New Podcast: Requiems for a Submerged City

The Sunday's podcast is another great find from the Internet Archives. The album Requiems for a Submerged City is “An electronic tribute to the City of New Orleans and its people – to those who survived Katrina and to those who didn't.” Tonight, we feature the first track, “This is It” by Doc:

Doc opens his track and the album with an upbeat intro carrying some of the emotionally most charged moments from New Orleans Katrina/flood media reporting. After the initial blast of 'media energy' the track transforms into soft, relaxed, dreamlike ambience hosting a strange collage of media snippets, some tangible, some almost subliminal, floating gently in the stream of music.

Regular readers will know that we at CatSynth have been closely following, and often touched by, the events in New Orleans following Katrina. This was even more true after my visit in November, 2006. So am I happy to feature this collection as part of my regular podcast series.

Regular readers will know that we at CatSynth have been closely following, and often touched by, the events in New Orleans following Katrina. This was even more true after my visit in November, 2006. So am I happy to feature this collection as part of my regular podcast series.

I am also happy to announce that you can now subscribe to the CatSynth Channel far more easily via FeedBurner. From now on, every podcast post to CatSynth will include the “feed” icon below:

Click here to subscribe.

I will also be retrofitting previous podcast posts as time permits.

So not that it's this simple, you all no longer have any excuses to not subscribe to our podcast.

New Podcast: Synth Summit at Luggage Store Gallery, July 2004

Tonight's podcast is an excerpt from the “Synthesizer Summit” at the Luggage Store Gallery in San Francisco. Basically, the performance is an improvisation by several artists playing hardware synths. If I recall correctly, the artists and their respective synths were:

Synthia Payne: Roland JP8000
Amar Chaudhary: E-MU Proteus 2000 (Mo'Phatt + Vintage) and Morpheus
LX Rudis: Oberheim Matrix 12
Jim Ryan: Arp 2600
Will Grant: E-MU UltraProteus

Note: many subscribers may have heard another excerpt fromt the Synthesizer Summit that I accidentally released a few weeks back instead of the advertised Woodstockhausen 2003 performance (that has since been corrected).

Podcast correction

A serious “mybad moment” with the podcast series. The March 25 release “Charmer:Firmament from Woodstockhausen 2003” had the wrong audio file. I have now corrected the situation, and the proper audio is linked in.

Those who have already subscribed and downloaded the March 25 episode will probably have to either unsubscribe (as I did in iTunes) or perform some other acrobatics to get the updated audio.

The “incorrect” piece was an ensemble improv from 2004 that I may release in an upcoming episode, this time properly labeled and attributed.

New Podcast: Improvisation with Octave The Cat

Another Sunday, another podcast release. Tonight I present a short improvisation on the recently acquired Octave CAT synthesizer. I have been playing with this instrument now for several days and getting a better feel for both it's timbres, it can do some really smooth analog sounds and really glitchy complex elements as well. I try to cover both qualities in this performance. Enjoy!

I am also rolling out the new logo, part of reintroducing the podcast as “The CatSynth Channel.”

New Podcast: Charmer:Firmament live at Woodstockhausen 2003

Well, my latest experiment with sampled piano was a flop, and a close friend and fellow crazy experimental musician is currently in my thoughts, so it seems a good time to release one of my live performances from the Woodstockhausen 2003 festival. In this case, it is a live version of Charmer:Firmament, a piece for digital computer controlled live by a graphics tablet. A recorded version of this piece also appears on my CD Aquatic (you know, the one that none of you are buying).

As always, enjoy!

New Podcast Release: "Four Days"

A special treat for listeners of my podcast this Sunday! I am releasing a full-length (but lower fidelity) track from my RPM Challenge album, 2 1/2.

“Four Days” is a piece in the style of musique concrete, and fits into the overal narrative theme of the album 2 1/2. It has a really captivating and eerie quality, perhaps even a little spooky.


(and please check out the current recordings available if you like it)

Parts Supplier for DIY Synth Projects?

If you need switches or other molded electronic parts for your next circuit-bending or DIY synth project, you might consider this company out of Hong Kong and southern China:

You just can't make this stuff up 😉

After radio performance

It seems like the radio performance went well, and it was a good experience. In addition to my live performance of the Wooden Fish, we played two selections of the CD and I participated in an interview with regular WTUL electronic-music host Conner Richardson and guest-host-for-the-day Kristine Burns. The show actually took place outside in a courtyard, with our audio feed relayed to the studio via internet:

A small number of people from the conference, as well as one or two other curious indviduals, did stop in the courtyard to watch for a bit.

The setup and soundcheck went smoothly, and as can be seen below, the rig was nicely laid out:

Thanks to Kathryn Hobgood of Tulane University Communications for these photos.

Overall, I was fairly happy with the live performance, nothing went particularly wrong, and Conner noted it was quite an unusual piece. The interview, conducted mostly by Kristine Burns, focused on the pieces themselves, both the musical ideas behind them and the technology used to realize them – of course we talked about the CD – also about my musical background, including my having studied with Ruth Schonthal. Because the next participant was a no show, we had more time for both discussion and music.

Hopefully I will get a recording of the event, and if so will make a link available here.

Preparing for tomorrow's radio performance and more ICMC

In order prepare for tomorrow’s performance on WTUL 91.5FM, I have set up a “compact” system here in a corner of the hotel room with laptop, audio interface, mic, small tablet and keyboard:

The only thing I wasn’t able to get running simultaneously was the Evolver, which is only used for a small part of the performance – the problem was not enough nearby outlets.

Performing live on radio presents some additional challenges because of the time constraints, constant sound-level requirements, and of course the fact than any flaws in the technology or my performance will be part of the broadcast and what everyone listening hears…and remembers. So I have been spending extra time preparing and practicing.

Musicially, The Wooden Fish is not a difficult piece. Basically, it is a guided improvisation based on a few short rhythm patterns in 3/4 and a graphical score. The technologies for this performance are straight-forward as well. The initial delay/loop section and a tablet-controlled loop are programmed in OSW, and other variations of the patterns are done in Emulator X2, including one variation using the Twistaloop feature. Both applications are running simulataneously, allowing me to easily switch between at any given point. So far this seems to be working fine – I am just a little wary after a nasty crash at a performance a few weeks ago.

I did take some time out of today’s preparations to return to the conference for the SEAMUS concert and Max Matthews’ keynote address. Matthews, who turns 80 next week, is considered the “father of computer music” and was received very warmly by everyone. While it is inspiring to hear from giants in one’s field, I couldn’t help feel a little demoralized during his relating of past accomplishments and interactions with others – it’s hard live up to those kind of standards, or even see how one could try given the way the computer-music community has evolved. But on balance, it was inspiring – at the very least I would like to explore some of the books and records he recommended. It was also great to see someone who at 80 can talk at length not only about theories and foundational work on mainframes, but also on the latest laptop technologies (like Mac core-duo) and sensor technologies for interactive music performance.

I also found myself more aesthetically in tune with what the SEAMUS musicians were doing than many of the pieces from the ICMC.

Those who are interested in turning in to the radio performance tomorrow can click here for the live internet stream.