Commission Music

Commission Music
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Friday, 7 February 2003

Grumpy Update

Yes, I'm grumpy and this is what I've been doing:

Christi came home Tuesday night without her laptop. Wednesday morning, we had to go pick up Joe/Zeppie and take him to the OM Tape archives. Apparently, last time it was aproblem because we showed up at 9:02 instead of 9:00 and made the building owners late for something. So we have to be there absolutely by nine and Christi has left Zeppie's address on her computer, which is in San Francisco. This story is not that exciting. We arrived at 9:00 and spent several hours cataloging stuff, including something called the World Ear Project. Back when KPFA was extra cool, they would just play any sonds that anybody recorded. Tape recorders were kind of expensive then, so they had a smaller number of potential folks sending stuff in, and people who had tape recorders generally knew how to use them, so these are pretty high quality recordings. None of the tapes had numbers, but they all have titles (and the shelfs are numbered). So we were typing things like, Cat eating cat food in a backyard on Regent Street. with the actual address. Part of the reason we're figuring out what is in the archive is so that we know what's there, but it's also so we can go to potential doners and say, "Here's a fabulous recording that needs to be digitized! Give us the $400 we need to do it!" I'm not sure that this 1971 cat is going to be a big money maker. Christi was joking that we could go knock on the door of that address and see if the persons living there now want to pay for restoring the tape. Charles Amirkhanian glanced at the tape and told us whose house it used to be and a bunch of background. He can look at any tape in the archive, no matter how minimally labelled, and tell you all sorts of things about how and when it was recorded, who was there, what happened, etc. Anyway, he found a tape of the premeire of Lou Harrison's piece King David's Lament and got very excited about doing it at the OM9 festival and decided he had to go right away to digitize the tape and left it behind.

So after lunch, we went by his home/studio with the tape and recorded it to protool. Charles did not clean his tape haed at first, until it was questioned about how dirty it might be. Zeppie wanted to photgraph it. There was actualyl a piece of tape stuck to the head. We had already played the Harrison tape a few times when this was noticed. I think the tape might have been degrading with every play.... We spent time trying to mix it there. Maybe and hour. Then I decided maybe it would be better to do it on my own computer.

So I went home with the Pro Tools project and spent an hour or so trying to get the super-optimal mix. Then Christi and I went to Spanish class. The teacher there is obviously spending his non-teaching hours writing a thesis on second language acquistition. He spent the first 45 minutes or one hour of the class talking about how language is acquired. Interesting. I can't imagine he would beleive in Esperanto as it doesn't jive with his theories. He told us that the most important conversations we would have with folks would be practical. "Where is the bathroom?" "What's your phone number?" "What's your name?" "What's your passport number?" etc. So we learned some shape named and colors and then he gave us cut out squares, rectangles and circles and some phrases for locating things and had us play battle ship. Then he talked extremely briefly about shops and then gave us lists of clues for where the shops fit into a map that he gave us. He said, "There is only one correct solution as there is only one correct solution for all of my exercizes. . . We can talk about why this is some other time." La tienda de X es entre A y B. or something. I'm not sure how much spanish I learned, but I feel good about second language acquistion. I think the exercizes would work really well for a lesson 5 in Esperanto. At lesson 5, you'd have some vocalubulary and kinds know how the language works and then you could learn more vocab, like shapes, colors and locations by doing exercizes and you'd probably feel a lot less lost than I did.

Then we went back to Charles' house with a zip disk of the Harrison piece. He was super-excited because he was reading Lou's biography and the piece was mentioned, but the biographer didn't know it had ever been preimered. Apparently, it's for four hands on the piano and the players interlock arms. The piece is beautiful and is a very moving lament. I wish we could have had it at my mom's funeral, for example. It's wonderful. Anyway, Christi was looking at the bio and discovered that a choal version had been recorded in the 80's and was included with the CD that came with the book. We put on the CD and found a excellently recorded, well produced, much bigger and hiss-free version of the same song. Charles said, "wow! Adn we were wasting time with that rinky-dink piano version!" yes indeed. non-profit is just like for profit, but without the profit.

So I went home and couldn't sleep and so woke up late for my thursday volunteer in the OM office day and we missed BART so drove in. I could not wake up until I had a double latte. I had one yesterday morning too. I think I'm addicted. Anyway, so they gave me a list of people whose addresses I was suppossed to locate. This list included Lilly Tomlin, Sharon Stone, etc. You always hear about cyber-stalkers. I think they are after people less well-known. I couldn't even find Lilly Tomlim's agent. Not that I had an idea of how to search besdies google. I tried searching for "Lilly Tomlin" AND agent, but apparently she is widely quoted in signatures, something on the order of, "I always wanted to be someone when I grew up. I guess I should have been more specific." Nerds love this quote. So I found many lengthy usenet archives of discussions for AI groups on intellegent agents.

Another guy that I was suppossed to look for was named "Eric Smith." Whoever suggested him for this list had gone home. Was he a famous photographer? Does he lives in Texas and do topiary as an avocation? Has he writted books on pharmocology? All-righty. So I got through a large chunk of my list. (You can actually find a name and address for a Sharon Stone agent on a geocities site. Is it real? Who knows.) and gave up on the rest and came home and spent 20 minutes eating a banana and petting my dog and went back to Charles' house for a meeting on the MPR project. This was 7:00 PM.

Minnesota Public Radio wants to air a show on modern music that draws material from the KPFA tape archives. They would give us money to digitize the tapes and possibly pay the people working on it. I got on the list for the project as a sound engineer or producer or composer or something. This show would be broadcast on NPR-affiliates, so people all over the country could hear it, except in much of the Bar Area, cuz KQED doesn't do music anymore.

So we show up at Charles' house at 7:00. We assemble in his studio and he says, "why have we called this meeting? What is this about?"

We remind him and on the meeting goes. He set the tone, kind of, with the start. At some point, he told Christi and I took keep a diary, so years from now when we try to remember details of the music scene, or a particular composer, we can go look at our journals and remember stuff. My blog, especially today, is dedicated to that vision. He also said, during an interview that will air tomorrow at 4:00, that peple who wanted to reminis about Lou Harrison could go to the Other Minds website to do so, because there would be kind of a memorial message board. Such a board does not currently exist. Christi does not work on Fridays. Really.

I got home at around 9:45 - 10:00, had a plate of noodles with canned pasta sauce (actually, bottled pasta sauce) and then typed away in my blog. Mitch would be concerned about the pasta, but my lunch was very healthy. There is a wonderful vietnamese restaurant near the OM office. I had string beans with tons of garlic and mushrooms and it came with a salad and wonderful soup (pinapple and vinegar were in it, as well as tamaters and tofu and other vegetable matter) and rice (ok, it was white rice) and an Imperial roll (this is a new phrase for me. It's a really long fried thing, similar to a spring roll, but bigger). It was great. Especially the soup and garlic beans. The thai place across the street from it also has excellent soup. The mission is a soup neighborhood. I just made that up. I'm tired. I'm grumpy. I want shepherd's pie and asparagus and artichokes for dinner, but I'm suffering for art.

tiffany is asleep, so I can't work on my symphony (this situation will persist until digidesign ships digi001 drivers for OSX). Phillip Glass only has time to write music in the mornings, so he would only write down musical ideas that came to him during morning hours and thus trained himself so that now he only has musical ideas in the mornings, or so he wrote in a book that I read. That's discipline.

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