Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Blog Week 7

Joey, Clement, Jack

The way you looped and used speech to form rhythmic motifs in your performance instantly made me
think of Steve Reich’s “Come Out.”   I think what you guys have is really cool and I’m excited to see
how it evolves during the semester.

Danielle, Kristin, Nick, Fisher

Kristin’s dance and the way she was exploring/interacting with the scattered “car parts” reminded me
of a book by David Macaulay from the 70's called “Motel of Mysteries.”  It takes place thousands of
years into the future and follows archaeological excavations of objects from our time, sort of poking
fun at how wrong/dangerously we can misinterpret objects from the past...
Since, it isn't a video or an image...here is the address to a pdf of a condensed version:

Justine, Ryan, Corey, Elijah

The chaotic texture you guys had going gave me flashbacks to all of the experimental electronic
music we went over in PAT 101.  The effects Elijah was doing and your concept of messing with
time made me think of John Cage’s “Williams Mix,” and that spliced-sounding texture that allows
for basically anything to happen makes the audience unable to predict what comes next.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Blog Week 7

Ayal, Emily, Heather, and Jordan

To preface, I really don't know much about music (or technology, for that matter.) However, I linked this video to your work-in-progress through the idea that an outside soundtrack is acting on the flutist, whereas the flutist also acts upon the soundtrack. To me, it often seemed like Jordan was doing this as well. It might be interesting to see what you guys could do with the idea of acting/reacting within all instruments, tracks, and technology.

Clement, Jack, and Joey

During your work-in-progress, I was immediately reminded of this song I danced to years ago. While your project certainly isn't a dance track, the simple idea of sampling from a famous speech brought up this memory. I'm very interested to see what you guys do with the samples and how you manipulate them to fit your project.
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Corey, Elijah, Justine, Ryan

This one is a bit of a stretch, but your work-in-progress kind of brought me back to this old video where a group used a Jeep to make a whole electronic song. The one sample you guys played with the honking and car noises mixed with Elijah's idea of taking apart a record player and modifying it is sort of in the same vein of this video. Sort of. Also, it's just a fun video to watch.
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Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Blog Week 7

For each of the other 3 groups: Post an aesthetic reference point (audio, video, website) to what the group has presented. It can relate to their work-in-progress from any direction or dimension: a literary relationship, a textural/sonic "vibe", a related form, similar uses of technology, or something more obscure. For each reference, be sure to identify what group's work it is relevant to, and why. Consider: "Your work-in-progress made me think of ________ because _______."

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: http://www.arcosdance.com/videos/.

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.

Blog Week 4

While doing our individual research, the group shared every video/idea that we came across. 

This first video was suggested by Danielle, and we love it for the fact that the dancer often emulates the musicians movement but with different parts of the body. This creates a really interesting connection between the performers, the sound, and the visual aspects. We would like to incorporate these connections in our piece, blurring the lines between who is the dancer and who is the percussionist, making the audience rethink what they're seeing.

The second video, suggested by Fisher, hits on one of the biggest components we'd like to incorporate as part of non-linear time and the concept of ancientness. We'd like to modernize the traditional unity of dance, drums, and song often found in African countries. The history of this trio is rich and reminds us of Ryoichi's "taking" of artifacts.

Our final video from Nick inspires a really pure/raw way of referencing traditional (ancient) sounds while still being modern, a concept we hope to portray. We think taking the audience on a journey of what is familiar vs. what is ancient vs. what is new will compliment the Ryoichi Excavations well.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Blog Week 4: Three New Videos

You now have a team and a bit of an idea of where you are headed.  Search out at least three examples of work you didn't know about before that relates to the direction your team is headed. Feel free to take suggestions from your teammates in your search.  Post the example with some substantive comment. Please don't just repeat something that your teammates posted in week 1. Consider this not just an exercise, but part of the essential process of researching your project.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Week 2

Preface: I have at best an ambivalence toward internal languages as a way of constructing meaning. Any concept cuts both ways: as you attain more specificity and in-group use of specific words for specific concepts, you remove possibilities. I find that a lot of my most interesting musical thinking happens when I stop using pre-set terms, although of course it’s important to understand them in the first place. These three terms represent some ways in which I like to organize my musical thinking. 

