ASAC Videos: Pump Organ and No Mule

Thanks to Eric Hardiman for shooting and posting videos from Saturday’s Albany Sonic Arts Collective show.

This is the premiere of a soon-to-be-titled work built around the idea of treating a fader box as a set of pump organ pedals, rather than simple position sensors. Using Cycling ’74’s Max I can control the organ sounds with a variety of gestures: “pumping” the faders makes the sounds louder, rhythmic motion creates harmonics, sudden and abrupt changes add distortion and bite. The samples that appear at 5:30 are from a 2010 recording session with choreographer Jill Sigman (previous story here).

(Start at 1:32 to skip the embarrassing banter and the hopeless yet obligatory banjo tuning…)

“No Mule” is another brand-new tune. The rhythmic chopping effect is a kind of slow-motion walk through a live sample of the banjo. I add a few more live samples beginning at about 4:00 and get into full-on Steve Reich mode by 6:00.

Fencepost

This month’s score from Post & Beam is Fencepost. This is the last song I wrote for the record and has become the sleeper hit of the release.

Download the score as a pdf file: fencepost.pdf
Download the score as a Lilypond .ly file: fencepost.ly

Notes on Fencepost

  • The cFCFAb tuning is one I came to after trying a more standard minor (fCFAbC) or sawmill (cFCFG) tuning. I use a Pythagorean temperament based on F which doesn’t change the tuning of the C’s and F’s very much, but makes the Ab significantly flatter than an equal-tempered Ab.
  • The whooshing, windy sound throughout (heard prominently during the intro) is generated by walking on a pair of foot pedals, almost the way you would pump an old pump organ. (You can see this motion in the video.)
  • While recording, I kept missing the foot pedals and accidentally stepping on a mic stand instead. I decided to embrace the resulting bass drum thumps and include them in the piece.
  • Yet another song with bird imagery (YASWBI).

Sedition Edition

Here are some recordings and photos from my June 19 show at Sedition Gallery in Sydney, Australia. The performance was part of the Left Coast Festival 2010.

The first set consisted of duo improvisations by Holland Hopson, fretless banjo and  electronics with Mike Majkowski, double bass.

Holland Hopson & Mike Majkowski; Photo: Terumi Narushima

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Hopson Majkowski Improvisation 1.mp3

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Hopson Majkowski Improvisation 2.mp3

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Hopson Majkowski Improvisation 3.mp3

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Hopson Majkowski Improvisation 4.mp3

Next was a wonderful set by Kraig Grady, just tuned vibraphone and Terumi Narushima, just tuned pump organ.

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Grady Narushima.mp3

Holland Hopson & Mike Majkowski; photo: Terumi Narushima