Useful Websites of 2010

Here some of the sites I frequented this past year... I thought I'd share them:

Flickr and Vimeo :: These have been a great way for me to share my pictures and video. Flickr needs to be paid for to have any real value, but Vimeo lets you upload 500/MB a week, which is enough for me for right now.

CreateDigitalMusic/CreateDigitalMotion :: These two blogs moderated by Peter Kirn are some of my favorite sources for cutting edge technology news. The articles are informed and and the comments are filled with educated discussions. Definitely check these out.

Make Blog :: This blog is amazing in that it updates very frequently, with some very interesting posts. There are a a number of very different topics covered that are worth checking out. My favorite is the Math Monday section.

HackADay :: This blog also updates frequently. The articles here are fairly technical, but have a lot of great ideas. As with any good info-blog, there are lots of pictures and videos.

Sparkfun :: A great (local - Colorado) resource for electronic components. Additionally, they have an excellent library of tutorials, weekly refreshing inventory, and really interesting contests.

Creativeapplications.net :: I just recently discovered this site, but they showcase a lot of very interesting applications and installations that have recently been developed. I wish they updated more frequently, but I still enjoy the pictures and video each contains.

FlowingData :: Data visualization is one of my recent interest, and this site provides a number of very interesting data representations. I have gotten a lot of inspiration from this site.

OpenProcessing.org :: This, albeit unorganized, site lets users show off their Processing patches to the ever-growing community. I particularly enjoy that users can share their source code, so there is much to be learned.


I have a degree in what...?

Go ahead... ask me. I can explain it to you, but the best way to understand it is to experience it. But that's the best part! Anyone can experience ethnomusicology, if they have some interest in learning about music and how we as humans interact with it. That is essentially what ethnomusicology is.  Now, who here doesn't like music? Moving on.

I graduated with a Bachelors in Ethnomusicology with certificates in Music and “Technology, Arts and Media” from the University of Colorado Boulder. While it took five years, I learned a lot during my progression from engineer to musician to technologist. At each step I learned a little more about how they are all related. What’s next?

I’m currently thinking about some graduate schools, as well as just jumping into the workforce. Either way, I am going to take a little time to clear my head from school and work on projects I’ve had to put off for so long now. Projects that will ultimately show up in this blog...

(Seriously if you want to know more about ethnomusicology, email me)


ATL&S Fall 10 Shows

 These were some of the most technically advanced shows to come through ATL&S in my time.  It was also my last semester here, and my skills were pushed to their limits.  In addition to my usual sound duties, I did a lot of projection work for many of the shows.
There are links to more information about each program.  There are pictures and information in the links.

2010.07.30-31 & 08.05-07
"Sister Carrie", "Rozencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead", "Autumn Orchard" 

Leigh Holman, Andrew Metzroth, Hally Albers, Robert Aldridge, Herschel Garfein, Daniel Kellogg, J. Michael Martinez

Gemma Wilcox and Liz Barron, Betsy Tobin, Jessica Bynam, David Ortolano

Ryan Wurst

2010.09.17-18 & 24-25
Nathan Montgomery, Kim Olson, Ana Baer Carrillo, Jessica Bynam, David Ortolano

Paul Miller, Bryan Wolf

Katie Key's MFA Dance Thesis Performance

Kristin Dalleske, Autumn Bjustad, Rebecca Holley, Esmeralda Kundanis-Grow

real-time collaboration between CU, NYU, IUPUI

John Gunther, Synthia Payne, Cole Ingrahm

Bridging Imaginary Boundaries

Broadcast Station
Back in March, Synthia Payne and John Gunther organized a telematic music event "Memory and the Internet".  This was a collaboration between CU, NYU, and KAIST in Korea over Internet2.  Gunther and Payne returned this Fall for another installation of the event, "Bridging Imaginary Boundaries".  I feel these remote performances are truly on the cutting edge of music technology, so I was very excited to have another such collaboration.  For this version, we changed a few things, and collaborated with IUPUI (Indiana University Purdue at University of Indiana) as opposed to KAIST.


Ute Mountain Ute Bear Dance Documentary

Since May of this year, I have been working with Dr. Brenda Romero on an ethnomusicology documentary for the Ute Mountain Ute tribe.  After taking her course in Native American Music, we discussed editing some video footage of an event she had captured previously in 1996.  The footage featured the 'music complex' surrounding the annual Bear Dance including festivities like a parade, powwow, feast, and games.  However, she was still showing it in its raw format, fast forwarding to portions that were interesting.  So, with the help of a UROP grant, we began editing the tapes into an hour long documentary.


UNA - Katie Key's MFA Thesis Performance

"Una is a trip through the shadows of our subconscious.  The audience witnesses the main character, Una, surrender to her demons as she moves through worlds made of materialism, emotion, and spirit.  Each world grows in abstraction as her journey travels deeper into her subconscious.

