Tuesday, July 31, 2007

do re mi fa so la ti


when i was in college and people (usually of the older generation) would ask me my major, and i'd say "ohhh, well... music!". so many times i got the usual response, which was "well that must be fun for you!", or "oh what a great outlet."
if i wasn't lucky enough to see the conversation end there, "what sort of job are you going to have with that?" would inevitably follow.
though these certain types may have been right to doubt the security in careerpath, the part that i felt they often misunderstood is that music is not just a visceral hobby or "outlet"- of course it should be these things sometimes- but it can also be incredibly ACADEMIC.
the picture above is a screenshot of an max/msp patch written and used by the electronic artists Autechre.
here's some audio programming shots from other various programs. many of them aren't even exclusively for music- they are more like programming languages, used to research or shape audio information, which, in our glorious day and age- can be conveyed digitally.





an example of code from Super Collider:

"// play a mixture of pink noise and an 800 Hz sine tone
{ SinOsc.ar(800, 0, 0.1) + PinkNoise.ar(0.01) }.play;

// modulate the sine frequency and the noise amplitude with another sine
// whose frequency depends on the horizontal cursor position
{
var x = SinOsc.ar(MouseX.kr(1, 100));
SinOsc.ar(300 * x + 800, 0, 0.1)
+
PinkNoise.ar(0.1 * x + 0.1)
}.play;

// list iteration: create a collection of indices multiplied by their values
[1, 2, 5, 10, -3].collect { |item, i| item * i }

// factorial function
f = { |x| if(x == 0) { 1 } { f.(x-1) * x } }"

Years ago, people of culture studied music in school, took lessons requisitely, considering music to be integral to an education. They played cellos like they wore dresses. (Often.) Today, take a high school like mine, which had NO music program whatsoever, aside from an elective option choir, which was the worst in the western states, statistically and seriously.

The point is, music is intrinsically simple. Western music (as we know it) is based around only 7 tones of a major scale. But music also has a depth to it that so many people will never know, never understand- maybe because it's represented most often now by MTV and not by actual real and thinking musicians. There's a planets worth of organic tones we can spend lifetimes trying to emulate. Much like painting in visual art. And technology is only accelerating that capacity. I find this absolutely thrilling, humbling, and challenging.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Purgatory, by Gustave Doré.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

the red ring of death



i know there are more important things in the world to be frustrated about, but when you move to a new city and resort to buying an xbox for lack of any friends, after awhile you grow quite attached to it. and when it's not even a year old and it suddenly kaputs, leaving you alone on the couch staring into your wall, potato chips mixing with the drool running down your face, it really sucks. especially when you've lost the receipt.

three red flashing lights on my xbox says that the hard drive is dead.
apparently, microsoft has had this happen so often that they have had to extend their warranty to three years and back-pay everybody who has had to pay for repairs. one guy on the internet has purchased 11 xboxes (nutcase?) and all of them have died.i wouldn't be too worried, but i lost the receipt and i HATE MYSELF for it.

on the flipside, during the time i've not had an xbox, my amount of reading as well as general productivity has upped amazingly. mysterious!
so i'm faced with a dilemma of great moral consequence. do i fix the thing, (because God knows Halo 3 is coming out in a couple of months!!!), or do i cut my losses, time and money, and move on with my life?

Monday, July 16, 2007

live earth concerts



since i can only get AM frequencies in my work van, i've been listening to a lot of talk radio and news during the day. and conservative talk radio at that, since it seems they don't even have "liberal" talk shows airing in these parts, aside from NPR (which is mysteriously elusive on the dial). But i heard an interesting discussion on the live earth concerts the other day which basically reamed the celebrities going out there to "preach global warming" whilst flying in on private jets with crews of 100s, leaving behind their giant energy sucking ranch mansions, garages full of SUVs and Escalades.
I think it is pretty funny that Al Gore chose L.A. and Hollywood to be the face of his campaign for environmental awareness. Maybe that's the best way to get people's attention, but it does seem silly.
I have to post this, though, because i find it hilarious. (Written by a member of the band Mogwai on their official website):

"Live Earth: Everything's OK.

Since the Live Earth concert the other day, everything has changed. In these 2 days since the concert the environment has apparently regenerated up to 68% of the damage done by humans because of the sheer quality of the music played by David Gray and Black Eyed Peas. When Madonna played, the ozone layer hole sealed up, probably to keep the great music from leaking out into space!
Most amazingly of all though, I woke up this morning to find 3 new full grown trees in my back garden with a note from James Blunt which read,"I'm planting trees in your area for the environment's sake, stay beautiful".
How good is that?"

Saturday, July 14, 2007

amazing friend

to my utter joy, i returned home yesterday to find an LP sized package at my apartment's front door. it was full of music, with a fantastic note written on the back in Joel's handwriting. whoa. thank you, Joel! music is such a great thing to glue old friendships together over time. shared experiences with people you can't be with. how perfect.
inside was:







Monday, July 9, 2007

laika on myspace

i come home from work today and find out that while i'm gone laika's already totally getting into social networking.

blogger reunites

really great to get back in touch with old friends because of blogger. hi to Randy, whose blog exists here, and to Steve, who i hope will create a blog soon.

Friday, July 6, 2007

july 5th journal entry

Nearly one in the morning, standing at the kitchen counter eating zesta whole wheat crackers with slices of swiss cheese I am cutting for myself.
Having read Hemingway’s “a moveable feast” tonight is keeping me up. I can only think of his Paris and his life, but am too tired to read about more. I have been reading more lately, coincidentally about writers writing and the process of doing so. Don Delillo’s “Mao II” has writers taking the place of terrorists, or the reverse really. And I don’t so much understand the importance of this as understand that it is important, for one reason or another.
My head is flooded with old places, and the painfully motivating sense that time is starting to slip away. I should be up every morning, devoting a few hours to some craft, my craft- it seems to be music. But I have not been. Is this a discipline I can gain? To what end and purpose should I be doing this? Tonight I seem to be coming to the conclusion that even if there is no other purpose, my self fulfillment is involved. At this point in my life I know that I will never be happy unless I am creating something. But the effort and time weighed against the earthly rewards it should/could or does not yield seems inbalanced. And that only leads me to think that it isn’t the process that is the problem, but it is my own lack of talent, or a misguided assumption made somewhere in the blur between craft and “hobby” . Wanting to do great things is much different from doing them. Is it ridiculous to sacrifice time in life that could be spent advancing one’s career or relationships for the sake of one’s own “art”?, especially when the art itself lends no tangible advantage to said life? But any great artist has had to start out un-great. The rewards change the process, and the process is changed by the purpose.
Perhaps, though, the only difference is a matter of a few hours of sleep.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

happy birthday, sis


july 4th. julie's birthday.

oh yeah, and some sort of independence day too.