Geography album

DSC_7101

Lucia H Chung’s instrument of choice is a no-input mixer. This process involves producing feedback that results from feeding a mixer back into itself, taking the non-silent aspects of the device and enlarging them until they become audible — not just audible but, in Chung’s hands, enveloping.

This track, “Inner Geography (Preview),” is a short excerpt from a forthcoming album on the Arell label, based in England. It’s a series of rich swells, each threatening to burst, swells that eventually give way to an antic ticking. The full release, under Chung’s en creux moniker, will be a single, 25-minute performance.

The swells have a shuddering, thunderous appearance on first listen, a sharp static trailed by a bell-like drone. Upon repeated listens, each swell reveals its distinct character: saw waves of varying shard-like shapes and sizes, white noise that pulses, and filigrees of harsh, darting sounds. Most notably there is Chung’s attention to attack and release, which lends drama to the sequence of isolated events.

Presumably the full release proceeds from where this track ends, and the swells are, collectively, themselves a subset of a larger, even more varied episodic sequence.

Album originally posted at arell.bandcamp.com. More from Chung at luciahchung.com. Together with her husband, Martin J Thompson, who mastered the recording, she runs the label SM-LL, which is based in London (sm-ll.com).

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Disquiet Junto Project 0238: Magnifying Contact

The Assignment: Record a piece of music, emphasizing the sounds of production over the music itself.

alfstorm

Each Thursday in the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud.com and at disquiet.com/junto, 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. 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 will be added to this playlist for the duration of the project:

This project was posted in the morning, California time, on Thursday, July 21, 2016, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, July 25, 2016.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0238: Magnifying Contact
The Assignment: Record a piece of music, emphasizing the sounds of production over the music itself.

Project Steps:

Step 1: Record a short piece of music. When recording the music, use additional microphones to capture the process itself: your fingers on strings, touching keyboard and screen surfaces, clicking on laptop keys, etc.

Step 2: When the piece is fully recorded, create a mix that makes the “performance” sounds slightly either equal to or slightly more prominent than the performance itself.

Three More Steps When Your Track Is Done :

Step 1: Upload your completed track to the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud. It’s here:

Step 2: Annotate your track with a brief explanation of your approach and process.

Step 3: Then listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

Deadline: This project was posted in the morning, California time, on Thursday, July 21, 2016, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, July 25, 2016.

Length: The length is up to you. Between one and three minutes seems about right.

Upload: Please when posting your track on SoundCloud, only upload one track for this project, 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.

Title/Tag: When adding your track to the Disquiet Junto group on Soundcloud.com, please in the title to your track include the term “disquiet0238.” Also use “disquiet0238” as a tag for your track.

Download: It is preferable 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, please be sure to include this information:

More on this 238th weekly Disquiet Junto project — “Record a piece of music, emphasizing the sounds of production over the music itself” — at:

http://disquiet.com/0238/

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

http://disquiet.com/junto/

Join the Disquiet Junto at:

Subscribe to project announcements here:

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

Disquiet Junto general discussion takes place on a Slack (send your email address to twitter.com/disquiet for inclusion) and at this URL:

http://disquiet.com/forums/

Image associated with this project adapted from one by Alf Storm, used thanks to a Creative Commons license:

Day 48. Playing guitar

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