October 2015 Newsletter

Formatted/Rich Text version: http://eepurl.com/bBb08L

This is the content of my most recent emailed newsletter. You can subscribe in the subscribe box just to the left of this text (if viewed on a computer) and to the bottom of the page if viewed on a mobile device. Or in the link above

Newsletter #9 – October 2015
Greetings!
Again, it’s been a while between newsletters. It’s also been a busy time: teaching, composing, and occasionally PhDing. It’s also a particularly busy weekend here in Australia, most of which I am not involved in. However, I will be at the New Music Network’s event at the Melbourne Conservatorium tomorrow (Saturday the 3rd of October). It appears that there are still tickets, so if you’re interested, then rad. Here’s the link – http://newmusicnetwork.com.au/series.html

I recently had the great pleasure of seeing a discussion between composer Aaron Cassidy and guitarist/artistic director of Elision Ensemble, Daryl Buckley, at RMIT here in Melbourne. It was a great pleasure to hear Aaron talk about his notions of non-grid rhythms, and his current work. This notion of non-grid rhythm in music is really interesting to me; the solution at present seems to be graphic scoring of sorts. But we’ll see how that pans out.

Also I wrote about a workshop I was thinking of hosting. Apologies to anybody interested in attending, but it wasn’t going to go ahead and then it did at short notice.

I have a few concerts coming up, some announcements regarding the annual Tilde festival, and other things. So read on!

Upcoming Performances/Presentations
All of this is available in condensed form on my website under events. http://www.vgiles.net

There are a few performances and other things coming up over the next few months. The things that are close at hand are this afternoon and tomorrow (2nd and 3rd of October, 2015) in Seoul, Korea, at the Korean Electroacoustic Music Society Annual Conference.

Alice Bennett will be giving a paper (that I co-authored) and performance using the SDMAS system that I have been developing over the last couple of years as part of my PhD research. It’s now quite functional, which is good, but more on that later.

I will also be presenting via Skype a paper co-authored with Roger Alsop, on algorithmic/generative data-based composition.

http://keams.org/emille/main_pc.html
October 7th: Dead Dirt, Duo Bennett/Giles
As part of a discussion on soil and gallery opening at Carlton Connect, Alice and I will be doing a performance of a new structured improvisation piece that I’m going to write over this weekend.

http://www.carltonconnect.com.au/dead-dirt/

October 13th: Solo Electronics, Hatch Contemporary Art Space
I will be performing at the opening of this exhibition/award ceremony at the Hatch Contemporary Art Space, Ivanhoe.

Some details here: http://www.banyule.vic.gov.au/Arts-and-Events/The-2015-Banyule-Award-Works-on-Paper

That’s the immediate future, as I know it. More in coming months!
Website Updates/Software Stuff
Over the last little while I have been updating my website to have a better menu system, and to make things like software/patches for pieces (such as the Duet for Flute and Computer) more easily accessible. As part of this I have been publishing things to GitHub, and now have links to that from the website.

GitHub is a software versioning repository thingy. Which is good. It means people can download, but also contribute/vary the projects. So that’s fun.

Most importantly, the SDMAS is there, ready to be attacked and improved by other people!

http://www.vgiles.net
http://www.github.com/vgiles
Calls/Tilde 2016
Work is progressing in the Tilde domain and has been for quite a while now. We have a really big announcement coming very soon, just finalising a few minor details, which we think is a gigantic step forward for our humble little festival. So stay tuned for that, and also follow the Tilde Facebook and Twitter for updates.

In the mean time though, we have three open calls for Tilde:

Expressions of Interest for Performances
Expressions of Interest for Collaboration
Call for Fixed Media

Pass it on/around! But please read the details/fine print.
Thanks!

That’s about it for me for this time. As always, feel free to get in contact via social media (http://www.twitter.com/VincentGiles || http://www.facebook.com/VincentGilesMusician), or email if you like.

Vince
Copyright © 2015 Vincent Giles, All rights reserved.

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Response: Daily Telegraph/George Brandis

Update: Brandis talks about his changes.  I don’t really have an opinion on it, it’s still a bit wishy-washy, but we’ll see how it pans out.

Disclaimer: I have never directly received funding from the Australia Council, and I am happy for people to correct my information if I get it completely wrong. This is very much an opinion piece, but I am attempting to ground it in easy-to-obtain evidence, or common-sense.

