Who’s Streets?

I found a call for recordings for a politically themed musical thing, which always makes me happy because this sort of thing motivates me a lot. It’s got an item for consideration, “How do we view the fact that our instruments for organising sounds are linked to instruments designed to control? Is there a relationship between organising and controlling?” (the whole thing is at http://www.sonoscop.net/pop-up/convzepp09ENG.html)

So I was thinking I could use some recordings I made of people chanting at the G20 protests in London and then juxtapose that with recordings of military chants that I could steal from YouTube.

And I am astounded, perplexed and unnerved that pretty much, crowds watching troop drills sound exactly like crowds at protests with chanting. I would not be able to listen to a recording and know if I’m watching an implicitly normative crowd cheering for marching at a football game or a bunch of leftists out to reclaim the streets. (I mean, the words are different, but playing recordings for a non-english speaking audience looses that signifier.)

This is kind of worrying because it suggests that there’s not so much difference between how these positions are articulated or perhaps even between the positions themselves as they manifest in a public space.
Which manifestations are empowering and which are alarming would only seem to have to do with whether your own advantage is the one being promoted. Of course, I think there’s more to it than that. Are we supporting the rights of people who already have power or people who do not? But this suggests that both positions might fill the same needs for observers and participants. And somehow that’s disturbing me. Maybe people are more empowered by being reactionary. How can we reach out to them in that case?
Speaking of protests, there’s one today about biofuels and I don’t know whether or not I want to go. Burning acres of rainforest to grow soybeans for fuel has a worse carbon footprint than burning a whole lot of petrol. Is there a role for non-waste oil biodiesel in a green, sustainable model for fuel? I don’t know. I really believed in biodiesel.

Costs of Car ownership

What they didn’t tell you in Drivers Ed

the actual cost of ownership is, of course, exceedingly high. you have to
buy gas, pay bridge toll, pay insurance, waste years of your life in
transit and stuck in traffic, while making your life shorter breathing the
extremely nasty diesel fumes which contain large amounts of particulate
matter and dioxin, while your limbs fall asleep and your mind is warped by
clear channel radio and bill boards along the ugly and polluting freeways,
which run through poor neighborhoods, poisoning the residents and also
poisoning the central valley, where the smog eventually blows, causing
astronomically high asthma rates and causing toxic pollution to gather on
the crops growing there and thus also poison our food supply, whether
organically grown or not. Biodiesel is a bit better, but not 100% and
meanwhile your car is still using up oil, still made of plastic, still
kicking up tiny rubber particles from your tires, still causing gigantic
tire disposal problems and lots and lots of really nasty air pollution
from tire disposal sites that caught fire in CA three years ago and are
still burning and it’s extremely likely that you and I both have been
transported by at least a few of the tires on fire out there and all of
these costs are hidden, but you pay later when your life is shortened and
your quality of life is diminished and people you like get cancer and die
or get killed when SUVs roll over on them or are hit by pickup trucks
while crossing the street and thus they never play bass again. and when
outcomes of decisions are statistically predictable, it shoudl not be
called an accident when a city delays putting in a traffic light
(expensive and paid for by taxes not on gasoline) and then somebody gets
killed crossing the street, that’s not an accident. When the auto
industry knows that making cars that can comfortably sail along at 80
miles and hour will lead to more speeding, more traffic fatalities, and
more gas usage and polltuon, causing higher asthma rates and cancer, these
deaths and illnesses are not accidents. When gigantic speeding cars
require huige amounts of fuel and we launch agressive wars in
oil-producing countries and soldiers and civillians get killed, this is
not an accident. When people see this and become angry and start placing
bombs around where we live and work, this is not an accident, but a direct
and predictable consequence of the decisions we make and our society makes
and part of the cost of owning a motor vehicle.

CalArts Portfolio Disk

  1. Airwaves #1 2002
  2. Airwaves #2 2002
  3. Airwaves #3 2002. The Airwaves series will eventually include seven pieces. All of these pieces use a MOTM analog modular synthesizer and are mixed with Pro-tools. Airwaves #3 also uses a Midiverb and a recording of breathing. Airwaves #2 was played at Woodstockhausen 2002. The program notes for this series are:

    Airwaves is a series of tape music featuring the sounds of analog modular synthesis. It primarily uses a MOTM modular synthesizer. Because the sound of this synthesizer is so naturally big, pieces in this series try to give the listener some space by creating music with more air in it.

  4. Breaking Waves 2001. This piece was composed in responce to a call for tape pieces by Ibol Records. It was released on a compolation disk called Random Spheres of Influence. The source sound for this is white noise from a MOTM synthesizer. It was then processed with Audio Catalyst software, by convertng it to mp3 format and then back to AIFF format and then to mp3 and so forth, so the original sounds would degrade and alaising would become apparent. It was mixed with Pro-tools.
  5. Phase 2001. This piece was created with a Future Retro 777 synthesizer. I used the same pattern on the sequencer in three differnt loops, but the pattern was cut to different lengths so that the lopps fall in and out of phase with each other. It was mixed with Pro-tools. This was featured in the now-defunct Nonsequiter ezine.
  6. (de)construction 1998. This piece was created with field recordings and Mills’ Moog analog modular synthesizer. It was recorded to tape and mixed with an analog mixing board.
  7. Bitter Day 2000. This piece was created with a MOTM synthesizer, with some sounds controlled by keyboard. It was mixed and compressed with Pro-tools. This has been played on Internet and pirate radio.
  8. Headerless Data #1 2001. This piece was created using Photoshop software. I generated an image in photoshop and then modified the resultant data with Sound Hack, by adding headers to turn it into an AIFF file. It was mixed in Pro-tools.
  9. Chaos Patch 2000. This piece was composed with a MOTM synthesizer using analog chaos. Three oscilators were patched together in an FM loop, so that the output of each one was the FM input of the next one. It was recorded and mixed with Pro-tools in one night while awaiting returns from the state of Florida during the last presidential election.
  10. Scape 1997. This piece was created with Mills College’s Moog modular synthesizer. It was recorded to tape and mixed with an analog mixer.
  11. Choral No. 1 2000. This was recorded using a MOTM synthesizer and mixed in Pro-tools. It was played on German radio in 2001.
  12. Drum Decay 2001. This piece uses a feedback loop like the one Alvin Lucier used in I am sitting in a Room. The drums sounds were generated with Rebirth software and then processed via a MAX/MSP application, a bass amplifier and a microphone. The results of that were processed with Sound Hack and then remixed in Pro-tools.

product review: biodiesel

Well, my car has about 5% less power, as expected. Not a big change or a
big deal. Some of the drivers who were not looking for the power
difference didn’t notice it. Gas milage is 5% worse as well.

The car now smells like burnt french fries instead of stinky diesel. No
more gross, stinky diesel on my hands at the gas pump.

i can go to bed at night knowing that i’m not inadvertantly contributing
to the war drums beating against Iraq. I’m not using their oil!