Clarence Barlow, “a genial, gregarious soul with a delightful sense of humour”, and my perhaps most important composition teacher, passed on recently. That’s gotten me listening through recordings of his music, revisiting some of his lectures and interviews, and thinking through some of what I learnt from him.
A little over thirteen years ago, in a sunny final week of September, I had the good fortune of travelling to Lisbon with the Danish poet/author/translator Peter Poulsen. We were tasked with tracing the footsteps of Fernando Pessoa, making field recordings in the city that was his home, and recording his poems in the places he frequented.
Two years ago Lene Henningsen approached me with a text that she imagined might be turned into some kind of ‘sound theatre’. It didn’t quite fit the mould of physical theatre, and she was reluctant to change the text radically enough to suit the stage. Were there other avenues that might be explored?
Earlier this year I took the opportunity to revisit the Bonnard exhibition at Glyptoteket shortly before it closed. I had briefly visited the exhibition before, but hoped to spend a little more time with his wonderful paintings and listen to the soundscapes created by Peter Albrechtsen and Sun Hee Engelstoft, once again.
I recently revisited one of the first patches I started piecing together on discovering Audulus a little over two years ago. The ease of experimenting with tuning systems and the simplicity of creating feedback loops, along with Nicky Case’s XOXO talk on game structures and his interactive Neurons explanation, got me started on the piece that was to become A Branch in the Path.
I recently began using Wavesurfer.js on my site rather than embedding everything via SoundCloud. The numerous options that Wavesurfer provides got me looking at the way waveforms are displayed on the web in a little more detail, and got me thinking about recent trends in visualizing audio.
Over the past two years I’ve been leaning towards simply using a native HTML5 audio player rather than embedding everything via SoundCloud on my site. It feels easier, lighter. It’s quicker to load and there aren’t any cookie notices to tug at you.
A little over two months ago I chanced across Audulus, an app for programming sound and music by connecting nodes and modules with virtual patch cables. While the visual programming aspect brings Max or PD to mind, with Audulus the approach is more closely modelled on (analogue) modular synthesis.
Last year, as part of my 101 X 101 Words project, I made a few experiments with creating sound poems specially for screen readers. I thought it might be interesting to put the built in screen reader technology available in most modern computers/devices to artistic use, with the intention of embracing the varying sound results rather than relying on fixed sound-files for audio.
157 days have passed since I embarked on writing exactly 101 words each day for 101 days. Now at the beginning of a new year, having had a break from posting on a daily basis, a quick look back on a few notes made shortly after finishing the project.
Last year I traced the path covered in a decade of maintaining rudigermeyer.com – my home on the web. At the end of that lengthy post I touched on a source of inspiration and pointer for the way ahead – the indieweb – and I’m pleased to say that I now have webmentions, one of the central indieweb tools, implemented on my site.
A year ago Johannes Kreidler put together a wide ranging overview of the various methods used in creating ‘neo conceptual’ pieces of music. The long list of techniques put some of my own thinking in relief, prompting me to clarify my thoughts on the nature of sound and concepts by revisiting Morton Feldman’s 1984 Darmstadt Lecture in the light of neo conceptualism.
Recently, while on holiday wandering beneath the lush foliage of the trees that align the Elberfelder Straße in Moabit, Berlin, I stumbled across the Ettel Braun Design Collection. Other than a discrete sign and a notice on the door informing that the collection can be viewed on Sundays and Mondays between 11:00 and 17:00, there’s not much from the outside to indicate the design treasures collected there.
On the 21st of April, in the midst of a conversation with family and friends, I suddenly had the urge to revisit Chloe Weil’s “Hipster” blog post. On pulling out my phone and tapping in the URL for her website I was dismayed to be greeted by a large notice apologizing that she had lost interest and “could no longer do this”. The site was closed.
A few months ago I wrote a blog post enthusing over my newfound plain text/markdown workflows and touched on a musical counterpart with a description of my first encounters with Lilypond notation software. I thought that it might be worthwhile to write a little more about my own experiences with getting started with Lilypond in the hope that this might be useful to others interested in following a similar path.
Music, Publishing, Art and Memory in the Age of the Internet
It is late 2013. I Care if you Listen, a New York based blog about “new classical music, art and technology” that also has a magazine on the Apple iOS Newsstand, reviews In Your Own Time – an “adaptive musical composition designed exclusively for performance on mobile devices. Audiences experience the piece through the app, which uses feedback from the listener’s surroundings to alter the playback of the music, making each ‘performance’ of the piece unique.”
For the past year and a half, ever since I started using iA Writer as my main writing tool, I’ve really gotten into using Markdown as a means of formatting documents, both for my website and elsewhere.
I’ve been thinking about the lastfewcontributions to the Danish Composers’ Society’s series on music and the internet and thought it was a good point to collect some of my thoughts on some of the issues that have been brought up:
The recent explosion of electronic devices that can be used for reading has provoked some in-depth thinking on how the basic units of print media translate to screen devices and heated debates on the appropriateness of scrolling vs. card/page models have been waged.
Since Klang Festival’s branding of their festival with this word I’ve been thinking about the term ‘avant-garde’ and wondering how to make sense of it in relation to both the festival and the field of contemporary art music. Do military notions still make sense in our post-modern age and what kind of framework do they provide for the music being performed?