The Granular Synthesis of Curtis Roads

Watch Motherboard – The Granular Synthesis of Curtis Roads

This is a pretty amazing video. Granular Synthesis I can wrap my head around (imagine a more complex version of additive synthesis, but on a micro-scale), but what really amazes me is Curtis Roads was doing it in 1975 on a mainframe with punchcards. You heard me. How much more nerdcred does this guy need? Ok, lemme back up for a minute. I am, actually, old enough to know what punchcards are (but, keep in mind I was like 5 years old and hanging out at my mom’s company to learn about them). Back in the day (and my intro to computer science teacher in college was amazing because he explained this to us and made us basically write out our algorythms before we came to class to program them), a programmer would have to write out a program in its entirety and then wait for days sometimes, to get the program to execute. This is totally the opposite of people can work today, where they can see the results of a coding change realtime, or, on the web, with a simple page refresh. Pretty leet, I gotta say.

Check out this video–even an Autechre song makes a cameo (but, I would add to the video’s description that what made Autechre and similar IDM artists’ work so mindblowing wasn’t simply due to complex rhythms, it was that plus the unheard-of-before combination of electronically-generated revolutionary sounds while still maintaining a “more accessible” composition in terms of melody and so forth. At some point Roads says he considers his music “point, line, cloud” because a grain, or sound particle is a point, a series of points on either or both the x or y axis, and a cloud,–IMHO–is actually “a left-to-right series of chords”) BECAUSE CURTIS ROADS OPENED FOR THEM in the early 00s. Uh-huh.

He also recommends a book for sound-design inspiration. It’s called Education of a Gardener. Really. Just go watch this thing, ok?
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Benn Jordan creates an alternative score for "The Living Planet" in front of a live audience

the living planet

Here’s an article I wrote for CDM about Benn Jordan who’s live-scoring said TV show at Sonotheque tomorrow (May 5).

Commercial music producer Benn Jordan (recording as The Flashbulb) stumbled upon David Attenborough’s 1984 documentary series that was, in the creator’s words, “more in touch with nature than any other.” Along with the BBC he and his crew geared up for the endeavor–and they would risk their lives and careers to do so. The result, a TV series called “The Living Planet.”…Benn loved the concept and the film, but said, “the only thing I’m not in love with about this series is the music. A bit too minimal and synthy when perhaps a more cinematic approach is needed.” Taking it upon himself to re-invision the soundtrack, Benn–along with opener and visualist Polyfuse–will re-create live the score to the the first of The Living Planet series: “The Building Of The Earth.”

Practice your superhero skills with parkour & freerunning

Should you ever need to run from French gangsters, having a handle on parkour will definitely help you escape intact. Essentially the practice involves moving from point A to point B in the most efficient manner possible, hurling yourself under, over and around obstacles. Here’s the first part of a parkour documentary by a traceur (practitioner. “traceuse” is the feminine.):

The rest are here. A more acrobatic version that’s less rigorously martial-arts-like in its approach is freerunning. Here’s one that appears to be filmed in Marseilles:

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