For the past week I've spent some time working with Plogue Bidule, creating some generative sonic processes. One of the more palatable results has been a work I've called Music For Tidy Spaces. I won't go into any serious musings of the aesthetic/perceptual elements of the work (it is the season to take it easy after all), but put simply, it seems to work well in a relatively 'tidy' space played at a low volume.
As I mentioned before it was realised with Plogue Bidule, using sets of MIDI sequences, schocastic generators and audio loops, with subsets of post-effects such as filters, tap delays and reverb. I incorporated a matrix bidule (similar to the one in MAX/MSP) to 'score' the sonic process - capable of isolating and re-routing tracks. The sonic materials consists of sine tones, noise signals and a couple of long ukulele recordings which I performed myself.
It's no great technological feat but I'm quite happy with the sound of it, and it has provided some interesting conceptual in-roads for the research.
I actually composed the work for my partner Lauren's upcoming birthday in a couple of days. It's dedicated to her tidy spaces. :)
The cover art on the CD pack reflects my current obsession with inks (see below.)
As the track is 18 minutes long, audio excerpts can be downloaded here:
Excerpt 1: download [730 KB]
Excerpt 2: download [729 KB]
Excerpt 3: download [741 KB]
Excerpt 4: download [732 KB]
December 24, 2007
December 20, 2007
December 15, 2007
The Tyndall Assembly and myself got a brief mention in today's Advertiser annual Oscarts listings for 2007. Under the heading of 'Best Experimental Music' the entry reads:
Tristram Louth Robbins (sic)
The computer sonic radical and founder of the Tyndall Assembly series ensured sound bites in Adelaide.
I'm not entirely sure what a 'computer sonic radical' is, but I'm happy with the publicity and send kudos to the Advertiser for the mention.
December 11, 2007
Just so you know, this blog isn't really an occasional shrine to the wonderfulness of Brian Eno, but this recent YouTube interview with Riz Khan is very interesting from the perspective of Eno's political activism and erudite analysis of current affairs.
December 02, 2007
A JArts Crew podcast of a feature on the Tyndall Assembly can now be downloaded here:
It features me (amongst others) giving some an alarmingly erudite voxpops.
December 01, 2007
Normally I wouldn't promote my cooking blog here, but there was a good salsa/chicken/cous cous dinner put together tonight.
You can check it out here: http://www.dontmentionthegarliccrusher.blogspot.com
Thanks to the lovely Lauren for the suggestion, and the suprise bottle of rose.
November 30, 2007
I just stumbled upon this video documentation of a series of Rolf Julius installations on a website run by the Kyoto Scientific Network. I've found the second feature 'indoor' reflects a similar aesthetic to my recent 'Sumi' work, though it could be said on a larger scale.
Recently I discovered Laurie Anderson's album Big Science. Released in 1982, it sounds ahead of its time and original in terms of production and realisation, and its (unsettling) themes of technology, cities, social alienation and burning airlines seem all too familiar in 2007. What has really struck me about this work is the effect it has had on me when listen to it on my iPod as I walk through the city. Songs like "From The Air", "Walking And Falling" and "Born, Never Asked" evoke this strange potency as the tracks - with their off-kilter pulses and etheral undertones - rub against the extraneous noise of the city. It's a strange albeit comforting experience, I suggest you try it sometime.
It's also worth the price of purchase alone for "O Superman", but you probably didn't need me to tell you that.
You can read more about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Science_(album)
November 27, 2007
I have completed my Masters Research paper Still and Moving Lines: The Act of Listening in Electronic Music and Sound Art. It encapsulates the general thrust of the research project and covers Alvin Lucier's I am sitting in a room(1970), my own Tpot_(x)(2007), amongst other things. It's not a definitive study, but it's been posted for posterity.
November 26, 2007
November 23, 2007
Just a note. I did record some video footage of my performance last night at Earpoke, though I forgot to change the audio input on my laptop back to the built in microphone - hence the video has no sound.
Even a potential Master of Music (Technology) has the tendency to f**k up now and again.
I may do a studio based performance soon and integrate the live footage somehow.
Last night was EMU's end of year recital concert Earpoke. It was an enjoyable evening with an enormous program including live performances, playbacks and film presentations from music technology students. I'm sure the night was (de-)enhanced by my lucid wine fuelled MC-ing, wherein I seemed to take on the fused persona of Bryan Ferry and Shane MacGowan* - an aquired taste I'm sure. Bit like the house red actually.
