Floating with Hank Lazer in a Drunken Boat

I had the privilege of working with poet Hank Lazer this summer on three sonic realizations on his poem “N27P51” that are now available in issue 22 of the literary journal Drunken Boat.

These works began last spring with recordings of Hank’s students reading phrases from his poem. This summer I edited the recordings, processed them beyond recognition, added more sounds, used the shape of each line from the poem to guide electronic improvisations, and otherwise had a great time designing sounds in the studio. Hank reigned it all in and helped me shape the material into three sections.

Check out the journal for a reproduction of Hank’s visual poetry, or listen to all the audio from the issue below (including a piece by Pauline Oliveros).

Lonely Woman

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Ornette Coleman had such an impact on my life as a saxophonist and composer. When he died last month I revisited his recordings, my memories of hearing him perform live and my experiences playing his music (mostly during ECFA’s ‘repertory’ phase–thanks Carl Smith!). That’s when I realized I’d never tried an Ornette tune on banjo.

This is a version of “Lonely Woman” from The Shape of Jazz to Come for clawhammer banjo. I chose this tune, in part, because Charlie Haden’s iconic pedal-point bass line suggested the drone string on a banjo. I bought this album as a freshman in college and remember listening to it again and again until the sheer mystery and befuddlement and out-of-tuneness of the songs gave way to familiarity, love and (hopefully) some understanding of how and why they work.

One Last Workshop Before the Grocery Closes

SF Grocery

The Sonic Frontiers Workshop Series at The Grocery concludes this week. I will present an introduction to interactive electronic music including a live performance or two. Then workshop attendees will create a one-night-only audio installation in The Grocery gallery using the Cycling ’74 Max modular programming environment. The Grocery will be closing its doors at the end of the month, so this is one of the last chances to come experience an important hub for cultural life in the Tuscaloosa area.

Sonic Frontiers Workshop #6
Wednesday June 10 7pm
900 Main Avenue
Northport AL
Bring an instrument/noisemaker, or just come to listen. No previous experience is necessary. The Grocery gets hot in the summer, so dress appropriately.

Hear the Hive Mind

Last May the Huntsville Master Chorale premiered my choral piece, Having Told the Hive the News (or “the bee piece” as the singers affectionately called it). Here’s a recording from their concert under the direction of Patricia Ramirez-Hacker.

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Presenting the New College Ad Hoc Laptop Orchestra

…or just another Tuesday in my Creativity and Computers class.

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New212 Pd Patches

We’ve been working with Pd for almost two weeks now, and this recording was made as the students were demonstrating their work.

Parkside Radicans Recordings

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.

Spin/Wind/Up/Down

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Windowed Pulses

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Suspended Sounds

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Here are the sounds of a suspension bridge I recorded on a recent trip to Camp McDowell in Nauvoo AL. I used two contact mics, one on each set of main cables. The bridge was surprisingly quiet during normal use and even when I bounced and jostled it a bit, so I tapped and scraped on the structure with a few sticks. Sounds best on headphones!

Sonic Frontiers Recordings

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Here are live recordings of my set from the March 2013 Sonic Frontiers concert at the Bama Theater. The concert also featured performances by Justin Peake. Our duo improvisation is included below.

East Virginia

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No Mule

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Hopson Peake Improvisation

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Turnover

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Bowling Green Green

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Tracktion Lives Again

I loved working with Julian Storer’s Tracktion–the single-screen DAW–when it was released in the early 2000’s. I thought it was the easiest DAW to get into and had the most productive workflow for me. I often recommended it to students who were interested in working with audio as an easy way to try out ideas. I eventually stopped using it sometime after Mackie purchased it in 2003 and then sadly stopped supporting the product. Julian and a few team members have left Mackie and are releasing a new version, Tracktion 4, next week. I think I’ll take it for a spin again.