Posts Tagged ‘ipad’

Outsound New Music Summit: PoetryFreqs

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The concert series of the Pitta of the Mind, my duo with Maw Shein Win got things going with a set of poetry and electronic music on the themes of abstract art and cinematic distance. Our color theme for the evening was red and black.

Pitta of the Mind at Outsound Music Summit
[Photo by Annabelle Port.]

It was our longest set to date, but also our best so far, with a variety of sounds to match the words and tight transitions between poems. It was also the most complex technically, with the Prophet 12, analog modular, Moog Theremini, iPad, and Nord Stage EX all running at once.

Amanda Chaudhary
[Photo: PeterBKaars.com.]

Maw Shein Win
[Photo by Annabelle Port.]

We performed confidently and playfully and we got a great audience response. And the color theme went well with the blue set and lighting courtesy Travin McKain.

We were followed by first-ever performance by Ruth Weiss, one of the original Beat poets, with master analog synthesizer artist Doug Lynner as well as Hal Davis on log.

Doug Lynner, Ruth Weiss, Hal Davis
[Photo: PeterBKaars.com.]

Log may seem like an odd instrumentation, but Davis made it work well with Ruth Weiss’ recitations, and Lynner managed to create sounds on the Mystery Serge modular that sometimes mimicked the percussive resonance of the log and at other times complimented it with more lush tones. He was also able to hit loud or noisy moments in between the words. Ruth Weiss was sharp and witty in her readings, moving from her work in the 1950s and 1960s to more recent compositions. Although the trio had only met once before, they seemed very comfortable performing together and it made for a fun and exciting set. This was something that will likely never be repeated, so we were privileged to have witnessed it.

The final set brought together Zachary James Watkins on electronics and Marshall Trammell on percussion with poet and voice artist Amber McZeal.

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[Photos: PeterBKaars.com.]

The music began slowly, with calm but textured percussion and electronic sounds combined with McZeal on didgeridoo. The drone built up to more intense textures, with noise and thick electronics, Trammell’s intense drumming, and McZeal’s voice, which was at times beautiful and melodic singing, and other times dramatic and confident speech. The text for this set was very sparse compared to the previous sets, more like a third instrument than poetry set to music.

Overall, this was a great start to the Summit concerts with three strong performances (I admit I am biased about the first one). We had a great turnout as well, filling all the seats in the concert hall at the Community Music Center. It set a high bar for the next nights.

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CatSynth pic: Animoog

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Cat and Animoog

Today we have a gorgeous picture featuring a cat and the Animoog iPad app. Submitted by our friends at Moog Music, Inc., via Twitter.

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Battle of the iPad Docks NAMM 2014: Miselu C.24 vs Focusrite iTrack

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Once again, iPad docs were a popular offering at NAMM. Perhaps the most unusual and interesting was from Miselu, a small San Francisco-based company. The C.24 acts as a hard-shell case for a standard-size iPad, but opens up into a dock with a two-octave keyboard and other controls.

Miselu C.24

The keys, which feel quite different from standard keyboard/synth keys, are magnetic rather than mechanical, and include aftertouch. The connection to the iPad is via bluetooth, bypassing the issue of Apple’s changing the port shapes. And it includes a space for expansion controllers above the keyboard. This is an intriguing device, though it is not yet available.

The iTrack from Focusright is perhaps more conventional in the world of iPad docks. But what makes it different is that can support both iPad Minis and full-sized iPads.

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It also includes audio support based on Focusrite audio technology and with mic and line level I/O. MIDI is supported via USB.

Both of these are interesting devices, it depends on ones need for portability and MIDI keyboard versus audio support.

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2013, The Transformative Year

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2013 Year End photo

 

[click image to enlarge]

 

Once again, it’s time for our traditional end-of-the-year image at CatSynth.   The past couple of years have all been good, rich, full, and sometimes complicated.  But 2013 has been particularly significant, certainly one that I will long remember.  As the title says, it has been a transformational time on multiple dimensions for me, indeed it has touched almost every aspect of my being.  There will be more to say on that in the coming days. Music and art have been going very well, too, and one of the main challenges of this coming year will be to build on the successes of this past year but in a more directed way.  If that sounds vague, it’s because I haven’t quite figured it out yet.

