Please Mister Please

Wednesday 30 July 2008

John Cage, “59½” for a string player” (1953). Joëlle Léandre, double bass.
(1’11”, 0.89 MB, mp3)

Beautiful Waste

Wednesday 30 July 2008

In a splendid act of procrastination, I’ve been flipping through the photos I took while in Melbourne I found that I spent a lot of time taking pictures of old cars around the place. You don’t see many interesting heaps around Britain, what with the annual testing and British cars having all pretty much rusted away or otherwise fallen to bits. Anyway, I went slightly OCD and uploaded them all to Flickr.

One Short Black

Tuesday 29 July 2008

Like many people, I didn’t know whether to feel sorrow or amusement when Starbucks came to Australia 5 or 6 years ago and opened a store in Lygon Street, of all places. Every afternoon I would stroll down the pavement past the bustling tables outside all the cafés, and then pass through the dead, sucking void where Starbucks had set up shop.
It seemed like it never had more than three punters in it: a middle-aged American couple, and a Japanese tourist wearing hip-hop gear. Was I deluding myself into thinking that the international chain of overpriced crap coffee was doomed to failure in Melbourne? Was I overestimating the ability to resist the millions of dollars’ worth of pressure the corporation could use to grind down the competition and the public, year after year?
Starbucks will close 70% of its Australian stores and slash more than half of its workforce…
Across the country, the company’s 84 cafes closed yesterday at 2pm…. Although the list of the stores to be closed has not been released, it is believed the controversial Starbucks shop in Lygon Street, Carlton, is among them….
Starbucks president Howard Schultz ruled out closing other stores internationally and cited “challenges unique to the Australian market”. Retail analyst Barry Urquhart said Starbucks failed in Australia in part “because they didn’t understand and respect the unique and differing characteristics of the Australian coffee consumer”.

Stained Melodies: Expanded Special Edition Director’s Cut Redux 3D

Monday 28 July 2008

Stained Melodies, a set of 24 short piano pieces I wrote back in 2000, has been hanging around on the website for a while now. I just noticed that I don’t have any copies of the CD left, so I’ve uploaded the lot of them as mp3s.
If you’ve listened to them before, you might be interested to know that I’ve replaced the old files with better quality versions.
Each melody is, in structure and in effect, a collaboration between numerous ghost pianists, none of whom can hear each other, all playing different music in different keys and tempos. However, most of the music is then erased, so that only a small fragment of each pianist can be heard simultaneously.
Also, the piano has been retuned into just intonation. To keep things interesting.

Now with its own web page

Saturday 26 July 2008

Kwik Komputer Klinik

Thursday 24 July 2008

Do you use a wireless mouse? Have you found lately that your mouse is inaccurate, erratic, sluggish and unresponsive? Try these three simple steps to troubleshoot the problem.

  1. Check that the mouse batteries are fully charged.
  2. Make sure you are using a clean mousepad or other work surface for your mouse.
  3. Move the wall of empty beer cans away from the edge of your mousepad to another corner of your desk.

Please Mister Please

Tuesday 22 July 2008

Moab Stringband with Not Drowning Waving, “Abebe” (1988).
(2’54”, 5.60 MB, mp3)

The mummified corpse of Jeremy Bentham reads inter-office emails.

Tuesday 22 July 2008

I think I've spent the last hour staring blankly into space and no-one's noticed.

The Old School Is Built On The Ruins Of The New School

Monday 21 July 2008

MP3s for download:
1. The Old School Is Built On The Ruins Of The New School
(take 1, 21 July 2008. 7’53”, 13.53 MB)
2. The Old School Is Built On The Ruins Of The New School
(take 2, 21 July 2008. 8’21”, 13.93 MB)
My old laptop is dying, but I managed to coax another performance out of it while I was in Melbourne. I was asked to play at Stutter, which happens every Wednesday night at the fine Horse Bazaar.
I decided to make a new piece for digitally-emulated feedback, a bit like last year’s The One Who Was Neither Or Nor, but with some refinements. Again, The Old School Is Built On The Ruins Of The New School was made using AudioMulch, with nested loops of sound processing contraptions which generate self-modulating feedback signals that can either be sent to the speakers, fed back into themselves, or into one of the other loops.
This time around, the new piece was designed to have a more elegant performance interface. Instead of furrowing my brow glaring at a computer screen, fussing with a mouse making adjustments and changing connections, I constructed a simple set of control points which had distinctive, but indirect, effects on the sounds produced. These control points could then be manipulated through AudioMulch’s Metasurface interface.