This morning, I read this article by Tim Blair in the Daily Telegraph (one of those silly Murdoch publications) with mild bemusement, and thought that it would be worth breaking the article down into sections and addressing some of the author’s points off the top of my head and with minimal research, especially as they seem to echo sentiments by some of my similarly-idealed friends and colleagues. I want to expend a similar amount of effort in responding to the article as it seems Tim spent writing it.

Original article: Creatives squeal as Arts Minister George Brandis turns off the artful dodgy tap (it makes me cringe slightly linking to Murdoch from my own website, but hey).

Also, quite obviously, this article is click-bait, and is – at least partly – a response in its own right to articles published via The Guardian and ArtsHub.

The article starts with this:

WE conservatives are meant to be the boring ones. After all, we’re obsessed with dull notions like financial security, predictable career paths and reliable investments. Yawn.

It’s quite worth keeping this opening in mind for the rest of the article, and here is the counterbalance:

And then there are our exciting friends from the artistic left, who care little for conservatives’ buttoned-down ways. They go wherever their creative impulses may lead, boldly exploring new visions and ideas, fearlessly challenging society’s assumptions and smashing complacency.

That’s the way things are meant to be, at least.

Does it seem as though the author is conflating art with politics just a little bit here? It does to me. The opening statement describes a political and social ideology as the ‘right’, and a kind of vague, new-age pseudo-religious view of… well, I’m not entirely sure what, but it seems somewhere between a political and social ideal and an observation of artists? It’s a bit hard to tell. In any case, whatever it is, it is the description of the ‘left’ with which we move forward.

But arts minister George Brandis has discovered a brilliant way to convert unconventional creative types into timid, pleading defenders of the status quo.

Brandis accomplished this by the simple means of putting himself between artists and their supply of tax-funded Australia Council grants.

In last week’s Budget, the minister revealed he would subtract $100 million from the council to establish a separate grants pool, to be dispersed by the ministry rather than the usual stupid luvvies.

So much modern art aims to stun and appal for the sake of it. Considered as a piece of performance art, Brandis’s move wittily inverts this approach. Now the artists are stunned.

Here, I think, is a kind of contention to this whole thing. That, in the view of the author and like-minded folks, art-for-art’s-sake is no good, and that Brandis, in a political (or social?) move of genius, has subverted the established roles of peer-review in the arts in favour of something that we don’t really know yet, but it will certainly not ‘favour’ art-for-art’s-sake like the Australia Council does. Or something. Still a bit unclear.

“Australia’s arts industry is in shock after a dramatic intervention by minister George Brandis,” read one review at ArtsHub, “Australia’s leading portal for professionals working within the arts”.

The review continued, deliciously: “As news of the radical shake-up filtered out, dismay and confusion spread throughout Australia’s tight-knit arts community.”

Just how tight-knit is that community may be judged by the grants doled out through the Australia Council, which is basically a multimillion-dollar tax playpen for various closely interwoven artists and arts groups. If the Australia Council and recipients were connected genetically rather than financially, recent generations would just be big bunches of hands.

Which might be an evolutionary advantage, given the primary activity of our art-for-the-dole participants.

This is roughly where the cherry-picking and attempted research begins. Brandis’ ‘reversal’ of expectations are ‘pointed out’ in an article from ArtsHub; that artists and creative-folk are in shock instead of being the shockers. There is a lot in these statements, none of which makes much sense. The first is that somehow, the small-to-medium-sized arts organisations, and individuals, from which the funding was pulled are ‘in with’ the Australia Council, effectively tying up all the available funding so that all the other independent artists can’t get any. Ignoring the fact (made later) that the large organisations such as Opera Australia, the Symphony Orchestras, and so on, have been left unaffected by the funding rearrangement and are, in fact, far more ‘in with’ the Australia Council than the small-to-mediums and independents. It also completely (and conveniently) ignores everything to do with peer-review, implying that there are a bunch of people – always the same people – who dish out grants to their friends. This particular attitude is one that quite a few people seem to harbour, and one that is completely false. Peer-review is not a perfect system, but it’s as close as we have.

