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.

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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Keir Neuringer, Holland Hopson, Rambutan, Living Things at 51 3rd

Tomorrow night! I went halfway around the world to Sydney, Australia where I heard about Keir Neuringer who only lives a few hours away. His last appearance at 51 3rd was great. I’m looking forward to hearing him play again.

Wednesday 11/30/11 @ 8pm
51 3rd St.
Troy, NY (former Troy Bike Rescue)

KEIR NEURINGER
composes & improvises acoustic & electronic music, writes socio-political performance texts & essays, & creates interdisciplinary artworks. Keir will play farfisa organ & drums (at the same time!), sing, and play saxophone & electronic…s. intense post-punk songwriter, playing songs off the new Afghanistan album Conquistadors.

HOLLAND HOPSON
is a local avant-gardist and member of the Albany Sonic Arts Collective. Well-versed in a wide variety of musical styles, from the most traditional to the most experimental, Holland will sew together these different musical worlds with pieces for solo banjo and electronics (off his 2011 release Post & Beam), as well as pieces for solo saxophone and electronics.

RAMBUTAN
is local noise/drone wizard Eric Hardiman, member of the Albany Sonic Arts Collective, local psych-rock collective Burnt Hills, and proprietor of TAPE DRIFT records, Albany’s most experimental music label. Eric will be performing a mind-bending set of improvised solo electronics…

intermission videos by LIVING THINGS

My Own True Love

This month’s score from Post & Beam is My Own True Love.

Download the score as a pdf file: my-own-true-love.pdf
Download the score as a Lilypond .ly file: my-own-true-love.ly

Notes on My Own True Love

  • I found this melody in John and Alan Lomax’s Our Singing Country. I worked out the two-finger, thumb lead banjo part to highlight the double drones of the first and fifth string. The vocal style is haunted by the ghost of Roscoe Holcomb.
  • The electronics part uses an FFT freeze frame technique to create an evolving texture by extending a single frame of audio from the banjo (and sometimes voice). Applying pressure to force sensitive resistors mounted on the head and neck of the banjo changes the amplitude contour of the FFT synthesis, making the resulting sound smoother or spikier.

East Virginia

This month’s score from Post & Beam is East Virginia.

Download the score as a pdf file: east-virginia.pdf
Download the score as a Lilypond .ly file: east-virginia.ly

Notes on East Virginia

  • The banjo break at the beginning comes almost directly from Pete Seeger’s How to Play the 5-String Banjo. I worked out the banjo part in the verse by ear, following the melody and drawing inspiration from Buell Kazee’s recording on the Anthology of American Folk Music.
  • The electronics part uses multiple looping delays to create a rhythmic texture from the banjo. The timing for each delay line is based on the time between consecutive instances of a given note played by the banjo. One delay line changes every time the computer hears the note g , another changes when the computer hears f, another for b-flat, etc.
  • The tablature above more accurately represents how I’d play the tune on a fretted banjo. When I play the fretless banjo, as on the recording, I throw in more slides on the 3rd and 4th strings.

ASAC Presents DEEP FREEZE

The Albany Sonic Arts Collective presents their first concert of 2011 with performances by some of the Capital Region’s most exciting experimental musicians including Century Plants with Matt Weston, Holland Hopson, SoundBarn and Insect Posse.

DEEP FREEZE: Experimental Music for Snowy Times
Saturday, February 19
8:00 pm
Upstate Artists Guild
247 Lark St.
Albany NY
$5 suggested donation

This will be my first Albany show of 2011 and my last performance before heading to the Atlantic Center for the Arts for a residency with David Behrman (more on that later…). I’ll be performing a set of music for soprano sax and computer. My current plan includes a piece using a DIY plate reverb as the primary electronic sound source.

More about the artists after the jump…

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Ten Years of One 4 One

One 4 One is now available for download at Bandcamp!

