Cage/Gould

Cage’s Inlets will be performed using his original shells

Saturday’s Cage/Gould concert at RPI’s EMPAC in Troy NY is the next in a long line of John Cage centenary tributes happening this year. Featuring the Rensselaer Contemporary Music Ensemble directed by Michael Century, the program includes works by John Cage juxtaposed with a recreation of part of Glenn Gould’s final piano concert.

Saturday, November 17 8pm
EMPAC Theater
Rensselaer Contemporary Music Ensemble
Cage Gould
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Troy NY

The french philosopher Elie During knits it all together in a pre-performance lecture (5pm) with the help of a vacuum cleaner (no kidding!) or at least the metaphor of a vacuum cleaner or the memory of the sound of a vacuum cleaner or the memory of the experience of the obliteration of all other sounds thanks to a vacuum cleaner… I guess we’ll have to go to the lecture to find out for sure.

I’ll be providing some electronic dialogues in the concert between Cage and Gould using recordings of their voices. I put together a Max patch to trigger the cues and quickly found that my old-school use of Max’s “coll” object wasn’t quite cutting it. I looked into Max’s new “dict” object as a replacement but hit a limit recalling nested hierarchical statements. So I delved into SQLite and Javascript to put together a relational database of cues and associated tags. Now I’m able to query and sort the cues at will. I can also change the content of the database (add cues, edit tags, etc.) without munging up the patch itself. Lovely!

Naturesongs at RPI

I’ll be playing saxophone as part of an ensemble performing James Tenney’s “Swell Piece #2 – for Pauline Oliveros.” A440, all the way. Looks like a great program.

Tuesday, April 10 4pm Free!
Naturesongs
Rensselaer Contemporary Music Ensemble
EMPAC
Troy NY

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).

Estimated Time of Arrival

time

I’ve been thinking about time and technology recently (inspired by the “In A Glass Hour” series of lectures at EMPAC). I’m interested in the phenomenon of ETA–estimated time of arrival–which seems to have become both more widespread and subtly different due to technological developments.

No longer confined to airports and train terminals and Cape Canaveral, we now get ETA information from GPS units in our cars, and something similar is at work in software within every user-interface progress-bar. And the nature of the experience seems to have changed as well, moving from discrete aperiodic estimates to a continuously shifting series of updates. The result is that the estimate is never wrong (we do, in fact, arrive at our destination precisely when the GPS tells us we have arrived) and yet it’s somehow no longer trustworthy because the myriad compensations and recalculations are hidden.

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