Robert van Heumen Composer Improvisor Laptop-Instrumentalist Sound-Designer
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Plans - but after France

Quite some plans developed the last couple of weeks.

First there is the SuperCollider symposium, to be held in September in Den Haag, Leiden and Amsterdam. That's going to be all about the audio synthesis programming language Super Collider. Nerding away with a room full of males I'm sure....
In the symposium there's a possibility to compose a piece for the Wavefield Synthesis system (a kind of surround sound system, but another technique than the usual 5.1 Dolby - you could also say a more academic approach, especially looking at the budget: 192 speakers...). This is going to be a daunting task: I witnessed 3 pieces at November Music 2006 on that system, not all succesful in my opinion - but I'm ready to try (and possibly burn...).
My new, not yet born composition Phases2 is going to be an algorithmic composition inspired by the work of James Tenney, especially his piece Phases. It is based upon one single synthesis algorithm (basically amplitude modulated bandpassfiltered noise), which is also the basis of my recent composition Silent (NOW available on CDR - get it today ;)). In Phases2, parameters of the source algorithm will be controlled using faster paced (compared to Silent) tendency masks - still have to think how to spacialize that, especially using 192 speakers, and virtually without any way to hear it in advance (only a couple of hours access to the system)... Blah blah. For less nerdy people: some initial results with the patch I'm programming here. And for the visually oriented people: some imagery. Also some text. Boy what a work... I forgot how time-consuming, attention-grabbing and alienating programming could be - and only for that nice little extra button there or that super handy filter dropdown.... well, not all about that of course.

From the same source is Noise Within, a track on the Silent CDR, that will be played by Jeff Carey and Martijn Tellinga on their tour in the US in November presenting 'tape pieces' (or should I say 'harddisc pieces' with or without quotes) they selected. But since the track is not fully 4 channel yet, I need to do some work on it. And actually I also want to make a live version of it, with the sound to the 4 speakers controlled by 4 computer mice...

Thirdly I'm working with Luc Houtkamp and Tom Tlalim on a research for networked pieces. I'd never have thought I'd be involved in a project on that subject, since it has been done quite a lot. Most of the time people were sending MIDI over the internet, resulting in 'beep........................... bloep.....................squeek...........' - not the most exciting interplay. But this promises to be very interesting - Luc has set really strict boundaries, that leave little space for diversions from the subject. The network aspect is also not involving any global issues - only a small local 3 person network where there is interplay on the musician level as well as the computer level (every computer controls one aspect of the sound-to-be-generated). And the soundsource is ONLY the disklavier (the MIDI controllable grand piano - where controllable should be taken in a vague sense - it's MIDI implementation is not perfect, and the mechanical system is something you really have to take into account), and each of us is required to write software to allow for a live performance by the three of us, playing an improvised set with certain rules and restrictions, again, only triggering the disklavier.... Another incentive for SuperCollider programming... and drawing me closer into the neutral zone between music and programming... aaaaaah! Hopefully I can assimilate before they do.

Then Shackle with Anne LaBerge is an ongoing effort - very interesting to improvise with limits dictated by the computer - that proposes predefined parts, lasting a randomly chosen time within limits set in advance, and chosen according to predefined weights and preferred orders (all within certain constraints). More SuperColliderrrrr. Again imagery: here.

And then there's the collaborations with Tom Tlalim and Oguz Buyukberber, recordings to edit and select, gigs to arrange for SKIF++ in october, US.

So now you know what I'm up to. Not sure why I need to inform the world about all of this. But here it is.

But first: to France. As Frank Zappa said... well never mind.


Reading: Traveling Music by Neil Peart, Rush's drummer and lyricist - a travel story, with biographical descriptions and album reviews interwoven - made me dive into CD's and LP's I haven't touched for at least 5 years (well, apart from putting them in and out boxes during my multiple moves).

Listening to: lots of Dubstep (Box of Dub, The roots of Dubstep, Dubstep Allstars) and various older LP's (now my turntable is working again): Photek, Trace&Nico (No U Turn), Greedyfingers, Alexander's Dark Band and the fav Paranoid Android (all on the DC label by J. Saul Kane/Depth Charge - found out there's a Radiohead song with that title, but this was earlier). Also Frank Zappa's 'You are what you is', inspired by France.

Beauty is a lie. But you don't care if it's a lie. Cause you're such a beautiful guy. Hi girls.