Blog archive for February 2004
Eva Sjuve is one of several curators for the net-collaboration RFF [Remembering-Repressing-Forgetting]. RFF starts of at the Contemporary Arts Museum in Bukarest ( 20/2-15/3) and then travel to the New Media Festival in Bankok Thailand (20-28/3). It will then travel to different locations during 2004.000 Eva’s curating an audio art/electronic composition show that will be streaming from BEK with artists from Bergen and vicinity. The project has a provisional web site here.
Today I’ve been preparing several extracts for her from the Hacker project I did last year in collaboration with Frode Thorsen (recorders) and Gitte Bastiansen (dance with body sensors).
Jill had a post earlier today about Friend of a Friend. I once saw a theory going something like this:
If I make a list of my friends and then ask them to make a list of their friends and their friends make a list of…etc. you’d only need to do 11 recursions to include the whole population of the world.
I just sat down and did some calculations (actually a small Max-patch). If current population worldwide is 5 billion people each of us should have a little more than 6 unique friends (6.373569 to be more accurate) in order for this to be true.
So who do I REALLY want to get in touch with……?
Acousmatic music defined
Finally I’ve found a short and concise definition of acousmatic music. It’s at the end of the announcement of “Métamorphoses” Competition – Acousmatic Music Composition Competition:
Acousmatic: recorded work composed in studio projected on loudspeakers in concert with no live intervention of instrumentalists.
Musiques & Recherches also provides a more thorough definition. This definition is rather interesting :
The acousmatic listening experience is independent of the visual domain and thus frees the mental images and creative forms of our imagination. Acousmatic sounds heard through a loud speaker with no clue as to what causes them are the basic elements of the acousmatic art and ‘musique concrète’ vocabulary. These sounds called “sound objects” are in fact impressions traces. Organised and liberated from an “explanatory” way of listening they offer us access to emotion sensation metaphor … Therein resides the work of the composer.
Having recently reread Einstein’ Dreams by Alan Lightman (in a Danish translation borrowed ad infinitum from a past composition teacher) I feel that according to this definition acousmatic music tries to free sounds from their physical origin (or the x y z-dimensions) while maintaining a sense of time (t-dimension). In my own music I’ve been striving to free sound from the time axis and the linear narrative setting. I’ve wanted my own music to be experienced in a similar manner to paintings or sculptures. I feel that if I’m to concentrate on the sensual qualities of the sound as an abstract phenomena I have to get inside of the sound not just pass through it.
Meeting at the board
Sound in Focus
Jeremy Welsh has announced LYD I FOKUS / SOUND IN FOCUS a two day seminar at The Academyb of Fine Arts in Bergen. I’ve posted the full announcement to BEK_DOT.
I’m going to do a Max/MSP introduction as part of the three week program. The rest of the program seems really interesting as well.
Jeremy Yuille is a media artist working at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology Australia. He is visiting Bergen at the moment and Monday 10.300 he is presenting his own work at Kunstakademiet. I suppose I get the chance to talk to him afterwards. yesterday he was a special guest at the Network lunches coordinated by Jill. I didn’t have the opportunity to join in this time.
I’ve just upgraded to Panther. Doing a clean install I hoped I’d be done with some installer problems I’ve experienced lately with e.g. Open Music Jade and TapTools betas. Not so.
Instead I need to get a new authorization code for Max/MSP/Jitter to get it to run again. So at the moment I’ve got nothing better to do than downloading OS X Icons.
The iSight cam I got as a present when resigning from my position at BEK is now working. It requires iChat AV to run which turned out to be impossible to get hold of unless I paid for it or upgraded to Panther. As far as I’m concerned it’s bad business practice not to provide proper drivers afor this kind of hardware.
Anyway it was about time to get the cam working. It might come in handy for The bridge the installation by Jeremy Welsh Jon Arne Modstad and me that is to take place in Christiandsands kunstforening in march this year.
