BLOG (March 2006 - March 2009)


May 29, 2006

[29.5.06] Music For Airports at the Tyndall Assembly

Two movements from Brian Eno's Music For Airports (1978) will be performed at the Tyndall Assembly concert series next month (Thursday 29th June). Movements '1/1' and '1/2' will be performed by a live ensemble I am busy writing for.

The (semi) confirmed line-up so far is:

Luke Altmann: piano
Tristan Louth-Robins: piano
Sebastian Tomczak: cello
Kym Gluyas: saxophone

[29.5.06] Tyndall Assembly Concert 6 25/5

Last Thursday the sixth Tyndall Assembly concert was held featuring a new work by local artist Patrick McCartney, Salladin. The programme also included a performance by The Glitch Collective and an opening rendition of Steve Reich's Clapping Music (1972) performed by myself and Luke Altmann.

Before the concert.

Patrick McCartney performs Salladin.

The stage set-up for Salladin and The Glitch Collective's performance.

After the concert.

Next month's concerts are scheduled for the 22nd and 29th of June. See the Tyndall Assembly website for further details. (see sidebar links)

May 24, 2006

[24.5.06] Images from Tyndall Assembly Concert 5

The fifth Tyndall Assembly concert was held last Thursday night on the 18th May. A smaller than anticipated crowd saw a traditionally eclectic show which started with old-skool sophistication of Hidden Village's works and my own phonetic piece The Sky Is Falling to the wonderful simplicity of Alvin Luicer's Opera With Objects which concluded the night.

Hidden Village (Seb Tomczak & Lauren Sutter) setting up for performance of Black Dog White Dog.

Images of the projection and performance of Black Dog White Dog.

Seb Tomczak performing Toriton (for one).

[1] [2]
Performance of Alvin Lucier's Opera With Objects.
[1] Tristan Louth-Robins (left) Seb Tomczak (right) [2] Lauren Sutter.

Further info relating to Tyndall Assembly can be found at the website

For comprehensive notes on Hidden Village's works, check out Seb's blog at

The next Tyndall Assembly concert is tomorrow night (25/5) starting at 8pm / $5 at the door.

May 16, 2006

[16.5.06] The White Album

I'm listening to The Beatles White Album for the first time. Sofie, my friend in the U.K sent it to me as a present.

It's fucking brilliant.

May 10, 2006

[10.5.06] Sferics

Inspired by a work of Lucier's called Sferics (1981), I did a bit of research on this phenomena and I've outlined some points of analysis.

  • Sferics are amospheric frequency discharges from the ionosphere (i.e. ozone layer.)
  • They are most often the result of electrical stroms and atmospheric disturbances.
  • We cannot actually hear them, but standard radio receivers pick them up all the time from thousands of kilometres away.
  • There are three characteristic sounds:
  • > the standard sferic: a sound similar to crumpled bubble wrap.
  • > tweeks sound like high pitch clicks and musical notes, a result of the high frequencies reaching the reiceiver before the lows.
  • > whistlers sound like decending tones, they are less common, and sometimes due to the result of reverse or upward lightning.
My research into this phenomena will continue, the first thing I have to do though is build a decent copper antennae then find an appropriate site. As Lucier points out in his diary notes in the book Reflections [1], a good site for clear reception is often remote - avoiding radio interference from power cables and appliances. Also the remoteness of location allows for less cross interference between radio signals and greater potential in finding a clean frequency.

I see potential in this phenomena, and the possibility of incorporating it into a real-time installation (controlled by atmospheric impusles.)
1. Lucier, Alvin. Reflections. MusikTexte: Koln, 1995: 456-465.

May 09, 2006

[9.5.06] Reflections (series of dreams)

on a miserable rainy morning in my mailbox..


The arrival of the OHM+ disc was a big thing last week, but this is the one I've really waited for (nearly 3 months)...

It's a compendium of Alvin Lucier's scores, interviews and articles dating from 1965-1994. It's been the essential text to make everything the research can really start moving. Progress report soon.

May 07, 2006

[7.5.06] Hard Rubbish Day

It's amazing what some people will choose to dispose of.

...check out this little aquisition:

Yes, amongst the sheet metal, terracotta pots and dodgy fridges came this little thing housed in a milkcrate.

That's right, it's a Macintosh Classic: a sexy box with 12 MB of hard drive space, which means I can create a 'minimalist jukebox' of around three .mp3 files.

There's no keyboard or mouse but I've already started my search.

And now I have another milkcrate...

May 06, 2006

[6.5.06] live music

Thursday and Friday night were taken up with attendances at a couple of concerts.

Thursday's gig - The Whitlams at the Governor Hindmarsh was a little birthday present for my girlfriend Edith. A big fan myself, it was a good solid set from the boys as well as a lovely atmosphere amongst the sell-out crowd. The opening band (The Live Room) was quite impressive, a kind of anthemic U2/Celtic sort of sound, we found out over the course of their set that the lead singer is shagging the violinist. ;)

Friday, and Edie and I were off to Fowlers Live to catch the CD launch for Mr.Wednesday. We'd both had a long tiresome day and by the time the band appeared at around 11pm, we were absolutely exhausted. We managed to stay for 2/3 of the set, and what I heard was very good, albeit repeating itself a little bit towards the end of our stay. It reminded me an awful lot of Sigur Ros and Mum - those Icelandic bands with a heavy emphaisis on moods and atmospherics. Most of the songs were underpinned with soft keyboard textures, treated drumming, echoing guitar and sunken bass. The vocalist had an intriguing presence - situated up the back on a rise next to a small string ensemble who played on a few of the songs. No disservice to the band as a whole, but the most striking element for me were the visuals projected onto a screen behind the band. There were some lovely moments of interplay between the band and the projection. Major higlight though was the near-subsonic frequency pulse that appeared every now and again nearly making my eyes water.

