Re: Glass music and related...
Tue, 07 Jul 1998 19:00:59 +0000

David Bradley wrote:

>, this is nothing against you personally... You
> actually reminded me of my suggestion.
> > The techno explosion is all about cheap disposable, recycleable, music
> > made by the microprocessor/human interface. This is the folk music of
> > the future.
> Wow, I always hoped that if/when people could transcend the need to worry
> about short life spans and technology advanced, that more time could be
> spent expanding the horizons of art and creativity.

> -I agree. Still, technological advancements give us tools to make those
> explorations. To me, the electronic music to which I was referring, is the first
> wave of cultural expressions based onhighly advanced MIDI and PC-based music
> production tools, noteably the Korg M-1, one of the first affordable one-man-band
> keyboards, Akai and Roland samplers which allowed the artificial incorperation of
> ones habitat (something folk musicians have been doing from the beginning) into
> digital musical sound,the Roland TB-303 a really weird portable monophonic drone
> synth, which has it's own computer-controlled soundtrack to the future and is
> featured on literally hundreds of techno and acid house recordings,Cubase a
> really easy to use sequencer, ProTools/SoundTools a way of mastering and pressing
> CD's in one's home etc.etc. are all technologies that have led to a whole new
> breed of folk musicians. I remember when Prototype 909 toured they literally
> pulled analog and MIDI instruments out of their knapsacks set them up on the
> dancefloor and plugged into the main house system. When I saw that it forever
> changed my conception of live performances.

> If that is the folk music of the future, I'd prefer the folk music of the
> past any day.
> > Is is the driving, pounding soundtrack to the information
> > age.
> "Cheap, disposable, recycleable music" is exactly what we've had since
> who knows when. Many bands start making more complex or even just better
> music just before they begin losing the skills they've just acquired, or
> when their 15 min. of fame is almost up. Transhumanism/the information
> age should correct that, not perpetuate it. IMHO, as always.

You won't find any argument here. But to me the whole of the electronic music movement is more than the sum of it's parts. It turned music from being compositional to non-compositional, a more freeform and trancendant mode. Instead of the emphasis being on style, lyrical content, and devisive cultural paradigms, the emphasis is on mind-altering sonic experimentation, where the texture of sound is more important than the framework in which it appears. Cheap, but high quality sound effects modules with infinite digital variation have contributed to this trend.

> > Passionate and dispassionate, pretty and sterile, virtual and
> > virtuoso. Everything that technology promises to be.
> Hrmm, I'll agree to an extent. I don't see computers as pure number-
> sifting machines who's only purpose is to let us become more lazy
> (though, not implying that you necessarily do, either). Perhaps since
> I'll always be a game programmer (and a fantasy writer) :P at heart,
> I cannot see such awesome machines in anything except the most 'creative'
> light. I consider this less the information age, and more the creation
> age, at least after it gets going a bit. The world still has a lot to
> learn before we can can concentrate on leaving all the mundane number-
> crunching office jobs behind and head towards invention, insight, and,
> uh, innnnnterstellar transport, that'll work. :)

Well I think that everything is digital and that conciousness emerges out of a highly predictable finite organization of vast number-crunching and information-processing. It is only a matter of time before digital music acheives the complexity that you are speaking of.

> So, I suppose it's just those two middle adjectives there that get to
> me. <shrugs>
> > Slapping soulful
> > house lyrics on top of clinically accurate beats is like slapping XML on
> > top of HTML. Having eerie spacey synth pads play over distorted
> > energetic breakbeats is like a cold ATM in a local fruit market. The
> Alright, this is a little more like what I'm talking about.
> > replacement of jazz for acid jazz, roomfuls of violinists for a sampler,
> > a conducter, orchestrator and composer for MIDI, virtual concerts via
> > the internet instead of huge concert halls all represtent the
> > digitizing, 'uploading' if you will of our common cultural aesthetic.
> I don't know about this though. I mean, aren't we trying to get computers
> up to our level so that we may surpass, not bring ourselves down to the
> level of the machine to be left with straight computation?
> I love the feel of being around hundred or thousands of others at a
> concert hall. Whether it be Bach or Ozzy, the music is very moving,
> and the combined energy of the crowd accentuates that. Just because
> you are extropian, doesn't mean you can't use the help of others to
> advance yourself.
> On another note, the actual playing of an instrument can easily be much
> more expressive than even the most advance sampling or MIDI. That's why
> such technologies are still so obvious when heard in music. All the types
> of sounds that can be produced by a violin or a guitar are uncountable,
> if not infinite. Many things are not even planned. The way you pick
> or bow a string can make an amazing difference in sound quality. This
> is especially noticeable with recorded music. The same symphony can be
> recorded with the same timing, the same positing, and even the same
> instruments, but each's player's particular style of holding strings,
> or blowing on brass, or if one accidentally bends strings when they hold
> them, or the direction they point their instrument while playing, all
> make a difference in a work. It may not be noticeable to one not listening
> intently, or even if only one person is playing, but when the whole group
> has these minute differences, that is what separates performances.

Right now, there is a certain peculiar expressiveness inherent in acoustic instruments. But musical instrument manufacturers know this and have responded with control interfaces that generate expressive sound. The trouble is there are a lot more violin virtuosos than there are Korg Wavestation virtuosos (although I am ever striving to become a member of the latter group) As human society incorperates digital musical instrumentation into it's cultural landscape i'm sure more people will become virtuosos on thier respective digital instruments. I think people are just not used to the kinds of tambres introduced by digital music production tools. think of how alien Jimi Hendrix' guitar rendition of'The Star Spangled Banner must have seemed to hammered dulcimer players in Appalaichia. Yet those tambres would have not been possible without technological advances in guitar electronics, now similar screeching guitar noise litters pop music, and commercially produced music.

> I have many times played famous songs on the same guitar and amp setups
> that the original was played on, and though I hit it note for note, none
> has ever sounded *just* like the original. I am more familiar with
> the guitar, so I will stay here for a second. The amount of the string
> you are bending down with your finger makes a difference, if you bend
> the neck, it makes a difference, if you pick the string parallel or on
> an angle, it makes a difference. Many things, like how you pull a finger
> off a fret, that are not even thought about, make the largest difference.
> Until MIDI can adjust realistically to all these variables, it still remains

I wouldn't really try attempting simulating bends or slides via MIDI or a similar digital interface. To me the sounds that used to be produced with non-digital instruments are irrelevant to futureMusic. I do however implement SYSEX messages to change the tambre of the sounds I work on. MIDI has it's own unique way of expressing itself.

> "Cheap, disposable, recycleable music." Even when it will take these into
> account, only computers themselves will be sophisticated enough to control
> all these variables. So, then, it will truly be ‘uploaded,' but it should still
> be anything but ‘Cheap, disposable, and recycleable.' If I could plan out
> all the little inaccuracies and unintentional extras, I would be in my creative
> glory. If ever such power were given to a machine, it would be a shame to
> limit it to it's current standards of creativity. I would love to hear the kind
> of music a computer working off of an uploaded consciousness would make,
> though.
> Now that would be true ‘techno'
> Dave Bradley

I just used the terms cheap disposible and recyclable to illustrate how new electronic music mimics other aspects of our culture and media. I really didn't intend for them to be aesthetic judgements.

I really look foward to the day when more of my conciousness can be uploaded into a musical context. but I do that to a limited extent already. A lot of my spontaneous expression is stored on my Hard drive in the form of MIDI files. maybe it's only a very small taste of what's to come (RW DVD-yeah you know me) but nevertheless a taste!
thank you for your input-it was most welcome! anything that made me think like your post did must be good!