Eclectic I

Friday, March 31, 2006

Technology journal week 5 Submission

Forum Speaker – Chris Williams

Chris Williams was formerly a Theatre Director and is now currently working as the producer of Radio Drama at the ABC.*1 This job entails taking care of the performance actors in the studio. He works collaboratively with an engineer.

For each new project a series of procedures occur. A script is solicited and commissioned, cast auditioned, chosen and then vigorously rehearsed. About 2 and a half-weeks are spent recording before the arduous post production.

The recording process is effectively Chris informing the Engineer the sound and feel he is after and the Engineer producing them. Microphones are picked based on what is being recorded. The studio is dampened to counteract any reverbrance within the space and feed the signal through EQ, Compression, analogue to digital converters, into a G4 Macintosh and Pro Tools, and finally into a DAT once it is complete.

Sound design work can occur at various stages. Sometimes it occurs independently of the recording of the work. The composer working from a brief of the script and feel wanted. This is not desirable due to inconstancy created by the lack of communication. Some times a copy of the vocals and sound regions are sent to the composer’s studio during postproduction. Most preferably, they try and get the composer actively involved in the studio while recording the piece.

Parts of various productions which Chris had produced such as “monologues to the apocalypse, *2/*3" or one that he was currently producing “The Letter S”. As an example of a much more musically based production, Chris finished the session with a collaboration piece with members from the “New Pollutants*4”

It was interesting to listen to how things came about. Personally though, I had greater interest in the collaborative piece with the new pollutants and monologues to the apocalypse. This is because I am more interested in the creative aspect of the production, rather then the technical approach to the outcome that Chris mainly talked about.

Workshop with David Harris

David played three pieces by John Cage*5 in this session. “Music For Carrilon” was written in 1954. It was a composition for bells that used the I Ching*6 method of chance in the compositional outlay of the piece. I found it interesting yet not very compelling.

“Williams Mix” was a tape piece written in 1952. 8 Tracks of quarter inch magnetic tape had a series of noises on them. These noises were divided into 6 categories of sounds. The sounds were then spliced together under Cage’s specific instructions to create an interesting timbre. Aesthetically this piece was brilliant. The effort spent in the 9 months spent to splice the tape together is evident in the quality of sound produced.

The Final piece played was 101 written in 1989. It was an untraditional orchestral piece. It used a “loose” style of notation with a variable choice as to when the musician played a certain note. It was slightly microtonal and most instruments were played unconventionally. It is another example of how cage's pieces break convention; however it requires a level of understanding to find enjoyment in the piece.

Audio Arts

This lesson we were introduced to studio 1. It is similar to studio 2. The main difference was the different mixer (the control 24.) The studio is there for larger recording ensembles. I ran through the set up procedure and I/O flow in my own time without any problems. It was also required to read the C24 manual, and online information about studio 1.

Creative computing.

I quick overview on organisational flags was given. Sample rate conversion was also quickly covered. Then we moved onto Spectral representation and the program “Spear.” From the lesson, the information on My Uni, and using Spear in my own time, I am quite excited about this type of sound analysis, resynthesis and manipulation.

*1 ABC Online 2006. (1 April 2006).

*2 Croggon Alison. “Monologues for an apocalypse” 2002. (1 April 2006).

*3 Radio National “Air Play Radio National 2001” Monologues from an apocalypse” 2006 (1 April 2006).

*4 The New Pollutants 2006. (1 April 2006).

*5 Pritchett, James. Kuhn, Laura. “Cage John Bibliography” Grove Music Online. 2006. (1 April 2006).

*6 Wikipedia. “Chance, John Cage Biography. Wikipedia. 27 March 2006. (1 April 2006).

Picture References (In order of appearance)

*1 Screen Shot of computer

*2 The New Pollutants media page 2006. (1 April 2006).

*3 Matt, Boynick. "John Cage" classical music pages. 10 October 2000. (1 April 2006).