May 03, 2006

[3.5.06] OHM+

Finally it has come - after 3 months of waiting...

I went into Big Star down Rundle this afternoon in vain hope that my order was making it's sluggish way across from the US, only to find it had arrived a month ago!

Yes, I am now the owner of the 3 CD complilation OHM+ : the early gurus of electronic music 1948-1980.

To the staff's amusement, I jumped up and down hysterically when I saw that it was THE special edition containing a 2 hour DVD of performances and interviews, including such luminaries as Clara Rockmore, Steve Reich, Robert Ashley, Laurie Spiegel and (my main man) Alvin Lucier.

I've only just started listening to the music on the first disc and it is just wonderful. There is a work by Olivier Messiaen (Oraison) for Ondes Martenot which I just can't describe at the moment - I'm sure I'll post something about this beautiful composition very soon.

The presentation of this compilation is outstanding, a project of absolute love and commitment by the producers Thomas Zeigler and Jason Gross.

Though I've had a very preliminary and limited listen so far, I cannot recommend this collection enough and I will be urging the music library to purchase this, as every technology inclined and curious student should hear these works presented in such an accesible format. I think as I become more consumed in this album I will be all the more enthusiastic about it and letting people know.


This is good - for the last couple of weeks I've been in a bit of a rut (Tyndall concerts aside), and this seems to have given me the kick of motivation I've needed.

Now where are my books?

May 01, 2006

[1.5.06] Research Progress 3.0

I'm gradually finding my way back to the subject of Lucier in my research, though for the past couple of weeks I've been entertaining myself with some divergents. Readings have involved Trevor Wishart's On Sonic Art and R.Murray Schafer's The Tuning Of The World. And music courtesy of Robert Ashley's She Was A Visitor and Automatic Writing , as well as a piece by Kate Donovan called Airvent.

These works contain subjects that relate strongly to the aesthetic of Alvin Lucier - particularly sonic acoustics and morphology (Wishart), environment (Schafer, Donovan) and performance (Ashley.)

I have also become very interested in phonetics (the study of speech sounds.) The performance of Ashley's She Was A Visitor at the last Tyndall Assembly concert is a fair indicator of this interest, leading me to read Wishart's studies into the phenomena, as well as examing the work of Dada poet Kurt Schwitter (1887-1948), who was the first artist to seriously explore phonetics in poetry.

This interest in phonetics could provide a good point of reference when examining works by Lucier that employ the human voice in performance, such as I Am Sitting In A Room (1970), For Baritone and Slow Sweep (1983) and Wave Songs (1997.)

1. Wishart, Trevor. On Sonic Art. ISBN 0 9510313 0 9, 1985.
2. Schafer, R.Murray. The Tuning Of The World. Random House: New York, 1977.

[1.5.06] She Was A Visitor

I thought I might write a brief description of the work that was performed at last Thursday's Tyndall Assembly concert.

Composed in 1967, She Was A Visitor is a work by compsoser Robert Ashley which explores the phonetic nature of text and phenomena of the human voice. It is performed with a leading speaker who repeats the sentence 'she was a visitor' continuously throught performance. Ensemble voices choose phenomes of the text randomly (such as the 'sh' from 'she') and sustain them for the length of a breath (i.e shhhhhhhhhhhh). The ensemble of voices may be split into sections, where one section passes a selected phenome onto the next, and so forth. Performance results in the ensemble players producing layers of sound coloured by the nature of the selected phenomes, thus creating melodic, harmonic, percussive and timbral effects. The leading speaker's voice provides a point of structural consistency and consonance, drawing the listeners' attention to the relationship between the phonetic form of the leader's sentence and the ensemble voices selected phenomes.

For the Tyndall Assembly performance the work was reinterpreted.

I, the solo performer assumed the role of the leading speaker, my voice being pre-recorded beforehand (selecting phenomes of the text) then multi-tracked to provide the ensemble part. The ensemble comprised of three voices, panned to left, centre and right channels - providing points of spatial reference for the listener and importantly, the solo performer. I would begin the piece reciting the sentence 'she was a visitor' four times before signalling a cue to an operator to start an audio file containing the ensemble voices. I then listened carefully to the nature of the sustained phenomes, the three voices contrasting each other at various times in terms of sound and structure. Soon I would begin playing the spoken sentence, drawing out phenomes of the text, gradually merging it into the fragmented nature of the ensemble voices. As the ensemble voices began to fade away, I would carefully reconstruct the spoken sentence to its original form, ending the piece as it had started.

She Was A Visitor is a wonderful example of exploring phonetics and applying them to unique and adaptable performance situation. There is a great deal of potential for the performance of the work to incorporate more theatrical elements in the future, such as involving the audience as well as employing a host of performance environments.

It has a very simple concept, an ultimately flexible system and any number of possibilities for performance.

intrepid visitors since 25/1/08