August 21st, 2011 · Uncategorized
A Schwitters-themed evening of performances for eight-channel sound system curated by Kamau Amu Patton. Click image for more info.
May 29th, 2011 · Uncategorized
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February 12th, 2011 · Uncategorized
Essays in Aesthetics, Jean-Paul Sartre
Michael Snow: Wavelength, Elizabeth Legge
Infinitely Demanding: Ethics of Commitment, Politics of Resistance, Simon Critchley
First As Tragedy, Then As Farce, Slavoj Žižek
The Science of Illusions, Jacques Ninio
Darwin Among the Machines, George Dyson
Apocalypse Pretty Soon, Alex Heard
Faking It: The Quest for Authenticity in Popular Music, Barker and Taylor
Pattern and Design With Dynamic Symmetry, Edward Bartholomew Edwards
Beyond Geometry: Experiments in Form 1940s-1970s, Lynn Zelevansky (Editor)
Op Art, Frances Follin, Claus Pias, Martina Weinhart
Another Science Fiction, Megan Prelinger
Dalwhinnie, Single Highland Malt
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January 21st, 2011 · Uncategorized
December 29th, 2010 · Art and Technology, Philosophy, Seth Horvitz
Contributed a piece to this tele-gallery exhibition for 323 Projects, which runs through January 17, 2011. To visit the show, call +1 323 843-4652
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December 22nd, 2010 · 20th Century Composers, Art and Technology, Michael Jackson, Philosophy
James Blake: for proving that it is still possible to make honest and genuinely fresh electronic dance music in 2010. You win!
Goodiepal: for proving that it is impossible to make honest and genuinely fresh electronic dance music in 2010. You win!
UPDATE 12 FEB: James Blake has been disqualified from this contest after completing what is obviously not a dance music album. Goodiepal, you are the champion!
October 30th, 2010 · Art and Technology, Philosophy, Quotations
“…the essence of technology is nothing technological, essential reflection upon technology and decisive confrontation with it must happen in a realm that is, on the one hand, akin to the essence of technology and, on the other, fundamentally different from it.
Such a realm is art. But certainly only if reflection upon art for its part, does not shut its eyes to the constellation of truth concerning which we are questioning.
Thus questioning, we bear witness to the crisis that in our sheer preoccupation with technology we do not yet experience the coming to presence of technology, that in our sheer aesthetic-mindedness we no longer guard and preserve the coming to presence of art. Yet the more questioningly we ponder the essence of technology, the more mysterious the essence of art becomes.
The closer we come to the danger, the more brightly do the ways into the saving power begin to shine and the more questioning we become. For questioning is the piety of thought.”
August 24th, 2010 · Sutekh
Coppe’ USB pill coming 9/22 in Japan, featuring live video by Sutekh, megamix by Atom™, and lots more…
August 24th, 2010 · Sutekh
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August 1st, 2010 · Sutekh
gotta love Google’s translator:
“Yes, very. Eat, make noise. Then I do not think the extra things to buy. However I only have the studio equipment is also needed. It’s simple every day (laughs)”
May 8th, 2010 · Quotations
“The splendour of furrowed fields is this: that like all brave things they are made straight, and therefore they bend…Bows are beautiful when they bend only because they try to remain rigid…But the same is true of every tough curve of the tree-trunk…there is hardly any such thing in Nature as a mere droop of weakness. Rigidity yielding a little, like justice swayed by mercy, is the whole beauty of the earth. The cosmos is a diagram just bent beautifully out of shape. Everything tries to be straight; and everything just fortunately fails.”
from “The Furrows” (1911) by G K Chesterton (quote first spotted in Stravinsky’s “Poetics of Music”)
May 2nd, 2010 · Sutekh
Friday, April 23rd, 8:00-8:46PM: Seth Horvitz presents: Studies for Automatic Piano @ Mills College, Littlefield Concert Hall
April 18th, 2010 · Seth Horvitz
Inspired by simple iterative processes, elegant geometry, the idiosyncratic behaviour of machines, and the works of James Tenney, György Ligeti, Conlon Nancarrow, and Charlemagne Palestine, the studies presented in this concert are the culmination of nearly two years work at Mills College. The pieces will be performed by the Yamaha DC7 Mark III Disklavier, a modern-day player piano. The event is free and open to the public.
Monday, March 29, 8pm: Seth Horvitz plays Charlemagne Palestine’s Strumming Music @ Mills College, Student Union Building
March 17th, 2010 · Seth Horvitz
This performance is free and open to the public. For those of you unfamiliar with Charlemagne Palestine’s work, here is an article/interview.