The Australia Council website has some details on how their peer-review system works, and though it does not say that the reviews are blind, it is very clearly stated that applications are made against assessment criteria (which are available for viewing in every grant category), and they (AusCo) have the following principles of peer-review:

  • Only information about applications relevant to the selection criteria should be discussed in the deliberation.
  • The convenor should be firm but fair in managing the discussion, and ensure that all voices are heard.
  • Peers should not assess on a panel where there is identified conflict of interest.
  • If an unforeseen conflict arises in deliberation, the peer must identify the conflict and not assess that application.
  • Australia Council officers have roles in supporting the peer assessment process and providing relevant advice and information to peers, but do not give opinion on the merit of individual applications.

I have taken the liberty of bolding the two parts that are important for people to understand, and I would like to point out that even if someone is seen as favouring, the role of statistics and common agreement by the panel means that no individual reviewer voice is more prominent or potent than any other, which means that unless the entire panel agree – against the assessment criteria – that the favoured proposal is worthy of funding, then it won’t really count for much.

This entirely does away with the argument that Australia Council favours their friends, and I’ve not even talked about the fact that anybody can apply to be on the peer-review list.

Tim goes on to try and reinforce his vaguely outlined initial point (of right vs left wing-political persuasions):

In the Guardian, Marxist “arts practitioner” Vanessa Badham denounced Brandis’s change. “In a free and fair society,” she wrote, “there exists the necessity for a culture to express itself — and experiment with that expression — without interference of the state.”

This sounds like a fine argument against tax-funded art, but what Badham means is that the government should just hand millions of dollars of your money to artists and then step aside. That’s the way it’s always been. Change is scary and bad.

First up, the obvious pot-shot at Badham by using scare-quotes around arts practitioner to imply that, at least to the author, Badham is anything but an arts practitioner. Then, to go on and say that it’s an argument against tax-funded art? I don’t follow the logic, and I certainly don’t follow the logic of the subsequent statements about the government stepping aside. He goes on:

“I spoke directly to arts practitioners located within companies across the sector for background for this article,” Badham went on. “Although reaction was one of ‘nervousness, apprehension, concern and actual fear’, not one agreed to speak on the record.”

When you breed a spineless movement of grant-dependent tax sucklings, that is not an unexpected outcome. Former Australia Council chair Rodney Hall was devastated by the change. “The Australia Council was set up with great care by Nugget Coombs in 1968,” he told the ABC. “Central to his concern was to bypass the possibility that the public money could get into the hands of a very few people dishing it out to their friends.”

As a definition of the current Australia Council, Hall’s line is difficult to beat.

Spineless, grant-dependent tax sucklings eh? Obviously the author does not actually understand what and how the Australia Council (and other funding organisations) attempt to work, particularly at an independent level: that is, they attempt to fund projects and outcomes that lead the artist into a self-sustaining career, which is just like small business startup grants and the like. This particular attitude (and ignorance) is pervasive, and shows a great misunderstanding of the ambition of the Australia Council. In fact, this idea basically conflates independent practitioners and small-to-medium companies with the large companies. It also conveniently ignores all statistics about the economic benefits of the arts industry, which I will talk about a little later.

There is also the ‘definition of the current Australia Council’, as ‘… to bypass the possibility that the public money could get into the hands of a very few people dishing it out to their friends.’ Again, this misdirected notion on how peer-review works (which I suspect is equally misunderstood for scientific and other fields), and particularly how the Australia Council review process works, which I already talked about.

The next section is great, and I will – off the top of my head – discuss a couple of the projects directly. I’d also like to point out that the author has cherry-picked funding from the projects category, ignoring pretty much every other funding category that the Australia Council offer. Let’s also ignore the fact that these funding quantities in comparison to the overall budget/tax payer contributions are insignificant and, let’s also ignore the fact that the budget is not purely from tax. People who argue this seem to ignore that entirely. Also artists pay tax on the grants they receive in line with the rest of the taxation laws.

Also, according to Hall, the Australia Council’s “proudest achievement” has been to “make it possible for artists of all kinds to pursue their profession at home”.

Some achievement. Let’s check some recent Australia Council grant approvals and the amounts they cost:

• “The story of a girl, a bird and a teapot.” ($34,672)

Hm, no context here.

• “Enriching my sensory theatre practice with master classes and mentoring in Body Mind Centering praxis.” ($12,000)

This looks like the exact kind of grant that works toward a self-sustaining career as an art practitioner, which is, according to the definition of the ‘right’ given at the start of the article, a good thing? It means that less and less grants would be awarded as the practice became self-sustaining.

