Communikey 09

Communikey is an annual electronic art and music festival in Boulder that happens on Earth Day weekend.
Normal One's setup

The ATL&S Building hosted a number of electronic music workshops and I attended every one that I could... except for SuperDraw, which I missed for the Wooten masterclass. Morgan Packard's Ripple featured an Evolver - 8 floating point bits that "evolve" over the [8] iterations. The Max for Live preview was the highlight of the workshops for me as I was able to see the future of the software months before the release.

Darwin Grosse, from Cycling '74 gave the preview and showed how MAX/MSP objects will now be able to interact with the Ableton Live environment... I'm very excited to say the least. Next was a screening of the film Speaking in Code, the story of people who devote their entire lives to electronic music. I unfortunately had to leave early to go downstairs and set up for the concert that evening.

NoiseFold Projections
NoiseFold gave an amazing show with layers of evolving sound and visuals, and Gudren Gut was the headliner for the evening. We set the room up for 5.1 surround (for the Normal Ones) and there were some cutting edge electronics being used throughout the performances. There was also an Ableton workshop on Saturday held by Christopher Willts.

Victor Wooten Master Class

Victor Wooten - wikimediaCommons
Victor Wooten was called in as a replacement for the West African Highlife Performance that evening. As part of his commitment to the music community, he gave a secret master class (that about 150 people found out about). He is a fountain of wisdom and a reminder that you don't need to study music theory to understand music, and we often forget this.

Some memorable quotes:

"Change your mind, change your performance."
"If I tell you the answer, it's over."
"When you learned English, you said the word before you understood it."
"Theres a lot of mistakes, but you don't care, do you? Neither do I."
"A mistake is something you didn't think about."
"If you could describe music with only one word, what would it be? Certainly not anything from a theory book."


Thea Musgrave's Narcissus performed by Carolyn Keyes

One of the many interesting things that Music Technologists do these days is rebuild obsolete electronics using modern equipment and techniques. I was commissioned to help Carolyn, a graduate Flute student rebuild an ancient digital delay system (A Vesta Koza DIG-411). More information about this technology and a sound clip after the break.

Carolyn played into a microphone and the program would echo the sounds just emitted, slowly becoming softer. While I was unable to attend the performance of this piece, I have heard that it went off without a hitch. I learned a lot about the difficulties of building a program that can actually be utilized in a real world situation, and I definitely intend to do this kind of thing again in the near future.

Email me for more information about this kind of program or anything similar.

Using my favorite program MAX/MSP, a little help from a paper by David Wetzel, and a midi foot controller (Behringer FCB-1010), I customized a program that allowed Carolyn to change the number of delays as well as the delay length using her feet while performing. There was an additional setting that allowed a delayed sound to play continuously without any decay (until turned off).