New Demos

I made a sweet new looper in Max/MSP and ran it through my tonelab visualizer. Below is a demo of how it looks – it’s pretty experimental but things get interesting around 4:30. I’m almost done with tonelab V2, next version will have a sweet visualizer similar to this.

Shhhhhhhhh

For this piece, performers listen to different sequences of colored noise using noise isolation headphones. Performers do their best to vocalize and imitate the colored noises they here. The hopeful outcomes are subconscious melodies, harmonies, and rhythms, not indicated in the score.

What is the effect of noise on the human mind, and how does it distort or enhance our perception of melody? This piece, written for my composition seminar with Pauline Oliveros, focuses on the expressive capacity of the human vocal system. Shhhhhhhhh uses as its materials the human voice, a deeply expressive monophonic instrument, to create a wide spectrum of colorful and noisy sounds. Performers become intermediaries for the entire range of sonic frequencies, creating what vaguely appears to be a melody.

Shhhhhhhhh emphasizes the powers of 3: 3 seconds of various colored noises assembled into 3 sequences of 3 seconds in 3 parts repeated 3 times sung by a multiple of 3 voices.

Shhhhhhhhh is dedicated to social networking, electronic life, Piet Mondrian, and all the fascinating sounds that distract me from making beautiful music. If you like you can view the score.

I also made this CUTE little app that makes 9 colored noises, check it out! -download Colors of Noise.

Shhhhhhhhh, means listen…

2012

I hate admitting that I have let my blog go since earlier on in 2012. 2012 has been a whirlwind of epic awesomeness that started in NYC, coming to a head in Oakland, California. Please allow me to backtrack a bit.

In late April I heard back from all the graduate programs that I applied to: MIT’s Media Lab, NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program, NYU’s Music Technology, Parsons Design+Technology, and Mills College’s Electronic Music Program. It was a successful process – the only rejection I received was from the Media Lab, which was pretty much expected. After talking with department heads, students, and teachers across a multitude of disciplines, I finally accepted admission to attend Mills College, where I was honored to receive an assistantship working in the studios of the historic and incredible Center for Contemporary Music.,

I’m in Oakland right now, studying Electronic Music and Recorded Media at Mills with an all-star cast of incredible professors. I’m taking classes in computer music, electronic circuitry and art, composition (with Pauline Oliveros!), and a musicology seminar on John Cage. Earlier today my advisor Maggi Payne gave me a primer on the giant Moog setup, “Just follow your ears,” she said. It’s a dream being here, great things to come…

In July, I finished my time in NYC working at Harvestworks and received a summer position to teach on behald of the Winchendon School at the Olympia School in Hanoi, Vietnam. While I was hesitant to leave Bed-stuy, I’m not the kind of person to say no to paid travel to the land of bahn mi, pho and avocado milkshakes.

Leaving NYC was bittersweet. My experience there was illuminating – walking around Manhattan at times made me feel like I was living in the internet, all this information, all at once, all the time. Everything, everywhere. This sensation was accompanied by the alienation and sense of insignificance and inferiority that hovers over those trying to find their niche in an infinite space. There’s so much to be inspired from in NYC, it’s sublime and terrific. What really made NYC for me was the diversity and cohabitation of so many historic communities and cultures, particularly in Bed-Stuy. There are few places in this world where you can travel through a different culture, time, and place in the matter of a few blocks, Bed-Stuy is one of them. I will dearly miss it.

I must also mention that after 5 years of epic happiness and adventures, I decided to take Beyonce’s advice and “put a ring on it” – proposing to my longtime partner Sewon Chung on the roofs of Bed-stuy. She said “Sure” (lol), and we celebrated at WD-50 (amazeballs). SWC is currently getting her Master’s degree in Oral History at Columbia University in NY – she even got a field recorded nicer than mine in order to record hi-def interviews and fields. Exciting.

For most of this past July, I lived in Hanoi, pretty occupied with working and mind-blowingly delicious food. I took my new YouRock MIDI guitar to mess around with but unfortunately it didn’t get much use. I was too busy drinking bia hoi and eating fried pig feet, bun cha, and weird freakydeaky things.

After finishing my work contract in August, I travelled around northern and coastal Vietnam with Sewon. In Hoi An I purchased an early 19th century gong that sounds incredible – I spent a long time in the gong shop, recording gongs that dated back to the 17th century. In Sapa I acquired some traditional Hmong instruments – a mouth organ and jaw harp. I also go this sweet buddha box (in Hanoi), it’s the best one I’ve ever seen.

In the mountain villages of Sapa, Sewon and I collected some stellar field recordings and she made a great post about them on Colab radio:

Vietnam has a rich musical history and culture – the northern highlands are not only astoundingly beautiful but also a field recordists dream. For those traveling in Vietnam, Sapa is highly recommended.

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I returned from Vietnam with about 10 days to acquire transportation and get to Oakland for graduate orientation at Mills. From DC I drove with my youngest brother to Denver in 2 days. We stopped in Vegas and Yosemite along the way. For about two days I thought I was getting tired of persistent travelling, especially after the 39 hour flight back from Asia, but once I was on the road I was like, “OMFG this is awesome.” It was awesome.

Despite not updating in a while, I’ve been getting some great feedback from artists and instructors all over the world regarding my projects section. I plan on uploading much of my work done here at Mills as well, so stay tuned for tons more content, music, max/patches, and FUN!