It has been an interesting summer, with me and my wife enjoying our first summer in Easthampton. The majority of the summer has been spent preparing for (drumroll) the birth of our son in October!
Fitting around the preparation I have been working on two new projects. The first is a piece for four iPads. The performance software is written in Pure Data (Pd) and then hosted via the iOS app MobMuPlat. This has allowed me to explore developing applications for iOS (helped in part from a TLTR Grant from Ramapo College), and also develop my skills in Pd programming, which has been really exciting because I was able to use a majority of my knowledge of Max programming but also learn to develop with a Pd slant. In the end I have found there are certain aspects I prefer in Pd (Graph-on-Parent, FOSS, for example), while other aspects I prefer in Max (help, grid patching, patch cord routing, gen~). My plan from here on out will include dividing my time between the two, with iOS development in Pd, most teaching in Pd (it is free after all), while personal performance tools will likely be developed in Max, usually hosted in Ableton Live via Max-For-Live, and teaching of synthesis will be conducted using BEAP in Max/Max-For-Live.
The second project I have started to develop is in some ways an extension of the planned composition I applied for funding through the ECA+ E.A.T. program. I don’t have the time (or funding) to develop the intended string quartet, between to the research needed to investigate folk music and develop those melodies into a modern texture, the part writing, and the electronic processing development. So I have decided to develop an hour+ solo performance of folk music presented through the eye of an electroacoustic composer. This will involve pieces performed myself on electronics, guitar, harmonic, and vocals. The major difference between the string quartet material and this “Folk Revue”, is that the works selected for the revue will be more reflective of my own path through folk music; its far from comprehensive, and probably is slanted a bit too much towards early 60s Greenwich Village folk than an a presentation of folk musics from many cultures and nations. This project is being worked out in Max and then hosted in Ableton Live (it just makes a lot of things much easier than “pure” Max). Many of the algorithms I’m developing either help me in performing solo, are generative and develop musical ideas automatically, or are interactive and respond to my performances. I hope to perform it somewhere around Easthampton over the next few months, ideally before my little homie is born!
Well, unfortunately I did not get selected as the recipient of the Easthampton Arts Treasury Grant through the Easthampton City Arts+ council. It was a bit of an uphill battle for me, as I am new resident of Easthampton, and I was also on the younger side of both the applicants and the attendees. Be that as it may I felt the whole evening was a great success and I am proud of the piece I performed during the presentations, a heavily processed improvisation on Woody Guthrie’s “Pretty Boy Floyd” and I still plan to write the string trio with electric guitar in which I was seeking funding for. I also hope this was the first event of many that I participate in with the Easthampton City Arts+ group!
I have been selected as a presenter and potential recipient of crowd-sourced funds through the Easthampton City Arts’ EAT (Easthampton Arts Treasury) program. On March 26th from 7-9 PM at Flywheel Arts Collective in Easthampton, MA, myself along with other selected applicants will present their projects in which they are seeking funding. A $25 donation at the door gets you into the event where there will be food and drink. After presentations, event-goers vote on the applicant they think should receive the funding, and the winner receives all the money collected at the door, plus an additional $100 dollars from the Easthampton City Arts+. I am seeking funding to compose an electroacoustic work for string trio (violin, viola and cello) along with electric guitar, which will call upon modern harmony, digital signal processing, and folk music themes.
The more of my friends and supporters that go will provide more money at the door for the selected applicant… and hopefully, as friends and supporters you will lean more towards my project! More information can be found at the EAT Facebook page. Tickets are selling fast, and seating is limited, so please reserve your tickets soon! Tickets can be reserved at Eventbrite.
One thing I have made a point to do this year was to determine what I thought were the best records of 2013. Of course I can’t listen to everything, but I tried to give most things a shot, and feel like I have come up with a list of my 15 favorite records of the year. Its a pretty eclectic mix, with indie-rock, folk, jazz, hip-hop, and art music all making its way onto the list. Following the list is a second list, of records that I didn’t have time to fully explore this year.
My Top Albums of the Year:
- 01. Modern Vampires of the City – Vampire Weekend
- 02. Reflektor – Arcade Fire
- 03. The Bones of What You Believe – CHVRCHES
- 04. Shaking the Habitual – The Knife
- 05. Bright Sunny South – Sam Amidon
- 06. Doris – Earl Sweatshirt
- 07. Silent Comedy – Bill Frisell
- 08. Hummingbird – Local Natives
- 09. Run The Jewels – Run The Jewels
- 10. Psychic – DARKSIDE
- 11. The Silver Gymnasium – Okkervil River
- 12. Old – Danny Brown
- 13. Big Sur – Bill Frisell
- 14. Wake Up Awesome – C. Spencer Yeh, Okkyung Lee, Lasse Marhaug
- 15. Mischief & Mayhem – Jenny Scheinman
Albums I Haven’t Fully Explored Yet (Because I’ve Been Listening to a LOT of Fleetwood Mac) But Will Likely Spend The Beginning of 2014 Listening To (And is Much Longer Than My Actual Selections for Best of The Year, but Truth Be Told I’ve Been Listening to That Vampire Weekend Record Non-stop Since It Dropped):
- Night Time, My Time – Sky Ferreira
- Settle – Disclosure
- Event of Your Leaving – RAUM
- Give Me All You Got – Carrie Rodriguez
- Rival Dealer – Burial
- The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You – Neko Case
- Touch Five – Phil Niblock
- Wondrous Bughouse – Youth Lagoon
- Cerulean Salt – Waxahatchee
- Muchacho – Phosphorescent
- MBV – My Bloody Valentine
- True Romance – Charli XCX
- Event 2 – Deltron 3030
- Days are Gone – Haim
- Silence Yourself – Savages
- Slow Focus – Fuck Buttons
- My Name Is My Name – Pusha T
- Light Up Gold – Parquet Courts
- Tomorrow’s Harvest – Boards of Canada
- Cupid Deluxe – Blood Orange
An amazing experimental film directed by Loretta Fahrenholz, produced by Inka Meissner, and based upon a play by Kathy Acker that I engineered the sound for as well as did sound design and post-production sound for is having its American & New York City premier this Saturday night, November 19th, Midnight, at the Reena Spaulings Fine Art Gallery in Manhattan, 165 East Broadway. This should be a fantastic event, with members of the cast and crew in attendance. Click on the image above for more information, or go to http://reenaspaulings.com/.
Had been hearing her name passed around in the blogger/critic circles, but unfortunately more often than not my listening habits border on lazy, and I don’t actively seek out the newest/hottest buzz bands like I used to. Fortunately, I’ve gotten SiriusXM radio in my new (old) car, and listening to the excellent indie-rock station SiriusXMU introduced me to Lana Del Rey.
I don’t know quite how to describe her. She combines the darkness of Tori Amos with the soul/blues of Erykah Badu, and an undefinable sexiness while still being very frank with her sexuality in her lyrics (see her live performance of the yet-to-be released “Born 2 Die”).
Her only release so far is a double A side 7″, with the tracks “Video Games” and “Blue Jeans”. They’re both amazing, complex while still leaving you humming the tunes, but it’s “Blue Jeans” that really gets me. It has this pop “thump” to it, that makes your body move without it being a dance tune, or a rock tune, or barely a pop tune. On top of this, the video for this track takes a musique concrete approach to its construction, using found video and audio, making an already amazing tune EVEN BETTER.