Update 4/11/10: Download a recording of this concert HERE (320k mp3). The recording was made with four microphones: two AKG 414’s up close and two AKG 480’s at the rear of the room. No EQ or mastering of any kind was added.
January 18th, 2010 · Art and Technology, Quotations
“There comes a moment where the technology gets closer and closer to the imagination and creativity of the writer and in the end, if you’re not careful, it overtakes, and suddenly, that serendipity which before was from your own sweat and blood… that serendipity comes by saying ‘if i press one of these 397 buttons on this synthesizer, maybe I’ll get something out of it.’ Now at that moment, the machinery is driving the creativity, and the creativity is not driving the machinery. And maybe that’s where the golden age stops.”
BBC Radiophonic Workshop (active 1967-73)
from the 2003 documentary “Alchemists of Sound”
Download the documentary from the Orpheus Records blog.
January 15th, 2010 · Art and Technology, Philosophy
GOOD ART IS NEVER ABOUT TECHNOLOGY.
I.E. THE MEDIUM IS THE MESSAGE ONLY IF THE MESSAGE TRANSCENDS THE MEDIUM.
PUT ANOTHER WAY, ART SHOULD NEVER FOCUS ON THE DISPLAY OF TECHNOLOGY, WHICH ONLY SERVES TO TRANSFORM ART INTO MARKETING.
INSTEAD, TECHNOLOGY MAY BE USED TO EXPRESS AN IDEA OR TO EXPLORE A DOMAIN OF EXISTENCE WHICH MAY OR MAY NOT RELATE TO THE TECHNOLOGY BEING USED.
THE IDEA MAY EMERGE DIRECTLY FROM THE MEDIUM, SELF-CONSCIOUSLY OR OTHERWISE, BUT THE ARTIST MUST STRIVE TO GO BEYOND MERE DEMONSTRATION OF TECHNICAL SKILL AND/OR APPARATUS.
DEMOCRATIZATION OF TECHNOLOGY IN ART AND MUSIC HAS BEEN ACHIEVED. THE QUESTION IS NO LONGER OF ACCESS BUT OF IMAGINATION.
November 24th, 2009 · Sutekh
October 7th, 2009 · Sutekh
In anticipation of this Friday’s show in Seattle, Dave Segal wrote a very nice article in Seattle’s weekly paper, The Stranger. Have a look HERE.
September 9th, 2009 · Seth Horvitz
This Friday, September 11, from 3:30-4:00pm (London time), London’s Resonance FM will broadcast a 30 minute solo performance of mine which took place in the Littlefield Concert Hall at Mills College last week. The show will be rebroadcast on Sunday from 7-7:30pm (London time).
For more info: http://resonancefm.com/
Here is a short description:
Six separate channels of recorded audio were mixed and routed live through four different amplified speakers – two overhead, one guitar amplifier placed beneath a grand piano (with damper pedal depressed), and one tiny speaker placed below the stage. The audio material consisted of recordings of a Serge modular analog system and a Yamaha CS-50 analog synthesizer, with no external processing. The piano was also played at various times throughout the performance, but an effort was always made to create a unified aggregate sound.
August 25th, 2009 · Sutekh
Just completed a one hour DJ mix for Marcus Maack’s excellent “Back to the Basics” show on 96.0FM Hamburg (now 17 years strong!). The mix will be broadcast twice this week, and an mp3 of the show will be posted here next week. Tracklisting is below. Three previous BTTB mixes are also available for download, from 2008, 2007, and 2001 (recently unearthed!).
-Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band “The Blimp” Trout Mask Replica (Reprise)
-Mika Vainio “Silences Traverses Des Mondes Et Des Anges” Black Telephone of Matter (Touch)
-Karlheinz Stockhausen “I + II Tutti pianissimo” Mikrophonie (Stockhausen Verlag)
-Labranisch “Eventory” (unreleased – http://www.myspace.com/labranisch)
-Wobbly “Simulated Pastoral” 090727 Hillsborough Co-op, Carrboro, NC (unreleased)
-Neil Landstrumm “¬£20 To Get Home (with Si Begg)” Lord for ¬£39 (Planet Mu)
-Major Lazer “When You Hear The Bassline” Guns Don’t Kill People…Lazers Do (Downtown Music)
-Zomby “Aquafresh” Zomby EP (Hyperdub)
-Larytta “Gimme Ten Sec” Ya-Ya-Ya EP (Creaked)
-Infinite Livez vs. Stade “Swaggamuffin feat. Joy Frempong” Morgan Freeman’s Psychedelic Semen (Big Dada)
-George Lewis “Toneburst (Piece For 3 Trombones Simultaneously)” The Solo Trombone Record (Sackville)
-Jimi Tenor “Ionisation (Edgard Var?®se)” Recomposed by Jimi Tenor (Deutsche Grammophon)
-Alva Noto + Ryuichi Sakamoto with Ensemble Modern “particle1” utp_ (Raster-Noton)
-Death Sentence: Panda! “Shadow Ghost” Age Of Reason And Obliteration (Central Plaza)
-Komba Pattu “Krishna Temple (recorded by Rolf Killius)” The Temple Music of Kerala in South India (Topic)
-Wendy Carlos “Incantation” Beauty In The Beast (East Side Digital)
-Brightblack Morning Light “When Beads Spell Power Leaf” Motion To Rejoin (Matador)
-Rahsaan Roland Kirk “Pedal Up (Live Version)” I, Eye, Aye (Rhino)
-Rahsaan Roland Kirk “Pedal Up” (Studio Version – outro only) Haunted Melodies (Metropolitan)
-Charles Mingus “Roland Kirk’s Message” Mingus Plays Piano (Impulse!)
-Helmut Lachenmann “Ein Kinderspiel (Children’s Game): Schattentanz (Shadow Dance)” Lachenmann Piano Music – Marino Formenti (Col Legno)
July 22nd, 2009 · Uncategorized
Recently read Wire columnist David Stubbs’ book “Fear of Music: Why People Get Rothko But Don’t Get Stockhausen”. Great topic. Unfortunately, not a great book.
I found a detailed and thoughtful critique HERE which I would say provides more insight into the subject of the book than the book itself. Who is this mysterious ‘Rouge’s Foam’ character, anyway?
July 15th, 2009 · 20th Century Composers, Philosophy, Quotations
From the transcript of Ken Burns’ interview with Branford Marsalis for his Jazz documentary:
- KB: Do you think the audience likes to be educated? I know Cecil Taylor has said, “I prepare for my next concerts. The audience has to prepare.”
BM: That’s total self-indulgent bullshit as far as I’m concerned. I mean, you know, I love baseball. I mean, I’m not going to go and catch a hundred grounders before I go to a game. I mean, that’s what… we pay to see them do what they do and to appreciate them. I mean, why would the audience sit around and practice and prepare? I mean, they pay their money to hear what it is that we do and to appreciate what it is that we do.
In general, sports analogies suck, but this one really sucks.
I recently discovered that Cecil Taylor performed on the White House lawn for Jimmy Carter in the late 70s. Wow, Jimmy’s cred just went way up in my book!
Here’s a link to the great blog that inspired this post – http://destination-out.com/?p=23
July 9th, 2009 · Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson: The King of Pop. The title seems harmless enough. But is it?
The King certainly accepted the crown with pride, naming not one, but both of his sons “Prince MIchael.” And his spending habits easily matched the decadence of the Shah (who spent a reported 100 million dollars on celebrations for the 2,500th anniversary of the Persian monarchy in 1971). Many people say Michael was robbed of his childhood. In fact, his childhood lasted for 30 years, from age 20-50. And that’s not necessarily a good thing. Michael often invited groups of “disadvantaged” kids to his Neverland ranch. There, he treated them to a day of unabashed material excess, a world of make-believe, where you can have anything you want, as long as it can be bought in cash. In an interview, Michael recalls the reaction of one of the children: “Michael Jackson, you own all of this? You paid for all of this? And you still have money left over? I can’t believe it!!!” Michael lets out a bashful laugh at the thought. So let’s drop the charges of abuse for a moment, and instead ask: what did these kids gain from their experience at Neverland? An insatiable appetite for wealth? A desire to never mature? I will be the first to defend the value of retaining a childlike fascination with the world throughout one’s life, but childlike fascination does not have to be matched with immaturity and irresponsible materialism.
Celebrity on this scale is bad for the world. There is no one, absolutely no one in this world who would make me scream and cry upon seeing them in public. That doesn’t mean there aren’t many amazing people who I look up to, who inspire me, but my inspiration is always matched with the notion that these people are human beings just like me. I would love to share a physical space with them, to communicate with them, to learn from them, but I would gain nothing from throwing my hands up in the air, screaming, crying, asking for their autograph, then running away. When we elevate a human to godlike status, we not only expose a deep-seated insecurity in ourselves, but we become unable to criticize (and learn from) that person’s flaws. The opposite extreme of tabloid/paparazzi demonizing, which may seem like criticism on the surface, actually serves the same purpose – after all, what is a demon but a malevolent god?
