This year I'm (apparently) the first and only student to be enrolled in Monash University's new Honours program in Creative Music Technology - this will be fun! I'm currently doing some preliminary research into control interfaces/systems for electroacoustic improvisation. Hopefully soon I will post videos of the max patches I've been developing for manipulating samples and live recorded input. For now here are some links to musicians inspiring me in this bizarre world of sounds...
Here's a fun modular synth patch that surprisingly involves no sequencer modules - just sync'd LFOs to control timing. An LFO pulse wave is triggering envelopes to simultaneously generate both a "bass drum" sound and pink noise snare sound, the sub-octave output on the LFO is patched into the mixer to alternate between the two sound sources for your classic boring-as-fuck-kick-snare pattern. A second LFO is sync'd to the first LFO but running much faster, and the pulse width is used to control the note length of hi hat notes (gate length on white noise). It's nice to have a really fine control of the gate length (from super short/tight hi hat sound to longer/fatter/sloshier hi hat sound). Messing with the frequency of this LFO is interesting too - it remains sync'd to the primary LFO but as you alter the relative timing you generate all kinds of complex rhythms for the hi hat... way more fun than just your standard 16th or 8th note kind of thing. In this patch it's set up to play quintuplets against the kick-snare pattern. The second LFO is also firing a sample-and-hold module to create those random frequency sine waves in time with the hi hat sound...
I am super excited to be attending the Banff International Workshop in Jazz & Creative Music this August! The program is run by Vijay Iyer and the faculty is actually insanely awesome - some of my favourite musicians will be there including Linda Oh and Tyshawn Sorey. Some incredible Aussie musos whose work I love have done it (Marc Hannaford, Tilman Robinson, Linda Oh & Peter Knight to name only a few...) so I was astonished and really pleased to have been accepted.
Hopefully during my time there I'll start to get a better idea of how to approach this drumming/live sound manipulation/ensemble composition concept I've been gradually putting together. It's all scattered apart in many pieces at the moment and I'm wondering how to make everything work. Every time I've tried to use my Launchpad at a gig it has been extremely challenging - especially while trying to play drums and improvise with a band at the same time. The difficulty is not only in performing and interacting with the electronic elements, but building the right system and framework to improvise within. There are essentially unlimited possibilities with sound design and you have to custom design the controls yourself before you make any music - so setting the right parameters (and working within often frustrating software limitations) is a real balance of control, usefulness, practicality and of course your ability to remember what every button/knob actually does...
Aside from that I'm just really keen to meet some awesome musicians from around the world and play new & challenging music. Also - it's in the fucking MOUNTAINS!
The first few months of this year I was focused on The Surface Project's collaborative tour with Tom Barton & Diego Villalta. Those guys are sick and have released an amazing album Connections. Definitely learnt a lot about getting a project off the ground with minimal budget! Claire and I put together some live videos for the tour promo and I'm really happy with how they came out:
Other projects in the works include a live album recorded at Paris Cat with Mingus Thingus (recorded by Callum of Sloth Studios) and the eventual launch of the soon-to-be-renamed "Los Cougarmen" EP, which we recorded last year.