• “Dance theatre work devised by participants who identify as fat/large/bigger-bodied.” ($20,000)

I’d be interested to see how much this work turned over in profit, but I suspect given that it was selling out, that it was substantially more than the $20,000 grant awarded to put the thing on in the first place. I’m also fairly sure this work was put on by a larger company, not a single independent.

• “An interactive food-based performance event sharing migrant/refugee mothers’ migration experiences.” ($35,000)

Cool, sounds good. Sounds like exactly the kind of public art that needs to be talked about, especially in this political climate. Isn’t suppressing this kind of work pretty much what Brandis is attempting to do? To quell dissent against the poxy policies of the current government? It certainly appears so, but we will have to wait and see.

• “Traditional rainforest basketry training programs.” ($21,360)

Again, this seems like an up-skill towards a sustainable career. Good investment, kinda like Uni, but all the stuff you can’t learn at Uni.

• “Development of a new work exploring fictitious dance histories and conspiracies.” ($8796)

Sounds great. 

• “Establish an independent arts practice that can sustainably produce puppet-based visual theatre.” ($8064)

Excellent! It is all encapsulated in the title: ‘… establish an independent arts practice that can sustainably produce…’; good investment as well! Business startup, viva la capitalism.

The list goes on and on. Actor Jessica Clarke picked up $9960 to “develop my classical actor skillset, grow my networks and develop a sustainable arts practice”. What this means in practice was revealed in a subsequent Twitter message from Clarke: “Off to London today thanks to my Art Starts grant!”.

Frankly, it’s just getting a bit ridiculous now. This person gets an Art Start grant to become self-sustaining through additional training and network development, presumably through international channels and opportunities unavailable in Australia, and this is a bad thing? Clutching at straws and belittling the very notion of a capitalism-based entrepreneurialism that the author (and others of his kind) seem to be in favour of. Bizarre double-think.

The finest grant of them all occurred in 2011, when Sydney artist Denis Beaubois received $20,000 from the Australia Council. Beaubois simply piled the cash into two stacks, put a glass box around it and called the resultant piece “Currency”. The arts grant and the art were one and the same.

Then he put the money up for sale at an auction — where someone actually paid $21,350 to buy $20,000. ‘’The money I make will be used to finance part two of the project, which is a series of performance/video works on the division of labour, and capitalism,’’ Beaubois said at the time.

There is a much easier way for Beaubois and all Australian artists to study capitalism, and that is by participating in it.

The Australia Council should be shut down, along with just about all arts funding. This would save close to $700 million per year and — absolutely guaranteed — would result in better art.

No return to contention, no coherence, and not even much to say with any basis in reality. The art created in this last example seems like something I don’t think I would like, but so what? And arguing that artists should study capitalism by participating is utterly absurd, as all artists a) pay tax and b) are engaged in capitalism through their work. And finally, ‘better art’ according to the author? What is that, and how, exactly, would this happen without government funding? I have no idea, and I’d wager he wouldn’t either.

Two last points from me:

I think that public/private co-funding is a great idea, and should happen more here than it already does. The Impuls festival/academy that I have been to twice is an example – from Austria – of this working exceptionally well. It must cost a lot of money to put on, and the partner list is gigantic. But public funding is a necessity, culturally and economically. The economic and cultural value is fairly well-documented. For instance, this particular set of statistics shows that: ‘In 2009-10, Australian households spent $15 per week on arts-related products, equating to approximately $6.5 billion economy-wide.

Wow, and commentators are quibbling over a hundred million over four-years? Increase the funding, I say, via the Australia Council (and philanthropy), and I’d wager that this figure would increase substantially.

There are a number of interesting articles about the economic benefit of the arts (including publicly funded arts), so here are two:

Report of the Review of Private Sector Support for the Arts in … (PDF, Victoria only)

“As a result of its links in the economy, the arts and culture sector contributes $11.4 billion of annual Victorian GSP and around 110,000 Victoria full-time equivalent jobs in 2010-11 terms.”

“It is estimated that government funding of the arts and culture sector in 2010-11 stimulates around $340 million more GSP and 3,500 more Victorian full-time equivalent jobs, than if the funding had been used elsewhere.”

General creative sector economic contribution

Interesting overview of the sector

AFR opinion on increasing art funding

In any case, I think that the author and those who hold similar ideals are really just wilfully ignorant.

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ABC Classic FM – New Music Up Late

In this politically bizarre time, full of funding cuts, disinterested politicians, and an anti-evidence culture, it is important to support things that deserve supporting. In this case, the ABC Classic FM program New Music Up Late.