Luke Harrald & Derek Pascoe, Adam Kreminski
Me performing Worgssalk
The Earpoke All-Star jam
November 14, 2007
Interior & surrounding space:
Last Saturday I was setting up the Sumi installation and other works at Coriole Winery in a cosy room with a window view that overlooked rolling hills to the west. It was late afternoon and still a touch below thirty degrees with a mild breeze blowing across the courtyard outside. There's always varying levels of apprehension when I enter an exhibition, installation or performance space - a small pang of panic and cold sweat when you see what you have to work with. It's always suprising how a space can be transformed with the addition of a few pictures and by moving a few things here or there. What resembled a slightly disheveled living/dining area upon my arrival had been changed into a credible space for exhibition.
I find a corner of the space to set up the work. The amplification and playback modules were discreetly hidden beneath a turn-of the-century cupboard as two sheets of paper were laid down with matching loudspeakers. The audio cables are snaked around the corner and connected to the equipment, the audio signal begins to drip out of the loudspeakers; chirps, drones and hisses fill this corner of the space. As I (im)patiently straighten out the two prints which I regrettably decided to tube-roll at the last minute, I pay close attention to the way the sound is broadcasting in the space. It's a push/pull situation as I try to decide whether to allow the sounds to be barley audible, with a perceptible hiss or click occasionally surfacing, or raise the audio levels so that an audible continuum is constantly present. I settle for the latter option as the sounds from outside (conversations, bird calls, vehicles) have the tendency to completely mask out the sounds of the work in its more discreet moments. The prints are hung and fastened to the wall and the work is successfully installed.
close-up of print detail
When I return on Sunday evening for the exhibition launch, I discreetly adjust the sound levels trying to figure how quiet or loud it should be as a few people begin to move through the space. Throughout the evening I receive many compliments on the work and suggestions that the work could be a little louder or softer (oh well.)
close-up of print detail
It's kind of funny actually that everybody I spoke to about the work seemed to have different opinions on how loud or soft the work should be, I suppose it strengthens my motivations for deciding to sell the work so that the buyer could set it up in their home and adjust the volume level of the work however they wanted to. However the sound level of the work was perceived though, I am of the opinion that the visual component embodied the core emphasis of the work's reception. As (I observed) the ink prints on the wall were the initial focus of attention for people moving through the space, perception would then turn to what was emanating from loudspeakers on the sheets of paper.
close-up of print detail
Of the many things considered following the development and initial reception of the work, the relationship between the visual and sonic elements in operation remains my primary concern. I am looking forward to developing similar works which follow this train of thought.
I think it was a successful foray into visual arts as well.
November 13, 2007
Brian Eno has recently written an excellent short essay on musician, composer and theorist Jon Hassell. You can read it at Guardian Unlimited. I've always been particularly fond on Jon Hassell's references to Fourth World Music and the "Coffee Coloured World". David Toop refers to this extensively in his book Ocean of Sound.
November 12, 2007
My new installation work Sumi is currently being exhibited at Coriole Winery, McLaren Vale until December 9 07. It is also a partial foray into the world of visual arts. The installation consists of two works - Sumi_figurestanding and Sumi_decay. They are selling for $120 each, and $190 together. Email me at (tristanlouthrobins@gmail) for more information.
Sumi: contrast and harmony, expressing simple beauty and elegance.
Sumi_figurestanding and Sumi_decay are works with the intention of evoking perceptual relationships between the visual and sonic elements in operation. These elements expound surface complexities, instead using a minimalist and reductive approach as a means of drawing the spectator's perception to their inherent details.
The visual material is drawn from two prints made with stones and black ink, digitally enlarged, printed on A4 paper with an archaic dot matrix printer, then subsequently enlarged again with photocopies, and finally printed to cropped A2 heavy grade paper. The sonic material consists of two independent channels of sound constructed from noise and sinusoidal signals which have been combined, filtered and processed. The sound is projected upwards from the loudspeakers sitting on sheets of white paper.
I have made a short video documenting the work which can be viewed below. If it doesn't work, go to the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Etnnw2t7R5M
Special thanks to Lauren Playfair, Edward James, The Helpmann Academy and Coriole Winery.
Yesterday was the Helpmann Academy's end-of-year function at Coriole Winery in McLaren Vale. It was a nice causal affair with a lovely dinner, complimentary wines and a serene atmosphere. I backed up Emily McMahon on guitar for a few songs as well as launching my new installation (and first foray into the vis arts) Sumi. I took some nice photos (albeit on my phone) which you can see here.
November 06, 2007
The end-of-year EMU concert Earpoke (Jive, 22.11.07) is fast approaching at the tail end of this month so I have been busy trying to put together some kind of performance work. I had recently sworn to several people that I wasn't 'doing' performance at the moment, I've since changed my mind and by the benefit of hindsight I can see I was maybe being a little petulant and having one of my characteristic moody days.