*4 Deiter, Daniels. "Williams Mix Score. Media Art Net 2006. (1 April 2006)

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Technology Journal week 4 Submission

Workshop with David Harris

The First half of this workshop was an introduction to 4 modern composers who each have connections to Yale University in America. Jack Vees*1,
Ingram Marshall*2,
David Lang*3
and Michael Gordon*4. Each has distinct styles of composition. David Lang is even the co-founder of the popular musical festival “Bang On a Can.” A piece by each of these composers was played.

In the second half of the workshop, David Harris performed 3 of his compositions to the assembled technology degree students. The first of which was taking inspiration from the composer Jack Vees. “Throwing something into a machine to see what happens*5” was how Harris described this work; the machine in this instance being a piano. It was a high energy piece which revolved around a repeating pattern of small notes with an isometric rhythm*6. By holding down the sustain pedal the entirety of the piece, a vast coloration of overtones*7 and en-harmonics were created. The texture of sound was quite awesome to listen to.

The second piece was a recording of a composition for two violins. Via use of long glissando’s*8, Quarter tones and 6th tones, opposing rhythms and various other techniques, Harris quite clearly expanded on his early fascination with overtones. Although quite more advanced, I personally preferred the first piece over this one. The first piece had a lot more overall texture. While this one created interesting textures, they were a bit more sparse and “controlled.”

The final piece was a much earlier piece composed in honor of Pierre Boulez*9 attending the 1990 Adelaide Festival. Ironically the piece was actually homage to the composer John Cage*10. It was a minimalist piece which used very dissonant sounding intervals.

Audio Arts

A quick review on the I/O signal and bussing commenced the lesson this week. From there an expansion onto headphone monitoring and distribution followed. This was a pretty strait forward lesson, but something that obviously needed to be covered to help future studio use. I spent 15 minutes of my own time in the studio to ensure I understood it all. The readings were just a documented form of what we learnt. Although they could be useful to go back to if any problems arise.

Creative Computing

Sound editing for Pulse Code Modulation (PCM) formatted samples was the focus of this week’s class. Peak LE was introduced to the class as a main editor of PCM formatted samples. Some of the main problems with editing within the program and with using PCM sound files were addressed also. Artifacts from using a discrete representation of sound (such as clicks) were listed, and the ways in which to prevent them from according or fixing them should they arise was covered in great length. I am pleased that we are moving onto other programs next lesson as I used Peak LE last year.

*1Leasure Planet Music “Biographical Material” Jack Vees. 2005. (25 March 2006).

*2 Other Minds. “Ingram marshall” biography. 2004 (27 March 2006).

*3 Other Minds. “David Lang” Biography. 2004. (27 March 2006).

*4 Ryan, Norman/Artman Deborah. “Michael Gordon” Biography. March 2004. (27 March 2006).

*5 David Harris. “Music Technology Workshop.” Lecture Presented at University of Adelaide, 23 March 2006.

*6 Bent, Margaret. “Isorhythm” Grove Music Online. 2006.§ion=music.13950 (25 March 2005).

*7 Campbell, Murray. “Overtone” Grove Music Online. 2006.§ion=music.20615 (24 March 2006).

*8 Boyden, David.D./Stowel, Robin. “Glissando” Grove Music Online. 2006.§ion=music.11282 (24 March 2006).

*9 Hopkins, G.W./ Griffiths, Paul. “Boulez Pierre” Grove Music Online. 2006.§ion=music.03708 (25 March 2006).

*10 Pritchett, James. “Cage John” Grove Music Online. 2006.§ion=music.49908 (25 March 2006).

Picture References
(in order of appearance)

#1 google. "Jack Vees" google image search. 2006. (25 March 2006).

#2 Annie, Gossfield. "Ingram Marshall: todays music tommorow" New music box. 2005. (25 March 2006).

#3 Peter, Serling. "Composer: David Lang." 2006. (25 March 2006).

