#61. guacamole

There are words to describe this piece and those words are in English. Also there are bottles. Many bottles. This  concludes my summary.  Comments welcome!

(Note: this blog may have been made following a party which lasted until 2 AM or so. Just FYI.)


#60. applausible

Recorded applause from tonight's PSO concert, which was von Weber's Oberon overture,  Bruch's 1st Violin Concerto, a Joan Tower's Sequoia, and Daphnis and Chloe. Nice concert but it felt oddly unbalanced, like it was missing something, not sure what. Anyway, bits of applause and comments from the girls sitting next to me are mixed around with some piano and guitar.

Speaking of Joan Tower, I gave her a ride back from the masterclass/colloquium at Pitt today, which meant one of my earliest composer role models was in my disgustingly dirty car today. It was almost as awkward as the time I met Jeanne Baxtresser ("uh, uh, uh...I know who you are," (creepy nervous laughter)).


#59. that metallic taste

How many metal objects can I bang on in my house? More than the ones used in this piece, true. Although there are quite a few: crude sizzle cymbal, hihat, trash cymbal, pot lid, teakettle, bicycle spokes (very neat), and exposed pipes from my basement. Not a lot of pre-thought, but kind of interesting anyway.


#58. jaded and disoriented

It stands to reason that any piece with shakuhachi (Japanese traditional bamboo flute) in it is going to sound fake-Japanese-y. Here it is nonetheless, enhanced by some cello pizzicati.

Yet another site of someone who hath done whereof I am trying to blog:

With the first year-long song-a-day guy I found on the internets, I was like, "Great! It can be done!" And with the second I was like, "Okay, so I'm not the first to think of this. It'll still be cool." Aand with the third, I was like..."Well, crap. Who's a Johnny-come-lately? Dang, who uses that expression anymore? At least my blog has a big blue cello on it."

...and click here for some real shakuhachi playing!


#57. una nota

The whole one-note-piece idea has been done, perhaps most notably by Giacinto Scelsi in his "Quattro Pezzi (su una nota sola)." But here's my own brief and sort of energetic take, featuring Alia Musica players this time (Joe Liu violin, Simon Cummings cello, other instruments myself). Much thanks to those guys for reading through my hastily-scrawled quasi-graphic ideas.


#56. drowning in pixie dust

Glockenspiel put through some filters in Audacity, plus some more awesome* clarinet.

Another dude who did a similar project. Some of these are pretty interesting, check it out.

(All of them are 60 seconds in length, so no 20-minute-long tracks of people randomly screeching and honking wildly on saxophone and guitar and dancing around and swearing loudly. Ya gotta come here for that.)

*played by Kerrith, who doesn't play clarinet but has her brother's old junior-high model sitting around. Thanks, Clark.


#55. blog is blog

Getting a little tiny bit stressed for blog ideas, today I turned to saying the word "blog" a bunch of times at increasingly hysterical speeds, along with some cello tapping, slide whistle and the unavoidable floor tom. I'm not crazy about the sound of my own voice (I sound like a scrawny teenage boy, in my opinion) but after much processing I think it came out kind of cool. In the middle is me reading a passage from one of John Harbison's "Tanglewood Talks" I found in a  random book ("Composers on Modern Musical Culture"). By "reading it" I mean substituting the word "blog" for every syllable. You'll get the idea. The quasi-speech is a bit like this thing, a piece by Robert Erickson that requires the trombonist to dress up as General MacArthur and play from a flag-festooned podium.

Text is in the comments, if you're interested.


#54. deep in the uke forest

Lots and lots and lots and lots of ukulele! but not particularly, um, "lyrical" ukulele. I may have mentioned it before, but if I haven't, allow me to offer a caveat to anyone expecting comprehensibility or quality control on this blog. There isn't any.

And drum kit!


#53. considerations

Looking around today I found this guy's blog:

(website now defunct)

which is essentially what this project is, proving it can be done. Except with a much, much larger self-promoting machine. Oh, and it's all kind of boring pop songs. 

Anyhow, speaking of boring, more slow and contemplative stuff here. 


#52. middlemarch

A study in middle registers, repetitive gestures and similar timbres, using alto flute, bass recorder, guitar and clarinet (played by me very badly indeed).  It has its moments, but overall it's a little boring, and quite frankly it's supposed to be.  


#51. mostly forgotten words

I picked some words at random from a book - of John's, entitled "Games and Decisions" - and wrote them on old sheets of newspaper. Then I recorded myself going through the stack of paper, one sheet at a time with the word face down, flipping each sheet over and tearing it to shreds while trying to read them at the same instant. The goal was to do it so all-at-once that it would be impossible to actually read the word; rather, the performer would just blurt out what he or she thought the word was while tearing or crumpling the paper. Plus some Pauline Oliveros-style tongue-clicks with finger snaps to sort of add a little something else.


#50. sunshine and trash

It's my fiftieth blog! if you can believe it. Nothing too special today though, just some awesome fluting and drumming including trash cymbal and floor tom. Hope you've enjoyed them so far. And to celebrate 50 blogs, this week I include a list of favorites, so you can go back and be all, "oh, I remember that one..." Totally.


#49. moving wall

Some fake harp, vibraphone and celesta in this one. Plus me tapping on a snare drum covered in rice. Plus, feedback from my stereo controlled by tapping the end of a live input audio cable (against cello strings, in some spots).


#48. ioioeoppliolle

Sawtooth waves, mellotron samples, lots of panning. It's like a nightmare about Tron or something.


