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.