Friday, March 17, 2006

Technology Journal week 3 Submission

Technology Forum Speaker -Gordon Monro

Born on the 9th of August 1946 , Monro originally hails from a background in Science and Mathematics.*1 After attending a music technology camp in Sydney in 1989, Gordon developed his interest in the field. His interest was then encouraged and enhanced when he met and subsequently helped Ian Fredericks with a mathematical problem he was having with moving sound around in space.*2 From there he became affiliated with and then started studying music composition at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

For his Graduate Diploma in Composition, Monro constructed a real time video piece which utilised the reflection of laser light against mirrors. The light was then read as wattage and then via a Voltage to MIDI converter was used to control a granular synthesiser via the MIDI information. A camera recorded the effect of the red laser lights against the mirrors and a microphone recorded the granular synthesis via a DAT recorder. The final piece was the video with the backing of the recorded granular synthesis.

His latest composition is an audio visual piece entitled “evochord,” which uses what he describes as a “basic” algorithm.*4 The algorithm is designed to reject the 2 most dissonant sounds within the chord and then to mutate to find more harmonious sounds. Because some of the higher frequencies have been excluded from the “gene pool” this is fundamentally flawed The program is deliberately fundamentally flawed to keep itself from succeeding in this process, as to keep an interesting aesthetic of sound. The low, mid and high frequencies are represented by Red Green and blue squares which form a hexagonal shape. The speed of mutation is gauged by the movement of the squares within the hexagon.

He has done various other interesting things within the field of music technology, one of which being a co-organiser of the annual Australasia Computer Music Conferences.*5 Although I didn’t find him to be as inspiring as the last two speakers, I respect his contribution to the field of music technology and he has sparked my interest in algorithms.

Workshop with David Harris

This basically involved listening to two experimental pieces of music. Glen Branca’s*6 3rd Symphony and a sound poetry piece by composer Robert Ashley.*7 While both pieces were textured and quite interesting, I found Branca’s symphony astounding. The tones he created within the piece left me captivated.

Robert Ashley’s piece was a tape composition of him doing spoken work and then spicing the words back together at interesting intervals.

Blanca’s piece was 7 guitars being played with bows and 6 keyboards with strange tunings as to access 128 notes of the overtone series.*8 The result is a series of complex harmonies creating psycho-acoustically awesome beatings.

Audio Arts
This week covered the patch bays within studio 2. Old patch bays were handed around the class for a visual understanding of the system and a basic theory behind the type of patch bay connection used in studio 2 (Semi Normalised) and the other types of connections available. We were advised once more to go into the studio within our own time and gain a “hands on” understanding of how the patch bay worked. Ben Probert, and I ended up working as a team for this which worked really well. I feel I gained a much better understanding of the studio patch bay working with him, then if I had tried to figure it all out by myself.

Creative Computing

This lesson covered the theory behind sound files. More specifically the types of sound files available and the structure of them, (Namely the Header and the Source) were explained. The reading material set for this week was similar to last week in the way that it was particularly advanced, but there were still some interesting sections relating to Wave formats and types of compression.


*1 Monro, Gordon. “Australian Composer Biography” Gordon Monro. 2005. (17 March 2006).

*2 Monro, Gordon “Gordon Monro Biographical” Gordon Monro Informal Biographical Information. January 2005. (17 March 2006).

*3 Gordon, Monro. “various musical works by Gordon Monro” Lecture presented at University of Adelaide, 16 March 2006.

*4 Wikipedia free encyclopedia “Algorithm” Wikipedia. 16 March 2006. (18 March 2006).

*5 Monro, Gordon. “Australian Composer Biography” Gordon Monro. 15 March 2006. (18 March 2006).

*6 Gagne, Cole. “Branca, Glen.” Grove Music Online. 2006.§ion=music.42732 (18 March 2006).

*7 James, Richard. S. “Ashley, Robert.” Grove Music Online. 2006. (18 March 2006).

*8 Wikipedia. “Harmonic Series” Description of the harmonic series. 14 March 2006. (18 March 2006).

Picture References
(In order of appearance.)

#1 Gordon, Monroe. "Australian Composer Biography." Gordon Monroe Electronic Art and music. 14 March 2006. (18 March 2006).

