John Paul Jones at Big Ears Festival 22-24 March

 Concert, Conference, Event, Festival  Comments Off on John Paul Jones at Big Ears Festival 22-24 March
Mar 182024
 

“I used to have 30 guys helping me do this,” quips Jones as he adjusts a mic stand. “…but here I am.”

And indeed, there he was, all alone on the stage, performing a dizzying variety of instruments, from lap steel, to mandolin, to triple-neck guitar, grand piano, pipe organ, Kyma electronics, and of course his signature bass. Winning the prize for the festival’s most audacious entrance, Jones rose from the orchestra pit playing “Your Time Is Gonna Come” on a bright red-painted theater organ, to delighted squeals of recognition, masterfully tweaking his audience’s collective memories and, alternately coaxing them along with him into the future with live electro-acoustic performances like this one:


Bassist, keyboardist, mandolinist, composer (and much more), John Paul Jones – once in a little band called Led Zeppelin — has more recently toured as Them Crooked Vultures with Dave Grohl and Joshua Homme, appeared in Mark-Anthony Turnage’s opera ‘Anna Nicole,’ toured the US with Dave Rawlings and Gillian Welch, released Cloud to Ground (debut album of Minibus Pimps), and made several guest appearances with acclaimed Norwegian avant-garde group Supersilent.

John was also one of the first adopters of Kyma (on the original Capybara), and he continues to expand the frontiers of live interactive electronics performance today using the newest incarnation of the APU hardware — the Pacamara Ristretto — in conjunction with his bass, piano, and a menagerie of tiny controllers and other instruments (expect the unexpected).

At the Big Ears Festival in Knoxville 22, 23, 24 March, Jones is presenting not one, not two, but three performances:

John Paul Jones playing a grand piano in an orchestra rehearsal room

John Paul Jones Solo Concert at Big Ears 2024

Sons of Chipotle: Anssi Karttunen & J P Jones

Thurston Moore & John Paul Jones

1. John Paul Jones solo concert on Friday, March 22

2. Sons of Chipotle, with cellist Anssi Kartunnen on Saturday March 23

3. John Paul Jones with Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth) on Sunday March 24

Other festival headliners and events include Herbie Hancock, Jon Batiste, André 3000: New Blue Sun Live, Rhiannon Giddens, Adrianne Lenker, Laurie Anderson, a Blacktronika workshop exploring how Detroit Techno, Chicago House and Jamaican Dub contributed to the advancement of electronic music, and a film festival including Ancient Voices: a film for George Crumb, Sisters with Transistors, and more!

“One of the world’s biggest music bashes” (NYT), the Big Ears Festival features visionary composers and musicians on concerts that transcend genre — bringing together trailblazers and iconoclasts, blending classical and contemporary composition, jazz, rock, world music, pop, avant-garde, ambient, experimental, and beyond.

Big Ears offers 200 performances during the festival situated in historic downtown Knoxville — at restored historic theaters, churches, refurbished warehouse spaces, museums, galleries, and clubs — with pop-up events and performances, exhibitions, films, literary readings, workshops, markets and talks taking place in cafes, bars, hotels, restaurants, all within walking distance or dedicated trolley service to nearby hotels.

Live Kyma electronics at MOXsonic

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Mar 072024
 

The 2024 MOXsonic (Missouri Experimental Sonic Arts Festival) March 14-16, 2024 is an exploration of sonic possibilities and includes several opportunities to hear live Kyma electronic performances:

  • Mei-ling Lee’s “Summoner” is a mythical narrative that evokes the nocturnal summoning of peacocks and owls.
  • Mark Zaki’s “Masks” explores identity in the digital age, using violin, Kyma, and live video to delve into themes of self-curation and virtual anonymity.
  • In Mark Phillips’ “Dream Dance”, dreamy vocoders give way to an algorithmic synth groove, but only partially … and not for long.
  • Chi Wang will perform AEON on a new instrument she designed — the Yuan, a bamboo round-shaped interactive, data-driven controller and connected the sensors

Experience innovative music and engage with the creative minds shaping the future of sound! Tickets to all events are FREE and OPEN to the general public.

Live electronic music performers on stage with projection of computer screen behind them

Photo by Jeff Kaiser, courtesy of MOXsonic.org

 

A Plague of Doves

 Concert, Event  Comments Off on A Plague of Doves
Mar 072024
 

Tom Baker performing guitar and Anne LaBerge performing flute in front of a close microphoneAnne LaBerge (flute & text) joins forces with guitarist and electronic musician Tom Baker (guitar & Theremin) on a concert tour exploring themes of racism and resilience. Their improvised performances, enhanced by Kyma electronics, will take place in Brussels (March 13), Rotterdam (March 17), and Amsterdam (March 18).

LaBerge and Baker draw inspiration from Louise Erdrich’s The Plague of Doves, a novel exploring the enduring impact of a racist act committed against four Ojibwe people in North Dakota in 1896.

Anne La Berge’s passion for the extremes in both composed and improvised music has led her to the fringes of storytelling and sound art as her sources of musical inspiration. Tom Baker is a composer, guitarist, improviser, and electronic musician, active in the Seattle new-music scene.