“Form” or “Structure” I like to think of form as what holds a piece together, what delineates the piece from the world outside of it— in other words, the form is the justification for the material to exist at any given point within the piece, or rather that it defines the role of material within the piece. It is also “the piece” in an objective sense. I like to think of form as a way to think about the movement of time, less in terms of progression and more in terms of tendency. 

“Syntax”: Brahms thought that a form can only be a consequence of the material it contained. Similarly, Joan Tower said “when people don’t like the syntax of a piece, they like to discuss form” (I’m paraphrasing from something a teacher told me). Form is subordinate to syntax, the various musical elements creating a tendency that can be articulated by a structure. We don’t experience a building architecturally, we experience it room by room.

“Energy” or “Gesture”: This is the hard part: to put some kind of raison d'etre to inanimate notes. It's what keeps music looped into experience. I like to think about music as a metaphor for our experience with gravity, but of course our ability to defy its laws is an important source of magic.

I do a lot of different things, so trying to explain what I’m studying is difficult. I’ve lately been just telling people that I’m a “composer” or even better, that I “write music.” Frequently what I get is either some vaguely impressed bewilderment that just leaves me embarrassed or “so it’s like you write classical music?” I don’t… really do that. Even when I write a string quartet there’s nothing “classical” about it. Really, I just wish people who don’t really care about what I do would stop talking to me about what I do. Even talking to other musicians largely makes me feel misunderstood. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

This word comes with so many meanings and teachings in what I do. The lineage in music, especially black music, is fundamental in learning and becoming apart of the music. I have found that studying records has taught me more than any class, teacher, or peer. Not to say that all of these methods of learning aren't important, because they are, but more to say that one cannot go without listening. At first, like many, I wasn't sure where to start. But I soon realized that every musician, even the masters, have those they have inspired, but also those who inspired them. As a musician, if you can start to follow these waves of influence, you begin to find a clear lineage quickly. These descendants are also not subjugated by genera and are somewhat infinite. Lastly, because I am a white person submerged in black culture, knowing how sacred the lineage is and what role it plays within the music, is critical to me not stealing from it.

Often I have the realization that a record store is much like a graveyard and I'm sifting through the lives of people who have passed. Its mind blowing to think that in most cases a piece of wax holds all the musical energy of someone once they are gone. Some end up being buried rarely to be heard again, while others get picked up and handled by the next generation. That means when I sample these records I always try to hold a lot of respect around the musician/musicians whose career goes into helping me create my music.

I receive so much love and happiness from music every day; sometimes it even feels unfair! Giving back to the music is something I'm always trying to improve. I have found a few principles that work for me but am always looking for more:

Always put love into your music for others to hear, and feel,
Teach what's been taught to you,
share music,
and never stop listening!

Music producer/beatmaker Vs. DJ:
People generally assume, especially when talking about hip-hop, that producers are DJs are interchangeable. That is not true. Many of the times producers are also DJs, but each is its own particular skill and incredibly hard to do at a high level. Especially when talking about vinyl DJing which is quickly being replaced with the computer!

Week 2

1.    Color – determined by various combinations of timbres belonging to different instruments. Flutes and clarinets in the high register would be described as having a bright color, while double basses and bassoons in their lower register would be described as having a dark color. Composing with these ideas in mind helps one create music that has greater dimensions than just pitch (melody/harmony) or rhythm alone.

Balance – similar to the idea of mix within music production. This concept takes into account the relative loudness of each instrument, as well as how many of each instrument are playing at any given time. Composers need to be mindful of balance when orchestrating in order to ensure that their musical ideas come across clearly to members of the audience.

Pacing – the relationship between the length of time it takes for a piece to develop ideas, the climax of the piece, and its ending or resolution (or lack thereof). Having a knowledge of effective pacing strategies is an important skill that composers can use to improve the logical flow of their music, in terms of its structure.

2.    'Writing songs' – When I tell people that I’m a composer, they often ask “what type of songs do you write?” This inaccurately represents the art of composition as songwriting, when – considering aspects such as those I mentioned above – the role of the composer is more similar to that of both songwriter and producer combined.

Blog Week 3

Before next class (Tuesday Sep 25):

Update your group blog page with:
  • A final version of your team charter
  • A preliminary plan/schedule for the semester, including milestones you set for yourselves (pay attention to the graded in-class presentations)
  • Preliminary ideas / plans / inspirations

Week 2 Blog

Words of inspiration...

