Commission Music

Commission Music
Bespoke Noise!!

Wednesday, 11 February 2004

terrorist!

Apparently, the white house only offers audio archives of radio addresses delivered in the last year. (This one is very instructive: http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/02/20030208.html. what we without a shadow of adoubt know, or rather, maybe didn't know so well.) This gives me less material than I had wanted, since I was going to mine all the radio addresses since Sept 2001. I was thinking of writing to the whitehouse and asking them to send me a CD of the old addresses. I was trying to figure out how to phrase this so that they wouldn't figure out that i had artistic designs on the material or am registered Green. Also, since the web archives are all in Real format, I've been capturing them with Audio Hijack, which is time consuming and has the low quality associated with Real streams. But now I've got all the available radio addresses that mention "terrorist" or "terrorism" (but not just "terror") and it's 930 Mb of data. That's way more than a CD will hold and CDs are 74 minutes. Maybe I'll just work with what I have. ANyway, the low-fi could be nice.

not so shy

my shrink points out that people are normally shy approaching strangers and doesn't seem to think that there's anything wrong with me. I think she's going to cut me off soon. then i'll have to go back to whining to my friends.

acoustic awesomeness

but i did pay a compliment to a stranger today. I saw Mark Dresser play this evening and told him that his was the best bass playing that I'd ever heard. It was completely awesome. He's got a pickup behind the neck, fingerboard sort of part of the bass, you know that thingee that people press the strings against to play notes... (go music shcool terminology!) So it pickups both the note he's playing and the anti-note of the string left over. and he was doing this super cool finger buzz thing, where he intentionally didn't press the string hard enough and it made this great buzzing sound. His string tunings were toally wild. He started writing the piece by coming up with the tunings. Then he wrote themes in those tunings. then he played the score by improvising on those themes. I'm not sure whether he just ordered them in real time or played variations on them. When I grow up, I wanna play standup bass. this very morning, when Alvin's composition seminar was waffling about what ensemble we'll write for, Alvin threatened us, saying he would make us all write for solo bass. I think I'd be fine with that. If we get a string quartet,, I think I'll write a bass feature.

bass = good

and speaking of Alvin's class, we had a pianist come in to talk about John Cage's Music of Changes and play it. He played the third and the fourth books. Alas, his name is escaping me, but he is an excellent pianist. and I was thinking, as I was listening to it, about what made the piece what it was. Every moment in it is beautiful. It's a lovely piece filled with lovely and discreete (meaning totally seperated) events, which somehow blends togther into monotony. (i'm going to be burned at the stake like Joan of Arc by the music department. It's bad enough that I like Phillip Glass' new stuff.)

I read this book once about cartoon theory, which I can't remeber the name of or the writer, but it's pretty influential so far as comic books about the theory of comics go. and in it, they talk about using a lot of colors. Usisng a lot of red, for example, makes a bold statement. Or a lot of blue. Or a lot of yellow. or green. or whatever. But if you start using all of the bright colors, it starts to blend together somehow into grey. Or if you play too many frequencies at the same time, instead of getting the groovy complexness, it sounds like white noise. so what I think happens with Music of Changes is that you have to stay very much right in the present to enjoy it, because it is what it is while it's going on. Every moment is pointalistic and lovely. and i think if i try to perceive it in any way but on a moment-by-moment or event-by-event way, it's too complicated rfor my little brain and gets white-noisy.

However, the moments in it are so darn wonderful. I thinking of writing a program to generate some brass stuff based on the approximate algorythm that Cage used. But I think his timings are very virtuosically complex and are perhaps overburdening the player, so I want to combine the results with a performance algorthm invented by the total complexity guy. He wrote some pieces in the 60's that players could play at the same time, but not togther, so as to create complex textures but still be fun to play. Music of Changes is an amalgamation of 8 parts, with incredibly complicatred timing. In fact, the timing is integral to the structure of the piece. My poorly conceived knock-off would have N parts, but be much freer on the timing. because it would be neat to have something with so many beautious moments that doesn't take months to learn. and I want to write a brass ensemble piece, possibly as the second movement to my symphonic thingee

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