Monday, October 8, 2018

Blog Week 4

Heather posted this one already:

I think what I like most about Cornelius's live approach (and to a lesser extent his recorded music) is how much he emphasizes the interplay between performers/instruments. Nothing is out of place, and everyone has a distinctive voice. Our group has a lot of performers in it, and it would be cool if we could get this specific kind of togetherness.

I recently discovered this piece for voice and tape by composer and performer Alex Temple. Her music, while heavy with culturally associative tropes, also consistently defamiliarizes them, which seems like something potentially useful for this project.

This album is really interesting. It does a lot of what the Alex Temple piece does – by defamiliarizing the fragments of sound used through collage, it takes very familiar timbres (like the folky vocals and banjo lines) and puts them in a sort of acousmatic free-fall.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Blog Week 4

Our group has been discussing the idea of blending various musical styles in the piece that we create. Accordingly, I found these three pieces by contemporary artists which combine disparate influences into cohesive wholes.

This first piece covers a lot of ground, starting with a contemporary classical and almost minimalist aesthetic (choice of instrumentation contributing heavily to this as well). The introduction of a saxophone 'soloing' over the chord changes around 1:30 starts to shift the mood into a more jazz-like feel. At 2:10, the last thing one would expect to hear is a rapper - and yet here one is! The closing section of the piece is much more relaxed, featuring a lyrical vocal soloist - again another shift in terms of style/mood.

This is a rather interesting piece from electronic artist Bo-En, that alternates back and forth between a waltz-like theatre/cabaret aesthetic and a driving EDM groove. Instrumentation again plays a big difference in outlining the style changes, as it moves from 'orchestral' to electronic and back again. 

This last piece by the Australian band Hiatus Kaiyote combines progressive jazz fusion with chiptune or 8-bit music. The chiptune sounds are gradually introduced over the course of the piece until the last 45 seconds, where an entirely 8-bit rendition of the piece's main theme occurs. 

Blog Week 4

This piece composed by Iannis Xenakis and performed by Ayano Kataoka I think is a great source of inspiration to draw from.  It really demonstrated how percussion can create many sonic textures as well as create a distinctive mood.  By being able to listen to and identify what Danielle is creating in her improvisations, the rest of the group will be able to contribute to unifying the piece.

This video shows a dancer, Kaiji Moriyama, who was part of an installation in which his movements controlled a piano.  The project combines the art of dance with technology in a way where the final product is both generative and artistic.

My inspiration for our piece has been influenced a lot by several performances I saw executed by Eivor.  The instrumentation and overall presentation of the piece my group ends up creating will be much different, but general aesthetic of her performances I think are a great source of inspiration to draw from.  Her voice is incredibly lyrical and pure, combined with traditional percussion, and they do a great job of introducing electronic elements into the piece.  This makes it so the audience is originally presented with something familiar and their expectations are challenged throughout.

Oct. 9 Guest Artist: Eliot Gray Fisher

Next week, we'll be joined by Eliot Gray Fisher, co-director of the Austin-based transmedia performance group ARCOS.

"ARCOS' mission is to experiment rigorously to discover adventurous new forms of contemporary performance—especially by integrating overlapping layers of newer and older technologies in ways that question dominant understandings of the world, explore moments when cultures collide, and examine the turbulent processes of traditions in flux."

In other words, right up our alley.

Everyone should take a few minutes before next week to check out some of their work here:

Guidelines for Critique

Here is an attempt to summarize and distill our Week 2 conversation about Critique.

1. Ask the presenter(s) questions:
  • “What do YOU want to know / hear about?”
  • “What are you hoping the audience will take away?”
  • “What was the inspiration?”
  • “What was your process?”
  • “What were you happy/unhappy with?”
  • “If you changed [x], what would happen?”
  • “Where is it headed next?”
2. Revisit our discussion guidelines, especially:
  • Be aware of disciplinary knowledge and conventions.
  • Be constructive. 
  • Qualify your statements as opinions or ideas.
3. Rather than dwelling on shortcomings or incomplete elements, make productive suggestions of new/different avenues to explore, or next steps. Try statements like:
  • "I could see [x] happening next."
  • "You could think about exploring [x]."
4. Make connections:
  • "This makes me think of [x], which could serve as an inspiration." 
5. Bear in mind that technique might not be easily fixed or changed. "You need to practice harder" or "play better" isn't particularly useful. 

