“Watermachine” Sound Installation at LeMieux Galleries

June 11th, 2014 by alec

WatermachineI currently have a sound piece playing at LeMieux Galleries as part of the group show “Water, Water, Everywhere” curated by Christy Wood.

The “Watermachine” plays  a predetermined, but constantly evolving mix of three long (around 5 minutes each) field recordings I made: a waterfall in North Carolina, the surf in Alabama, and a thunderstorm in New Orleans.

It was created with Max/MSP (a “visual programming language for media“), some free sound editing software and a mobile recorder (Zoom H2). Two of the sound sources have their volume controlled by a very slow oscillator (LFO), each on cycles of a prime number of seconds so that the volume curves don’t realign at the same places for a very long time—and when they do, they are each referencing a different part of the sample. Though subtle, the sound mix would not repeat itself exactly for many years. The third sound source, the waterfall, is brought in algorithmically when the sum of the other two sources has dropped below a certain threshold, and fades out again when one or both are audible again.

Staggered Lab’s “Aleator”: A 24/7 Generative Music Stream

April 4th, 2014 by alec

I got an email from Kwame at Staggered Laboratories asking me to check out The Aleator (as in “aleatoric”) their generative music stream which composes pretty listenable “post-rock” styled music 24/7.

It’s pretty interesting. Give it a listen

Experience “Under Pressure” online

April 22nd, 2013 by alec

“Under Pressure” with video animation by David Sullivan and sound by yours truly was a piece exhibited at the Duets show at Loyola last year and later at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art.

I neglected to post the video online, but here it is. View it in fullscreen with good speakers if possible!

Under Pressure from david sullivan on Vimeo.

The Workman’s Friend (A Pint of Plain is Your Only Man)

March 17th, 2013 by alec

homebrew-stout-IMG_8456

An Irish drinking song, rescued recently from cassette tape. Written and recorded as a lark to 4-track cassette in winter of 92-93 (20 years ago!) by my then-girlfriend (may she rest in peace) and I during my college years in Dublin.

Lyrics taken from Flann O’Brien’s poem “The Workman’s Friend” in his marvellous book At Swim-Two-Birds. If the head on the pint of plain looks frothy, that’s because it’s a home-brew Irish stout I made with a friend and not a Guinness properly poured by a Dublin barkeep. Uploaded for St Patrick’s Day 2013.

And, here’s a spoken version of the same poem that I just found today, by the Dubliners.

Audiobiography (for Disquiet Junto)

February 27th, 2013 by alec

My third (or fourth?) entry to the Disquiet Junto is a 2-minute narration that was uncomfortable to do. I initially resisted doing this “audiobiography”, as I generally dislike the self-consciousness that arises from talking about myself or hearing my voice, but as so many others in the Disquiet Junto have done it, I felt like I was cheating by skipping it. By the time I was finished, there were many things I didn’t talk about that contributed to the whole picture that didn’t make the cut : Indian music, analog synths, field recordings, Autechre, My Bloody Valentine…. but I was already several minutes over the allotted time when I started editing.

I also created a new SoundCloud account to post works from this site. I’ll be retroactively posting all the tracks from this blog soon.

background music: Chef Menteur – “Io” (edits)

More on this #60th Disquiet Junto project at:disquiet.com/2013/02/21/disquiet0060-audiobio

More details on the Disquiet Junto at: Groups – Disquiet-junto

More details on the SoundCloud “audiobiography” project at: blog.soundcloud.com/2013/02/06/audiobiography/

Disquiet Junto: Morsebeat

January 4th, 2013 by alec

this is a track I composed for the 50th disquiet junto project.

my grandfather was a big time ham radio operator who had talked to every country in the world, and he convinced me to get my novice license as a young kid, where i learned morse code. he passed away about 10 years ago but i am always thankful for his interest in electronics and tinkering that he passed on to me. the call CQ or “seek you” is what ham operators use to initiate conversation, that is the foundation of the pulse of this piece. the other signal incorporates a simple message from my (expired) call sign to my grandfather’s, whom his friends called Wallace and we called “Pops”. his call sign was K4TJL.

K4TJL

i used max/msp to generate the morse code messages, (a little rusty to do it manually) and i ended with a sample of the Radio Tirana (from communist Albania) interval signal that I could pick up on my Heathkit ham radio, and was magical to me as a kid.

more on this 50th Disquiet Junto project
more details on the Disquiet Junto

Note: I first found out about disquiet and its founder/former NOLA resident Marc Weidenbaum when he reviewed my band Chef Menteur’s earliest mp3s and wrote about New Orleans’ burgeoning electronic music scene in the early 2000’s (See this 2005 piece he wrote right after Katrina). He’s only gotten more involved in the electronic music community since moving to San Francisco, keeping regular dispatches up and engaging via his twitter account @disquiet. His Disquiet Junto project on SoundCloud is now one year old; and this is my first entry, posted near the end of year one…. Congrats & thanks Marc!

“Duets” Closing Tonight at Loyola

September 6th, 2012 by alec

Tonight is the closing (there was not an opening) for the Duets show at the Collins C. Diboll art gallery at Loyola University in New Orleans. David Sullivan and I put together a piece for it. It’s the same as can be seen at the Ogden but the presentation is closer to our intention here: the display is much larger (projector) and the audio is full range (speakers with subwoofer).

Duets closing flyer

David made the video; I made the audio using analog synthesizers, field recordings I made of tree frogs in the neighborhood, Max/MSP and Max for Live.

Chef Menteur video made with Max/MSP

August 15th, 2012 by alec

I used Max/MSP to filter and mix semi-autonomously a couple of video loops I shot in Greece, and put it to music, that being the Chef Menteur song “Narconaut” (the first track off the new record).

Chef Menteur: “Narconaut” from Chef Menteur on Vimeo.

Music by Chef Menteur | Photography by Alec Vance

(c) 2012 Backporch Revolution Records

Animation/sound art at Ogden Museum

August 1st, 2012 by alec

I worked on a piece with David Sullivan that was accepted for the Louisiana Contemporary exhibition at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. The show will be free and opens this Saturday, August 4 (6-9pm) for White Linen Night.

For my part, I used Max/MSP, a Korg MS-20 (classic analog synth), and some field recordings of tree frogs I made on Adams Street by the graveyards in my neighborhood.

A slightly different version of our animation can be seen on vimeo.

Summer mixtape.

July 29th, 2012 by alec

My second contribution to the Backporch Revolution mix tape  series: some African jams melt into a summer haze….

“Episode 15 – Keys to the Clouds”

“Episode 15 - Keys to the Clouds”