Wednesday, April 21, 2010

concert 4

Our fourth concert in our series is titled:

- Synthesis -

Wednesday, April 21st
12:00-1:00pm with discussion and reception to follow
Black Box Theater Atkinson Hall, UCSD campus


Premiers traces du Choucras (2008) Francis Dhomont
Study on Japanese themes (2009) Bruno Ruviaro
Three Fictions (Northern Mix) (2001) Natasha Barrett
Thingsfallapart (2010) Barry Threw
Parenthesis (2008) Adam Stansbie

This is the fourth concert in a year long series presenting music conceived with a special relationship to computers.

Notes about the program:

Premières traces du Choucas (First Traces of the Jackdaw) is a second preliminary work for Le cri du Choucas, a long work in progress about Franz Kafka’s world, works, and character. “Kavka” is the Czech word for “jackdaw” (“choucas” in French), a kind of crow whose image adorned the storefront of Hermann Kafka, Franz's father. The title came from the strong animal symbolics found in the works of Kafka: a deep, solitary, never-empathic, often-muted cry one can hear in each one of his novels and tales, even in the slightest fragmentary story. As for the capital C attributed to “Choucas” in my title, it confirms the presence of a proper noun.

Francis Dhomont was born in Paris, 1926. Convinced of the originality of acousmatic art, his production is, since 1960, exclusively made of tape works. Doc Honoris causa at University of Montreal where he was teaching Electroacoustic Composition from 1980 to 1996. During 26 years, he shared his activity between France and Quebec. In 1997 he was a guest of the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) Berlin. Prix "Ars electronica 1992", "Magisterium" Bourges 1988, 1st Prize, Bourges 1981. Many works selected for the "World Music Days", and ICMC. He is now living in Avignon, France, and pursues an international career.

Study on Japanese Themes is a concatenative synthesis study based on tiny fragments borrowed from Japanese composers Ryoji Ikeda and Keiichiro Shibuya. Its composition was prompted by a combination of three things, present or absent: Paris’ autumn, California’s sun, and Tokyo’s fish market.

Bruno Ruviaro, composer and pianist from São Paulo, Brazil, was born in 1976, and has lived in 21 different places: Rua Theodureto Souto, Rua Cajati, Casa do Seu Demétrio, Rua São Borja, Rua James Adam, Alameda dos Uirapurus, Avenida Modesto Fernandes, Avenida Santa Izabel, Rua Nuno Álvares Pereira, Rua Prof. Djalma Bento, Rua Dr. Nestor Esteves Natividade, Rua Major Diogo, North Park Street, Jericho Street, Olmsted Road, Thoburn Court, Comstock Circle, Via Parma, Rue de l’Hôtel de Ville, Greenoaks Drive, Miramar Street.

Three Fictions was comissioned by the Institut Internatinal de Musique Electroacoustic Bourges/IMEB. Rather than presenting a monumental approach to musical structure, these three miniatures each present fictional moments, each blown up into a few minutes of sound and metaphor:

1. In the rain -The burning in my head subsides as I lie in the grass in the rain.
Fat droplets falling.
Vegetation flickers-Freshness returns. The structure of this setting is based around the statistical computation of rain drops falling onto a 2-dimensional surface. Drops fall in a uniform distribution on the time line independently from other drops (called a Poisson process). The X co-ordinate is translated into left-right space, the Y co-ordinate as front-back space and pitch shift. Score files were created for use in Csound, and then many sound materials were gradually slotted into the mix. The 'rain' is sculpted to increase and decrease in intensity.
2. Midday moon - Cool midnight sun. Dream awake..Midday moon.. - North of the Arctic Circle there are periods of the year when the sun never rises, and periods when it never sets. Experience of the midnight sun can embody the calming feeling of subdued activity, while continual darkness can evoke mad delusions. During the summer months, the path of the northernly sun is approximately sinusoidal. This path has been divided into units of equal altitude, giving varying time segments. These time segments were then used as an event framework for the sound materials.

3. Outside snow falls - White crystals slowly fall. A gate slowly sways. Inside it is warm - The location of events are calculated in a similar way to the rain in the first setting, but in this instance the sound materials are all placed by hand from a time-space listing, and have a lighter, icier character.

Natasha Barrett (1972) works fore-mostly with composition and creative uses of sound. Performed and commissioned throughout the world Barrett has collaborated with well known ensembles - such as the London Sinfonietta, Oslo Sinfonietta, Cikada and Ars Nova, scientists and designers, electronic performance groups and festivals. Her output spans concert composition through to sound-art, sound-architecture, installations, interactive works, often incorporates latest technologies and includes a major work for the Norwegian state commission for art in public spaces. Whether writing for instrumental performers or electronic media her compositional aesthetics are derived from acousmatic issues focusing on the aural perception of detail, structure and potential meaning, and an interest in techniques that reveal detail the ear will normally miss. The composition and manipulation of space is a central element in much of this work. As a performer she works with electronics, improvisation and the interpretation of acousmstic works. Barrett studied in England with Jonty Harrison and Denis Smalley for masters and doctoral degrees in composition. Both degrees were funded by the humanities section of the British Academy. Since 1999 Norway has been her compositional and research base for an international platform.
Barry Threw is a technologist working to enable digital media artwork. He develops systems and tools for rich immersive and interactive media experience; combining sound, video, network, and audience interactions. His education was spent studying the intersection of music and media technology. He holds dual majors in Music Engineering and Music Synthesis from the Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA; and an MFA in Electronic Music & Recording Media from Mills College in Oakland, CA.