6. Avoid "coded" critiques. Say what you mean.

7. Consider diverse parameters of the work:
  • Texture
  • Compositional development
  • Harmony
  • Melody
  • Presentation of the performance
  • Logistical aspects
  • Media environment
  • Sounds /timbre (instrumental and electronic)
  • Mix / Frequency range
  • Balance of ‘dry’ / ‘wet’ 
  • Artistic concept  -- musical ideas
  • Technical approach
  • Relationship between the technical and artistic motivations 

Week 4

My first video is Dan Deacon, a creative and cool electronic, techno-ish artist. I knew about him before but being in this class made me want to revisit, and hopefully emulate his work. I love how he has his entire setup condensed into one portable little desk.

On the first day we met, our group decided to share as much music as possible. This song was showed to me and it is completely nuts. Its heavy and industrial but involves lots of found sounds. The music video is also insane and very inspiring to create a more visual aspect to a possible electronic piece.

In addition to the last song, this classical piece was showed to me. I hope to combine all these elements within the group.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Blog Week 4

While brainstorming ideas for pieces, a recurring theme we came up with was centered around using a body of text and language. Especially with access to the Vocaloid software, we were thinking of using that as a means to manifest and incorporate text into the piece. Paul Lansky's "Smalltalk," a piece made up of pitches that are detected from an English conversation, has contributed to the inspiration behind this idea. The words themselves are inaudible to make out but instead allows the inflections and fluctuations to act as a melodic conversation.

Continuing on with the theme of using text, this piece by Kate Soper illustrates another interesting approach that places speaking in a completely different context. This also demonstrates a unique way to utilize Jordan’s flute abilities.

There’s also using text in the form of more “standard” lyrics.  The first piece in this tiny desk concert by Cornelius also makes use of a vocoder-type effect on his voice, and we have been thinking about whether or not to play with clearly synthetic-sounding vocals or trying to create something more “natural”-sounding/realistic.

Week 4 Three Videos

We looked into this Cornelius song for inspiration in terms of vocals and how we might be able to use the Vocaloid as a generator of vocal samples

The video below was found as inspiration to extend Jordan's techniques in flute. We experimented with accomplishing this sort of sound and tone from his piccolo.

I'm including this next video because of the lyrics and musical style. The lyrics relate to the exhibit in a really interesting way. If the exhibit is looked at through Bjork's perspective in this song it makes a bit more sense in my mind. We also talked a bit about making a piece that sounds a bit more poppy.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Blog Week #4

I have been digging into Javier Jaimovich's work with the Myo sensor and came across two videos which I really liked.

What I especially like about this first video is how expressive the relationship between movement and sound is. I also enjoy the noisier timbres, with less focus on tonally melodic expression. I think this could pair well with our percussive elements. (also hey @Matias)

This is part of another one of his works which works with more tonally focused content. (skip to 17:45 if you don't have time to watch the whole thing!!)

Additionally, I was also exploring the work of other artists, including some that were more visually focused. I like the use of projections in this video and wonder if there is a way that we could execute having interactive projections from above in our performance...

Blog Week 4

After experimenting with improv dance and percussion with Kristin we started thinking about how to incorporate electronics into the mix without being invasive to the visuals but rather enhance our movement. Nick and Fisher are exploring the capabilities of the myo sensor and we are hoping to explore a new realm of electronic visual music.

The first video shows some of the capabilities on the myo for different instruments with live sound processing.

The second video shows a dancer using similar technology, but with an entirely new sound world. I really like how he is able to control the sounds with his right wrist only. It allows for musical space and flow, just like the dance.

The last video doesn't use the same sensor, but I really like the connection between sound and light. Very interesting and beautiful.