The performance work in question will involve playing a sheet of glass with piezo speakers, the signal is then processed through Plogue and (cough) Garageband. In order to generate 'interesting' sounds the glass is covered with a fine mist of water and made squeaky with the application of fingers, whilst various objects (such as coins and stones) are used to produce clunks and twinkles. Seb Tomczak will be performing with me on the night I believe.
I'm thinking of calling it "Squeak, Clunk, Twinkle". Cute.
"Why on earth are you using Garageband?" > Well, I like the built-in slow sweeping filter effect, and since I don't have any fancy audio software and require an audio in driver for Plogue, I'm using Garageband's audio input and sending it to a Soundflower bidule.
Last night I attended a special concert event at the Wheatsheaf Hotel starring Hidden City. Hidden City comprises of Seb Tomczak and Lauren Sutter, Luke Harrald and Derek Pascoe and the ever-venerable Stephen Whittington. Seb and Lauren controlled an array of electronic devices (including a printer and set of Nintendo bongo drums), Derek's saxophone was chopped up and rearranged by Luke's laptop whilst Stephen sat behind an electric piano, occasionally playing a strange Chinese flute with an enormous gourd and a single stringed zither.
Essentially this was a performance hinging on spontanaity and measure - the forty-five minute set ebbed and flowed with consistency and it was evident that the performers had a relatively good understanding of each others movements throughout the performance. After finding their feet for the first five minutes, everyone settled in as Derek's saxophone noodled, chirped and wheezed over Seb and Lauren's sonic backdrop and occasional motoric Gameboy rhythms. Stephen though for me, stole the show with a good sense of economy, playing a piano fusion of Erik Satie and Thelonious Monk whilst occasionally intergecting with a couple of flute melodies and zither twangs. His facial expressions were also a notable highlight.
Hidden City's performance was followed up by a group led by Adam Page. It was entertaining for the first five minutes or so, but the incessant club rhythms mixed with jazz noodling and backslapping soon began to grate. I decided to call the jazz police and have an early bed.
November 01, 2007
Normally I wouldn't be so partial to an Americanism such as Halloween, but we had a jolly romp at my girlfriend's place last night. More photos at the soniferous amphx.
Normally I wouldn't post this kind of thing here, but whatever.
October 25, 2007
Yesterday I gave my Masters research paper presentation for the post graduate forum. A major milestone in terms of the research project in general it went suprisingly well, it wasn't a brilliant presentation in a few respects but it was generally well received. Next stop is the finished works and thesis due in late 2008.
I'm now nursing a mild (and well earned) hangover.
October 12, 2007
With the series wrapped up for 2007, I would like to warmly extend thanks firstly to the sponsors and facilitators whom made the series viable: The Helpmann Academy and EMU for their funded and in-kind sponsorship and facilitator of the Gallery Delacatessen venue, Luke Altmann. Next the 2007 Tyndall Assembly artists: Sanad, Mychorizza (Jordon Bang, Justin Phelps), Seb Tomczak, Luke Harrald, Derek Pascoe, Hidden Village (Lauren Sutter, Seb Tomczak), Vinny Bhagat, Kym Glyus, Poppi Doser, Darren Curtis, Al Steven, Milkcrate, Edward Kelly, Jason Sweeney and Johnno. Finally, thanks to the audiences and media for their kind patronage and warm reception throughout the series.
This series has been great success for me as a curator and artist as it has provided me with a wonderful opportunity to host an eclectic range of local talent and meet some new faces along the way. Additionally, the excellent attendance and reception of the 2007 series has been bolstered by some great exposure through local and interstate media. The fundamental goal of the Tyndall Assembly has been to provide local artists with an opportunity to present their works at a regular forum, whilst developing and strengthening ties between fellow artists, audiences and the broader arts community in Adelaide. I am pleased to confirm that there will be another series in 2008, and I look forward to hosting the Tyndall Assembly once again in the new year.
September 24, 2007
I thought I'd post this as it's something a bit different from the usual sound-orientated stuff that dominates this blog. The series of photos detail the process of an extra-curricular activity from the Milkcrate session over the weekend. A tactile distraction of sorts for a long 24 hours.
I had brought along a metal sheet as a means of generating some interesting sounds for the session, though after awhile (and several coffees) it became its own autonomous art object. Earlier I had scratched it with rocks and pencils to get certain sounds and marked out interesting harmonic regions with whiteboard markers. By the early hours of the morning it had been scribbled with random nonsense, and by dawn only traces of chaotic gestures were visible in the scratch marks and the barely visible pencil scrapings.