The overarching narrative is a dreamscape, yet each world shifts into its own style of narration from verbal, to non-linear vignettes, to singularly visual.  This is not just a story about Una; I hope that the audience will see glimpses of themselves."
~Katie Key


Javanese Gamelan Transcriptions for Rachel Chacko

I was asked by Rachel Chacko, a Ph.D. graduate, to help her digitize some Javanese Gamelan transcriptions. Confident in my abilities, I agreed to to the project. Unfortunately, I did not realize how difficult this task would be. The learning curve for the transcription program (Finale) is very steep and the music requires very complex concepts to be shown. For example, most of the notations are in 9/8 time, but many measures have 10 beats in them... at first this was impossible for me to do. But after many hours in the lab, I eventually cracked the program before it cracked me. However, I did come away from the experience with a new skill set and the confidence that I can manipulate a wide variety of programs. This is a crucial skill in ethnomusicology.

Email me for more information about any kind of music transcriptions or customized sheet music.


Stockhausen 2010

CU Pendulum New Music in conjunction with ATL&S has begun to do an annual contemporary composer series.  Last year was George Crumb, and this year featured Karlheinz StockhausenPaul Miller organized to have Stockhausen's personal engineer, or sound projectionist, Bryan Wolf come from Pforzheim, Germany to run with the event.  Stockhausen was a pioneer of experimental electronic music and has created some amazing compositions for surround sound systems as well as orchestration.


Disappear Here - 5 projections at once

2010 ATL&S Innovator award recipients Kim Olson and Nathan Montgomery produced a projection and movement themed show in the Butoh style.  The goal is to "explore the wilderness within and without, the seen, unseen, and the world’s ephemeral beauty."  Nathan began the show in a net hung from the ceiling as a 'womb' (or diaper as some of us called it) and natural elements such as flowers and tumbleweeds were used as props.  The technical challenges for me were tremendous, as I was responsible for synchronizing 5 different projections.


Long Neck Big Heart

Over a year ago, Tim Foss approached me to discuss working on sound design for his MFA thesis project. Over the months, the project evolved into a fascinating story about a man coming to terms with his own insecurities along with the help of two precocious children and a man who may or may not be Santa Claus. The story is told through animatics, live music, and performance. Being involved with such a project for so long was very interesting as I was able to help shape and mold the final product.

I was involved with voice acting (Santa), recording small children's voices for overdubs, Foley and sound design work, as well as custom media programming. The piece of technology I developed was a program in MAX/MSP for a foot pedal board (FCB-1010) used to control the video playback. It also allowed  Tim to record and manipulate musical loops. This created an ‘impossible’ live, one-man, acapella performance.  It was a very fun effect to witness live.
Email me for more information about this kind of program or other performances involving interactive technology.


Shodekeh and blOrk

World famous beatboxer Shodekeh gave a free concert for the Conference on World Affairs Athanaeum series that we participated in with blOrk.  I warmed the house manipulating Paul Hembree's Henon Attractor patch.  (Sorry I can't share it, cuz its not mine).  Actually, running that thing for 30 minutes was a miracle as it tends to crash if you're not extremely careful. 

We then performed a "Man vs. Machine" piece with each blOrker trying to make crazier noises than Shodekeh.  It was a fun experience and we had top notch stage presence.  John Gunther and company also performed Cantaloupe Island with Shodekeh.  Shodekeh also performed a sort of interesting rendition of 'Viva La Vida' with the a capella group CU on the Rocks.  It was a pretty interesting version of the song.  We only had a couple of hours to rehearse and a lot of it was improvised, but the performance turned out really well.


Dangerously Safe

Gemma Wilcox and Liz Barron performed "Dangerously Safe" for the Boulder 2010 Fringe Festival.  The performance was a unique way to utilize the space, and it created some memorable moments.  To begin, the audience was split into two different groups and seated on opposite sides of the space.  While the two groups were facing each other, there was a curtain preventing any visual contact.  Both performed simultaneously to their respective audiences by improvising, showing video, telling mythical stories, and having shadow dance fights through the curtain.  Ultimately, the piece came together when the curtain was finally drawn and the audience was reminded of the dual nature of the performance.

Film by Betsy Tobin, Tech by Jessica Bynam and David Ortolano



This is a clip from Ryan Wurst's performance on prepared piano:

Prepared Piano - clips, screws,balloons...
For those of you who don't know, to 'prepare' an instrument means to attach objects to the strings on an instrument.  When you play it, interesting, somewhat random timbrel effects happen.


CU New Opera Workshop

Sister Carrie - 3 screen projectio
This was an impressive display of talent by the student performers, writers, and crew members.  At the beginning of the (2) week(s), the operas were read for the first time and performed by the end of the week.  I don't think I need to describe the difficulty of this.  Short operatic scenes were shown each night and each week featured a longer opera.  "Sister Carrie" composed by Robert Aldridge is the story of a woman achieving the American Dream. "Rozencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead" was composed by Herschel Garfein.  The second week's performance was the premier of "Autumn Orchard" composed by Daniel Kellog and librettist J. Michael Martinez.  It features the powerful story of Garcia Lorca's imprisonment during the Spanish Civil War.

