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Showing posts from 2020

From Ayler to Sclavis

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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…

Dusapin's Anacoluthe: video

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The LIGAMENT duet, featuring mezzo-soprano Anika Kildegaard and bassist Will Yager just posted the live video of our May 2019 Anacoluthe performance. It sounds great in the Voxman Recital Hall... I hope you like it!Special thanks to Armand Angster, who taught me how to play contrabass clarinet (and other clarinets!) and to Françoise Kubler: they listened and gave us advice when they visited the University of Iowa School of Music. Make sure you get and listen to their new Dusapin album:

Petrified @ Electrocution

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Like so many concerts, the wonderful Electrocution 2020 Festival was canceled. This festival is dedicated to new music blending acoustics & electronics. The Ensemble Sillages organizers and musicians are amazing artists. I was looking forward to sharing this special moment with so many great composers in Brest, and to working more closely with bassist Didier Meu and computer music wizard Patrick Delges from the Centre Henri Pousseur. Hopefully we'll get to play together soon enough.

The Eleventh Year @ Logelloù

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Situated in Brittany, France, the Logelloù is much more than a place: it is a unique artistic project combining creation, residencies, recording studio, and more. I was thrilled to be invited with Nicolas Sidoroff & Krystian Sarrau for a concert and projection of Dziga Vertov's 1928 movie The Eleventh Year. We produced a collaborative soundtrack with Clélia Bobichon, Guillaume Hamet, and Sébastien Sauvage. Unfortunately, the concert & projection has been cancelled due to the spread of coronavirus. Along with the Logelloù staff, we hope to make this event possible again at some point in the future. In the meantime, don't hesitate to watch The Eleventh Year online.

Science on Tap - Scientific Concert

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You are invited this Thursday, February 20, 2020 at the Hancher Cafe, Iowa City, at 5:30 p.m. for Science on Tap
The Scientific Concert: New Music Distilled from Geology, Physics, and Chemistry
I will present how collaboration with musicians, scientists, and technicians has been at the core of the creative process for the Scientific Concert show premiered on October 27, 2019. I will also demonstrate new musical instruments made of stones and show exclusive making-of videos.
I hope to see you there!

Max for Live: Spectral Freeze Pro

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Spectral Freeze Pro is a Max for Live device. It allows for live audio freeze, with powerful and refined controls:Fade Attack and Release (fade from a frozen sound to the next)Denoise (spectral gate)Feedback (freeze several successive notes to turn them into a chord)Freeze and Clear buttonsDry/Wet MixUse it as a live audio freeze plugin or to create ambient sonic landscapes. This stereo device has been optimized for Max for Live. It has a very low CPU load and has been tested at all available sampling rates in Ableton Live. All parameters are available for automation and MIDI mapping in Ableton Live.Make sure you have access to a device and host application allowing the use of Max for Live devices to use Spectral Freeze Pro. This software does not work as a standalone application, it only works as a Max for Live device. Tested with Ableton Live 10.1.License: GNU GPL v3.0-or-laterDownload the Max for Live device Spectral Freeze Pro.P.S.: I made this focused device after years of program…

Contralto clarinet @ Butler University's Elektronik Musik Fest

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Composer Franck Felice performed at the University of Iowa with violinist David Brooks during the Center for New Music 2017-2018 season. He invited me to perform during the Elektronik Musik Fest at Butler University this Sunday, January 26, 2020. I'm going to present a new piece for contralto clarinet (or other low clarinet) & live electronics titled In monte Oliveri. This piece constitutes the first movement of the Tenebrae Responsoria - Feria Quinta, an homage to composer Carlo Gesualdo.The score & live electronics are almost ready. The first page looks like this: I'm looking forward to meeting with the music community at Butler University! I hope to see you there if you live in the vicinity.

Scientific Concert: Music, Geology, Physics, Chemistry

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It was a treat to present in October this Scientific Concert with Volkan Orhon (double bass), Dan Moore (percussion), Benjamin Revis (water clock, Rijke tubes, creation of glass instruments), Ryan Clark (geologist, story about Iowa), Matthew Wortel (creation of stone instruments, preparation of thin slices of stones for visuals), Frederick Skiff (presentation), Will Borich (live media creation for Petrasonic, lighting design), and James Edel, who recorded and worked on audio and video. I hope you enjoy these video excerpts:Scientific Concert excerpts on youtube