For Luna, things pretty much are the way the always are.  Such is the life of a contented house cat.  And we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Thanks to everyone who reads and supports this project, whether here at the blog, on Facebook, or through the many personal friendships that grown from here.  You are all what makes this work worthwhile!

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Ambient Chaos at Spectrum: Schuyler Tsuda, Amar Chaudhary, John Dunlop, RMA Trio

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Today we look back at the November 26 Ambient-Chaos night at Spectrum in New York. I was happy to once again perform there, and hear some of what the local experimental-music scene has to offer.

The performance itself, the New York debut of my feminine persona, went quite well as was very well received. It was anchored by rhythmic elements on the Dave Smith Evolver, overlaid with iPad synths, the garrahand drum, sketch box, and a miniature subset of my analog modular system.

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[Photo by Painter Jung Nam Lee at Spectrum Manhattan, New York Nov 26, 2013]

Performing at Spectrum is always a great experience, sonically as well as visually. Lighting and shading was part of the design of my set and worked perfectly with the ever changing light patterns in the space. I was also happy with the narrative structure within the music. You can see and hear the full set in the following video:


Performance at Spectrum, November 26, 2013 from CatSynth on Vimeo.

I was preceded on the program by Schuyler Tsuda, who performed a set featuring his sonic sculptures. In a space lit only by candles on stage, he struck, bowed and scraped a variety of sonic objects. There were long ambient metallic sounds punctuated by shorter percussive events. The overall effect was eerie and sometimes a bit anxious, but also immersive and inviting. It is difficult to capture in a still photograph, so here is a video clip:


Schuyler Tsuda from CatSynth on Vimeo.

The third set featured John Dunlap on guitar and vocals as part of a duo that also included saxophone and electronics.


John Dunlap from CatSynth on Vimeo.

Their playing was loud and frenetic, and quite a contrast to both my set and Tsuda’s. Dunlap also incorporated throat singing into his performance.

RMA Trio
[Photo by Painter Jung Nam Lee at Spectrum Manhattan, New York Nov 26, 2013]

The final set brought together the RMA Trio along with a guest vocalist/actor to read excerpts from an upcoming play.

The text was in German, and if I understood correctly (which is doubtful) it was based on Hamlet. There was a variety in the instrumental pieces, including both percussive and harmonic piano, drums and guitar effects.

Overall, it was a great show, and a decent turnout considering that it took place in the middle of a nasty rainstorm. Thanks as always to Robert L. Pepper (PAS) for hosting this series, and to Glenn Cornett for making Spectrum a destination for musicians and sound artists in New York.

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Weekend Cat Blogging with Luna: Listening Intently.

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During yesterday’s rainy morning, Luna sat with me as I listened to the final master for Reconnaissance Fly’s new album. I snapped this close-up with the iPad. She was so calm and poised. And she did listen to the music. I think her favorite track was Oh Goldfinch Cage, not just because of the subject matter, but because its timbral texture is quite different from anything else on the album, with more isolated percussion and sound effects. Lots of things to perk up both cat and human ears.

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Wordless Wednesday: The Letter (Analog and Virtual Synths)

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But this wordless visual also has wordless sounds to go with it:

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Outsound Music Summit: Touch the Gear Expo

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The 12th Annual Outsound Music Summit began this past Sunday, opening as always with the Touch the Gear Expo. Musicians and sound artists from the Bay Area and beyond were on hand with their musical devices and inventions for the public to observe and try out. I participated this year with two technological extremes: soft synths on an iPad, and a full two rows of Eurorack format analog modules.

iPad and Eurorack modular

Both offerings were quite popular, eliciting curiosity from visitors of all ages.

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[Photo: PeterBKaars.com.]

There were quite a few analog synthesizers on hand, including a vintage Serge modular courtesy of Synthesizerman (aka Doug Linner).

Synthesizerman and Serge Modular
[Photo: PeterBKaars.com.]

One of the more intriguing analog synths I encountered was this creation by Andy Puls.