I urge anybody reading this, if they have not already, to sign the petition (linked at the bottom), even if it doesn’t amount to achieving anything. On the page for the petition is also the email addresses of the ABC management involved in this decision making, and I urge people to seriously consider emailing these folks directly in support of NMUL.

Here is the email I just sent, which also serves to outline why I think it’s important that this radio program stays on air:

Dear x,

I am writing to you with great concern over the future of the radio program New Music Up Late, which I understand is set to no longer broadcast in 2015, with its content being moved to digital versions instead. I must implore you and the rest of the ABC management not to do this, for a number of reasons which I will outline below.

– New Music Up Late supports Australian composers & creators of art music.

Why does this matter? Because the majority of the airwaves that deal with art music – particularly on a national level and much like our institutions – are preoccupied with the music of long-dead European men. There is not a single other music on the planet that is as concerned with the music of dead forebears, especially with such geographically limited dead forebears, as the “Classical” institute. New Music Up Late is therefore an incredibly important program that contributes to the cultural profile of our country and the art music that is made here, and Julian does an excellent job of researching and presenting this aspect of new music.

– New Music Up Late supports new music.

Why does this matter? This should be fairly obvious, but Mozart was once new and scary, so was Beethoven, Wagner, Tchaikovsky and so on. I strongly believe that more new music from all around the world should be included on ABC Classic FM and every other broadcaster of art music, but that NMUL and its ilk are the most important platforms for the presentation of music by living composers from around the world. As in the above point, if we keep worshipping the dead, we will never acknowledge the genius of the living.

– Not everybody has, or wishes to utilise, the internet

By making the content accessible online only, you will preclude huge swathes of the population from accessing this new art. There are, believe it or not, people who live outside of the metropolitan regions and do not have, or do not use the internet for radio. Often radio is the only means people have of engaging with the music of our time and our country, to deny them this is akin to telling them that they don’t actually exist.

Despite your budget cuts, I implore you not to cut out the music of our time and place from the national broadcaster. Have a look at the celebration of intellectual and artistic output that occurs in many parts of Europe in relation to modern, living art. The ABC, and the nation as a whole, should be doing more than it currently is, not less. By removing NMUL from broadcast you and the other managers at the ABC are reinforcing a culture of devaluation of art in Australian society that is seriously misplaced.

Sincerely yours,

Link to petition: https://www.change.org/p/mark-scott-keep-new-music-up-late-on-abc-classic-fm-radio

Link to another open letter, from the Australian Music Centre:
http://www.australianmusiccentre.com.au/article/open-letter-to-abc-management#comments

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News 13/6/2014

This is a general news update to highlight some of the things that I’ve been doing, and will be doing, in the coming months. No doubt I’ll remember to write about the events in more detail as they draw closer.

First up is a couple of website updates. The first is a couple of modifications reflecting more recent work in the scores section; they are the Duet for Flute and Computer and Abandoned Space: A Portrait in Miniature. The latter was recently performed for the second time by the dissonArt Ensemble, for whom it was written, at the Swiss Contemporary Music Festival. The miniature has been included in a larger work called The Gesture of Relationships and the Relationships of Gesture, a trio for flute, clarinet and piano which was part-written for Melbourne trio Faux Foe, and premiered at an intimate house-concert in May, 2014.

The second site update is a new calendar system for upcoming events. I’m still working on it, attempting to get it to show a stream of upcoming performances rather than a daily calendar. This allows me to administer my upcoming performances/concerts of my work/other public things through iCal, which is incredible convenient.

Asides the Swiss Contemporary Music Festival performance noted above, I have also just received word that my piece Mozart Variations is to be performed at this concert:

I’m not sure what form the work will take, as it is an indeterminate work, but I’m completely thrilled by this news. It’s one of those pieces that I wrote because I wanted to without any performers in mind, in fact, when I started writing it I didn’t intend it to be performable at all, but as it developed I started running through performative interpretations of it in my head and started thinking that while it makes a wonderful wall display (if I may say so), it would also make a fascinating piece. So this will be the world premiere of that work. It’s very exciting.

I’m slowly working to fulfil a commission by the John Mallinson Youth Band for youth wind ensemble and professional soloist. The soloist in question will be the wonderful Peter Sheridan, and as the work is developing, I am hoping that both he and the rest of the ensemble are challenged and excited by the work. In particular, I’m hoping to show these young musicians what can be possible on an instrument. More news on this as it develops.