#2 Joanne, Savio. "Robert Ashley." Lovely catalogue. 2006. (26 May 2006).

#3 Wild, Don, Lewis. "Glen Branca." 29 March 2006. (26 May 2006).

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Technology Journal week 2 Submission

Forum Speaker - Warren Burt

With a vast array of achievements and awards, Warren Burt’s cavalcade of projects and contributions to the electronic music world is nothing short of incredible. Born in 1949 Baltimore, Md. USA*1, he grew up taking part in a range of musical activities, including singing in church choirs, having private accordion and theory lessons and learning the flute in junior high school*2. According to Burt his musical career did not start until 1968 when he was 18 years*3, at which point in time he started studying musical composition at the State University of New York; Albany. One of the major highlights for Burt being that the university brought in actual composers for the students to apprentice with, including the likes of John Cage and Alvin Lucier. I am quite envious of him for this.

From there onwards becomes a challenge to summarise the mass of things Burt has worked upon. Many synthesisers have been built either in collaboration or individually by Burt. The majority of which were either modeled on the Serge modular synthesisers*4, moog synthesisers, or the series of “Aardvarks” synthesisers, which were unique ideas of his creation, used for various performance or installation pieces. “Aardvarks 4” for example was a digital electronic composing interactive synthesiser*5.

From composing a piece on a children’s animation program “Hollywood” based on a written work by Gertrude Stein*6 to designing and making tuning forks, each belonging to a 19 note to the octave scale based on Ancient Greek modes. (which were used with the Australian Choir Melbourne as means to have them instantly singing in Greek Modes.) Burt’s works are a constant amalgamation of seemingly childish and crass to ingenious and inspiring. This is part of an underlying concept to his works, the “both/and' situations are superior to `either/or' ones.*7”

His latest piece which was performed on Hindley street Adelaide on the 10 of March 2006, was an audio visual piece using algorithms generated by the program (which Burt co-created) “Art Wonk”

Burt has taken concepts and ideas of former contemporary greats such as “Cage” “Lucier” and “mathematical” greats such as “Xenakis,” to unique and unimaginable places. He has left me re-evaluating my ideals of aesthetic within music.

Audio Arts

Practical understanding of studio 2 was the focus of this weeks lesson. We were given a demonstration of how to set up a recording, and shown the signal path in which everything took by “mic'ing” up a radio and sending it through the mixer into “Pro Tools.” We were then set the task of repeating the process in our own time to ensure our capabilities. This proved to be an easy task and a class mate also showed me how to patch in the DP-4, which should prove to be a useful tool in the future.

Creative Computing

“Sound Preferences” and the “AMS” were the topics of the lesson this week. Although the class already had an understanding of these things from the readings set last week (and I knew from last year,) they were gone over in a practical manner with some basic note taking involved (mostly covering the IAC.) The readings set were some complex information relating to the Java code used within the Sound Preference and AMS setup.

*1 Unknown. “Warren Burt-Career highlights” A bibliography of Warren Burt. Unknown. (13 March 2006).

*2 NMA Publications Jenkins, John. “Warren Burt” NMA publications 22 contemporary Australian Composers. 2000. (13 March 2006).

*3 Burt, Warren. “A brief history of Warren Burt’s musical career.” Lecture presented at University of Adelaide, 9 March 2006.

*4 Grove Music Online. “Serge (Alexandrovich) Tcherepnin.” A bibliography of Serge (Alexandrovich) Tcherepnin. 2006.§ion=music.45587.3 (13 March 13, 2006).

*5 NMA Publications Jenkins, John. “Warren Burt” NMA publications 22 contemporary Australian Composers. 2000. (13 March 2006).

*6 Burk, Warren. Miss Furr and Miss Skeen. Mp3 sound recording. Found online at (13 March 2006).

*7 NMA Publications Jenkins, John. “Warren Burt” NMA publications 22 contemporary Australian Composers. 2000. (13 March 2006).

Picture Reference (in order of appearance.)

