2023 May Catskill Listening Club Offerings

Super fun, really varied meeting tonight, May 20. Present were Adam Aronson, Kenji Garland, Winslow, Laura, Ben Vida, Zach Layton, Rebecca Bray, David Garland, Steph Spera, Mike Amari, and Jimmy Garver. 

Mike Amari shared a work in progress track that he’s working on with his partner Shana. Shana demoed the song idea with vocals + guitar and Mike is building off of that, adding new instrumentation and writing from Shana’s beginning. We all talked about how good the vocal performance is, and the beautiful way in which the song resolves itself. Mike and Shana are working on two different records at present, and the hope to release them sometime this Winter. 

David Garland shared two, finished pieces of music; both of which have been reworked and re-mixed by himself. Not transformitive reworkings, but revisits to serve the point of the song, with a fresh perspective after recording them around 10 years ago. The Diorama song has a new timing and the vocals have been re-balanced.
Percussion was added to Every Bird. We talked about how this song is a bit similar to something medieval and also similar to late sixties psychedelia, the way it sets up a pattern and then undermines itself, keeping the listener tuned in and on edge a bit. Good for repeated listening because you might hear something new on each listen.

Kenji Garland made some field recordings using an old piece of sheet metal and two twigs. Then he took them into his studio and transformed them into something completely different. He recorded at a sample rate of 96kHz, which afforded him a generous amount of frequency information, so he was able to re-pitch the original recording and not lose very much fidelity at all. Noted that the piece in its current state is full of information and there are some passages which offer up an implied resonance that’s not necessarily present in the recording. Compared it to Xenakis. Audio tk.

Zach Layton is working with a toolset called Fluid Corpus Manipulation or FluCoMa. It aims to facilitate “groundbreaking sonic research into a rich unexploited area: the manipulation of large sound corpora. The Fluid Corpus Manipulation project (FluCoMa) instigates new musical ways of exploiting ever-growing banks of sound and gestures within the digital composition process, by bringing breakthroughs of signal decomposition DSP and machine learning to the toolset of techno-fluent computer composers, creative coders and digital artists.” (that’s from the project’s website flucoma.org).
Zach used the ouevre of Baroque composer Jean-Philippe Rameau as a corpus for FluCoMa. He shared with us a 9-minute excerpt of one of his performances. It’s definitely Rameau, but weirdly more and strangely not. You can hear Zach pulling and nudging, stretching fragments of Rameau which were gathered together by an algorithm, parsing Rameau’s work into components and classifying them by type. Difficult to fully explain. Everyone was excited to hear heavenly music in such a new mode.

The Brayver Concern (Rebecca Bray and Jimmy Garver) used this meeting to do some user testing of our next interactive installation to be installed June 2-4 at the Sound Scene festival in Washington, DC. With this piece, we’re investigating a phenomenon called the Overview effect, a feeling of profound grief and awe about planet earth that astronauts report experiencing when they see it from space. A participant in our piece wears a half-sphere on their head, obstructing their view and obscuring their face. A speaker/mp3 player is embedded in the sphere. The project is in a prototype phase now and we’re working out some mechanics of how people interact with the sound and the head-worn device. We learned that it’s currently very difficult to hear other sounds happening outside of your sphere, and we're working hard to change that. Thanks so much to all who were present; we learned a lot from this group.