Archive for the ‘periodic tinnitus (aka “song of the week”)’ Category

your future, mule armadillo (no. 10)

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

Here’s one using Stretta‘s inspirational polygomé on the monome as an arpeggiator for both the bass synth and the vibraphone. 

hopping over shadows (no. 9).

Monday, February 16th, 2009

augnanure castle, oughterard, co. galway

#9 Hopping Over Shadows (5:24, 7.4MB mp3)

Four tracks: (1) 12-string acoustic guitar, (2) sine wave drone*, (3) tabla, (4) rhodes electric piano through electro-harmonix hog.

you will recognize this as a revisiting of (although re-recorded from scratch) and developing upon idea no. 1, “12-string open G rag #2.”

* for the drone i used the rather simple “potpie simulator” max patch (v4), which you will read more about later.

persepolis in ruins (no. 8)

Monday, February 9th, 2009


raga on the farfisa mini compact, with moog phaser.

#8 Persepolis In Ruins (4:44, 6.5MB mp3)

krzysztfsh (monome fun, part three).

Friday, January 30th, 2009


here’s the third in this week’s song of the week series using the monome and boiinngg. 

for this one i used a synth called automat which is really nice (and free).

this setup happens to do a great Krzysztof impression (apologies to mike) although some might say it’s more Raymond Scott or Terry Riley-like.

i have video for this as well, which i may upload later.

krzsztfsh (5:20) 7.4MB mp3

inseaish (monome fun, part two).

Friday, January 30th, 2009
banksy graffiti art on st claude ave

banksy graffiti art on st claude ave

again, using the monome and boiinngg, a quick improvisation.

it’s frighteningly easy to make get a terry riley / steve reich type thing happening.

so much fun, i could do this forever…

inseaish (6:56) mp3 9.6MB

monome fun, part one.

Friday, January 30th, 2009

here’s a video of me having fun with the monome. i am using a Max patch called boiinngg to trigger the drums in Ableton Live, using the Impulse plugin.

monome 64 + boiinngg from aleatoric on Vimeo.

can a video be “song of the week”? sure!

Blues for the American Health Care System

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

january skies

I thought that this week I might record an upbeat song to celebrate the inauguration of Barack Obama.

My free time got eaten up by an unexpected work call, but I was still able to get together with friends and had a hell of a time and a rockin’ jam.

And today, the plumbing backed up (I’ll spare you the details) so instead of doing any of my more elaborate ideas, I thought I would do what comes most natural to me. Without further ado, here is a simple one-take electric guitar improvisation in A, a bluesy ambient kinda thing, no edits or overdubs. 

Blues for the American Health Care System (9:00, 12.4MB mp3)

In C.

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

I’ve  been working on this one for awhile, but I finally got it to a point where I can post it.

It’s an adaptation of Terry Riley’s famous 1964 composition In C, which instead of having a completely static arrangement is a score sheet of 53 looping phrases that each musician plays one-by-one, at her own pace, until she feels like progressing to the next phrase.

"In C" score by Terry Riley

"In C" score by Terry Riley

A few years ago when version 6 of Ableton Live came out, I read about the new “Follow Action” feature which allows for the user to introduce a certain amount of randomness to the arrangement. I immediately thought of In C and that if I could each phrase into a separate MIDI clip, I could arrange it so that it would play much as Riley directed. The only problem was that my music-reading skills were pretty limited, my last formal music lesson having been in 4th grade. A short book called Learn To Read Music (of all things) and the Wikipedia entry on modern musical symbols got me over that hurdle.

I decided to make 8 instruments, even though Riley suggests more, because the amount of synchronicity that occurs with human players is less likely to happen with a computer. Each of the 8 computer instruments isn’t listening to the other 7, so there’s no natural temptation to fall into sync with the others. In addition there’s the pulse on the eighth notes as Riley suggests.

I have set it up so that each instrument will play each phrase 4 times, then after the 4th time there is a 1:3 (or 25%) chance it will play the next phrase; otherwise it will loop once more on the current phrase. At the end of each phrase, the computer throws the dice again. There may be better ways to experiment with the probabilities to get it to play closer to Riley’s very general direction that players not get more than 3 or 4 phrases ahead or behind of each other; the computer does not take this into account. (It would be feasible with Max but not Ableton Live).

Each time the piece is played by the computer, it should be a completely different arrangement (although computer random numbers are really pseudo-random, and I don’t know how Live picks random numbers), but contain all the patterns and polyrhythms of patterns intersecting that is the hallmark of In C.


Ableton Live playing "In C" by Terry Riley
Ableton Live playing “In C” by Terry Riley

Chances are good you don’t have Ableton Live 6 (or later), but if you are interested in the Live set, let me know and I will send it to you or post it here. However, below I have posted several mp3s representing performances of the piece:

Performance #1: In C #1 (23:09, 31.8MB)

Performance #2: In C #2 (19:30, 26.8MB)

UPDATE: I added one more. Skipped #3, it wasn’t interesting enough. This might be the best so far. It’s also the shortest.

Performance #4*: In C (#4) (16:35, 23.4 Mb)

UPDATE (27 mar 2012): By popular demand, I am including the Ableton project file.

Ableton Live Set:  InC v2-alec.als

12-string guitar rag in G #2

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

The first thing of the week is something I’ve been working on with my 12-string acoustic guitar. It’s the second of three recorded (so far) demo improvisations in a series I’ve done in an open G tuning. I plan to develop it as my technique improves:



dusk, southern appalachians, western n. carolina

After a half-lifetime of guitar, I only recently got decent at fingerpicking, after watching some free banjo lessons online and applying what I learned there to guitar as well as watching an instructional video by Doc Watson. Also, I’ve got a dusty old Takoma LP that I’ve listened to quite a bit in the past year with John Fahey, Leo Kotke and Peter Lang that connected with my endless background/fascination with old-time Appalachian music; other recent favorite listens are records by Sir Richard Bishop (“Polytheistic Fragments”) and Daniel Higgs, and as always Jack Rose and Pelt.