Barry Threw works with a variety of organizations stationed at the crossroads of art and technology — as the Software Director for Keith McMillen Instruments, a Berkeley CA based company developing advanced technology to bridge traditional musical instruments with the computer; as technician and software designer with Recombinant Media Labs, an organization presenting multichannel surround cinema at installations and festivals around the world; on the Board of Directors for the Beam Foundation, a Berkeley, CA non-profit foundation seeking to spark a new Western classical music movement based on the technologies and aesthetics of the 21st century; and as a technical advisor with the Gray Area Foundation for the Arts, a San Francisco non-profit and digital arts gallery dedicated to building social consciousness through digital culture. He also does freelance consulting for institutions and artists exploring digital mediums through installation or performance, and has worked on pieces shown internationally.

About Parenthesis Adam Stansbie writes: I have always struggled o work with noise-based sounds, finding it difficult to create tension or suspense without using pitched materials. In this short piece I have attempted to articulate energy and speed through the accumulation and dispersal of noise based phrases; this brief digression from my usual compositional style inspired my choice of the title, Parenthesis. This piece was partially composed in studio Circé, at the Institut International de Musique Electroacoustic de Bourges (IMEB), France.

Adam Stansbie is a composer and sonic artist from the north of England where he is currently lecturing in Music, Sound and Performance Technologies at Leeds Metropolitan University. He received his undergraduate degree from Leeds University, where he was presented with an award for outstanding achievement in music production, and is currently working towards a PhD in Electroacoustic Composition at City University, under the supervision of Professor Denis Smalley. His works have been performed and broadcast both nationally and internationally and have won awards at the Bourges International Competition 2006 and the international acousmatic competition ‘Metamorphosis’ 2006. He recently completed a residency at the IMEB, Bourges and looks forward to visiting the electroacoustic studios at Musique et Recherché, Belgium in 2009.

concert 3

(updating a little late)

The third concert in our series was titled:

- Concrète -

Tuesday, February 16th
12:00-1:00pm with discussion to follow
Black Box Theater Atkinson Hall, UCSD campus


Eskers (2009) Fred Szymanksi
[Pjanistik] (2008) Thierry Gauthier
L'instant en Vain (2008) Dominic Thibauld
Termites (2008) The Convolution Brothers
Artifact (I) (2008) Nick Storring

This is the third concert in a year long series presenting music conceived with a special relationship to computers.

Notes about the program:

Fred Szymanski writes:
"Eskers" is a multi-channel piece that utilizes sounds produced by percussive gestures using the strings and soundboard of the piano. Through the application of granular synthesis routines, these sounds are transformed iteratively to articulate certain particle-based behaviors, resulting in the creation of multiple streams of statistical noise and other effects. The asynchronous fluctuation of the microstates that make up the work produces an environment of intermittent, constantly changing textures and the development of certain dense sections resembles the process of esker formation, whereby disintegrating or eroding matter moves slowly beneath a faster-flowing current of subglacial strata.


Thierry Gauthier writes:

This expressionist acousmatic piece is entirely made from prepared piano and sine waves. The development is guided by the piano fragments, which were played and recorded directly on the soundboard of the instrument.

Dominic Thibault writes about L'instant en vain:
Time is dust. A handful of sand that runs out of my grip. That grain that falls is already part of our memory. The present moment instantly becoming past. Why are we obsessed by time?

Nick Storring writes:
Artifacts (I) is drawn from a (projected) series of works based entirely on sounds from a near-broken violin. The violin, despite being full-size was given to me by my grandmother when I was too young to remember, a hint to my parents that I should get violin lessons. I ended up getting cello lessons instead and the violin collected dust, and endured several seasons of humidity and lack thereof, leading to the collapsed of its soundpost.
This piece explores memory and the (mis)representation of events in time through documentation and recording.
This violin seemed like an apt sound-source for such a piece. I used the strings - bowed, plucked, struck, scraped, bent from the other side of the bridge, but also the body of the instrument -- the sound of the paint and varnish being scraped off by the microphone, the body being struck, the soundpost being shaken around inside of it.
The processing of the materials was inspired by various recording media - everything from sound of old 78 RPM to corrupt MP3 files. Compositionally I also was interested by suggesting certain stylistic markers.
There was also an awareness on my part of evocations and manipulations of time on the level of a recording in and of itself, the perception of historical time, and time in the personal/ nostalgic domain, and how these temporal lines intersect.