Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Week 7 Blog Prompt

For each of the other 2 groups:

Now that you've seen evidence of what the group is up to, create a post with 2 aesthetic reference points (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 _______."

You should create at least 2 posts, one for each group. Each post should have at least 2 references.

Due before our next meeting, March 6, at 6:00pm.

Week 5 Blog Post

We have a pretty solid idea of live scoring some video. The variation lies in how we will go about this. We have an idea of the theme being ~utopia~.

The first direction we could go is creating a video of our own footage combined with archival footage. The video would be the same every time, with no sound interaction or the like.

Pros: We could get really comfortable with the video we make, which would make our musical transitions from section to section seamless.

Cons: It would be less interesting to watch and see how the music affects the video. We would also miss an opportunity to explore interactive visuals.

We could also have a series of videos that are triggered in response to what we are playing. We plan on having different "movements" of our piece, so videos could play according to that.

Pros: It would be a unique performance every time, since much of the music involves improvisation. It would be really engaging and a good opportunity for us to explore something that we are unfamiliar with.

Cons: A lot of time would be dedicated to learning how to do this, which may not necessarily be a bad thing, but it also gives us less time to focus on the creative aspects.

Another thing we could do is find a random video and improvise without looking at the screen.

Pros: It could create some really interesting results musically and visually.

Cons: It wouldn't involve much learning and exploration.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Week 5 Blog Post, Balas/Everett/Levin

1.  Our first direction is to stay more acoustic and use contact mics to manipulate the noises of unlikely objects and create a performance with that acoustic material.
This is a more intimate performance, and the acoustic sounds give a more organic feel. It would also be easier to fit this to a concept, where we can choose sounds in line with an idea.
This is less visual than the others, and isn't a super original idea. The sound also won't be as "pretty" as a more processed approach, because contact mics tend to be very mid-y and harsh.

2. The second direction is to use waveforms found in percussive sounds to create sampled instruments that work with more acoustic rhythmic sounds to create a song.
The sounds will be interestingly varied, and has an interesting rhythmic/melodic dichotomy. It's also easier to manipulate the sound digitally, so the noises will be more pleasing. There are also interesting things we can do with the visual, showing how we are using the waveform.
This may be less intimate than the purely acoustic sounds. It is also less performance based directly, and may be hard to distinguish from a normal synth performance.

3. The last idea was to use the voltage generated by the contact mics to control the lighting in the room. We can do this directly with LED's, or use a more arduino based approach to control larger light networks.
This is visually very interesting, and we can do a lot of cool things with the digital lighting.
This is technologically complex, and the amount of time required to set this up well may not be worth the amount of interest it adds to the performance.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Group Blog Prompt

As a group (on your group's individual page) describe three possible variations on the direction your group could be headed. Use media, which could include media that you've generated and/or media from other sources, to illustrate these variations/directions. Weigh the pros and cons of each direction. What could be rewarding or disappointing about each? What are the challenges or opportunities for each? What are the risks?

Due Tuesday Feb 20 before class.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Three Videos - Jacob Rogers

Ryan and I have been looking into slow-developing, textural music (a definite shared interest of ours), so to research a bit I tried to find live performances of a number of artists I love who create music through similar means. Small numbers of musicians but large sound worlds. Accomplishing this either through performing on multiple instruments, looping, smart orchestration, or whatever other means.

The first artist I went to is Kishi Bashi. He is a singer/songwriter/violinist I have loved for a long while. I've seen him live twice, and both times he played with a band, but I remembered one of my friends from home mentioning to check out his solo stuff. He performs with just his violin, a pedal board, and his voice, and wow. Very intelligent use of the sounds available to him, fantastic orchestration.

A second group I looked to, which Ryan and I spent some time listening to last week is Beach House. They're already a massive inspiration of mine, but I've (once again) never consumed any of their live material. This video does a job of displaying just how many layers of texture each member of the live band is responsible for. If we were trying to do something along these lines, but without a third person, it would require the use of significant drum looping, but I think that would be very doable given our access to hardware and software.

For our video component, I spent some time researching locations we could access public domain footage to use for one component of the display. I found a number of sources, both on youtube and in websites, and began browsing through them. Here is one notably fantastic piece of public domain footage I found: The Private Life of a Cat.

Three Videos- Nick Froelich

Ayal, Kate and I decided last week that we wanted to do a live score of some sort of silent film/obscure footage.  We want to take inspiration from many different old styles of film, and manipulate the video to create some sort of narrative.  Another possibility for the video portion would be to record and edit our own video, which could make the performance more original.

I found this silent film that was scored more recently.  I really like how the composer emphasized the narrative with the score.  I also really like the color scheme and "vintage" visuals.

I was looking through music videos that had visual elements that inspired me, and really liked the video done by Manchester Orchestra for their song "The Gold".  The video seems to combine an array of old images and video that are bound together in a very artistic fashion.  The other aspect of the video I really like is how well the images and videos are synced with the music.

