Over the years I have had many wonderful discussions with people whom I have never met. Either through emails, forums, or even chatrooms I have talked about all manner of things with people scattered around the world. Sometimes these virtual friendships manifest in the physical world and a thing is born. An art thing. This is one of those times.
The Black Box project is a project that involves Pierre Alexandre Tremblay on bass/electronics, Patrick Saint-Denis on robotics/electronics, Sylvain Pohu on guitar/electronics, and myself on drums/electronics. It’s a four-way collaboration that has gone through two residencies (in Montreal and Huddersfield), to work out the finer details of putting a large-scale show together.
It looks and sounds something like this:
I was very young when I started learning music. My household was a musical one, with my mother playing piano and grandmother and great-aunt being being piano teachers. Growing up, I had 3 hour piano lessons every day, which I rarely enjoyed. I did not look forward to the lessons because music was a chore, it was something I had to do. It wasn’t until I picked up the guitar as a teenager and started developing a personal relationship with music, that it became something I wanted to do.
I then embarked on multiple (at the time unrelated) strands of learning music. I carried on with classical piano, solfege, and 4-part writing through university, while playing guitar, bass, and drums in all kinds of bands. Previously, I had learned to work with wood and metal in shop class, and later learned to solder and make my own guitar pedals. I didn’t know it at the time, but these unrelated strands of my life would eventually come crashing together.
I have recently completed a PhD in music composition from the University of Huddersfield. The experience was life changing in many ways and I am thankful to all the people that were there for me along the way. Through the PhD (and thesis) I developed and refined my thoughts on composition, improvisation, memory, interaction, mapping, and openness/sharing. You can read about all of this in my thesis which exists as a dynamic web-thesis (I am very proud of the thesis, and consider it to be an art object in and of itself).
dfscore 2.0 is here! dfscore 2.0 is a much improved and completely rewritten version of dfscore that I started working on a couple of years ago. The dfscore system is a realtime dynamic score system built to display a variety of musical material over a local computer network. The primary motivation for building the system was to allow for a middle ground between composition and improvisation.
But before I get into all of that, here is a video showing the latest version along with its premiere at the Manchester Jazz Festival:
This is what it looks like:
Some of the core ideas in the patch are based on sampling and processing modules I developed in The Party Van, another piece of software I’ve written. However, in Cut Glove I rebuilt everything completely from scratch, with tons of new features, more options, better overall sound, etc…. At the core of Cut Glove is karma~, a Max external I recently put out which can you read about in detail here.
Before I go into detail about what Cut Glove does, and more importantly, how the mappings are implemented, here is the first of three Cut Glove performance videos in this blog post:
The rest of this blog post will go into detail about the background, development, and technical implementation of Cut Glove.
Something that I’ve alluded to in various blog posts, and is present in the whole of my webpage, but I’ve never specifically talked about, are my thoughts on openness, sharing, money, and capitalism. Ever since Ray Evanoff prodded me to write something more about the ‘magic’ stuff that him and I have talked about, I’ve really gotten into the idea of doing these kind of blog posts, in between my generally technical/informative ones. So this is another one of these posts.
I’ve always been a quite open, helpful, and sharing person. I suppose it’s in my nature to be that way, but increasingly, I’ve made a conscious effort to act in this manner. Even if it is difficult or embarrassing. You do what you think is right especially when it’s hard to do, otherwise it doesn’t matter. “It’s easy until it’s hard”. I strongly believe that acting in this manner can (and will) change the world. Kindness is contagious, and openness/honesty is viral. That sounds real hippy-dippy, but read on.
The dfscore system is a dynamic score display system built to function over a local network to display a variety of musical material. The primary motivations for building the system were to allow for a middle ground between composition and improvisation, and to be able to dynamically restructure and reorchestrate material on any given instrumentation.
The first performance utilizing the system will be on the 18th of September at The Noise Upstairs.