Make a plan
From collaborations with Asbjørn Flø I’ve learned to sit down from time to time with a piece of paper and make a plan. I’m going to do that now.
There’s a new version out of the open source browser Mozilla now named Mozilla FireFox.
On The Other Ocean – REMIX
- Two loudspeakers CD player and amplifier
- Coffee machine
- A big office room with white walls sparsely furnished
Play a 6 min. except from On The Other Ocean by David Behrman. At 1:27 turn on the coffee machine.
New Max/MSP externals
Max/MSP abstractions made in the last
couple of weeks:
- tl.midi.a – Define standard tuning for the whole system
- tl.midi.a~ – Signal rate version of tl.midi.a
- tl.midi.vibrato~ – Introduce vibrato to MIDI pitch value
- til.midi.drift – Introduce 1/f drift in MIDI pitch value
- tl.freq.vibrato~ – Introduce vibrato to frequency
- til.freq.drift – Introduce 1/f drift to frequency
- tl.freq.vibdrift~- Introduce vibrato and 1/f drift to frequency
- tl.tremolo~ – Amplitude modulation (tremolo)
- tl.graphiqEQ~ – 31 band 20Hz-20kHz 3 bands an octave qraphical equalizer
It’s mainly basic tools for audio synthesis. These will eventually become publicly available as part of tl.objects.
ToDo – Jana Jørgen Trond project
More details here.
Finish background - done
- Automatic changes from one sound class to another - done
- Clean up delay patch - done
- Consider the possibility of drift in parameter values - no
- Clean up rye~-patch - done
- Make 4 channel version of rye~ - I’m dropping this
- Automate changes of parameters - done
- Adjust levels. Consider drifts in level settings - done
- Clean up interface for easy operability - done
Finish sensor-controlled foreground
- Final version of MIDI in - done
- Automate choice of MIDI device - done
- Automate choice of Audio device - disregarded
- Check buffer playback for sensors - done
- Implement drift in sound categories - done
- Spatial placement according to physical layout of the mates
- What sounds did we decide on for the four footsteps mates? - skritt_tresko
- Set levels - done
- Clean up layout for ease of use - done
Burn CD and mail to Jana
Glass engine is an amazing introduction to the music of Phillip Glass. It’s an IBM research project that makes you able to navigate more than 60 of his works.
The works are not only categorized according to ensemble types such as solo chamber opera etc. but also according to more subjective categories: joy sorrow intensity density and velocity. Values within these categories were assigned by Philip Glass’s longtime producer and sound designer Kurt Munkacsi.
A box is a deep frame. A room is a deep box.
Brian Eno: A Year with Swollen Appendices – Feb. 7th
I always prefer making frames: making context rather than content.
Brian Eno: A Year with Swollen Appendices – Feb. 16th
Content – Context – Concept
New Max abstraction: tl.metro. Similar to metro but synced to audio if audio is running. Also if audio is running in NonRealTime-mode tl.metro works accordingly. To be included in next tl.objects update.
One of the nice side effects of bloging is that while checking URLs I occationally bump into new and interesting stuff. The Ambient Century: From Mahler to Trance: The Evolution of Sound in the Electronic Age by Mark Prendergast seems interesting. As do Modulations: A History of Electronic Music: Throbbing Words on Sound edited by Peter Shapiro.
The compositional approach for the background layer of the installation in collaboration with Jana Winderen and Jørgen Træen is quite interesting and worth investigating further. I’ve been thinking of writing some essays on issues that I find interesting mainly in order to summarize and reflect on my own practice with the hope that future projects might benefit from it. One possible essay could be: “Creating textures and musical layers in an installation context. Some compositional approaches.”
Installations and technology
Taken somewhat by surprise we started out by saying that data as such is not that interesting. Stewart said that installations that depend on cutting-edge technology are fine the first year out of date the second and embarrassing for ever afterwards ..
