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April 28, 2008

Tristram Cary - obituary

Stephen Whittington has written a Tristram Cary obituary for The Advertiser

Tristram Cary (1925-2008)

Tristram Cary was universally recognised as one of the founders of electronic music and a source of inspiration for subsequent generations of musicians working in what has become one of the most important fields of contemporary music. His influence on music was global.

Although Cary's background was in classical music, the technology that he pioneered has permeated most styles of music-making today, from pop to techno to experimental. From the late 60s on the instrument that he co-designed, the VCS3 synthesiser, became an icon of the emerging art of electronic music and was widely used both by avant-garde classical composers and rock artists including Brian Eno, The Who, Pink Floyd and King Crimson. In 1974, Cary emigrated to Adelaide where he directed the Electronic Music Studio at the Elder Conservatorium, University of Adelaide, turning it into the leading facility of its kind in Australia. Cary is best known as a composer for his music for film and television, most notably for the BBC series 'Dr Who'. He created the music for the first appearances of the Daleks (1963 and 1966), and these soundtracks are now regarded as classics of their kind. Cary also wrote film music for Ealing comedies ('The Ladykillers'), Hammer horror films ('Blood from the Mummy's Tomb'), and Disney ('The Prince and the Pauper'.) In addition Cary composed a considerable amount of concert music both with and without electronics.

Cary was awarded an OAM for his services to music (1991), an Adelaide Critics Circle Lifetime Achievement Award (2005), and a Doctor of Music by the University of Adelaide (2001.)

Chiptune party time

Chiptune delights at the Delacatessen last night. A fun fab show for all.

Dot.Ay (QLD)
Ten Thousand Free Men & Their Families (NSW)
Hidden Village (SA)


Hidden Village

April 27, 2008

'Sky Falling' redux via Max

In preparation for a show in a month or so, I've decided to revisit a previous work and attempt to refine its technical process via Max/MSP. So far, so good...albeit a bit clicky.

The Sky Falling patch

The buffer~ patcher

The individual phoneme patchers

April 21, 2008

Familiar Strategies

Today I've been agonising over the many activities and projects that are going on at the moment. My sound assignment for Lynda Lou Murphy's EAF installation is one of these, and has been at the mercy of over-complicated approaches and strategies in putting the sound components together. Lots of flow charts, lists, weird sketches and amorpheous graphic scores are scattered around my work space at home, a good thing I came to work in my uni space then, which is model poverty pack Ikea in its cold austerity and minimalist functionality.

Anyhow, I decided to take a leaf out of the brain of Brian (Eno) and write a personal strategy card for myself - in the vien of the Eno/Schmidtt Oblique Strategies:


It seems to be working - my Sumi_Matic Max patch chews up and abuses samples and Garageband (eeeeek!) crudley bashes them into sonorous disharmony. Perfect.

April 17, 2008

Postcards from the Renewed Hive Of Activity (i.e. home)

The fine booty of speakers and cables is being put to work.

The family of matching speakers are 'tested' in cosy surroundings to the sounds of Sumi_coriole (2007) and Rolf Julius' warum grau, warum gelb, warum grun (2002).

A chilled meditative environ ensues.

More on this soon.

April 15, 2008

A fine booty

Thanks to Michael Yuen for giving me a horde of equipment (matched speakers, cables, knick knacks) for free! Of course I felt obliged to give him $40 for the cables.

April 14, 2008

Simple sample and hold

Today I made a very simple sample and hold emulation using Max/MSP. It uses three record~ and groove~ objects to record the sound and subsequently loop it, it also features variable playback speed as well. Once running, new sounds can be recorded and looped. It's clunky at best, but fun to use.

The YouTube example is a duex for two teapots. My apologies for the video quality, a mobile phone is lo-fi at best.

April 13, 2008

Hidden City at the Deli Gallery

Good show the other night from Hidden City at the Delacatessen Gallery on Thursday. Notable highlights included Stephen Whittington's spasmodic piano bursts and 320bpm atonal Rhumba, Derek Pascoe's literally spacious sax and Lauren Sutter's bit crushed guitar.

April 09, 2008

Sumi_matic: Cascade

This post is to field a request left in the comments box of the previous post on the Sumi_matic. The Cascade subpatcher is essentially a counter that ramps back and forth from a value of 0.1 to 1.0. This value then controls the playback speed of the sample.

Pretty simple really.

April 08, 2008


Visitors who frequent this blog may have read about a work called Sumi_. I'm currently revisting it after receiving some critical feedback on it from sound artist and mentor Robin Minard. One of Minard's concerns related to some aspects of the orginal sound, specifically the fact that I'd been very naughty and used a Plogue delay bidule to 'flesh out' the overall sound texture (which is, as we all know, cheating.) So in order to reform myself and do things the proper way, I took advantage of my current Max fetish and decided to build a simple little module to mash some sound together and flesh-it-out the good old fashioned way: dry, quiet and looped.

This patch is nothing special, it just simply loops eight identical samples (each with variable playback speeds - determined by a looping preset module) which emulates a phase relation of sorts, the combined audio is then filtered using a biquad~ object and a filter graph. The raw sound? A lovely rainstick sample that came with the Max bundle. I would post an example YouTube, but my mobile phone video camera delivers no love or decent sound quality for that matter.

Though this is essentially an experiment and means of trialing some homogenous sound textures, it's a much more faithful and well-behaved step in the right direction.

April 07, 2008

Adelaide Contemporary Music Festival

I spent the weekend attending the Adelaide Contemporary Music Festival curated by Gabriella Smart. Overall it was an entertaining (albeit 'safe') series of concerts featuring a couple of rarely heard Tristram Cary works.

As I was reviewing for the online new music publication Resonate, I'll save more in-depth observations of the festival for the copy when I get around to writing it.

April 02, 2008


For someone who considers themselves a sound artist, I've waited a while get around to buying Max/MSP outright and actually using it.


April 01, 2008

Update on Research Paper

Slowly turning corner. Robin's fixed the steering a bit - better handling.

ETA: Thursday...possibly Friday, no later.

intrepid visitors since 25/1/08