As ridiculously pretentious as it may seem, yesterday I was looking for a title to my new piano piece, in an essay by Artaud, "Toute L'ecriture" I believe it was, and came across the phrase, the bloodlessness of the intellectual. We'd just been listening to Xenakis, Jonchaies, and I began thinking, why is it that after the early 20th century pieces, and a few Xenakis pieces, that contemporary music in general is so lacking in energy, barbarism, passion?
How can we listen to Le Sacre and think that's the end of any road? How can we listen to Jonchaies and not be startled at its elegant simplicty and horrific violence? Why are there no intellectuals doing super-violent electronic music, which of course is capable of incredible noise ranges? In age of ultra-violent terrorists, continuous war, pop music that is louder and louder have the intellectuals become mere reactionaries in their pursuit of ultra-refined music? Why are there no composers today producing hard-slamming complex and intense music worthy of our desparate nervousness?
I'm sure a few of you will say to yourselves, he's equating repetitive barbarism with passion simplistically. I've considered that, and I just can't bring to mind, any truly gigantic violent moments in recent music. Maxwell-Davies? typically meanders, Lutoslawski, his symphonies and Chains often merely meander without truly producing the musical orgasm I'm considering. Messiaen? The staticity of his time prevents the drama from occuring which is necessary for the big moments and Turangalila was 60 years ago! ;-)
There are a few moments in Notations where the violence is there, but in a 1 minute piece! What am I forgetting? Are we that musically impotent today?
Are we just incapable of dreaming? Controlled by academic fashions?
What happened to our ooooooomph?
Although a few years old, SoundRaider is a tool for exploring what everything audio on on your hard drive sounds like at the same time - SoundRaider. The software constantly scans and remixes your sound collection, creating a continuous audio flood of bizarre and pointless sonic ruminations.
Many beepSNORT readers have been purported to leave it running constantly!
Software that purports to simulate arbitrary singer's voices - even dead singers - with new material is discussed in the New York Times - Could I Get That Song in Elvis, Please? Of course this is most likely based on Dodge's work with Caruso, (an amazing piece btw, I've heard it in concert).
How does copyright law effect the formants of well known celebrity voices? Do singers have to perform at all anymore once their talent has been recognized commercially? Is the selling of formants themselves the next frontier in mass market artist branding?
The software has huge faults, but the way it's being marketed is itself intriguing.
A group in Spain, Polyphonic HMI claims that through analysis they have done, (FFT's?) they have created a tool which can rate the 'hitability' of your song. Remarkably, they claim to have predicted several recent hits, that were unlike recent radio-airplay regulars, i.e. specifically, Norah Jones.
Maybe we should re-program the system to determine how we might fare in this year's ICMC. You may already be a winner!
A site attempting to collate all manner of electronic musicians and resources has been launched by the programmer behind ElectronicScene, Sonic Wallpaper. I would urge experimentalists from the academic and independent communities to add links to themselves. Should prove to be a good resource for all manner of independent electronic musicians.
The amazing progress of Japanese robotic science continues with the creation of a flute-playing robot. No need for physical-modelling synthesis now! Because it is MIDI-controlled, any keyboard can direct the robotics performance. The emulation of embouchure and breath pressure control are especially interesting.