I'm sure a lot of you guys have seen this video already, but it was one of the first videos that came to mind when I thought of "obscure footage".  It's a very mysterious video in which the figure that is shown distributes morse code in what seems to be an abandoned building.  Besides all the crazy theories a lot of people have come up with about this video, I think it is a great example of mysterious, weird footage that we could use.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Group Charter

Group charter - Ayal, Kate, Nick

Our performance will consist of us live scoring some silent film, with a combination of pre-composed and improvised music. We plan on using Max to control the lights in Davis.

We will be communicating via group text, checked daily. We will be meeting weekly, right before class from 4:30-6 in Davis. Our roles are flexible and will become better defined as we develop our performance. We know now that Kate will be on bass, Ayal on percussion/guitar, and Nick on keys. We all will be working to compose music and edit video.


2/20 - We plan on having the visuals ready, and a rough idea of a score to go along with it.

3/27 - We plan on having the score composed by this point so that we can spend the rest of the class meetings running the performance and figuring out the lights.

4/17 - We will have the Max patch for the lights figured out and the rest of the performance ready to go.

Three Videos - Ryan Cox

Jacob and I were really interested in incorporating multiple visual aspects to our project. We thought it would be interesting to incorporate some interactive visuals via Processing or something of that nature, but we also thought it might be interesting to layer on some old footage, and maybe even alter in like in Spencer Haney's "War Dance". One of my favorites Ann Arbor bands, Bonzo, has used some footage from the Prelinger Archives to create their music videos, and I think using some of these videos would be really effective.


Jacob and I did a little listening session on Friday, and checked out a few different artists, in particular, Beach House, and their album, Bloom. I went back and listened to a lot of their music, and other music sort of along those lines, like Sigur Ros. I really like their simplicity and the dreamyness of it all. Through browsing some related artists, I found Nils Frahm, a multi-instrumentalist that combines elements of classical music with post-rock/electronic music. I really enjoy the textures he creates, and his live performances seem really interesting.

Finally, Jacob introduced me to this group he discovered through a Xiu Xiu concert called Quicksails. Not only is their music really interesting and sort of unstructured, but the visuals they use live are really interesting. I really enjoy how these lights don't seem to fit with the music, but they also don't seem to be completely random.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

3 Videos Blog Post #3

This First video shows how to make and attach a contact mic to a surface. This will come in handy for our project when we would like to amplify the sound created from found objects (like a block of wood or a bowl full of water).

This second video shows someone going through the process of programming a DMX system to synchronize lighting with music. We hope to learn how to operate the lights in the Davis studio using a similar setup.

This last video takes a look at foley art as a means of sound design. Although we may not end up doing any sort of live-scoring to accompany a film, we do plan on using found objects to create sounds that place the listener in a particular environment.

Three Videos - Oren Levin

This first video explains the process of making a piezo contact microphone. Our presentation plans to  contain these types of microphones in order to capture close material sound from out instruments. I am excited to make them and experiment with their capabilities.

The second video below features samples and audio manipulations from nature such as hitting a log. I am interested in placing a contact mic on a log and using it as an instrument. This video presents a method that results in entirely different results than the original sound source.

My final video simply explains the basics of DMX lighting. For out presentation we may use the lighting rigs in the Davis studio as out visuals.  DMX light would be a great tool to learn to further the presentation of a performance.

Group Charter Everett/Levin/Balas

- In-Class Presentation #1: February 20th
-Draft of Audio portion: (Have the project conceptually finished and storyboarded) connect the Piezo mics and prove they work.
- In-Class Presentation #2: March 13th
-Refined Audio portion and rough video portion: Have all the physical parts of it (music written but not fully rehearsed)
- In-Class Presentation #3: March 27th
- Music rehearsed and ready to present.
- Final Project Outcome April 17th

Team Charter:

We will be mainly communicating via Group text message, checked every day at least. We plan on having weekly Sunday meetings (that will become rehearsals after our music is written). As far as our specific roles, we plan to have them more solidified by the first presentation date. We are more loose with meeting times during planning meetings, but will be punctual during rehearsals.  We shalt not have unruly bad communication betwixt the other subjects without our compound.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Three Videos

We are interested in a kind of musical representation of a forest, and although this installation has a different goal, I really like how the sparse, minimalist structure still manages to evoke the shapes of trees with its vertical focus.

There are a lot of ambient nature videos on youtube, and of course none of them are a replacement for the real thing. However I think it will be worth taking some time to actually listen to what a forest actually sounds like before trying to create a representation of it.

This is someone's art project where the viewer can manipulate trees' growths by changing the input variables. I think it is helpful to see someone else's take on the same subject and to start thinking about visuals for the project.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Three videos

Kate, Nick and I are thinking about doing some live scoring of films and VJing. Some discussion was had about using obscure, strange footage. These videos are pretty wild if you strip away the sound. It might also be cool to shoot our own footage for a film and create a live score for that.

Cox/Rogers Group Charter

Group Charter

As a group, we decided that we were both okay with soft (ish) start times, and that we would communicate over text. Given that we are a two person group, coordination becomes significantly easier, which allows us to be less formal with our communication. Definition of roles within  the project will be loosely defined, but as both members will be contributing to all components of the project, this will happen naturally as the piece develops.


