Lest we think that we weren’t warned about the perils of social media until too late, here’s Douglas Coupland (or, one his characters in Microserfs anyway) in 1993:
“The modern economy isn’t about the redistribution of wealth—it’s about the redistribution of time. Instead of battling to control rubber boot factories, the modern post-Maoist wants to battle for your 45 minutes of daily discretionary time. The consumer electronics industry is all about lassoing your time, not your money—that time-greedy ego-part of the brain that wants to maximize a year’s worth of year.”
A beta exploration of the upcoming Park pseudo live coding system.
The first in my new series of imagined sounds aboard a starship.
Rustle Works has a new collaborative project with: music videos! Here’s a new one Betsy Nagler created for my 2012 piece, “Alexander,” from the album Character Weekend 1. It draws on footage that we filmed at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
I’ve made a mobile-friendly web-based cheat sheet for the Disting mk4. The guide includes the ins, outs, and parameter values of each of the algorithms. In short, if there’s a chart in the manual, it’s in the guide. That is, it’s the basic info from the manual about each algorithm without the paragraphs of explanatory text. You probably don’t want to use this guide to get familiar with the Disting, but once you are, you might find it a handy reference.
There’s a few other minor bells and whistles, hopefully it’s all pretty self explanatory. Please let me know if you find any errors or have any suggestions. It’s brand new so there’s bound to be a bug or two…
I’m excited to announce that this Saturday, February 2, at the Live Code Lab event, I’ll be presenting a project I’ve been working on for some time.
Park is a modular composition and performance system developed for the Web MIDI API. It is an attempt to combine the conceptual simplicity of a modular-style step sequencer with the algorithmic flexibility of a live coding language. I realize that description is a bit dense and probably sounds like gibberish, but I promise it will make more sense as I release documentation and tutorials in the coming weeks. In short, it serves a similar purpose to a live coding system like Tidal, Chuck, or Sonic Pi, but without actual code. Follow my Instagram (@cnco) to see a series of teaser videos that I’ll be releasing throughout the rest of this week to give you a small taste of what Park is about.
And if you have time this Saturday, come to NYU MAGNET in Brooklyn to check it out. It looks to be a great day of talks, workshops, and performances. The event is free, but you’ll need to RSVP.
The Character Weekend, the trilogy of small sets of improvised solo piece that was my dissertation piece, are now up on the major streaming and download services.
Character Weekend 01:
Character Weekend 02:
Character Weekend 03:
1 Vox, Vol. 1, the EP I released on Bandcamp last December, is now up at all the major (and a bunch of minor) music streaming and download sites. Search your favorite service, or follow the links below.
(Psst, if you want to buy and download it, it’s cheapest on Bandcamp…)
The genesis of Tap Hear is rooted in a listening exercise I learned as an undergraduate studying music [redacted] years ago. At some point I was exposed to, or perhaps assigned, this task designed to open one’s ears to environmental sound.
Its effect on me was much more profound than I imagined it would be when I first sat down to try it. I found a nice place in the UC San Diego undergraduate library, got out my notebook and pencil, and prepared to sit and write down everything I heard for 15 minutes. I figured that would be plenty of time, but instead the experience was so unexpectedly interesting and enjoyable that I found myself wanting to continue after the time was up.
It’s hard to put myself in my state of mind from back then. I was young and just getting exposed to new worlds of interesting and unexpected music. It was music that sounded like nothing I had been exposed to growing up (this was long before the internet would provide easy access to the long tail of the music world and visits to Tower records could only take you so far…). Musician philosophers like Pauline Oliveros and John Cage were telling me to listen to the world around me, and after doing this exercise, I realized that that was a great idea!
For years I’ve looked back fondly on this formative experience, but I couldn’t remember exactly where it came from. Though I knew (or at least was pretty sure) it was from the writings of Pauline Oliveros, the exact source was lost to me until recently, when some helpful Facebook friends were able to quickly point me in the right direction. The instructions were simple:
Listen to the environment for 15 minutes or a longer but pre-determined time length.
Use a timer, clock or any adequate method to define this time length.
Describe in detail the sounds you hear (heard) and how you feel (felt) about them.
Include internal as well as external sounds.
You are part of the environment.
Explore the limits of audibility:
(highest, lowest, loudest, softest, most complex, nearest, most distant, longest, shortest sound)
That’s it. Just listen attentively in order to bring sounds that we generally ignore into focus. It turns out, when you give those sounds your attention, they become interesting.
There’s a good argument to be made that Tap Hear is technological overkill. All you really need is a pen and paper (or just your favorite notes app on your phone). Nevertheless, I’ve found it to be a useful tool that encourages me to spend some quiet time listening, and I hope that you will too. Either way, just find yourself a quiet space, and enjoy the music.
So find a spot, head over to Tap Hear, and listen!
 Pauline Oliveros, Software for People. Special thanks to Miguel Frasconi, Gascia Ouzounian, Ellen Weller, John O’Brien, Ellen Waterman, Jason Freeman and Daphna Naphtali for helping me ferret this out and suggesting additional resources. The Grand Prize goes to Gascia for being the first to suggest not only right book but the page number too. Honorable mention to John for being the first to suggest the book. Also thanks to all those in the undergraduate library at UCSD that afternoon sometime in the early [redacted]s for performing such a beautiful symphony.