Project 1

Working Title - Internal Monologue

Inspiration 1: The Anechoic Chamber at IRCAM, a room designed to completely absorb reflections of either sound or electromagnetic waves. They are also insulated from exterior sources of noise. The combination of both aspects means they simulate a quiet open-space of infinite dimension, which is useful when exterior influences would otherwise give false results.


Abstract Birds “Les Objets Impossibles - Objet 2 (excerpt)”

A live audiovisual concert in two parts, realized in collaboration with Arcadi, IRCAM, Ensemble Intercontemporain and Dmitri Kourliandski.

And a I IV V I..........

So I have a confession to make - I can really only stand modern music up to Stravinsky and then I become askew. 
Bernstein is good,* my ex-husband was great, but otherwise, if I see the words :
Dynamic spectra, 
Efficient antialiasing oscillator algorithms using low-order fractional delay filters, 
Smog Musicians (Yes - Smog Musicians. As I know one of them I will attempt to be kind and therefore will refer you to an explanation from their interview on “We’re trying to take the rich set of patterns you find in music and apply that to air-pollution data so they become audible,” says G_____ of the University of California at Berkeley’s Center for New Media. G_____and Stanford University electronic music composer C____ take air-quality data sampled in locations then turn the measurements into herky-jerky free jazz that streams for registered users on their whatever  site)

or even this (which makes no sense even when translated):
Tout dispositif qui permet d'obtenir une collection variée d'objets sonores—ou des objets sonores variés—toute en maintenant à l'esprit la permanence d'une cause, est un instrument de musique, au sens traditionnel d'une éxperience commune à toutes les civilisations.
Free translation: Any device that allows us to obtain a varied collection of sound objects—or varied sound objects—while keeping at heart the permanence of a cause is a musical instrument, in the traditional sense of an experience common to all civilizations.

Maybe a PAID translation might illuminate -

If I see any of these things - I do not suddenly start to hum, or whistle a happy tune or stand rapt with tears flowing down my cheeks. Well hold it - there are, often, tears slushing down my cheeks during concerts that involve rubber tubing attached to a trumpet and toilet plungers used as triangles, but they are either tears of helpless giggles or barely suppressed rage.

Heard two pieces by Stravinsky this weekend.  One was 4 folk tunes sung in a festival of modern female choruses - it was pretty awful, the piece.  What was extraordinary was the number of pieces that have been composed in the last 50 years for women’s voices.  And for women’s voices in such close harmony.  And although I found myself really quite impressed, by the end of the day, I felt as though I had just been anointed grand pooh-bah of the world-wide Tinnitus Association.

SNBF** said, ’ We need to be open to all sorts of music’
I replied, ‘Why’
He said, 'Good point, buckaroo!’  Well he didn't actually say buckaroo, but you get the point.

Luckily I didn’t have to end the weekend on such a one note - make that 7 or 8 notes that should be one note - performance.
The previous evening heard the (and here I endorse) the  San Francisco Chamber Orchestra  and their innovative Incredible Shrinking Orchestra Project, featuring the new chamber orchestration of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring. 
A 14 piece orchestra playing what one would normally assume just had to be played with great bombastic clarity by a full symphony orchestra.  It was a perfect performance. I don’t think I have heard anything as innovative since I had to modify my youngest daughter’s language for our tri-annual visit to Des Moines (you try to get a 3 year-old not to say 'Jesus H. Christ’ in front of right-wing evangelical grandparents).
I am now convinced that Stravinsky ought to be played by cafe bands. In cafes. In Paris.

A bravo to all modern music that can end with some sort of intact chordal progression.

Otherwise get thee all to a nunnery and stay there. In silence.  And no visitors allowed.  Just grow your herbs and be subject to plagal cadences and V-I harmonic progressions while your days stretch into years and you repent your dyspeptic early careers as academic composers.

Good Day Sirs.

* Bernstein is DOUBLE GREAT but scans better as good
**SNBF does not stand for the SuperNatural Bodybuilding and Fitness Assoc. but is cutesy-pie designation for boyfriend


L'Espace culturel Louis Vuitton propose, à l'occasion de sa 17e exposition, une nouvelle forme de voyage : ANICROCHES, Variations, choral et fugue; un transport musical qui place la vision et l'écoute au cœur du projet. Conçue selon un format inédit, cette exposition offre à partir du 18 novembre une autre relation aux œuvres d'art, enrichissant l'approche plastique d'un volet sonore et musical.