#1 Unkown. "Warren Burt." 2006. (26 May 2006).

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Technology Journal Week 1 Submission

Forum speaker Robin Minard

A pioneer in the world of Sound Installation, Robin Minard was born in 1953 Montreal Canada and began his industrious career studying music composition at the University of Western Ontario Canada. *1 Deciding it would help further his career as a composer, Minard moved to Berlin in 1984, where he encountered Muzak (“a type of Environmental music piped into public buildings in order to create a specific atmosphere or mood." *2) in railway stations and various other public arenas. Seeing this as what he described as a form of “behaviour control *3” he moved into the field of sound installation as a direct reaction and furthermore a direct challenge against Muzak. This makes me think of the giant T.V. at Adeladie station. I would like to do something simmilar as a reaction agianst that.

Beginning his journey with experimentation with sound in space, and how different sounds directly affected the sense of the space you are in through the use of a slow movement from low to high frequencies, he has continued to explore Installation Art up to the present day.

Minard has described Installation Art as something that “has a direct relationship to what the piece is and the space the piece is in. It is supporting the space with the piece, not the other way around. *4” This is exactly what he achieves with all of his Installations. From a Horticultural Installation which consisted of small greenhouses with speakers playing sounds from the surrounding environment whenever someone walked by, to placing 576 1-bit speakers in an abandoned swimming pool playing the same 1-bit noise at random intervals from random speakers.

His latest Installation “silent music” being showcased as part of the “2006 Adelaide Festival of Arts, Project 3 *5” is a series of small speakers arrayed so they resemble organic plant life. Played through these speakers at a soft and barely audible volume, are synthetic sounds that (like the actual speakers themselves) resemble a natural and organic environment. The result (deduced from attending the installation) is a “background” environment with a contemplative aesthetic. *6

Listening to Minard discuss his various works gave some interesting insight to a field I knew little about. It has also given me an appreciating ear for the sounds in the environment around me and the way the space in which I listen to things affects what I am listening too.

Audio Arts

This lesson served as an introduction to audio arts and gave an outline of the things that were going to be covered in the lesson and the assessment requirements. A brief tour of the recording space was given with the general rules that needed to be adhered such as “no food or drink in the recording space and mobile phones to be turned off in the recording space due to the electrical interference they cause with speakers etc.*7 ” Readings were also set as homework

Creative Computing

Similar to the “Audio Arts” lesson, this was just an introductory lesson with a general subject outline and a description of the equipment within the Macintosh Computer lab. The “no food or drink” rule was reiterated for the “Mac” Lab and readings were set.

*1 Canadian Music Centre. “Find a composer.” Robin Minard. 1988. (3 March 10, 2006.)

*2 Oxford University Press “Muzak.” 2006. (10 March 2006).

*3 Robin Minard. “Robert Minard and his history in sound Installation” Lecture presented at University of Adelaide, 2 March 2006.

*4 Robin Minard. “Robert Minard and his history in sound Installation” Lecture presented at University of Adelaide, 2 March 2006.

*5 Project 3 “Contemporary and historical electronic arts,
Sound, Video, Installation and Artist Talks.” 6- 26 March 2006. (10 March 2006).

*6 Minard, Robin. Quiet Music. Sound Installation. Adelaide Festival Centre Arts Space, Adelaide. 6 March 2006.

*7 Christian Haines. “The EMU recording space” lecture presented at University of Adelaide, 28 February 2006.

Picture Refrences (in order of appearance.)

#1 Unknown. "Robin Minard." 2006 (1 June 2006).

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Creation of Eclectic I

From this point onwards, "Eclectic I" has come into existence. Simply, "Eclectic I is a banner for all of my artistic endeavours pursued in their various incarnations. Mostly (but not entirely) centred on music and music technology and my study of. Starting right now at my humble beginnings as a first year Bachelor of Music Studies, Technology Major at Adelaide University.

This online record will hopefully serve as a means to associate and interact intellectually and professionally with a broad, like-minded community within this field.