Today marks the ten-year anniversary of One 4 One, the live recording of a set I performed at the Arts Center in Troy NY as part of the Impulse/Response series. The album had previously been available via Amie Street (RIP).

One 4 One includes 5 pieces for extended soprano saxophone and computer, and one piece for sipsi and computer. All of the pieces involve some degree of interactivity–the computer responds to the live instrument, and the performer responds to the computer’s output–made possible by custom software written with Cycling 74‘s Max. The name of the album is a pun on the date, of course, and it also refers to mapping inputs to outputs.

Post and Beam CD Countdown: Sequencing

I recently finished sequencing the tracks for my upcoming Post and Beam CD. The hardest part was figuring out where to put the long form instrumental pieces like Telephone Temple and Spring Dissent (Bubbling) among the shorter, more song-based pieces. After auditioning countless combinations and creating crazy mind maps of relationships between pieces, I finally decided to jettison the instrumental pieces altogether.

I’m disappointed they didn’t make the cut partly because I wanted Post and Beam to represent a typical set of my current work for banjo and electronics. At the same time, I can’t deny that the album (Yes, I’m actually thinking of it like that; and yes, I do feel old sometimes.) works better without them.

The good news is that they’re not going away forever. I can easily imagine them as the foundation for my next CD, or as online bonus material. And the other good news is that with the sequencing done I can move along with mastering and sleeve design and … and …

Shout Outs from Metroland: Best of the Capital Region 2010

Metroland Best of the Captial Region 2010; Cover photo by Alicia Solsman

Metroland’s Best of the Capital Region for 2010 came out last week and I am surprised and pleased to be included as the Best Retro-Futurist. Sure, it’s a made-up category, but it’s a good fit. Here’s what they have to say:

Composer and instrumentalist Holland Hopson has been a contributor to the region’s avant-garde music scene for the better part of 20 year—whether it’s vocal excursions that meld Gregorian chant and Dada, or soprano sax forays that come pretty close to “straight-up” jazz, the breadth and range of this iconoclast’s musical journey has always been intriguing, albeit way outside of the box. Hopson’s recent blending of traditional tunes (performed with vocals and banjo) and subtle electronics has turned him into one of the area’s most mesmerizing and memorable live performers. Catch him if you can, as his local shows tend to be few and far between.

Metroland has identified plenty of other (probably more deserving) best-of recipients including such friends and colleagues as Jason Cosco/Grab Ass Cowboys (Best Noise Wrangler); EMPAC (Best Music Curation) — this ought to read Micah Silver, in my opinion, since he is the Music Curator at EMPAC; The Sanctuary for Independent Media (Best Activist Community Arts Center); and Emily Zimmerman (Best Emerging Curator).

These accolades come on the heels of a conversation with a friend at the latest show presented by the Albany Sonic Arts Collective. We were talking about how important it is for a community of artists to receive some recognition from the local press and the concomitant pitfalls of letting it go to your head. A timely conversation for the former and hopefully we’ll avoid the latter. The ASAC event was a great set of performances, by the way, particularly from Fossils from the Sun (Ray Hare) and Family Battle Snake (Bill Kouligas).

ASAC Presents Defragmented: Marko Timlin and thenumber46

Albany Sonic Arts Collective presents Defragmented: A concert of emergent systems featuring Marko Timlin and thenumber46 (Suzanne Thorpe + Philip White).

Saturday April 10th
Upstate Artists Guild
247 Lark St.
Albany, NY

8PM
Suggested Donation $5 (all proceeds go to touring performers)

This concert features Finnish- based composer/sound artist Marko Timlin alongside thenumber46, the collaborative effort of electro-acoustic flutist Suzanne Thorpe and electronic musician Philip White. Both Timlin and thenumber46 employ improvisation and non-linear analog systems to create music in which a delicate balance exists between the human and machine. A music at once intuitive and mechanical. Explosive and subdued. Violent and meditative.

More about the artists after the jump.

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