I’ve also been commissioned to facilitate the Portland edition of Let Me Count The Ways, which I started back in may. I’ve had to put the concluding part and exhibition back by over a month due to unforeseen circumstances that were beyond my control. However, the new dates for the conclusion of the project are the 28th of July to the 3rd of August. I’ll post an update to the project website shortly. The great news here is that there are plenty of opportunities for people who may have been away for the original dates to be present and for more contributions to come through!

In late September I will be installing a sonic art work at the University of Melbourne, Parkville, in the Systems Garden. The exact realisation of this work I will keep secret for the moment, but the show is curated by Art History PhD candidate Aneta Trajkoski in conjunction with the George Paton Gallery, and will include my work in the garden and two sound works in the main gallery. More information as it comes to light.

Finally, I’m involved in a project by my old composition teacher, Peter McIlwain, tentatively called The Digital Musicbox. You can see a video about it in its early stages: http://vimeo.com/97908122

That’s it for now, more news as it develops on all of these fronts. Somewhere in there I became a confirmed PhD candidate at the Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne, and that in its own right has a bunch of news attached to it. But another time.

-Vince

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Delay line fun – vg.holycrap, M4L Device

It’s been a while since I wrote anything here. But I can assure you, my dear reader, that I have not been idle.

This little post is about a Max for Live object that I made quickly this afternoon as a bit of fun to help Alice Bennett out in her Project 365.

vg.holycrap

 

There are a bunch of controls in this thing, and two outputs. But none of that should be intimidating. To go through the controls we have a metronome on/off switch and duration control (top left), under that is a graphical envelope creator. To the right of that, the top line is the five delay line times (which have a maximum of 1500ms, though I’ve not set that – oops), under which is the filter frequencies. This is a onepole~ low pass filter, and corresponds directly to the delay line above it. Finally, below that is two oscillator frequency selections, which drive saw tooth wave modulators within the delay loops of delay 1 and 3. The metronome and envelope affects (at the specified metronome interval) the fifth delay line, and this delay is what goes out the right live.gain~ object. The left live.gain~ object is the sum of all the rest of the delay lines.

I’m sure there are bugs, and if anyone modifies/improves/uses please let me know! Some of the sounds are pretty interesting and it kind of goes on its own evolutionary path.

Enjoy, and download here, and listen here (or in the big thing below!)

For the curious, I’ve also added two more work previews in the scores section.

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WB12: Le tableau Étude Café Cuisine

Or…

“The Kitchen Table Cafe Study”; a completely preposterous title for a piece that was a lot of Sunday-fun to create. My previous post about the drum rack explains the instrument I made to create the piece. Here is the piece! Ultimately I’m working towards highly performative sample sets of constrained sounds, so that it can be (reasonably) conventionally scored and then performed. Although I intended this piece to be scored, I simply ran out of time to get it done, so it’s all done with Live. Nonetheless, it was a fun exercise in creating complex rhythmic and tempo relationships in Live, which was something I’d done before!

Here is a link to the piece.

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Cafe Sample Pack/Drum Rack (Ableton Live)

This is my first attempt at exporting an instrument I’ve made from Live, and I’ve not actually tested it, so I hope it works. This collection of samples are all 1.5 seconds long, with the idea being that if you use MIDI to make it shorter, well, it will be shorter. Now what would be cool would be if, using M4L, I could trigger specific parts of the sample as well. But that’s a challenge for another day, or most likely year.

So, the drum rack is loaded up from G2 to A3 (bass clef, no ledger lines) with reversed versions of the samples, and from E4 to F5 (treble clef, no ledger lines) with the non-reversed samples. This is to facilitate easy realisation of written scores using the software, to explore complex rhythmic relationships and whatnot. I will be posting an example of what I did with this pack tomorrow.

Anyway, if anybody modifies or uses it, please let me know. I’d like to see/hear what people do with the pack. I anyone modifies the pack/samples, I’d appreciate if you sent the pack back to me so I can have a play with it!

Download Live Pack Here

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Transmoglifier – Max for Live device (and WB week 6-11 summary)

Morning!

I’ve been terribly slack updating my weeklybeats progress, but I do have a good excuse – I’ve been busy.