Breathe: As a wind player this word is the something I hear on the daily. My studio professor is constantly lecturing about how flute playing is just singing, but with a flute up close to our mouths. Not only does this word help me understand/play my instrument, but it also teaches me how to be a collaborative musician. Breathing is something we do without thinking, so I want to find out how I can connect that with performing music with other people. I love watching professional string quartets because, although they do not need to breathe in order to make a sound on their instrument, they breathe collectively as one unit and make beautiful music together. This is something I strive for when playing my instrument, as well as, playing with other instrumentalists as well.

Passion: This seems pretty explanatory, but it can be so complex. If you have passion towards something, it will obviously take most of your attention. So if I'm talking about my instrument, or music in general, these are two things that I have had a passion for for a tremendously long time. With this passion I have been able to perform all over the United States and study with the world's best teachers.

Collaboration: I absolutely love playing chamber music, or any chance I get to collaborate with other musicians and artists. At a young age I used to be a competitive dancer and belonged to a big studio in Southwest Michigan. We would compete every other weekend and usually sweep every category and age divisions. I never did any solo work, because I personally felt that I could not portray the emotions I wanted by myself. Now that I am more mature and a performing instrumentalist, I can definitely get across what I want, but again, I much prefer collaborating with other artists.

Negative words...

Flute vs Flautist:
I have despised the word "flautist" ever since I started playing the flute. This might be something petty to get angry about, but I just cannot stand when people say that word. I remember one summer while I was at Interlochen, I was reading about flute playing and came across a book that talked about the differences of the two words.  "Flautist" is the Italian word for "a flutist" and  "to flaut" is an old Italian word, meaning "to mock". I understand that the flute is usually the representation of birds in a lot of pieces, but I don't think that was meant as a way to "mock" birds. This is just something that I feel passionate about, personally, and I know a lot of American flutists who prefer "Flautist"

Monday, September 17, 2018

Week 2

'Secret Language'

"The [insert composer's name]"

"[insert composer's name and symphony number]"

"[insert abbreviation for piece, album, band, orchestra, etc.]"

"the [insert piece type]"

"I'm gonna practice my [insert technique book author]"


I can distinctly remember conversing with one of my friends from my Catholic Men's Group about what our weekend plans were, and mentioning that hopefully I'd be able to make a concert where they were playing "Mahler 2." He paused, then looked at me quizzically and said, "what's that?" Not to belittle or condescend my friend at all, but I was properly taken aback at this, for I happened never to have said "Mahler 2" to anybody in the past without them knowing exactly what I meant.

"Gustav Mahler is a German composer from the early twentieth century, known for writing some of the greatest symphonies in all of classical music," I explained to my comrade. "And I'm gonna try and see his second symphony, which we just call Mahler 2." It's an interesting concept, because if you were to tell me you'd like to see "Rachmaninoff 2," I'd have to clarify if you meant his symphony or his piano concerto.

And how many of us have conversed with a fellow rocker and expected them to know which Pink Floyd album we meant when we said "Yeah, I like 'Dark Side' the best," or a fellow violinist to know which performer we referenced when we said, "I like the way Hilary plays it the best."

Also, who the hell other than those in the respective orchestra rehearsing and performing the exact piece could possibly know what "the Strauss" is? Who outside the jazz world knows what "the changes" are?

These are, for the most part, abbreviations and shorthand for regular classical music terminology. Yet I think they create some camaraderie between us and act as signifiers for "who's hip" in the specific music we like.

'Outsider description'

"Real major"

I think all music majors can relate to this on some level. It's the kind of term you're not sure you should take seriously or as a joke. I try to take it lightly by default, assuming it is meant as a joke. But I feel a little bad when I acknowledge that it might not have been. Most of us haven't been approached with this particular term per say, but probably with language like it. I can only think of one or two examples of "Oh you play trombone? But what's your real major?", the translation of course being that Trombone Performance is not a real major. Music is sometimes thought of as 'fun' rather than a rigorous, demanding, and competitive field of study. I don't let this get to me, really. Next time I hear someone speak in such a way, I might just invite them to a concert.