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The circular pattern represents a step sequencer controlling an internal sound generator. Conductive pegs can be moved around on the bars to change pitches and other parameters. There are also knobs as well. The overall geometry, control design and lights made this a visually appealing instrument.

Nick Wang also demonstrated some custom analog boxes with controllers, oscillators and a VCF.

Nick Wang synth demo

Fernando Lopez-Lezcano demonstrated his elaborate homemade analog synthesizer. I have had the privilege of hearing him play it in a formal performance.

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[Photo: PeterBKaars.com.]

Matt Davignon demonstrated his devices for working with fixed-media sources, a bit of a preview of what we can expect for Friday night’s PMOCOTAT performance.

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Acoustic creations, in particular sounds from natural sources, were a common theme this year as well. Cheryl Leonard demonstrated her expertly tuned instruments made from stones, bones, shells and wood gathered at the extremes of the earth. She also demonstrated her virtuosity with using these elements together, such as generating rhythms from a series of bones passed over the shells.

Cheryl Leonard
[Photo: PeterBKaars.com.]

David Samas was also on hand with his musical creations from natural sources found here in northern California.

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Missing from the picture above is his tuned aluminum rod, from which one can get quite a powerful sound with a well-rosined hand. I had the opportunity to try it out myself.

Bryan Day presented his instruments made from found objects, including the tape measures featured prominently in the image below. Other sources included springs and metal rods. His creations are quite ergonomic and easily to play, putting unusual sources into compact and intuitive arrangements.

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Horaflora combined acoustics and small electronics in a couple of lively offerings, including drum heads excited by magnets. I heard him play this in a program several months ago.

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Horaflora also demonstrated exciting natural acoustic elements atop a subwoofer connected to an iPhone synth. You can see and hear a bit of my attempting to demonstrate these elements together with him in the following video:


David Molina (aka “Transient”) also blended acoustic and electronic ideas. He had a variety of small instruments and sound sources on hand, which he used to generate source material for complex loops and textures controlled in real time via Albeton live.

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In his own words, this was only “about half of what he will be using in his performance on Friday.”

Tom Nunn, a prolific inventor whom I interviewed in 2012, was once again presenting his creations. This time it was an exceptionally colorful set of his Skatchboxes.

Tom Nunn skatchboxes
[Photo: PeterBKaars.com.]

There were others presenting as well, and unfortunately, I did not have time to see everyone and also attend to me own station. But I hope to see more of all the participants in more musical settings.

The Outsound Music Summit continues on Wednesday night with the first of the formal concerts, you can see a full schedule here. And of course, you can always follow along with @catsynth on Twitter if you can’t attend in person.

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Weekend Cat Blogging with Luna: The camera that you have

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It’s always about the camera that one has on hand, especially with cat portraits that are in the moment. When Luna jumped on my lap for some affection the other day, the only camera I had was the iPad.

Luna on lap - iPad Photo

It is lower resolution and optics compared to the iPhone or my DSLR, but pointed correctly it still captures Luna’s features and essence.

This morning, I happened to have the DSLR on hand, and Luna was quite well posed. So it was time for an impromptu photo shoot.

Luna closeup portrait

The photos were a good reminder of what the good camera and lenses can do and the “iThingies” cannot. Here, one can control the optics to get a particularly rich and detailed portrait. Of course, it helps that Luna cooperated by staying relatively still, only moving her head into different poses like a professional model.


The Carnival of the Cats will be up this Sunday at Life from a Cat’s Perspective.

And the Friday Ark is at the modulator.

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Weekend Cat Blogging with Luna: Reading the Paper

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A typical weekend morning features coffee, the newspaper, and Luna. Here is what it often looks like from my perspective.

Luna looks for attention while the author reads the newspaper

Luna with New York Times (iPad)

I don’t think Luna cares in particular about Senators McCain and Rubio, but she does like attention, especially when I am nearby but not paying attention to her. (One could probably say the same thing about the politicians featured in the news.)

I have also grown quite accustomed to reading my newspaper on the iPad. A sign of the times.


The Carnival of the Cats will be up this Sunday at the Tuxedo Gang Hideout

And the Friday Ark is at the modulator.

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