The resulting sounds were more complex than Neither/Nor: with greater variety in timbres and in phrasing. I particularly liked the way the loops would cancel each other out from time to time, suddenly introducing silences of unpredictable lengths. It’s not really relaxing listening, but it keeps you guessing.
Unfortunately I couldn’t make a recording of the gig. My computer was already being taken to its limits by this piece, and attempting to capture the sound data to hard drive at the same time would send the laptop into seizures. The two mp3 files above were recorded at home earlier today, each take lasting until the computer overloaded and I lost the thread of what was happening.
A new page for this piece, with more info, will be up on the music page shortly. Hopefully, I might have a few pics of the gig, too. In the meantime, here’s a woozy snap of the fine trio that played after me: Natasha Anderson, Ben Byrne, and Sean Baxter, making a scrupulously detailed racket with improvised analog electronics, percussion, computer manipulation and the world’s biggest recorder. Sorry the pic’s so bad: blame it on the bar’s subdued lighting and too much Cooper’s Pale.

Frontier: Coburg

Saturday 19 July 2008

A few years ago, my girlfriend went to her first medical checkup in London and found herself explaining to the British-born doctor that Australian houses have bedrooms, thus correcting her assumption that verandahs were primarily designed for sleeping. When the only news story from Australia that has impinged upon British consciousness this year is the one about the bloke with the seatbelt on his slab, it can be hard explaining to Brits that Australia is a modern, largely urbanised society, with a complex and sophisticated culture.
Then you come back to Melbourne for a visit, sit out on the verandah of your friend’s house in leafy Coburg, and flip through the Personal Services classifieds at the back of the local paper.

“Yee-haw! There’s a passel o’ fine fillies up from South Yarra ways on that thar stagecoach, pardner!”
“Shucks, Jed, I ain’t seen me a gin-u-wine South Yarra lady up the Sydney Road in a month o’ Sundays!”
And then there’s this inspired promotional campaign that’s guaranteed to drum up trade. It’s enough to make any bargain-hunting man grab his hod and head out west. Also note the somewhat excessive zeal and efficiency that Amy brings to her job.

(Crossposted at Sarsaparilla.)

New on the Art pages

Thursday 17 July 2008

Two of my art exhibitions now have pages up on the main site, with some background information about the shows and a few photos to pretty it all up.
Redrawing: String Quartet No.2 (Canon in Beta): All about the audiovisual installation I made for the Redrawing exhibition last month. Who’d have thought so much could be said about a blank screen and a D chord?
Mock Tudor No.2 (Why doesn’t someone get him a Pepsi?): “Every once in a while Don would scream at his mother ‘Sue! Get me a Pepsi!’ There was nothing else to do in Lancaster.” My first live sound installation, generating feedback with two loudspeakers and a microphone. Presented at Bus gallery in 2002.

More about Carl Stone

Tuesday 15 July 2008

After yesterday’s addition to Please Mister Please, I would like to direct you to Carl Stone’s website, The site features plenty of examples and discussions of his more recent work, in addition to a number of movies about barbecues.
The composer has graciously allowed me to keep a “quaint” example of his earlier work on my site, mid-80s MIDI and all, if only for a few weeks as usual.
  • Note to self: Get more composers’ websites on the sidebar ->
  • Additional note to self: I’m old enough to have written stuff I must now find a teensy bit embarrassing. In fairness, I should dig it out and upload some of it for public exposure.

Please Mister Please

Monday 14 July 2008

Carl Stone, “Vim” (1986).
(10’26”, 15.05 MB, mp3)

A Dozen Dormobiles

Monday 14 July 2008

OK, NOW the name and subject indices are updated to the end of June. And the old VW campervans just keep multiplying around my block.

What’s on top of the pile?

Sunday 13 July 2008

Milton Babbitt, Philomel and other works (Bethany Beardslee, Lynne Webber, Jerry Kuderna, Robert Miller)
“What if Elliott Carter‘s name was Ginsberg?” asked Morton Feldman once. Would his reputation be so high? I listen to Babbitt’s music pretending he’s called Babtescu, in the hope that the sensuousness and humour for which he’s praised will become apparent to me.
CDCM Computer Music Series Vol. 1
I bought this second hand because it has Jerry Hunt’s Fluud on it. I hope there’s a grant out there for a scholar to go through Hunt’s archives to translate the paralanguage he wrote in:
Fluud is a system of translation of the mechanisms of austral/boreal trace patterns produced as an aural-visual performance extraction (Robert Fludd [1574-1647] monochordum mundi syhiphoniacum, 1622). The interference austral diagrams are duplicated to generate embedded templates of patterns. Pulse and melody bursts with orders of motions (color) are translated from the channels of regulative currents (austral, boreal). The templates are selective codings of the elemental determinants (body)….

(Previously on the pile.)

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