I like the idea of reductionism, it is an approach that I apply to my work ethic during a Milkcrate session: building up detail and stripping it away. A visual parallel to sonic gestures.
1) Some scratches, pencil markings and whiteboard marker shapes
2) Nonsensical rhetoric and additional details
3a) Whiteboard marker markings scrubbed away: final result
3b) Close-up of final result
Due to unforseen circumstances Tyndall Assembly concert 4 has been postphoned and re-scheduled for Thursday 11th October. Please go to www.tyndallassemblyblog.blogspot.com for further details.
September 22, 2007
September 19, 2007
Lachlan Tetlow-Stuart of Triple J's J Arts Crew has written a great article on the Tyndall Assembly which you can check out here.
September 03, 2007
Good Evening Song
Sept 2 - Gallery Delacatessen
Johannes.S.Sistermanns, James Geurts, Linda Marie Walker
Last night I attended a performance at Gallery Delacatessen that I thought would be worth mentioning.
Good Evening Song was a combination of sound (Sistermanns), words (Marie Walker) and images (Geurts.) The performance was already underway in a sense as myself and few other people arrived at the venue ten minutes prior to the designated start time. The atmosphere seemed quite casual and informal as James Geurts worked by a projection, Linda Marie Walker sat at a table cutting up text and pasting it into an empty book and Sistermanns greeted people at the door discreetly. Geurts projection showed a sequence of somebody (him I assume) peeling and fixing transparent tape to a surface, shot from the top with only his hands and arms in view. This sequence was occasionally intercut with pixelated mattes of colour. Geurts was working at a nearby table carefully measuring lengths of transparent tape and fixing them to the wall over the projection. Marie Walker sat on a chair elevated with blocks of cork as she pasted fragments of text into her empty book and stood up to read them (quietly.) Each time she did this she would purposely dislodge the chair from the cork blocks and once she had finished speaking, refix the chair to these blocks before sitting down and continuing her process. Sistermanns activated a series of sound devices around the space which emitted a variety of soft and metallic attacks and sustained sounds. He then proceeded to move to the piano, striking a note then fixing sellotape to the key and dragging out the length of tape (through the audience in some cases) to a section of the space. This process continued until there were several lengths of tape creating a transparent web across the space. As Geurts and Marie Walker continued their respective tasks, Sistermanns stood over the piano emitting a sustained singing tone, turning slowly as to articulate the resonant frequency of the space. Notes were occasionally struck and trilled on the piano and later he would proceed to play a contact mic on objects around the space, including the tape network and Marie Walker's table.
This was definitely the most conceptually broad performance I've been privvy to in some time, though then again this may suggest a lack of diversity in performance art activity around Adelaide. I had short discussions with the artists and some audience members afterwards and we agreed that the key to this performance lay in its consistent pace and respective discipline of its performers, wherein it never accelerated or slowed down - everything had a natural flow to it. This was essentially mixed media theatre reminiscent of Fluxus and Happening performances of the 1960s, though I wouldn't wish to consign it to this approximation alone. Good Evening Song overall was a highly enjoyable, curious and playful experience.
September 02, 2007
There's been a bit of a delay on the post for the final day of the City Tags workshop on Friday due to time constraints and being generally worn out. The session on Friday morning comprised of presentations of the participants projects and some general (and lighthearted) discussion to wrap up a weeks worth of activity. The projects were by no means finished works, but rather explorations of art practice in public space. I've included some brief overviews of some of the participants projects that I was impressed by.
Adele: Adele showed us excerpts of her French New Wave/Goddard-esque film. The film focuses on three characters at various locations around Adelaide, where messages are written on walls by each of the characters as a means of communication (i.e. "meet me in the city at 3.") The direction of the film is playful and deliberately abstracted by the quirkyness of the characters, use of both colour and black and white, as well as camera techniques (handheld/fixed) and media (ISight, Mini DV, mobile phone.) I was impressed Adele's film. It examines the city of Adelaide in a curious and cheeky fashion with three main inhabitants, seemingly out of synch with each other whilst attempting to locate themselves and each other.
Yasamin: Yasamin showed us some by a local art collective that she is affiliated with. One striking example was a series of boxes which they had painted and decorated with various material at installed on Union Street in the East End of Adelaide. Each of the boxes makes up a piece of the finished mural, and was (suprisingly) left relatively untouched by the City Council. I found this work to be a creative and original approach to urban art.