Brian Eno: A Year with Swollen Appendices – Jan. 28th
Pushing technology for it’s own sake might not be interesting. Still I often find that in order to meet my own artistic ambitions and needs in a project it’s necessary to push technological limits. Working on digital sound processing not to mention real time vide processing involves a lot of number crunching. The textural density that we’re able to achieve in real time is nothing compared to what you can achieve with a symphonic orchestra and close to 100 musicians. Most of the sound I’ve been creating for installations have consisted of approx. 3 simultaneous musical layers. I doubt Debussy would find that satisfying.
Every artistic practice it seems maps itself grammatically as if part of speech. Documentary photography the most literal application of an already empiristic medium privileges the noun the thing itself. Action painting tautologically speaking is all verb. Impressionism? Adjectival. More and more contemporary music – from the pop charts to the world of academic computer music and gallery installations – positions itself prepositionally It is meta-music music about music sound about sound and process about well process.
From the sleeve notes for
“Splitting bits Closing Loops: Sound on Sound”
Accompanying CD for LMJ Vol 13
The Monster became necsessary because throughout the years I developed many different sound treatment algorithms that were linked to a specific composition performance or improvisation. At rehearsals with the Ensemble für Intuitive Musik I would often get an idea but just then I couldn’t start to program of course and say to the musicians “Now wait a second I need a half hour to make a new Max patch.” I wanted a sort of “hyper” Max patch an engine that contained all previously developed sound treatment possibilities.
Ketty Nez: An Interview with Hans Tutschku. CMJ 27-4 Winter 2003
Tim Place had similar motives for developing Jade. Me and Håkon Lindbäck often ends up asking for a half hour during Verdensteatret rehearsals. I’ve been doing the same when working with e.g. Frode Thorsen and Gitte Bastiansen. It often drain creative energy out of the other artists and but on the other hand: Very often we need DSP algorithms that are custom made for the situation. A monster patch will only work if you’re constraining yourself to the modules and processes already present in the patch or elseway are able to do development out of rehearsals. That’s also slowing down progress and I often find that if I’m not acting on ideas when they arrive I risk loosing them or loosing faith in them them before I get a chance to explore.
Off to Oslo
Sven Påhlsson review
Kunstkritikk.no has a review of the video installation Slapp shopping by Sven Påhlsson at Galleri MGM Oslo. The music is by Erik Wøllo. This is the first review I’ve seen of this kind that is commenting on the poor acoustics of the room and how the sound is suffering from it.
Acoustics in gallery spaces is generally a huge problem.
Jitter for Windows
Jitter for Windows XP is released.
For christmas KHIB gave a thermos and two coffee cups as a present to all of the staff. It comes in handy these days. Yesterday I worked until two o’clock in the morning and I’ve been working long days and weekends for weeks now.
With three projects coming up next week there’s a lot to do. Right now I’m sorting out video control for the Verdensteatret production to open at Black Box next Friday. Jana has been testing the installation for school kids last Friday yesterday and today. Friday she experienced a lot of Max crashes while it’s been stable for the last two days. Apparently the voltage supply is unstable at the school she stayed at last Friday and that might have caused the soundcard and MIDI interface to misbehave. I have still a lot to do for the installation with Jeremy and Jon Arne Modstad and I’m pretty stressed at the moment.
Nordic database of new media art
PNEK is currently gathering information on new media art projects in the Nordic region for an online database organized by m-cult. Project description should be in English and contain the following information:
- Name of project
- Platform (I’m not sure what is meant by this)
- Other projects
Information should be mailed to Ragnhild Fjellro.
While providing information on past projects I’ve been involved with I also took the opportunity to make preliminary web pages documenting some of the projects:
I still need to update the front page for projects to link to these pages but that will have to wait a few more weeks.
Kunsten å gå på vannet
Between me and Jana we’ve been producing text for spamming mailing lists etc. on the project. It’s also made it into the project section of my web site. proper links from the project page is still lacking but you can take a sneek peek here.
