April 19, 2006


In order to prepare one of my songs to be performed live, I have to go through a number of steps. Some of these are purely logistical and others are creative in that I am finding that I have new ideas for arrangements and ordering etc for some songs. I am enjoying the creative more than the logistical, but the results of both are definitely worth the effort.

I feel like I am getting to know my music again from an entirely different perspective, and it's pretty weird. Recording and composing is very different from performing it seems. Yes, I know this sounds obvious, but I am still surprised at how different they are. Part of what I have to do to prepare a song is break it down into it's tiniest components so that I can build it back up flexibly during a performance. Flexibly is the key here. I don't want the songs to be pre-defined by a rigid recording that I am conforming to while performing, but rather I want to be able to control when and how things happen so I can react in the moment to whatever is happening around me. That's why people come to see live music, right? To experience the subtelties of people interacting with each other in the context of creating music.

I'm taking a break from creating all the little bits and pieces of 'Nature...can be fabulous' right now. I'm almost done, and then I can begin the rebuilding process which is much more fun because that's when the song really takes on a new life right in front of me.

Posted by halsey at 05:10 PM

April 17, 2006

it's not all about dead people

I recently found out that I have been selected to participate in the 2006 Contemporary Art Exhibit at the Forest Hills Cemetery in Boston. This year's exhibit theme is "Dwelling: Memory, Architecture and Place". Over the past four years of these exhibits, they have traditionally contained site-specific sculpture installed somewhere on the 250 acres of beautiful land that the cemetery occupies. "But you are not a sculptor!", one might protest, and you would be right, but the jurors seemed to be feeling adventurous when they selected my project, which will exist entirely in time, not space, as it will be a piece of music.

I will be interviewing people who are related to the cemetery in some way - work there, are related to someone buried there, like to take walks there etc - and will use these voices in a new piece of music designed to capture and convey the feeling that this beautiful outdoor expanse creates in different people. People dwell in the cemetery permanently (in the ground), temporarily (on a walk) as well as in the contemplative sense of the word (dwelling on a feeling), and I hope to collect some interesting perspectives from people.

I will set up a VOIP system (thank you Marco!) so that visitors can call a phone number on their cell phones and listen to the piece while walking around the grounds. I will podcast the piece as well so that the millions of you with iPods will be able to listen at a higher fidelity. I hope to develop functionality in the phone system which would enable listeners to give their own spoken feedback over the phone as well which could then be incorporated into the piece on an ongoing basis. Technology is a pretty incredible thing.

Over the next month or so, I will be looking for people to participate in this project, so if anyone feels like visiting a beautiful spot on the outskirts of downtown Boston, let me know. I can use your voice, and I promise you won't be disappointed by your surroundings.

Posted by halsey at 02:40 PM

April 02, 2006

"It sounded marginally less awful"

I think this whole discussion of technology and creativity is really interesting.

Computer Software That Can Turn You Into a Songwriter

Music-making with computers has certainly increased the "chatter" of what is out there to listen to in a huge way, but I feel that anything that encourages people to express themselves artistically is a great thing. I know some individuals are scared about the ubiquity of GarageBand, Photoshop, iMovie etc, as they think that it creates more competition for them as 'true' artists, but I am more of the opinion that it actually helps the real talent stand out by providing so many examples of how easy it is to make something bad. Digital tools might be inspirational in some techincal ways, but I have never once found them inspirational in an emotional way. And emotional content is what, for me, makes a piece of art good.

Technology is integral to my own composition process for sure, but I hope that I provide true artistic input as well. I think my voices are in part an attempt to pull some of my music away from what can be a cold landscape of technologically enabled sound.

Really, I just thought this article was interesting; and funny too.

Posted by halsey at 10:38 AM | Comments (1)

April 01, 2006

How cool is this?


Who knows if this will work, but I think it is a fantastic idea. Afterall, music is leant to be listened to, not languishing in the posession of someone who'll never put it in the player again. And the fact that these guys are actually paying the musicians when a used cd changes hands is truly revolutionary. If we could lower the initial cost of cds and help musicians make more money by getting paid each time the cd is re-sold, the music industry would gain a bit of musician-friendliness that it direly needs.

Spread the music!

Posted by halsey at 11:42 AM | Comments (1)