Dell Dimension XPS/Linux,
Digital Performer 3
One of the aspects of contemporary academic music that drives me crazy is the
way it continually recycles the worst aspects of high modernism; an elitist
intellectual insularity pasted onto a self-defined Serious Art Culture.
If academia could function primarily as a place for alternative
musical explorations, all would be cool, but all too often our
desire for community as represented through our music turns into
a rhetoric of good music (i.e. ours is better than ...).
Heck, I can surely understand this drive. Part of my own motivation for
doing this web-page extravaganza is to pretend to myself that there
are other people who might be interested in sharing my sounds.
The latest gasp of this enclosing modernism (c. early 2001) was
so-called "spectral" music, a set of knee-jerk new music gestures
applied to a semi-random collection of pitches (but oh-so-scientistically
justifed pitches!). When Deborah Bradley asked me to compose a piece for
along with a group of my faculty colleagues, I decided to write my
own "spectral" piece in which the tape part consisted of pretty much
nothing but timbral modifications to a single pitch (D, obviously).
The piece was also motivated by my fooling with some new Digital Performer
MIDI synths, and I was able to collect a large set of "spectra" by recording
the different instruments. I used RTcmix scripts to generate the changing
timbral pedal note throughout the piece. The big distorto-guitar thing
at the beginning and the horn-like sound at the end are from the
set of physical-model objects for Max/MSP done by Dan Trueman and
Luke Dubois (based on Perry Cook and Gary Scavone's
STK: Synthesis ToolKit,
especially the [blotar~].
It was actually very enjoyable to do, despite my apparent curmudgeonliness
in this commentary. Reiko Uchida played the piano part for
the premiere, and she reminded me what real musical talent can do.
I was amazed! Several years later, Doug Geers asked me to do the
piece for his 2004
SPARK Festival of Electronic Music and Art.
I decided just for fun to play the piano part myself. Since I'm not
really good enough to play what I had written for Reiko, I improvised
the piano part. Doug gave me a recording of it and I decided to
put it on-line also.