While doing this I also got to know that Jana has a domain of her own though there’s no content added yet. I also figured out that Turnéorganisasjonen for Hedmark has lots of information on the project check the visuell kunst section of their site. Their text is a lot better then what I’m able to write. I find it difficult writing about my own projects. Whatever I want to express is immanent in the actual work itself and if I knew how to express it in plain text I wouldn’t have to make music or sound at all I could write essayes instead.
Yesterday I got a letter stating that I’m now approved as a member of Ny Musikks komponistgruppe. I’ve been thinking of applying for years but never had the time.
New Max objects
New Max/MSP abstractions made today or rather updates and renamed versions of old abstractions that has never been publicly available before:
- tl.rad2deg – Radians to degrees convertion
- tl.deg2rad – Degrees to radians convertion
These will eventually become publicly available as part of tl.objects.
New Pluggo plug-in
New Pluggo plug-in made today:
The plugin consist of 8 parallell delay lines with feedback using granulation to enable variable delays without causing pitch shifting based on the vdb~ abstraction from the Bennies by Benjamin Thigpen.
I’m not sure if this plug-in will be made publicly available at a later stage it depends on Ircam and Benjamin Thigpen agreeing on public distribution. At the moment I’ll use it for stereo simulation of multi-speaker techniques I’m going to use for the project in collaboration with Jeremy Welsh and Jon Arne Mogstad.
Physical presence in installation music
Making electronic music for installations is radically different from writing music to be performed by musicians. When sheet music is interpreted by good musicians you get a human presence that is at times missing in electronic music. Kraftwerk and the Detroit techno reacts to this by exploring the machine-like world where human presence is removed altogether. “I want to be a machine” as Ultravox put it.
To me one of the great achievements of Eno on Another Green World is that he creates a machine-like music that is longing for a soul. Some of the tracks implies a very complex and ambiguous emotional landscape.
Personally I would like to keep the complexity and warmth of performed music. I’ve been banging my head into a lot of walls while working on sounds for the installation in Kristiansand. I’m able to get very interesting sounds generated by the video material of Jeremy but end up with a lot of whys. It either ends up sounding inhuman or I start adding expressive qualities that are very hard to justify. The question I’ve kept asking myself is: Why should sounds still have a human presence and expressiveness when there’s no one performing it anymore? I know what I’m aesthetically attracted to and want to do but I need to be able to answer some very fundamental questions in order to do it in an artistically convincing way.
Who do you meet when you’re listening to music? If you experience a human presence is that the presence of the composer the musician or yourself? If you see an exhibition of paintings at a gallery space the experience is independent of the artist being at the gallery. E.g. paintings of van Gogh and Pollock bear a strong testimony of their physical movements. Is it possible for me to capture in an analogue way my own gestures and use that as part of the algorithms creating the soundscape?
Is interaction nothing but a cheap workaround for this problem leaving responsibility of presence to the audience? I’ve often been frustrated and unhappy about interactivity. I feel that I create an instrument but the one playing still have to do so in a musical way. That requires awareness and training not necessarily practice at using this instrument but a mental awareness and sensitivity. Most of the audience doesn’t have that and are unable to experience the true potential of the instrument/art work they are facing.
In written music the composer indicates gestures but it’s the responsibility of the musicians to actually create them. During a presentation at BEK last year Francisco Lopez stated that music is currently going through a shift of paradigm getting rid of the performer as mediator between the composer and the audience. I believe this is a valid and relevant way of reading current changes in music practice. Still for me as a composer “reclaiming” the right to the physical expressiveness feels like a major step. Awareness of past music practice makes it impossible to do this without being acutely aware of what’s left out and behind.
A few weeks ago Jeremy sent me photos of paintings by Jon Arne Mogstad. Spray paint is an important part of his techniques and to me there’s a lot of musicality in his images. I’ll try to track his physical gestures and map them to musical parameters. E.g. the image shown here has rhythms but also an organic irregularity.