Luigi: Luigi showed us a film that he had made with frames video captures of solitary trees around the CBD. With the title of 'Lonely', he explained that he wanted to explore the idea of lonliness in the urban environment and chose trees as his central subject. I felt the idea could have been developed a little better from just focusing on actual trees, Calin suggested (in all seriousness) that he should have perhaps dressed a person up as a tree as this would add a bit more gravitas to the project.
Logan: Logan examined his assault (see previous posts) by looking at the role of authority figures in public spaces. A foam-board stencil of a security person was situated in locations around the Uni SA City West campus to explore the relationship between the object and its surroundings as well as the reactions of the general public in outdoor areas. The choice of such a location is because Logan's assault occurred close the campus and resulted in a dramatic overhauls of security on campus and its surrounding areas.
Marget: Marget showed us a film which she had made of her performing against a backdrop of the ocean (near the grain silos, Outer Harbour.) She made slow movements and gestures within the single frame as she draw on herself. The clothing she draw onto (like a white cloth poncho) was put on display in our room for us to examine up close. The conceptual background behind the work was complicated, though put simply Marget's intention was to explore one's own presence 'drawing onto' the atmosphere and environment by movement, positions and gestures as well as physically drawing onto one's self.
Bianca: Bianca couldn't make it to our final session, though the conception, materials and proposed location(s) of her project were very interesting. Mid-week she showed us some stickies she had made using an Aquadere composite and coloured dyes. Resembling ooze-like drips, these would be stuck onto cracks and divisions of corporate buildings around the city. Her intention is to examine the austerity and corrupt nature of these buildings, reflected in their impersonal appearance and what they represent.
Which brings me to my project which I unfortunately hadn't had time to develop beyond the examples I showed in the previous post. The idea itself - audio tagging within an urban context - was received relatively well with some good feedback regarding the nature of the work and further developments.
Conclusions and reflections on City Tags:
Overall, the workshop provided me with a good opportunity to work amongst a group of likeminded participants as well as meet Calin Dan, whom I regard as a consumate artist in many respects. Although I didn't come out of the workshop with a completed work, I am satisfied that I have come out of this experience with some fresh new avenues for my post-graduate research as well as my own art practice beyond the ivory tower.
Calin Dan's exhibition is now showing at the EAF until the 6th of October 07.
August 30, 2007
Well, the plan was to start audio tagging some more populated areas of the city, but due to some time constraints and other priorities (such as tonight's Tyndall Assembly concert) I've been unable to get around to doing it. However, I managed to upload the video I made of my activities yesterday afternoon. You can watch it here.
From here on, there's the opening tonight of Calin's exhibition at 6pm, I've got a concert to conduct at 8.30-ish pm and tomorrow we'll be presenting our projects and wrapping everything up. (Hopefully I'll be able to do a bit of quick tagging before the concert tonight.)
August 29, 2007
Yesterday was dedicated to doing some fieldwork and developing our projects conceptually and practically. Aside from finding appropriate locations to 'audio tag' I spent some time designing a 'sonic identity'/'sonic signature' for the project as well as putting together a short soundscape which one of the participants had requested for her work.
Today's activity consisted of discussion amongst the group and reporting on how our projects were coming along. A couple of examples (too many to list here.) Marget's investigation into the atmospheres of spaces is very interesting as she presented a video capture she made yesterday (at the wheat silo location of the bus tour - see Day 1) of her performing very slow gestures against a static backdrop - drawing onto the atmosphere with her movements and gestures. Sarah examined the public use of public space for artistic purposes in a video capture of a site off King William Street. The site used to be a warehouse which has since been demolished and in now an empty lot strewn with rubble and e-trash which local street artists have used for shooting films and urban art (incl. some very creative graffiti.) Adele is currently working on a short film in (as she put it) the style of Luc-Goddard and the French New Wave. The film comprises of three characters meeting at various locations around the city. Logan is developing his idea (summarised in the Day 2 post) by postering and stenciling around the site of his assault. Calin provided some very thoughtful comments as well as proposing some new ideas for the projects in terms of examining the role of 'presence' and 'tension' in public space.
As for my own project, the 'audio tag' premise remains intact and this afternoon I picked out some convenient locations to hit. They are listed below.
Madley Lawns - University of Adelaide
Next to Oliphant Building - University of Adelaide
Next to South Australian Art Gallery/Museum - off North Terrace
I'll upload the YouTube video of these activities sometime tomorrow as the server isn't capable of handling large files at the moment.
I'm a bit too mentally tired to encapsulate some of the conceptual ideas underpinning this project, so I'll leave that for tomorrow as we've got a free day to spend some time firming up our works. Tomorrow I'll be striking Rundle Mall and locations with more human and sonic density.