SB Tweet Digest #3 (april 2010) . [2/2]

may 04, 2010.

[ podcast :: sbpc 37 ... s ]

Last month the SoundBlog twitter birdie twittie yelped 26 times. Here's some of the things that got her excited in april (2nd of two digest posts):

[12808064344] Jason Freeman composed four Piano Etudes, linked up with the venerable tradition of open-form musical scores. Each score consists in one or two directed graphs, whose vertices are musical phrases. The rules of the game are (more or less) as follows: pick whatever box to start playing, then follow the arrows; stop playing at whatever time and whatever box you feel like stopping.
Here are the two graphs ('middle' & 'low and high') for the second of the four, called 'Learning to Dance'.

learn to dance
learn to dance

Now this would not be all that remarkable by itself, were it not for the fact that Jason published his free-from scores as an interactive website hosted by Turbulence.org (developed in collaboration with Akito Van Troyer). That means: you can make your very own audio-versions of the pieces online, by stringing together piano recordings of the phrases, according to the rules given by the graphs. You then can download the result of your efforts as an mp3-file. And you even can dowload a score of the version you made, as a pdf-file. (Next image shows the final bars from the score of one of my versions of "Reading a Poem".)

jason free poem

Wonderful idea and nicely implemented. I found it not easy, though, to make something that actually more or less pleased me musically, by stringing together the piano snippets according to Jason's rules. It was something of a struggle. Maybe it is what rules are supposed to be, but I thought them mighty restrictive. More often than not I found myself wishing for a particular phrase to include, only to find that that phrase was not accessible as a successor ... I wanted to repeat phrases, but then found that I was not allowed to ... And then I wanted to have some space, a bit of a rest, a moment to breath ... but space was not one of the options... This of course just means that I would have composed something different. I did find it fun and rewarding, though, to spend time with these 'Piano Etudes' and work with the rules and restrictions as given.
[ Click (right) to download and/or listen li to a couple of minutes from the results of my struggle with Jason's Etudes in this SB-edition's podcast. The three parts of "Learning Squirrels To Read A Poem" are versions of three of Jason's four Etudes, namely (in that order) 'Reading a Poem', 'Learning to Dance' and 'Observing Squirrels'.
I did not bend the rules ... I think ... If I did, then it's been just a tiny little weeny bit. ]

[12750032606] Saturday 24th and sunday 25th saw the peripatetic Music Hack Day descend upon Amsterdam, where the Mediamatic Bank on the Vijzelgracht opened up its vaults to an international bunch of music geeks for XXIV hours of API & other hacking, in the wake of the Great Jerry Springer Rodeo (see the picture below to the right).
I met RjDj's Joe White and Yuli Levtov, who had come over from London to introduce Amsterdam music hackers to the RJC1000, a new software tool for RjDj scene composers that, for those who so prefer, keeps Pd in the background, and makes uploading scenes to your iPhone for testing easier than ever.

I was not able to participate all 24 hours this time, but I was there long enough to learn how to use the RJC1000, and have some fun with the RJ Voyager on the iPad that Yuli had brought along. On the Pd side: I found out how to use the iThing's time and location data. Now that was a major inspiration indeed: this will have the ookoi start working in their secret dev labs on a next RjDj scene, the third one in the series following ShakeNRoll and Project Icarus OST. It is too early yet to give away more details. Just let me, for now, reveal that Space & Time will be the central parameters ...

jerry iPad

The Amsterdam Music Hack Day was a big success, like the first MHD that I attended last summer in London. On sunday afternoon tens of the participants lined up waiting for their turn to step onto the Mediamatic stage and give a short presentation of what they had come up with.

Here's some of the hacks that caught my special attention:

% The makers of the Gliss app cooked up 'Chirp': a nice iPhone sound app that will - literally - twit crackletar your tweets. Funny and fun, so - who knows - maybe available on your appStore soon.

% Byungjun Kwon and Daniel Schorno from STEIM did a 'hack your cracklebox' workshop. Therefore it was little surprising that a lot of those typically Dutch crackles were to be heard over the weekend @Mediamatic ... During the workshop Mark Meeuwenoord built the 'crackletar' that you see in the picture: a C-based guitar/cracklebox hybrid.

% No less than 4 new RjDj scenes were (al)ready for public demonstration, including a port of the vintage VST instrument 'Delay Lama' (made by Steven Kruyswijk) and Mystical Cricket (by Lars Wannop), 'emulating interaction with a shuddering insect'.

% And then there were, unsurprisingly, an awful lot of applications built using API's to combine data provided by a number of different web services. Matthew Ogle, Floris Dekker and Tim Bormans came up with Songshirts. The idea is simple: get a list of song titles from a LastFM user's account, and then feed these to zazzle, a British custom t-shirts and other personalized gifts online-store. What comes out, is a page of 'song title t-shirts', whose delivery to your or somebody else's doorstep is then but a click away. Whether that's of any interest or not will depend on your taste and habits. And on your titles. Most of the time, as you will imagine, the results are pretty cheesy.

But there may be surprises ... Of course, for what makes an event like this really tick, is the serendipity that is lurking in every corner.


It was not so much the 'Son de l'art à sa naissance' shirt itself, as this particular image, which blew me away...

I 'composed' it fiddling with the available models and views at zazzle's site, after I saw the title of my Art's Birtday's piece appear among the results that came by feeding Songshirts my own LastFM user acccount. ( * )


Next SB Tweet Digest in june.

! Follow @soundblog _( twittie )_ iokoo@ wolloF !

notes __ ::
(*) I no longer actively use the service since LastFM's radio stopped being free. But my scrobbler continues to be run, feeding LastFM data on every single track that is being played in my laptop's iTunes (as well as on all of our family's iPods and iPhones). [ ^ ]

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