January 29, 2007

I can't draw well at all...

In a fit of inspiration while biking (inside), this came out:





yes, those are sheep...no laughing!

For reference: The Clouds [listen]

Posted by halsey at 05:56 PM

January 19, 2007


An email from a few months ago, in response to a line of inquiry:


On to Mr Cage and Mr. Reich. This is a big (and hard) question! I won’t pretend to know all the answers or even have an entirely complete set of facts, so I’ll just give you my understanding and thoughts in my own context. Yes, I am a big fan of Steve Reich, but interestingly, my appreciation of his music really has very little to do with his use of spoken voices. I mainly love his layering and repetition and the incredible way his pieces seem to morph as complex breathing entities despite typically being made up such simple building blocks. I guess I am a minimalist fan in general. I love John Cage as well; I am less familiar with his work, though everytime I hear something, I am amazed at how ahead of its time it sounds in comparison to when it was written.

My understanding is that both Reich and Cage have used found sound as well as have collected their own sounds, though I would guess that they probably use the former method more frequently. Someone like Moby, for example, pretty much exclusively uses samples of found sound, as do The Books (for their vocal samples, I think) and a bunch of other more modern pop-type bands.

My understanding is that for the most part, other composers who use spoken voice usually fall into one of two categories: the found sound category and the text reading category. Both of these are really interesting, and I have certainly been in the latter category quite a lot (Imposters of Memory, Leaf etc on ‘words and voices’…), but my main focus is on what I might consider a third category. I don’t know what to best call it; the Interview category, the Response category, the Questions category? I like to dive into a large number of people’s feelings and responses to questions on a topic that is of interest to me. I like to, in some ways, communicate my own emotions through an amalgamation of those of other people, and of course, my music. I think that to this end, I tend to focus more on the semantic content of the voice samples I use than do Reich and Cage. They focus more on the musical elements of melody and rhythm than I do for the most part. I try to treat the voices more as real people who not only have feelings, but who interact with other people emotionally inside and outside of the piece. I try to let the listener get to know the person, not just hear a voice clip coming from some disembodied and unconnected source. The voices are characters which inhabit the music and interact with each other both musically and in 'conversation'.

Another difference between what I do and what the other musicians who use spoken voice in their pieces has to do with the control exerted in certain parts of the process and the lack of control in others. My process is neither totally random, nor is it totally under my control. I love the unexpected and am inspired by it continuously, but I also have topics that interest me musically and emotionally, so I have designed my process to maximize the potential results in both of these criteria. I set the booth up in public places where the participants will be a general unknown. Then I give them a ‘script’ of sorts to take into the booth (the questions), and then I let them do whatever they want with it. There is no monitoring and they are alone. So I guess it is NON-CONTROL --> CONTROL --> NON-CONTROL. I put people in a situation, inside a box, with themselves and then let their minds go wild. At least this is what I strive for!


and there you have it, even though you didn't ask for it!

Posted by halsey at 06:14 PM

January 12, 2007

satisfaction and potential

I've been working very hard lately, slaving in front of a pallid computer screen trying to re-insert back into my brain the logical thinking I learned in my C-programming language class from 14 years ago. It hasn't really worked, but nonetheless, I have managed to cobble together the outlines of something I am very excited about. Something that will make my live shows much more interactive and cool.

I'll explain more later when I have more energy, but until then, I wrote this little ditty just for you guys (in about 2 minutes!)...enjoy!

It Works Well

Thank you to Cycling74 and their amazing max/msp software...

Posted by halsey at 07:30 PM