Michael Jackson was a loving, innocent, and incredibly talented human. He gave a lot to the world, but his deification (and demonization) should concern us. There are cries from his close friends to let the music speak for itself, while the media prods at all of the controversial aspects of his lifestyle. On one hand, I agree – let the music speak for itself. On the other hand, Michael’s life, not just his music, is embedded in our collective psyche, and I feel it is important for us to examine what he meant to us as a human being, as a role model, as a symbol of our goals and desires, and as a reflection of society’s ills. Perhaps the world would be better off without any more kings.
July 7th, 2009 · 20th Century Composers, Quotations
It’s a shame that many people seem to remember Stockhausen either for his comments about 9/11 or the entertaining, but horribly framed 1995 article in The Wire where Stocky was given some “electronica” tracks to listen to and comment on. For those of you who thought Aphex Twin had the last laugh, check out this excerpt from a 1981 interview. Stockhausen was asked if he had any advice for music students…
“…I would recommend that every student of music go dancing at least once a week. And dance. Please, really dance: three or four hours a week. Any dance, whatever is going at the discothéque or dance spot, though discos tend to become monotonous. Different dances; you should dance with a partner, and to different rhythms and tempi: slow, medium, fast, and in different rhythms based on two, three or four beats. Make your own evenings with tapes of folk dances: Austrian, Spanish, Hungarian, South American. There should be a good dancing teacher on staff, that would be perfect: not for ballet, but for social dancing, real social dancing, once a week, as part of the music course, for the whole duration of study.”
(quote taken from p. 170 of the highly recommended “Stockhausen on Music“)
June 27th, 2009 · 20th Century Composers, Seth Horvitz, Sutekh
I am honored to announce that Symbiosis, a regular podcast hosted by overlap.org has invited me to produce a 40-minute music mix with no strings attached. So what did I choose? Yup, all solo piano selections. I have included profuse amounts of notes as well. Will someone throw rotten tomatoes at me for including Tchaikovsky, Bach, and Beethoven in a podcast normally devoted to current trends in electronic music? We’ll have to wait and see [ducks]. Click one of the links above or subscribe to the RSS feed to listen.
May 23rd, 2009 · 20th Century Composers, Seth Horvitz
On February 8, 2009, I performed an abridged version of Erik Satie’s Vexations for solo piano at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The performance lasted for approximately five hours* without a break, forming the “background music” for the closing event of Jochen Gerz’s show The Gift. I’ve finally gotten around to making an mp3 of the event (split into two parts), which you can download HERE.
The interesting thing about this performance is that it was done in a room filled with people and conversation, which would seem to contradict the solitary, contemplative nature of the piece. Then again, Satie loved contradictions, and his invention of “furniture music” (pre-dating Eno’s “ambient” music by about three-quarters of a century) makes me think he would have approved of this scenario. For anyone insane enough to listen to the whole recording, you will notice that the room very gradually goes from bustling to empty over the course of the five hours (a transition that I was hyper-aware of while performing).
You win a prize if you can spot the two times when I blunder – the first after being approached by the curator, who asked if I needed any food or water (totally throwing me off), and the second when I tried to bend down and reach for my water bottle (one hand still on the keys) and nearly broke my glasses against the side of the piano.
*a full performance of the piece would last 18-24 hours
May 22nd, 2009 · 20th Century Composers, Quotations
“Quite certainly the radio is a foe!–and so are the gramophone and sound-film. An inexorable foe, irresistibly on the advance; opposition is a hopeless prospect.
Here are the most damaging things it does:
1. It accustoms the ear to an unspeakable coarse tone…[A]s they become more familiar, one will adopt them as the criterion for beauty of sound, and find inferior the sound of instruments used in art.
2. The boundless surfeit of music. Here, perhaps the frightful expression ‘consumption of music’ really does apply after all. For perhaps this continuous tinkle, regardless of whether anyone wants to hear it or not…will lead to a state where all music has been consumed, worn out. In [Wilhelm] Busch’s time, music was still often (at least, not always!) ‘found disturbing’, but some day it may no longer disturb; people will be as hardened to this noise as any other.
…But one may hope that even the surfeit of music could have one good result: every human being might, after all, some time, somehow, be moved, touched, taken hold of, gripped, by music…And when I reflect that the discovery of book-printing has resulted in virtual extinction of illiteracy, my optimism returns. On the other hand, when I reflect on the power and influence of many who have just about managed, painfully, to master the alphabet, then indeed my pessimism starts coming back again.”
July 31, 1930
(from Style and Idea p. 147)