You can read more about the project here:
So I’ve been planning a piece for Richard Craig and myself after discovering that he, too, has been working on feedback-based instrument playing. The idea is to follow up my snare/feedback piece, iminlovewithanothergirl.com (score), with a piece for flute/feedback + snare/feedback. This will be the second of a planned trilogy of .com pieces. I’ve been developing a dynamic score display system which I will debut with this piece, but more on that later.
Here are some videos:
Here are a couple videos I made for the Art of Teaching project of my favorite drills for working your time and ears.
It sounds like this:
And looks like this:
So here it finally is. The post-jazz trio that I’ve been working on with Mauricio Pauly and Alex Tod (A Greater Horror) has finished our debut EP. As always the artwork is by Angela Guyton though this time we’ve gone with a commercially duplicated full-color sleeve type thing.
I’ve very happy with the integration of my software The Party Van into the recording, as all of these tracks were getting gigged before I had even started programming again. You can see/hear more of it in action with the live video we made a bit ago by clicking here.
You can listen to, or buy a download of physical copy of the EP on the bandcamp page here:
I am what I am today because a series of teachers who inspired, challenged, and believed in me. Today I received the Positive Impact Award in the Student Led Teaching Awards at the Royal Northern College of Music, where I teach Musicianship.
It is a massive honor to be nominated for, and receive this award. I have been very fortunate to encounter some amazing teachers in my life and I hope I can do for my students but a fraction of what they have done for me.
Many thanks to Thomas Trenkler, Joseph Bragg, Jo Foster, David Weissbrot, Jane Pyle, and all teachers who inspire students everywhere.
Spent the last three days in the studio with Pierre Alexandre Tremblay for our second album together. Some crazy amazing stuff. I’m very much looking forward to this one coming out. If all goes well it should be later this year.
So I’m doing a solo (drums+electronics) tour across the UK hitting up a bunch of classy cities (details below).
Speaking of in the mix (erm, kind of stretching it eh?), my string quartet + computer hard drive piece (It’s Made From Pieces Of From Pieces Of My Skin) should hopefully be premiered by the Distractfold ensemble in a couple of months too, with Angela Guyton making a documentary about the piece/performance.
In addition to the AGH EP release, I’m back in the studio with PA Tremblay to record a follow up to our last CD. Also have some studio time booked with Phil Marks, for a smoking drum duo we’ve been working on, and some more studio time with Richard Knight for a peculiar guitar+no-input mixer thing we’ve been kicking around.
All in all, some rather busy next couple of months. Do stop by some of the gigs and see the new setup/instruments in action.
5 May 2012 – Birmingham – Solo Drums+Electronics
9 May 2012 – Sheffield – Solo Drums+Electronics
10 May 2012 – Manchester – Solo Drums+Electronics
22 May 2012 – Manchester – The Noise Upstairs Ensemble
23 May 2012 – Chorlton – Solo Electronics
25 May 2012 – Manchester – Takahashi’s Shellfish Concern
30 May 2012 – Kent – Solo Drums+Electronics
6 June 2012 – Leeds – Takahashi’s Shellfish Concern
19 June 2012 – Manchester – A Greater Horror
22 June 2012 – Manchester – Drums with PA Tremblay
23 June 2012 – Manchester – Takahashi’s Shellfish Concern
24 June 2012 – London – Solo Drums+Electronics
29 June 2012 – Manchester – The Noise Upstairs Ensemble
5 July 2012 – Manchester – Takahashi’s Shellfish Concern
7 July 2012 – Sheffield – Drums with Federico Reuben
12 July 2012 – Manchester – Drums with Federico Reuben
14 July 2012 – Manchester – A Greater Horror
19 July 2012 – Manchester – Takahashi’s Shellfish Concern
26 July 2012 – Huddersfield – Solo Drums+Electronics
A Greater Horror
It’s a trio of piano, electric (fretless) bass, and drums.
Sort of post-jazz meets math-rock meets contemporary classical meets electronics.
-makes music and art
-lives in Madrid/Manchester
-is a crazy person
Learn from me (for free!)
Want in on this?!
Read my PhD Thesis!
and Making Things,
sitting in a tree :