Soprano Susan Williams will premiere Sudden Swan for voice and live electronics at the Birmingham New Music Festival on Saturday August 23 at 7:30pm. The concert is at UAB’s Hulsey Recital Hall, 950 13th Street South,Birmingham,AL. Admission is free.
Susan and I have known each other since our college days at Birmingham-Southern. Since then she’s landed leading opera roles and appeared with the Cleveland Orchestra, Akron Symphony, Duke Symphony Orchestra and many others. This is the first time Susan and I have worked on a piece together, and we’re so excited to present it on Saturday.
The performer in Sudden Swan improvises a melody to a drone using a small set of just-tuned pitches. Each pitch is associated with one or more words which are strung together to create an ever-evolving poetry. The computer responds to variations in the vocal performance with subtle shifts of timbre, pulsating rhythms, and sometimes unpredictable flourishes.
In this TED Talk Ge Wang of Stanford geeks out about computer music (hooray!). He talks briefly about the hemispherical speakers used by the Stanford Laptop Orchestra. Their design (using an IKEA salad bowl) informed my hemi speaker experiments here.
I recently bought a 6-channel amplifier to upgrade the 3 2-channel amps I originally installed in the speaker. I’ll post about the new amp as soon as I drop it in.
Here are live recordings from this spring’s Parkside performance with John Wiese, Steve Jansen and Brad Davis. This is from my buzzy, noisy Radicans project which uses small motors and soundbug transducers (audio speakers without cones) to transform ordinary objects in the performance space into speakers.
Fostex FR2-LE owners: Don’t plug your headphones into the remote jack! I did this by accident during a recent night-time recording session and was convinced my recorder was suddenly bricked. No harm done, once I figured out my mistake.
My JBL EON G2 10s have served me well as a small PA or as monitor speakers, until they suddenly developed a nasty rattle. At first I thought I’d blown a woofer, but a quick inspection behind the grill showed everything was in order. Then I noticed that something inside each speaker was loose–it would make a disturbing clunk sound whenever I moved it. So I pulled the back off (so many screws…) and discovered the toroidal transformer was loose. I applied a dab of Loc-tite, tightened the bolt, and reassembled the speakers. Now they’re rattle free!