August 17, 2003

Boulez Returning to Electronics to Support Microtonal Composition?

From, Jorge Franganillo writes:
In the latest number of Scherzo ( there is a 6-page interview with Pierre Boulez. In the little conversation one can read about his composition projects, he says that he's going back to electronics to work with microintervals and he assures that he's now writing Anthèmes 3, a work for violin and orchestra (longer than Anthèmes 2), comissioned by Anne-Sophie Mutter, which will be premiered in 2006 to celebrate Paul Sacher's centennary. Boulez expects to have this work finished in 2005. (Should we believe him??) Quite surprisingly, not a word about his Notations for orchestra!
Posted by jeff at 03:07 PM | Comments (0)

August 15, 2003

MIT's Eigenradio - The Future of Radio?

If you missed this interesting post-modernist experiment, you might want to check it out before it dissipates:


From the site:

All those stations, playing all that music, all the time! There's at least 40 different songs being played every week on most radio stations! Who has enough time in the day to listen to them all? That's why we've set up banks of computers to do the listening for us. They know what you really want to hear. They're trading variety for variance.

Eigenradio plays only the most important frequencies, only the beats with the highest entropy. If you took a bunch of music and asked it, "Music, what are you, really?" you'd hear Eigenradio singing back at you. When you're tuned in to Eigenradio, you always know that you're hearing the latest, rawest, most statistically separable thing you can possibly put in your ear.

What's interesting to me is HOW interesting this joke software is to others.

Explains a lot about what our culture has become.

Remakes of remakes of remakes.
Commentaries upon commentaries upon commentaries.

We don't need new things. Just old things mangled into coolness.

It is the shock of the new keeps our culture alive, vital and annoying. As to arguments that nothing is new... You can granularize anything into constituent elements and accuse those elements of not being new. The gestalt, or the effect on the listener is what CAN be new.

We have a lazy culture now. A culture infected by corporate agendae. A culture infected by the symbolic oppression of corporate financial agendae.

Only the artists can save it! Go forth and propagate newness all ye who are able!!!

On with the show...

Posted by jeff at 11:55 AM | Comments (0)

August 12, 2003

Composition Today and The Remix as Graphical Score

I've been thinking about a new approach to my music in general that will allow me to continue to be a part of the classical world, even as I continue to primarily create within the electronic world.

Basically, I'm saying I've been screwed for the last time! Stuck in the classical music world at the mercy of performers that promise performances and then screw up the piece or don't record it. Commissioned by performers who never play the piece, odd ensembles that will never get played; 2-4 months on one piece that never gets played. It's a nightmare as we all see the classical music world imploding. I was supposed to have performances in Cyprus (and a recording) a Canadian tour, an Australian performance, an Amsterdam performance and two NYC premieres this year and only the Australian premiere has happened. Money, politics, all have caused this year to be one of the worst when it should have been one of my best!!

So, I had an idea this weekend, actually I've been working towards this idea (with the Road Trip pieces actually) and that is to begin writing pieces for 2 pianos soley. No more 3 months on a piece for nose flute, accordion and marimba that may get premiered, but not recorded or ever performed again.

Once the 2 piano version is done, I'll 'remix' these pieces with extra textures, morphings, beats and effects and create a score of that remix and suggestions of other possible scores. The piece then will exist in audible form, have a score that could be performed in a classical concert and simultaneously have an amazing JH electronic realization. If an orchestra decides to commission me, all I have to do is orchestrate one of these pieces. All the big names of the past have done this, Debussy used to always write first for 2 piano and then orchestrate.

I'm sure a lot of you have noticed how my recent electronic music is really minimal, usually devoid of much melody and that's generally because I'm not writing 'music' I'm laying down textures. I want to get back to writing real pieces, with introductions and climaxes and counterpoint and then rendering them into electronic form.

One concern I have about electronic music in general is that it is absolutely the most fragile art ever created. It's just 1's and 0's. If for some reason CD players were to cease production cuz of format changes, etc... the music will be unplayable. CD's can disappear, go off the market and bam... no record of the music.

So, by having an output that is simulatenously, a PDF score, a printed score, an electronic realization a MIDI file for others to use in 'remixing' and even large chunks of the piece to encourage remixing, I think I can develop a new approach to musical creation that will allow me to showcase my compositional talents and my electronic talents. And by notating the remix, at least informally, I can provide an electronic 'score' indicating where the glitches are to occur, etc... but allowing the remix artist to glitch that section at will.

In a sense, this is akin to the classical cadenza when composers would let performers write 3 minute sections in the middle of their pieces, using the melodic material that had already happened to show off. Mozart piano concerto cadenzas by Beethoven are amazing.

Could this type of notation might be a cool way for composers to constrain remixes? Could be a form of graphical notation, like Cage has done even... even just graphics that could be used for album covers or promo.

Posted by jeff at 01:44 PM | Comments (4)

August 06, 2003

Music Modified by Audience Brainwave Controllers

Received this via email - haven't had time to investigate.

REGEN3 / Regenerative Brainwave Music: ElectroBrainFunk
at DECONISM Gallery, 330 Dundas St. West, Toronto
(across the street from the Art Gallery of Ontario), tickets available at the door. Friday August 15th, 9pm

What if music responded to your mind?

REGEN3 will present the latest developments in EEG brainwave music research, by presenting an ensemble comprised of Toronto jazz musicians playing music which is driven and altered by the brainwaves of the audience. Audience members can become part of an advanced mass EEG system which uses audience brainwaves to control both the music and lighting environment: a truly 'smart' building. Join us and see what happens when the mood of the environment is "regenerated" by the collective consciousness of the attendees.

REGEN3 will be performed by Bryden Baird (trumpet), James Fung (keyboard) Dave Gouveia (drums), Sandy Mamane (bass) and Corey Manders (sax)

Deconism Announcement

Regenerative Music

Posted by jeff at 01:48 PM | Comments (2)

August 02, 2003

New Instruments - Where the Action Is?

A gentleman in Colorado has created the largest timpani ever, 70 inches, and he's been commissioning and performing pieces with it at the Aspen New Music Festival.

The Big Drummer Man

This brings to mind, the experimental instrument group that IRCAM was supposedly setup for. What has happened to the creation of new acoustic instruments? One would think with the resources for physical modelling that all types of new acoustic instruments would be under way. But it seems that the experimental instrument scene is still ghettoized. One constantly interesting resource in this realm is Experimental Music Instruments Magazine. EMI Magazine has a few CD's that are extremely interesting, if not purely for the sampling potential, hint hint...


Perhaps what is needed is just an instrument like this to get people thinking, why can't we have a bass flute that doesn't require lungs of steel?

Posted by jeff at 02:00 PM | Comments (4)