Week 2

4 Terms:


Empathy means so much and has so many different definitions depending on the field of study. It generally means to put oneself in someone else's shoes and feel what they feel emotionally. It can range from simply to setting aside your own feelings all the way to sitting and dealing with whatever the other person is going through. While working with musicians whose skills and backgrounds consistently contrast my own, empathy is a good way to see where they're coming from musically. It almost always ends with a newfound appreciation for their perspective and musical ideas because you see its context and how that essentially effects the process and product.


I like to pretend I know anything about the subject of meditation but I truly don't have a clue other than that I know it's tremendously important. Meditation, at its core, is shifting focus from phenomena to the observer of that phenomena. It shows people that all the feelings, urges and memories are transient in nature and leave you as fast as they approach you. To me and in music it allows people to leave all their stress, anxiety, anger, etc. at the door. It allows them to focus on the project at hand and to create freely without the baggage getting in your way.


To jam is to get with musicians, performers or whoever and just play together. Jamming is one of my favorite things to do because it forces you to think on the spot and to stay in the moment. For me it relieves stress and allows me to discover thing musically about myself and the people I'm playing with. Some people take this seriously enough to where they form a 'jam band' and do it in front of people. For whatever reason, people respond to this stuff positively and take it so far they follow these bands around the world.

Is it a jam band or improv ensemble?

Going to a music school in a conservatory environment comes with a lot of stigma around the phrase 'jam band'. The jam band does not receive as much prestige as an ensemble that includes improvisatory moments. This is partly due to the rather basic instrumentation of the jam band that usually involves drums, guitar, bass and occasionally a synth. I would say that jam band is a reductive term that keeps the idea tied down to its 60's southern rock influence. Whether it has that label or not, jamming is ridiculously fun especially in front of an audience.

Blog Week 2

Experimentation is very important in my everyday work, as I try to get in an open-minded headspace when doing creative work.  I always am open to trying new things, throwing new ideas out in the open, even if they may seem bad/not plausible. This way, my work isn’t defined within mental boundaries of worry, and I am able to narrow down something down to my best work once all of my ideas are on the table.  I also really enjoy the concept of experimentation within accessibility, meaning the work is able to be enjoyed by a larger audience, but does this in a unique, experimentative fashion.

Because of my background playing jazz piano, the word improvisation is very important within my practices.  It can be recognized in more of a literal sense, or as more of a concept. In more of a literal sense, I believe musical improvisation is very important to creating music.  There’s something about raw ideas that were conceived in the moment that I believe make a project more human and authentic. Conceptually, I also think the word improvisation can be used to describe the mindset of a collaboration.  When in a collaboration, I believe the more the group tends to “improvise” with each other during the creation of the project, the less they will imprisoned within trying to follow a structure in their work habits. This is not to say that structure isn’t important, but that a group should find the right balance between structured and improvised work.

Probably the most important word in my practice is Authenticity.  This simply describes art being a genuine reflection of the human being(s) that created it.  Whether it is in solo work or a collaboration, I believe that artists shouldn’t try to be something they’re not, and should strive to reflect their human experience authentically through their work.

Performer vs. Technologist

The idea of separating the performer from the technologist in this collaborative setting to me is very problematic for a number of reasons.  First of all, many PAT students tend to have started performing/playing way before they started learning music technology. Because of this, they would definitely have a lot to offer to the performance aspect, even if they aren’t performing in the collaboration.  Next, the performer definitely has a lot to offer in the technology realm, even if they have minimal knowledge in that area. Working alongside the people who are doing the technology, they are definitely able to offer a different perspective on how technology is altering the experience of their performance.  They can also offer artistic direction in which the collaboration is headed from a technology standpoint. Lastly, I believe that this separation can create sort of a close-minded outlook on the collaboration overall. When thinking about it as everyone in the group having an equal input and role in all aspects of the collaboration and performance, it’s easier to work together and narrow down how to play to the strengths of the group.  

Blog Week 2

Blog Week 2

Three Terms

While this may seem obvious, I truly think that to succeed in any of the disciplines I am focused on,
without some level of passion to motivate/drive me I will never be able to put my all into something nor
enjoy the process/outcome.

Especially in an artistic/creative field, I feel that one of the most rewarding qualities of a piece is the
innovation behind it.  Nowadays it can be extremely difficult to create truly new and original ideas, but
aside from originality, I also mean experimentation on a more personal level. For one to experiment and
do something new to them that they personally have never done before is one of the best ways to push
oneself to grow and become more well-rounded.

