Analysis of Kevin Baldwin playing Grab It!

Some interesting ideas here:

  • A set composition which is moved forward by live triggers.
  • Using an acoustic instrument as a controller. Possibly using pitch detection.
  • Using video, text and spoken word for “conceptional content” in combination with the abstraction of music/sound.
  • Integration of poetry medium was nice.

I wasn’t so much impressed with the actual choice of content of the piece but the delivery and the fast pace of the musical style combined was very effective. I imagine live it would have a great impact assuming you were standing close enough.

He seemed stuck behind the instrument and sheet music so would be physically constrained in meeting the audience and thus have less options with engaging them.

Ideas for future directions from here might be:

  • Gesture recognition, i.e. series of notes, a “music phrase” as triggers for navigating the composition, perhaps allowing for non-linear compositions. Also for triggering smaller sequences of visuals/spoken-word
  • Different interface to make music which allows more interaction with the audience. Perhaps wireless sensors.
  • Noise!

Composition is like Gardening which is like Surfing slow-mo

Brian Eno is famous for his generative approach to composition and in this talk, Composers as Gardeners, he talks about how he arrived at this idea. The main jist of it is that he was influenced by the book The Brain Of The Firm, The Managerial Cybernetics Of Organization in which Stafford Beer talks about what we call today Emergent Behavior

What happened in Stafford’s work was that he was talking about organization and how things organize themselves in this new way. And there was one sentence in the book which I think I still remember, he said ‘instead of trying to organize it in full detail, you organize it only somewhat and you then rely on the dynamics of the system to take you in the direction you want to go.’ And this became my sort of motto for how I wanted composition to be.

This all reminded me about a video interview with Curtis roads in which he talks about a book he was reading on landscape gardening being really about composition.

What I find inspiring about what Eno is his discovery of the “talent to surrender”

And another way I can translate that is to say it’s a repositioning of ourselves on the control/surrender spectrum…What we’re not so used to is the idea that another great gift we have is the talent to surrender and to cooperate. Cooperation and surrender are actually parts of the same skill. To be able to surrender is to be able to know when to stop trying to control. And to know when to go with things, to be taken along by them. And that’s a skill that we actually have to start relearning.

Steve Reich had a sort of orthogonal idea of Music as a Gradual Process in that he would design a generative process that would operate by itself.

Musical processes can give one a direct contact with the impersonal and also a kind of complete control, and one doesn’t always think of the impersonal and complete control as going together. By “a kind” of complete control I mean that by running this material through the process I completely control all that results, but also that I accept all that results without changes.

When looking at performance that involved generative elements i always saw this as a lack of control (and perhaps imagination). Now, instead, i see it as the skill of going with the moment, sort of like surfing on a giant chaotic wave.

Visuals for modern dance augmentation

Alex May just put up a sample of his latest interactive performance instillation which he demos with a dancer.

Shadows of Light from Quadratura on Vimeo.

I saw an Australian dance performance last month here in Berlin called Glow which was a floor dance also with real-time interactive dance visuals.

I like this direction VJing is taking. Slightly above the mundane random images with effects layer on.


Two anime gods, that when joined on the same project produce some beautiful work.

Kitaro KOUSAKA produces some beautiful work. I watched half of ‘Princess Mononoke‘ last night and was impressed with the quality of the animetion. It looked like ‘Spirited Away‘, another beautiful anime film. I did a little sniffing around and found that it was a combinatioon of Kitaro KOUSAKA as Animation Supervisor and Hayao MIYAZAKI detailed and original story and direction.

I shall hunt down some more their work. Of note ‘Whisper of the Heart’ and ‘Castle in the Sky’ look good.

Zine distribution website

Website idea: Zine distribution. Organise mailing zines to people.

Wouldn’t it be good to have a website that lists zines as they come out and give you some way of getting a copy if your not in their city? Maybe just a postal address to write to get a copy or the site could charge postage and organise and send it. You’d have to be a real zine nut to do that however. If it become popular you could charge a $1 per post. Maybe get the ‘work-for-the-dole’ people to do it for you? You could offer subscriptions to certain zines and post em automatically.

Like the equivalent of a small record company but for zines. Just a random thought…