BLOG (March 2006 - March 2009)


November 30, 2007

Rolf Julius video > "Valley"

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.

Laurie Anderson's Big Science in the city

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:

November 27, 2007

Research Paper

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.

Download/view: here.

November 26, 2007


There were signs in the sky on Saturday morning.

This represents no great ideological shift for Australia's political climate, but (thank 'g-d') it's a f**king change at least.

November 23, 2007

Earpoke: extra

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

Thoughts on the Sumi installation

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.

Locating oneself:

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

Jon Hassell

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.,,2207299,00.html

November 12, 2007

Sumi installation

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.

Programme note:

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:

Special thanks to Lauren Playfair, Edward James, The Helpmann Academy and Coriole Winery.

Helpmann Academy end-of-year dinner at 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

Performance for Earpoke: Glass with objects

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.

"Oh, OK..."

EMU: Earpoke 22.11

Be there or be amorpheous.

Hidden City

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.

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