しょうがない (shou ga nai) = “it can’t be helped”

This is just one of those terms that simply does not have an English equivalent.  People use it in
situations where things are not going well (as planned..?) and it basically means to move on and not
dwell on it.  It’s a sort of mentality that is very helpful especially in a creative/experimental field like
PAT where it is common to troubleshoot technological problems, creativity block, etc. I think this sort of
expression also just helps me keep a more positive mindset during my day-to-day life as well when
dealing with anxiety/intrusive thoughts.

Negative Terms


While I understand this not necessarily meant to be an insult, when someone categorizes my music as “something from an anime soundtrack” or “video game music” there are connotations from those terms that I do not want attached to my music.  There’s often a stigma that anime is meant for children, or that it’s just weird, and then people sometimes further project that as a negative stereotype about Japan and Japanese people. It doesn’t even matter if my music may not even have anything distinctly Japanese about it besides the lyrics, the genre may something totally different, yet people still tell me “it sounds like something out an anime ost.”

Also within the realm of "anime" there are various different genres, people simply categorize it by language without really thinking about any of the musical aspects of the piece.  There are terms we use such as J-pop, K-pop, C-pop, etc., but within those there are different subdivisions of genres, it’s not like we categorize everything in America as just “A-pop” or “pop,” we further divide it into electronic, hip-hop/rap, R&B, country, etc. So when someone refers to my music as “anime-like” or even “J-pop” just based on the fact that the text is in Japanese, to me it almost feels as if the actual musical content aside from the lyrics is disregarded and I don’t get any real feedback about it.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Blog Week 2

'Secret Language'

1) Ballet terms such as plié, relevé, and saut de chat. To the average Joe, these things are simply part of the French language. To a classically trained dancer, these words and many more make up the everyday technical exercise that is a barre and ballet class. I will always have a soft spot in my heart for ballet and its strict structure even though I'm not a ballerina by trade. I believe ballet is at the core of a strong dancer and is a great way to warm up and understand your body.

2) Improvisation The concept of improvisation can be applied to any discipline. In dance, many encourage improvisation to be the exploration of how the body wants to move naturally. It is very much the opposite of traditionally structured technique classes, but those technical skills can be applied to the improvisation quite easily. I love just improving in a space and recording myself, some of the most interesting movements can come from this exploration as well as a euphoric feeling of freedom.

3) Modern Modern is considered another genre of dance and is my primary style. Different techniques include Dunham, Humphrey, Horton, and Graham. However, the concept of modern dance also includes any new work created in the present day. Like modern art, modern dance is considered too eclectic for some, as many people prefer classical and commercial dance. I personally love the artistry and technique that modern brings to the dance world.

"Oh, you're a dancer. So you're flexible?"

While it seems like a simple question, flexibility is not a necessity to be a good dancer. Many styles of dance don't care whether or not one can kick his/her leg up past their face. The answer for many dancers (including myself) is a simple, "Yes, I am." But that sort of qualifier is degrading to many dancers and the variety the entire world of dance offers. Also, one can be talented in many different styles and genres of dance. Like an instrument, you don't have to pick just one, and every style should be respected for what it is.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Secret Words
1.) Logistics - anything to do with planning and preparation. Instruments being used, amount of space, setup, travel and transportation, type of venue, etc.

Whether the piece calls for solo vibraphone or 30+ instruments, there is a lot that goes into planning for any rehearsal and event. It is important to consider how much time is needed for setup and teardown in addition to a rehearsal. If it takes 20 minutes to setup and another 20 to teardown I would hope to be rehearsing/playing for a minimum of 30-45 minutes. Anytime I have a rehearsal I try to leave at least an hour open before in order to setup and still have enough time to warmup. Percussion takes time. It is usual for us to be the first to arrive and last to leave. Understanding the amount of time required for the logistics alone is crucial for a successful performance.

2.)  Setup - arrangement/layout of instruments.

Setup can include instruments, mallets, and stands. How everything is placed so the percussionist can learn the flow/choreography of the layout. Setups can take time to develop to find the most efficient flow, the goal is the have the least amount of movement between instruments as possible. Also consider the audience, how you are facing them (on an angle? straight on? in an arc?) We hear with our eyes so it's important to consider how we visually represent our music.

3.) Choreography - the way we move around the instrument, changing of equipment and mallets.