In the future I hope that I’ll be able to continue working on these problems and find more general approaches. A while ago I applied to Komponistenes vederlagsfond for a grant to get a Continuum Fingerboard. That would be a very useful tool for future research. Likewise collaborating with the recorder player Frode Thorsen is very challenging.
V E R D E N S T E A T R E T
BLACK BOX TEATER. 5 – 7 MARS Kl. 19.00
MARSTRANDGATA 8.000 OSLO
Billettbestilling hos TICNET. Telefon 815 11 500 eller www.ticnet.no.
Når Verdensteateret stopper på Black Box Teater i tre dager får publikum oppleve en oppsummering av hvor kompaniet er akkurat nå. I bagasjen finnes fragmenter og transformerte inntykk fra en rastløs og hektisk fase gjennomlevd på Grønland Island Færøyene i Beograd og i møte med tibetanske munker. Resultatet blir ikke en vanlig fortelling eller forestilling men en sterkt visuell og sansbar opplevelse der publikum selv er leseren.
De involverte i prosjektet er bla.:
Lisbeth J. Bodd. Asle Nilsen. Håkon Lindbäck.PJotr Pajchel. Petter Steen. Ali Djabbary. Per Flink Basse. Corinne Campos. Øyvind B. Lyse. Lars Øyno .Morten Pettersen. Trond Lossius. Kenneth Langaås. Bergmund W. Skaslien. Reinert Mithassel. Christian Blom. Kjeld Kemp. Jannicke Lie.
Prosjektet er støttet av Nordisk Kulturfond og Norsk Kulturråd.
Kunstnerisk ansvarlige: Lisbeth J. Bodd og Asle Nilsen
Co-produksjon Black Box Teater.
Asle Nilsen utstilling av malerier i foajeen.
Tulle Ruth has applied this year for the same kind of Research Fellowship in the Arts that I’ve got . BEK was involved in the development of one of her projects Speaking Mountains during the Cultural City of Bergen 2000.000 I haven’t seen her for a long while so it was nice meeting her again earlier this week. She mailed me an image showing a prototype for Shaking bushes a project to be realized in a Zoo in Toronto. When you’re passing by the bushes starts shaking and making noise.
She has a very nice way of making the loudspeaker part of the object. My approach so far has been to collect as many loudspeakers of the same kind (B& W 602) so that I’m able to work on a multi-speaker setup with the same audio quality in all of the loudspeakers. I was buying 4 more at Friday and now have a total of 12.000 I’m reusing the loudspeakers for several projects and so far I’ve not wanted to modify them in any way. Visually speaking a large number of black loudspeakers in a white cube can be problematic. It would be interesting to be able to build my own loudspeakers so that I could make custom-made objects that doesn’t cost to much. Fidelity would probably suffer though.
DIALOG / OVERGANG – DIALOGUE / TRANSITION
JEREMY WELSH & JON ARNE MOGSTAD
video digital images painings installation
OPENING SATURDAY MARCH 6TH 12.00
The exhibition lasts from 6th to 28th of March
Information: Christiansands Kunstforening (+47) 38 2 58 53
New Max/Jitter abstractions
New Max/Jitter abstractions:
- tl.jit.lin2dB – convert jitter matrix values from linear to decibel
- tl.jit.dB2lin – convert jitter matrix values from decibel to linear
- tl.pbap – position-based amplitude panning. This algorithm was first develloped for the Living room project 2003.000 Most algorithms for audio panning in a multi-speaker setup is based on the notion of a “sweet spot” or ideal listening position e.g Spat and VBAP. For the Living room project we used 16 loudspeakers positioned in a gallery space made up from three semiclosed rooms. The algorithm offered a simple CPU-effective and convincing method for letting sounds walk around the gallery space.
These will eventually become publicly available as part of tl.objects.