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.

ICMC late concert on election night

Imagine yourself an ordinary New Orleans bus driver, doing your normal night route on St. Charles. Just two or three passengers, quiet. Maybe even a little quieter than usual given that many people are home watching election returns. Then suddenly you come to stop where twenty or so weird people with laptops and beeds get on the bus. That’s what happened to a bus driver last night when participants at the ICMC conference boarded to attend the offsite late-nite performance at the aptly named Columns Hotel.

The election so far went as well as one could expect at 11PM, with headlines suggesting things are about to change for the better – a takeover of the House, Virginia is the new Florida (with George “macaca” Allen trailing), and social conservatives (i.e., the littering religious right) lost a trifecta on abortion, stem cells and gay marriage. Plus, I get to watch all of this from the home (and district) of William “Frozen Assets” Jefferson.

So what better way to celebrate than with experimental electronic improv music in an old hotel parlor? First on the program was Pink Canoes, who hail from the Bay Area. I was acquainted with several members of the group by name only (and vice versa), so it was quite ironic to meet in person in New Orleans. Musically, they played free improvisation with guitars, effects pedals, analog synths and circuit-bend instruments, similar to some of the group improvisations I have done with friends in Santa Cruz. I get the sense that many of the academics at the conference hadn’t heard much of this sub-genre of electronic music. Personally I would like to see more hybridization among free electronic improv, traditional computer music, and even things like the jazz duo that was also playing in the hotel at the same time.

Pink Canoe was followed by the due Andre Castro + Martin Aeserud, featuring laptop and “prepared” acoustic guitar. I found the guitar quite interesting to watch as well as listen to, and gives me some ideas for projects with the guitar that’s sitting in pieces on the floor back home.

More on the conference later.