Tout au long de la période, l'Espace culturel convie les visiteurs à participer à une expérience numérique inédite, à la frontière de la création plastique et de la composition, dans l'espace de la Rotonde. Un compositeur est également invité à écrire pour l'ensemble des œuvres présentées une partition qui sera jouée à l'occasion d'un concert exceptionnel à la fin de l'exposition.

Artistes :
Rémy Jacquier, Christina Kubisch, Charlotte Moorman ,Thierry Mouillé, Laurent Saksik, Anri Sala, Su-Mei Tse, Stéphane Vigny
Commissaire de l'exposition : Fabienne Fulchéri
Scénographe de l'exposition : Studio Adrien Gardere


IRCAM is a non-profit acoustics and music research facility and school offering a Master’s program in Sound Design and ATiAM (Acoustique, traitement du signal, informatique, appliqués à la musique, translation: acoustics, signal processing, computing, applied to music). IRCAM developed jMax, the basis of Opcode’s and later Cycling ‘74’s Max (also Max for Ableton Live). Max was open sourced in 1999. But in 1989 IRCAM licensed it to Opcode Systems. Aphex Twin is rumored to have used the non-Opcode branch for ICBYD and/or RDJ albums. Autechre is also known to use the Opcode and C74 versions for most of their tracks since the late 90’s.

The anechoic chamber is not only are all of the studios double-walled and acoustically isolated from the largest subway station in the world just a few meters away, but this anechoic chamber is also double-walled and acoustically isolated from the other rooms in the facility.

Both student research and commercial research are done at IRCAM. We learned that the occupation of sound designer is more than just for film, tv, and video games. IRCAM faculty and stuff worked or are working on a voice synthesis that strives to sound sympathetic to the person it is interacting with when necessary, and also sounds via DSP to give cues to the drivers of electric cars as to what is happening with the car’s performance since the sound of the engine and gears shifting is not present. They conducted multivariate tests with variety of sounds they chose for the project to find the best ones.

About the student with the guitar: we were told that IRCAM is developing an in-guitar DSP that will provide effects but sound as if they are coming from the body of the guitar. No, it does not just sound like a speaker inside. It seems acoustically impossible but we listened to a demo of the 1 octave up pitch shifter. The software was running on an iPhone but we were told this is just a convenient development platform, and the DSP engine will live in the guitar once this becomes a product.  He is holding the interface unit.

Most desks were Yamaha and most monitors were Tannoy.

About the photo of the room with the red trusses: Not only does this room have 339 computer controlled speakers for a surround sound-like setup (called Ambisonics), but the red trusses allow for engineers to control the room size, from very small to very large, to allow for a wide range of natural reverb. The paneling in the wall can also be altered remotely to be more reflective or more absorptive.

Thank you Deborah for the special tour.


Backstage Boulez

We caught up backstage at the Metropolitan Museum with two of the principal players in this weekend’s performances of CONTACT!, the Philharmonic’s new-music series.

Hear what Principal Flute Robert Langevin and IRCAM computer music designer Carlo Laurenzi have to say about Pierre Boulez’s … explosante-fixe …, which weaves an electronic orchestra with flutes and a chamber ensemble.

Langevin talks about his first experience playing MIDI flute, and Laurenzi describes working on the piece with Boulez, IRCAM founder and Philharmonic Music Director from 197177.


Tone row etude using OpenMusic algorithmic composition software.
The first patch plays through the tone row with random octave distribution and random transposition of each row. Rhythm trees generate the rhythms. Three instances of the first patch are played with increasing note density.
The second patch plays through the tone row harmonically, with one to five notes sounds at a time. This patch is repeated with higher rhythmic density, finally the melodic tone row patch is played.

For full details of the algorithmic composition patch see

Impressionnant dispositif à l'Ircam de spatialisation du son : ceinture de 264 haut-parleurs répartis autour du public pour la diffusion en WFS (Wave Field Synthesis) et d'un dôme de 75 haut-parleurs pour une diffusion tri-dimensionnelle en mode Ambisonique.

En clair le son se promène dans l'espace comme un papillon. Le son passe à côté de vous, vous contourne, repart et revient.