2/20 - Our group aims on presenting a draft of the audio portion of our project. While this might not reflect the level of detail that will go into the finished project, our goal is a formal sketch for purposes of pacing and structure.

3/13 - For the second presentation, we will have a more refined rendition of the audio, clarifying more detail and filling in the structure. Along with this we will have a rough sketch of the video components, and attempt to run them together.

3/27 - The final presentation will have a more developed version of our video components, trying to synchronize the two mediums rather than just running them next to each other.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Blog post 3

Ayal, Nick, and I are going to do a live score to a silent film. We may do it over an entire film, or compile some footage to create our own narrative. We are going to experiment with weird video editing and VJing. Nick is going to play piano/synth, Ayal on drums, and me on bass. This Boards of Canada video is good inspiration. I hope we can find a really weird video like this one to use. I would be down to make some Boards of Canada inspired music as well.

I found this film from 1903, which might be worth playing around with. I really like the look of the technicolor video. 

I found this video of a live electronic score. I would like to do something like this. I want to create music that is actually engaging and has listeners tapping their toes rather than just standing with their arms crossed. This music is nice, but I definitely want to take it a step further to make it really in your face.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Blog Week 3 Assignment

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.

Due January 30, before class.

Blog Post #2

Vocal Blend– In an A Capella setting with multiple voice parts and a diverse range of vocal timbres, negotiating for a unified sound is an ever-present challenge. Having good blend requires each group-member to continually refresh their attention to the quality of the voices around them and to conform to the shape of the sound that the whole group is aiming for at any given moment. This term also applies to balancing the dynamics between parts and individuals so that the appropriate parts are highlighted at a given time.

Breath Support– This term refers to the singer's ability to sing with clarity at all dynamic levels (especially quieter moments) by properly orienting themselves with their internal breathing mechanism and instrument. Having good breath support allows the singer to more finely manipulate their dynamics within a phrase to imbue it with more artistry, and also to sing longer phrases with fewer interruptions (breaths). To the listener, this has the effect of giving the resulting sound a smooth unbroken surface.

Tall Vowels– This is a key component to vocal blend, especially in a more traditional choral setting. Features of someone singing with tall vowels is a more mature, full, sound, and a less distinct, more blendable, timbre. To sing with an open vowel, the singer must create a great deal of space in their mouth by voluntarily lifting the soft palate (the fleshy tissue at the roof of the mouth about a thumb's length from the mouth's opening).

It's not a rigid term, per se, but more of a commonly shared sentiment among a portion of the populace that aligns with the idea that A Cappella singing isn't worthy of being taken seriously as a musical outlet. More often than I would like, when I tell someone that I'm a member of an A Cappella group, I'm lumped into a category of people that are obsessed with the "Pitch Perfect" trilogy and that thrive off of the drama showcased in such films. At the same time, I don't get very upset when this automatic conflation occurs because one would have trouble understanding the joys of singing with a group of close friends that have common musical goals if they have never had an interest in doing so themselves. As for the legitimacy for this genres existence in terms of listenability, I find it fascinating to listen to when the human voice can do outside of a strictly tonal context. Some members of the A Cappella community have tremendous control over the percussive nature of their mouths and that is intensely entertaining to hear being integrated into a tonal texture.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Blog Post #2

Direction-  The word direction is very important to me for my musical/creative process.  I like to come up with some sort of direction for whatever I am working on, but in a very natural way.  This direction can be shaped, changed, or even completely scrapped as I progress.  I believe having some sort of original direction that is not concrete can help you to take a good idea and make something truly great

Authentic- When I am creating something, particularly music, it is important to me that the product is authentic to myself and my experiences.  When looking back on a completed project, it is refreshing to see a work that is reflective and unique of one's individual experience and processes.  This is a concept that can be applied to a group of collaborators as well.  In a collaboration, I would want to end up with work that equally reflects each group member's strengths. 

Creativity/Experimentation- I believe that going into a project with a really open mind of many possibilities for the directions you can take is essential.  In this class I definitely want to experiment with new ideas and processes, but also see what my creative process and previous experience can bring to the group.

I believe that people often assume PAT majors are only skilled in areas of music technology.  While this is one of our areas of study, every PAT major I have met is an extremely well rounded musician, and is able to think creatively at a high level. 

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Reflections on Collaborations

With apologies for my absence, here is are results of our discussion in week 1:

Features of Successful Collaborations
Features of Unsuccessful Collaborations
Good communication; speaking AND listening with respect
Too many leaders / directions
Timely responses
Willingness to experiment
Going above / around collaborators
Trying out ideas or suggestions before dismissing them
Uneven delegation of work
Overcoming presumptions
Lack of responsiveness
Explicit expectations
Failure to follow through
Aligning expectations
Uneven sharing of credit
Defining roles and responsibilities

Not getting too attached to ideas

Common goals

Shared ground and common investment

Positive ways of dealing with friction
Negative ways of dealing with friction
Asking about it
Pretending it isn’t there
Not taking it personally
Assuming consensus
Understanding effect is not the same as intent
Avoiding conflict
Giving the benefit of the doubt
Explaining the offence
Admitting when you are wrong