For the performance, I projected on to three 8' x 24' vertically mounted screens for scene changes.  Instead of using MAX/MSP/Jitter as I normally would.  I experimented with Isadora which was simple enough to manipulate the scenic images created by Andrew Metzroth.  Many of Isadora's tools are helpful (especially for video), however, I would still prefer to use MAX/MSP/Jitter.

Congrats to Leigh Holman - Producer, Andrew Metzroth - Technical Director, and Halley Albers - Stage Manager


ATL&S Spring 10 Shows

The Black Box was very busy this spring with everything from world-wide electronic jam sessions to extreme multi-media collaborations. Here is a short summary of the shows I assisted with. There is more information about each show in each link.

Hunter Ewen

John Gunther and Synthia Payne
CISMAT : Center for Innovative Studies in Music, Art, and Technology

Jacob Herold / Esmeralda Kundanis-Grow

Communikey Electronic Arts Festival
Produced by Kate Lesta, hosted by Communikey.us

Maximilian Shiffman / Nicole Dagesse and Tara Rynders


She Waded in Time/Tethered

“Tethered” was a special show for me because Maximilian Shiffman asked me to be a technical director and sound designer early in the process. “She Waded in Time” was an MFA Dance collaboration between Nicole Dagesse and Tara Rynders. Both contained very different scenic elements, but performers participated in both shows. This collaboration is definitely worth watching and reading about.

Check out these flickr streams for SWIT and Tethered for more pictures and video.


Communikey 10

Wow, Communikey 10 was a blast.  This year I was a member of the technical support crew.  I assisted with the planning and performance of the Artificiel performance "POWEr" as well as the other performances and workshops in the black box.  This was the third installment of the festival, and Communikey 11 is already being planned.  Other events I was involved with included the Lucky Dragons' workshops, "Make a Baby", D Numbers' "Chop Shop", performances by White Rainbow, Lissom, and a special guest performance by the eccentrically brilliant Xavier van Wersch.  Peter Kirn also gave a lecture about Processing.  You can see more about the many other events and performances on the Communikey 10 website.  I also have lots of documentation of the event.


There Came a Voice/She

The last few shows of the semester were dual projects. The first two were individual performances involving a number of interesting technology interactions. Jacob Herold’s “There Came a Voice” was a jazz performance with score for electronics and vivid projections to accompany each section. The musical theme of the piece is very memorable, and use of projections was a crucial visual element.

The second portion of this show was a live dance and video collaboration produced by Esmeralda Kundanis-Grow with video work by Mara Tasker and Nathan Minatta. The show followed a ”Tarantino-style femme fatale” theme and explored the Black Box space in an interesting way. The ceiling grid was used as scenic element and the video was an excellent performance element.


Tuning Up

For the Spring blOrk performance I composed a piece about how a laptop orchestra tunes up compared to a true orchestra.  I had a few concepts I wanted to try, one was musical and the other was more performance.  Since we have 6 blOrk stations, I wanted to simulate tuning each of these to the desired frequency, 440 Hz.  I also wanted to turn on each computer separately using a MAX object (aka.booklight) that allows you to change the brightness of the screen.  Incidentally, this is how the apple logo on the back of your laptop is lit.  So by switching the screen from completely dimmed to full brightness, it appeared that the laptop had turned on.  In fact, it was already on and ready to run my program.


Gunther fest – blOrk, Psychoangelo/Safari Trio, [CU, NYU, KAIST] link

John Gunther’s 3 day technology fest was a huge success. We participated in collaborations of every variety and pushed the limits of the Black Box Space. Day 1 was a performance with Michael Theodore and Glen Whitehead's  band Psychoangelo followed by Gunther’s Safari Trio. Day 2 was a collaboration between blOrk and members of the Safari Trio.  I also performed a piece Tuning Up which is about warming up a laptop orchestra. Finally Day 3 was a live dance, visual, and musical collaboration between NYU and KAIST university in Korea over Internet2 entitled "Memory and the Internet." Doing this all in one weekend was a technical challenge to say the least.


Hullo, My Name is Lily Foster - Hunter Ewen

Hullo, My Name is Lily Foster is a multi-media extravaganza conceived by Hunter Ewen. Extraordinary projections, paintings, poetry, and music by Hunter centered around a semi-fictitious character ‘Lily Foster” played by soprano Elizabeth Comninellis. There were live musical excerpts, aeriel dancing, and a theatrical story of a young girl coming to terms with her sexual abuse. Projections were designed in Jitter and Processing
Video Wall/Paintings
There was also a video wall with quotes to and by the fictitious Lily.  Hunter (Lily's) paintings were also showcased.