Llull Premiere

Llull, for tuba solo, is a virtuosic homage to philosopher Ramon Llull. Among other achievements, Llull drew one of the first heuristic maps, composed what he called worthless songs and poems, and has been rightfully accused of anticipatory plagiarism by the Oulipo writers.
In this tuba solo, the performer weaves a complex web of expressions, techniques, and reminiscences that presents the tradition of tuba playing in a kind of retrograde inversion.I wrote this composition for fantastic tuba player David Mercedes.
Score is available at New Flore Music. Online PremiereThe premiere of Llull will be streamed on Sunday, September 27 from the Streaming page at the University of Iowa School of Music.

From Ayler to Sclavis

Steve Grismore is an exceptional guitar player: he can play anything and is always ready for a new adventure (like when we created the piece Guitar School with the Laptop Orchestra at the University of Iowa). He recently released Better Times (Are A Comin'), a new trio album dedicated to the music of Ornette Coleman.Steve invited me to present this Friday at the Jazz Seminar. I decided to talk about Maurice Merle, the Workshop de Lyon, and in a way, the links between Albert Ayler and Louis Sclavis. I'm so glad: I just received today in the mail the 50th anniversary album of the Workshop de Lyon.The CDs I'm going to play at the seminar:
We're also going to play live, along with Jim Dreier (drums) and Will Yager (bass): Chant Bien Fatal will be the tune (of course?)

Jean-Francois Charles & Gozo Yoshimasu

In April 2017, I was invited along with the Laptop Orchestra at the University of Iowa to take part in a performance with living legend Gōzō Yoshimasu. The organizers at the International Writing Program were wonderful, and trusted us completely for this concert mixing live performance, poetry readings, and music. I'm glad to share here selected excerpts where I perform on clarinet (I also played live electronics at some points in the show). The laptop orchestra sounded great this evening. Musicians were:Nima Hamidi, setar & live electronicsJoseph Norman, electric guitar & live electronicsKris Peysen, electric guitar & live electronicsJacob Simmons, guitar & live electronicsCarlos Toro-Tobon, Buchla analog Synthesizer & live electronicsSpecial guest: Patricia Hartland, electric bassThe Medium is the Messenger
A show designed and inspired by Gozo Yoshimasu
Readings and translations by Forrest Gander, Sawako Nakayasu, and Kyoko YoshidaVideo by Toko Shiiki Ima…

Prisma meeting - Summer 2020

This summer, the Prisma group of composers & music technologists met online instead of at Ircam. The meetings took place every day from July 6 to July 9, in four different time zones:6-8pm in Paris, Berlin & Vienna12-2pm in Boston/Cambridge11am-1pm in Winnipeg & Iowa City9-11am in Los Angeles We had a great set of presentations:Hans Tutschku: Composing with Large Sound CollectionsJacopo Baboni Schilingi: Le Temps de l'ÉchoJohannes Kretz: creative (mis)understandingsJohannes Kretz: Experiences with Live-Electronics – completely on iPad and (almost) completely wirelessOrjan Sandred & Julien Vincenot: Cluster Engine from PWGL into Max as part of MOZlibOrjan Sandred: Creative projectsJean-François Charles: Spectral envelopes: gaussian blur, cepstral cross-synthesis, and historical pattern recognitionAs per usual, the presentations touched on topics ranging from aesthetics to art & technology. We all learnt a lot. We hope to meet physically next year, for more improm…

Max for Live: Shepard Risset Synth

The Shepard Risset Synth is a Max for Live instrument designed to play Shepard tones and Risset glissandi live with a MIDI keyboard. You can also easily re-create auditory illusions such as the Tritone paradox.Interested? Get the Shepard Risset Synth.Roger Shepard & the circular perception of tonesAlthough the idea that pitch can be presented as the combination of height and pitch class (or chroma) has been around since the 19th century, Roger Shepard was the first to generate tones giving the impression of a circular perception of pitch. He generated the sounds in 1964, when he was working at Bell Labs: he used music synthesis software created by Max Matthews.In 1967, Roger Shepard and Edward Zajac made this film, which presents a dot moving on Penrose stairs synchronized with Shepard tones:The original video is accessible from the Bell Labs archives.To achieve the illusion, Shepard applied a constant spectral envelope to a series of tones. Each tone consists in the sum of 10 sin…

Max for Live: Extreme Time Stretching with Spectral Stretch

There are many ways to achieve audio time stretching without transposition. Some time-based methods build on Pierre Schaefer's Phonogène. Another approach consists in processing the sound in spectral domain, using a phase vocoder. In this case, the audio samples are converted to spectral data through a Fast Fourier Transform (FFT). Then, even if we focus on extreme time stretching, the details of the phase vocoder implementation have important consequences on the sound quality and the tool's flexibility for live usage. Before introducing the Max for Live device Spectral Stretch, let's have a look at a selection of four possible algorithms:PaulstretchMax Live Phase VocoderInterpolation between recorded spectraStochastic Re-synthesis from a recorded sonogramPaulstretchPaul's Extreme Sound Stretch, also known as Paulstretch, is an algorithm designed by Paul Nasca for extreme time stretching. You might have heard one application already: to this date, the video Justin Biebe…

Petrified, for baritone saxophone & electronics

After we could not play Petrified during the 2020 Electrocution Festival, I arranged a new version of the piece for baritone saxophone & live electronics. As soon as I sent it to saxophonist extraordinaire Stéphane Sordet, he was onboard to make a recording!Stéphane recorded the saxophone part in Brest, while I adjusted and recorded the live electronics in Iowa City. After I sent him a mixed version he added video:I'm humbled by the amount of work Stéphane put in this project. I'm looking forward to having the opportunity to perform it live with him! The live electronics may be performed in different ways:a musician performs live electronics as designed and provided by the composer, or a variation thereof, in a duet with the saxophonist.a musician performs improvised live electronics in a duet with the saxophonist.the saxophonist performs by themselves using the live electronics as designed and provided by the composer, or a variation thereof.the saxophonist performs improv…