Percussion is a very physical practice and part of that work includes navigating around the setup. I have personally spent time in the practice room in silence just moving around. Practicing mallet changes, shifting over to another instrument, or working through large leaps. Every instrument is different and requires a specific choreography. When you combine multiple instruments the choreography changes.

Drummer vs Percussionist

As a trained musician I want others to know of ALL of the skillsets I possess in addition to drums. I feel that percussion is a more diverse term that is inclusive of drums but also represents other instruments including but not limited to: mallet instruments (xylophone, marimba, vibraphone, etc) timpani, drum set, marching percussion, world percussion (congas, bongos, maracas) accessories (cymbals, bass drum, triangle) toys (typewriter, slide whistle, Mahler hammer)

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Blog Week 2

Terms that I enjoy

This is something I really started thinking about after taking 451/452, and if I had to choose a most important consideration in design, this would be it. I think it is so important because it can cast a shadow on other elements if poorly executed. You could have the best sonic content in a sound installation, but if the interaction is not enjoyable, people could be easily turned away and miss it completely. Personally, I think it is critical to think about interaction as a two-way entity- not only focusing on how the user provides input into the system, but also how the system returns output to the user.

I chose this term because I think it can apply to all of the forms of art that I do and because it can speak on both large and small scales. I like to think of ‘intentionality’ in terms of ‘what effect are you trying to achieve?’ Whether it be on the micro scale like the phrasing of a musical line, or on a more holistic scale like the emotive response of an installation piece, I think it is crucial to always have intentionality in creating art. 

This word has recently grown on me. The reason I like it is because often it fills a need that no other term can. I like it use it generally to discuss the overall affect of a piece.

A reductive label that can be problematic

Button Pushing
A label that commonly gets placed on electronic music creation and performance is “button pushing.” To discuss this label, I’d like to present a spectrum. On one end, you have DJs who stand in front of a laptop and queue music with no real 'artistic' live performance aspects. I think, although degrading, this term is actually appropriate in this context. This gets complicated, however as you progress through the spectrum towards the other end where the artist starts to incorporate additional elements of live performance. Whether it be something remedial like crossfading or queuing scenes to something more complex like live looping, there is an element of artistry that must go into those actions. To simplify their performance as ‘button pushing’ is unjustly reductive. I think this spectrum is very subjective, but I also think it is important to recognize what the artist is actually doing in real time. If they are simply queuing songs, I don’t think this label is too far off in the critical sense.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Blog 1

Here is a little video automation project I did a couple years ago, from when I took a course in electronic music at University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee. We were given a video and told to make all the sounds for it. Since then, I've done a few other video / music collaborations, and would be very interested in making more in the future.

Here's something a little different.

Legendary LA audio engineer Chris Lord-Alge has produced for acts such as Prince, The Rolling Stones, Madonna, Green Day, Jimmy Eat World, Rise Against, Bon Jovi, and hundreds more. Here we see him in the studio mixing Matt Bellamy's guitar for the song "Survival," off Muse's album, The Second Law. His decisions for audio aspects such as tone and what plugins to use are immediate and confident. His several-decades-long experience equips him with the instinct he needs to quickly and masterfully mix the guitar solo and figure out what sound qualities compliment the arc of the song as it progresses. In my opinion, The Second Law was not a terrifically written album, and is one of my least favorite in the band's discography. Still, it's packed with explosive and riveting sounds, thanks in no small degree to this man sitting at the boards. 

Week 2 Blog Assignment: 4 Terms

In each discipline, and really in any human endeavor that involves a closed group, the members develop an internal language that has specific meanings and implications for them and either very different, or sometimes little or no meanings for those outside the group.  Even common words or expressions can take on new meanings within a group.

Your blog post should have two parts:

1. What are three of your favorite words or terms from the 'secret language' of your discipline or your own personal practice., and why are you drawn to them, or why are they important to your discipline? Help the rest of the class by explaining what they mean to you, to your discipline, and why they are significant.

2. Conversely, people outside of the group can tend to reduce the inherent richness and diversity of a discipline by using an unfair condensation of one or two words to describe the totality of the group, or by misusing or misunderstanding these terms.  What is the outsider description of your discipline, or a term that people use to describe your discipline that you find to be most inaccurate, reductionist or plain wrong?