#47. leftovers

The truth is, I don't like overusing real-world samples. I think it's usually cheesy and uninteresting. Which is my excuse for not including any NYC sound samples in this piece. It is, in fact, entirely made from old samples on my computer already, thereby saving myself some effort and time uploading stuff on the painfully slow wireless connection in the hotel. In fact the wireless is so bad that I can't use it from our tiny room, but have to sit on the concrete hallway steps, blogging as a small troupe of skankily-dressed Russian teenagers stomps by.

Excuses, excuses. Tomorrow I'll try and make my audio homage to NYC with taxi horns and other Russolo-like sound artifacts.


#46. music from airports

I am in New York for the first time (not counting the airport), thus proving my ability to stay up most of the night and yet blog from on the road. The music is made from the resources I had...the sounds of the airport.

Kerrith's note: I had been awake for nearly 32 straight hours when I made this. Furthermore, I had sat on an airplane on the runway for four hours in Washington DC, because of bad weather and some lady panicking and insisting she get off the plane. Good times.


#45. pink pink

This did not turn out quite like I hoped...a first foray into MIDI. Real brilliant. I didn't want to sleep anyway.


#44. know your limits

Oh who knows what tomorrow will bring? More flute and piano, no doubt. It may soon be time to move on to the dregs of my instrument collection - beat-up alto sax, clarinet (which I can't play), and even (dare I say it) banjo.

Meanwhile, enjoy this, another project that could have been cooler with more time.


#43. kitchen gamelan

Well, I'm still in the kitchen. Not that I belong there or anything. And nor do I really know anything about real gamelan music, really. Which is a little sad, because I certainly could have learned it by now if I'd taken the time. Anywho, there's water glasses and water gong (or, like, crash cymbal dipped in my sink). It's short but the sounds are cool...could have gone on longer if it weren't after midnight before I started it.


#42. hot dog

Not a lot to say. It's me cooking some hot dogs, plus some flute and cello that sounds vaguely Feldmanesque again, but only for the length of time it takes to cook a hot dog. Not even that. Plus some panflute and teakettle. Feldman would like a hot dog, right? He was a New York kind of guy.


#41. meow

What up. This is mainly toms with rubber ball mallet, plus a couple random clips from my day.

"What are you doing?" asks my friend's teenage son, watching me record myself playing the church drumkit.
"I'm using a rubber ball mallet to get these rubbing sounds," I said.
"What are they supposed to sound like?"
"Um, I don't know that they're supposed to sound like anything...whales maybe? or moaning?"
"Why would you want that kind of sound?" (laughs, walks away)

why indeed.  Also, some church pews played with R.B.M.


#40. [censored]

Today I went to a garage sale and bought one of the instruments featured here (for a quarter! what a deal!). Plastic inner tube hand-pump, if you're wondering. That's what the odd high whistling sound is. Other sounds include trash cymbal and more extensive use of the dragged floor tom, glockenspiel played with brush and many, many tiny bells, now hanging in glorious array from a second-hand recurve bow.

I might put some pictures or videos up tomorrow to explain. Meanwhile, I don't know precisely what this guy is doing, but I want one, too.


#39. totally doing

Dropping a destroyed crash cymbal on a wooden floor and then walking on it is pretty fun. Also featured are the sounds of the floor tom being dragged across the floor (with the recorder on top), cutting newspaper with shears and me hitting a punching bag in there somewhere.


#38. flutelike symptoms

Yes! More flute! And more flute! and some cheating, with pitch-changing vocoders. Ah well. It's kind of a round, more or less...well, not really. But, anyway, you can listen to it looping on the widget and it's like a piece that goes on forever. And ever. And ever. And ever. And ever. And ever. And ever. And ever. And ever.
And ever.
And ever.
And ever.


#37. non-newtonian fluids

It's really quite difficult to record stuff on the piano in the music building; particularly when a big burly old heating repair guy comes in the room while you're playing and tells you he needs to replace the insulation on the radiator.

Plus a little cello. I <3 chromatic thirds.


#36. things found in trees

all things you might find in or around a tree! like windchimes, rain, uh, rustling leaves...birds and bird calls...also piccolo, alto flutes, and pianos. All found in trees. Sometimes.

and it was cold recording those piccolo birdy bits, let me tell you. Stupid fall.


#35. drops off

Alto flute, tiny drum. What more can I say? I can't think of anything.


#34. scuse me

Another interesting idea executed not quite so well. Recordings of various people playing parts of a loosely notated tune, all in a noisy room of people warming up for the latest ELCO concert. Um, if you like something between warm-up and free improv, it's great. Well, it has moments. Thanks to Ben, Ben, Brandon, Burkhart, Kevin, Amy, Saxophone Dude #1 and Saxophone Dude #2 (don't remember names so good).


#33. glitter drone

If you're wondering, that's the keyboard at church on organ setting (not real great sounding) plus bowed glockenspiel samples with altered envelopes (attacks cut off and decay added). A bit too labor-intensive really, but kind of cool.

Sorry the two-for-one deal didn't happen yesterday, by the way.

(and bowed wine glasses! forgot about those.)


#32. short bassoon gesture

Music written on paper! Played by someone who isn't me! It takes some doing, I'll tell you that. Thanks to Mark for playing bassoon for me. More of this piece soon to come I hope, full of awesome multiphonics (it's nice to have someone help you figure out which ones do and don't work).


#31. sad glockenspiel song

Something special for my one-month-blogiversary. I've had this in mind for ages, and here it is with me playing bad ukulele, bad piano, bad cello, and mediocre glockenspiel. Plus some singing from a singer who wishes to remain anonymous. It sums up how I feel about a lot of soundtrack music.

Tomorrow! two for one special! Hot stuff!