I’m going to start with my most recent WeeklyBeat, as that is really the subject of this entry. Week 11 is called Transmoglification, because inventive names is totally my fortissimo. It’s a ukelele played through a Max patch, that explores very rapid delay-line feedback systems and frequency (in the time domain) transpositions. The effect I was going for was something akin to turning a ukelele into an Indonesian gamelan instrument. It worked somewhat, but the effect is really fun. I daresay such an effect already exists, but I’ve been wanting to port my Max experience over to Max for Live for a while, just haven’t really had the motivation to do so. So, anyway, here is the result of that experiment:

WeeklyBeats Week #11: Transmoglification

And here is the Max for Live object.

I’m still learning this stuff, so if anybody improves the patch, or re-writes it more efficiently, do let me know and please send me the updated version so I can learn, too! Similarly, if anybody uses the device for some work, I’d love to hear it!

On to an inverse-chronological rundown of my other recent WeeklyBeats.

Week 10: TOHV – APATHY

This is a fairly rushed track that took my piece Sycophantic Lovers (see below) and subjected it to a stochastic, granular re-performance through the Sector iPad app.

Week 9: Quick, Save Wilma!

A quick piece I threw together using prepared acoustic bass guitar. Improvisation, single take. Was quite an enjoyable experience!

Week 8: Movement Study #4 (Glitch #3)

A stochastic, granular re-performance of my piece Movement Study #1, using the Sector iPad app.

Week 7: Sycophantic Lovers

The third (and final) set of pieces using the oldest known human voice recording as the sample material for the generation of all sounds.

Week 6: What Will I Do?

The second of three pieces using the oldest known human voice recording as the sample material for the generation of all sounds.

And that concludes the recent WeeklyBeats wrap-up. As always, questions, comments, etc are welcome via Facebook or email.

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Instruments and Collaborators wanted!

As part of my WeeklyBeats output this year, I am hoping some people might have some stringed instruments that I can borrow for at least a couple of days. Things like ukeleles, banjos, violins, small harps, etc. so long as it’s portable and able to be carried on a train. Please get in touch if you have something I can borrow! I’ll look after it.

I’m also hoping to collaborate with people who play instruments or sing! The only real criteria is that the instrument is portable (trains, etc) and that the performer can improvise outside of a jazz/pop context/style. I’d like to have one collaborator per week. Down the track it would be great to release the works we create as an EP or album though!

So get in touch if you can offer me an instrument and/or collaborate! I’d love to hear from you. I will give more details about the works I am conceiving of upon contact.

Cheers,

V

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La Première Voix Humaine (WeeklyBeats 5)

I did not write about last week’s effort, I think mainly because I couldn’t be bothered and wrote about it in the submission itself.

Here it is.

On to this week’s effort. I had a great deal of fun with this, particularly getting in to using Live again for something other than quickly mixing stuff after creating it. A couple of weeks ago I decided to do a piece, or series of pieces, that use the first known human voice recording as the exclusive material for sound generation. It was also an opportunity to test Live’s transcribing capabilities (which I must say are pretty incredible given the audio quality of what I was using). It took quite a bit of playing around with the piece to develop something I liked, and I used the process to try playing without MIDI, loading all of my pre-generated tracks into session view and slicing them up.

I liked the result, and I liked the ability to create rhythmic identity across multiple parts using side chain compression, which is really what this post is going to be about.

The Creation of Motivic Unity Using Sidechaining

Despite the fact that this piece has melodies and harmonies derived from the original source file, the thing that I think provides the most unity is the rhythm. This effect is probably not new at all, and is probably used by countless other composers/producers/artists, but it was new to me and I’m pretty stoked to discover it (for myself).

In the first iteration of the piece, I put a fairly heavy amount of compression on one of the chord tracks to cause it to “duck” whenever the drum part sounded. The bass drum is the loudest drum part so the effect is the most obvious when it fires. This is not new or really even that interesting, as a technique. When I exported the chord track for slicing and performance in the new set, it retained its rhythmic ducking quality to create, in its own way, a piece of motivic material that relates to the rest of the track. Nice effect! But not any different had I not exported all the source material.

I then used a gate with side chain on an un-ducked chord track, again activating from the drums. This created a second iteration of the rhythmic motive developed previously. The result is that, at different parts of the piece, this rhythmic motive comes back, either in the drum part (in conjunction with one chord part) or in the previously generated but otherwise un-affected chord part.

Kinda neat I thought.

Again, here’s a link to the piece.

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