Gordon's Progress Part 2

Posted: 11/19/2007 7:59:10 AM
Brian R

From: Somerville, MA

Joined: 10/7/2005

[i]Either I'm on the right track, or I'm completely delusional. I think its the former. :-)[/i]

Couldn't you be [i]both[/i]?

Seriously, though...

On the helicoptering whirly-pipes: in summer 2003, at a performance by Bang on a Can personnel and students in their summer fest at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (a.k.a. MassMOCA), there was a piece played entirely on self-made instruments.

The most elaborate was a device made by guitarist Mark Stewart, which looked for all the world like a bicycle-powered helicopter with too many, too floppy rotors. It was mesmerizing to watch and listen to: depending on the speed of pedaling, Stewart could create dense Ligeti-style organ clusters, or isolate consonant triads. The 'copter didn't [i]literally[/i] fly, but [i]conceptually[/i]...
Posted: 11/19/2007 8:04:47 AM

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

Both [i]and[/i] neither.

Ah, that reminds me of the whirlie-bot.

Posted: 11/22/2007 5:37:15 AM

From: Germany

Joined: 12/12/2006

Reg. Nags Head - your unplanned gig
... not only OK !... People liked it very much !!! AND i liked it very much too! Fantastic Gordon, it was a real pleasure to be on stage together with you.
Posted: 11/29/2007 7:38:31 AM

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

Oh yes, one other thing I learned at SW2. I am, it appears, in the words of Ann Shenton, "such a tart for the camera!"

She was referring to this video.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=OKN5y49mijs (http://youtube.com/watch?v=OKN5y49mijs&feature=PlayList&p=B68F743C56AD2787&index=1)

Something I've been wondering - do I fit into some sub-genre or other. I really don't understand the classifications, not particularly want to, but it would be nice to have an answer when someone asks what sort of music. Especially an answer which is accurate but leaves the recipient none the wiser.

[i]Why, I play neuromblient psychoboogaloo triptrock, my dear.[/i]
Posted: 12/30/2007 4:42:17 AM

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

Silence speaks volumes.

So, [i]neuromblient psychoboogaloo triptrock[/i] it is then.

I'm just about recovered from Christmas - spent most of it running a fever - shivers and sweats - not much fun.

I bought my theremins a couple of treats for Crimbles, For fun I got one of these - http://www.soundbug.biz/ - a little box that suction-cups onto a convenient flat surface and turns it into a loudspeaker. When I get my stuff out of storage and have the right cable to hand I'll be trying it on the theremin and will report anything interesting. One plan is to use an acoustic guitar as a sound-box and get some resonance going on the strings. Guitar also currently packed away during the building works.

And, hurrah, I got a reverb box. A Marshall Reflector (http://www.marshallamps.com/product.asp?productCode=RF-1). I chose it on the basis that I was well pleased with my previous Marshall pedal, both in sound and looks (I got used to it looking like a bootee for baby Frankenstein) and I'm well pleased with the result. I have no idea how it compares to other reverbs, but I like it a lot. I think it's pretty much a permanent addition to my effects chain. Certainly a lot better than the reverb built into my funky little amp. (Which I so want to upgrade now - I'm ready for a BIG sound. Pity my bank balance isn't. Ah, well.)
Posted: 12/30/2007 9:50:04 AM
Brian R

From: Somerville, MA

Joined: 10/7/2005

In my case, silence shouts: "Duhhh... I was crazy-busy, and somehow missed out on recent posts."

I'm no help on the subgenre question, but I absolutely share your feelings, as do most composers. Or at least, the ones worth listening to. In the words of Duke Ellington: "Defy categorization."

Years ago, I knew a composer who had come up with the formulation, "I write contemporary music for classical instruments," which fit precisely the criteria you describe. Maybe you could adapt that (if pressed for details about what [i]euromblient psychoboogaloo triptrock[/i] entails), by inserting the word "electronic" in the appropriate places.

Or, more entertainingly, you could trace the etymology, syllable-by-syllable, as if nothing mattered more in the world. Even more entertainingly, you could explain every syllable, but incorrectly (e.g., "EUR-, as in, 'belonging to you,' because I write it for you, my adoring fans; -OM-, to reflect its transcendence of space and time,...").

Posted: 12/30/2007 9:53:24 AM
Brian R

From: Somerville, MA

Joined: 10/7/2005

P.S. Soundbug looks awfully fun. I would suggest trying not only conveniently portable guitar, but also the sound of a piano with the damper pedal down (held there either by foot of obliging friend, or by friendly, obliging brick).
Posted: 12/30/2007 11:58:18 PM

From: Fresno, California USA

Joined: 3/26/2006

Ditto on the Soundbug looking like fun; it's an ingenious idea!
Posted: 1/1/2008 3:48:20 PM

From: Toledo, Ohio United States of America

Joined: 2/22/2006

Another Ditto on Brian R's piano soundboard idea. I would like to try that, myself.

Good Luck!

Posted: 1/19/2008 8:19:49 PM

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

If I should find myself near a convenient piano, I'll give it a go. I was minded to do that.

Now, as promised ages ago, having used the articulation regulator in anger - during the recording of Sonic Weekender 2, and now having the finished track in my possession, I can report on its efficacy.

Having mastered the technique of releasing and pressing the button to minimise "clickiness" (i.e. very quickly, straight up and down) it worked just fine. Any remaining clickiness was lost in the mix. It is not well suited to rapid runs of staccato notes - it would need a button with a very short travel for that. But for slower electronic beeps it is just fine. They survive the journey through my effects boxes very well. And it combines with other techniques to good effect. I did a sort of "stealth theremin" thing, starting with just very short beeps, not at all recognisable as a theremin, but with the same "stand out in a crowd" quality that the theremin has, then slowly lengthening them and adding a tiny bit of vibrato at first, then more, until at some point the astute listener will realise, "damn me, that's a theremin."

As a sort-of-related aside, I noted that Pamelia Kurstin achieved a similar effect by gating the output of her instrument - obvious advantage, no hands required - downside, you have to press a button with your foot to turn it on and off - rather hard to do mid-note. This can be heard on the piece Stockholm that she recently added to her mySpace profile.

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