Out of the fire, into the Kyma consultancy

 Broadcast / Webcast, Film Score, Sound Design, Sound for picture  Comments Off on Out of the fire, into the Kyma consultancy
Sep 162023
 

It’s not every day that a consultant/teacher gets a closing screen credit on a Netflix hit series, but check out this screenshot from the end of Witcher E7: Out of the Fire, into the Frying Pan:

Screenshot of the closing credits for Witcher E7 crediting sound designers from Phaze UK and Alan Jackson, Kyma consultancy

Kyma consultant, Alan M. Jackson has been working with sound designers Matt Collinge, Rob Prynne and Alyn Sclosa from Phaze UK for a while now, and the students surprised their sensei with an end credit on The Witcher

Kyma Consultancy – Alan M Jackson

Alan and his small band of sound designers meet regularly to share screens and help each other solve sound design challenges during hands-on sessions that last from 1-2 hours. Not only are these sessions an opportunity to deepen Kyma knowledge; they’re also an excuse to bring the sound design team together and share ideas. Alan views his role as a mentor or moderator, insisting that the sound designers do the hands-on Kyma work themselves.

There’s no syllabus; it’s the sound designers who set the agenda for each class, sometimes aiming to solve a specific problem, but more often, they aim to come up with a general solution to a situation that comes up repeatedly. They’ve taken to calling these solutions “little Kyma machines” that will generate an effect for them, not just for this project but for future projects as well. Over time, they’ve created several, reusable, custom “machines”, among them: ‘warping performer’, ‘doppler flanger’, ‘density stomp generator’, and ‘whisper wind’.

Rob Prynne is particularly enamored of a custom patch based on the “CrossFilter” module in Kyma (based on an original design by Pete Johnston), sometimes enhanced by one of Cristian Vogel’s NeverEngine formant-shifting patches. In an interview with A Sound Effect, Rob explains, “It’s like a convolution reverb but with random changes to the length and pitch of the impulse response computed in real-time. It gives a really interesting movement to the sound.” According to the interview, it was the tripping sequence in episode 7 where the CrossFilter really came into play.

When asked if there are any unique challenges posed by sound design, Alan observes, “The big things to note about sound design, particularly for TV / Film, is that it’s usually done quickly, there’s lots of it, you’re doing it at the instruction of a director; the director wants ‘something’ but isn’t necessarily nuanced in being able to talk about sound.”

A further challenge is that the sounds must “simultaneously sound ‘right’ for the audience while also being new or exciting. And the things that sound ‘right’, like the grammar of film editing, are based on a historically constructed sense of rightness, not physics.”

Alan summarizes the main advantages of Kyma for sound designers as: sound quality, workflow, originality, and suitability for working in teams. In what way does Kyma support “teams”?

With other sound design software and plugins you can get into all sorts of versioning and compatibility issues. A setup that’s working fine on my computer might not work on a teammate’s. Kyma is a much more reliable environment. A Sound that runs on my Paca[(rana | mara)] is going to work on yours.

Even more important for professional sound design is “originality”:

Kyma sounds different from “all the same VST plugins everyone else is using”. This is an important factor for film / TV sound designers. They need to produce sounds that meet the brief of the director but also sound fresh, exciting, new and different from everyone else. Using Kyma is their secret advantage. They are not using the same Creature Voice plugins everyone else is using but instead creating a Sound from scratch comes up with results unique to their studio.

For Witcher fans, the sound designers have provided a short cue list of examples for your listening pleasure:

Kyma Sound Heard Episode
Warping performer on every creature in every episode
Warping performer on portal sounds and magic S3E03
Warping performer on the wild hunt vapour S3E03
Doppler flanger spinning thing on the ring of fire S3E05 / S3E06
Density stomp generator for group dancing S3E05
Whisper wind convolved vocal for wild hunt S3E03

 

Visit Alan Jackson’s SpeakersOnStrings to request an invitation to the Kyma Kata — a (free) weekly Zoom-based peer-learning study group. Alan also offers individual and group Kyma coaching, teaching and mentoring.

Science of Sound

 Broadcast / Webcast, Interview, Science  Comments Off on Science of Sound
Jun 122023
 

Nate Butkus sending data from an iPad to control sound parameters in Kyma. Next step: substitute data from a scientific model for the iPad.

Nate and his team from the award-winning “The Show About Science” podcast had a question:

“Can sound help us understand the complex patterns in our universe?”

This question led Nate to Symbolic Sound in Champaign, Illinois on a journey where sound, music, and data intertwine in captivating and thought-provoking ways…

Listen to the podcast or read the transcript at the link below:

101: The Science of Sound with Kimberly Arcand, Martin Gruebele, Carla Scaletti, and Mark Temple

Martin Gruebele, Carla Scaletti, Nate Butkus, Eric Butkus (Photos by Jenny Butkus)

Sounds of transportation past, present, and imagined future

 Concert, Event, Installation, Sound Design  Comments Off on Sounds of transportation past, present, and imagined future
Nov 142022
 

Audiences will experience Simon Hutchinson‘s music projected from a linear array of 15 giant speakers positioned underneath the 420 ft Boggy Creek overpass in Rosewood park east of Austin Texas on November 19th, 2022 from 6:30-9:30 pm.

Hutchinson is one of six composers commissioned to create works inspired by the past, present and (imagined) future sounds of transportation, utilizing the dramatic sonic movement capabilities of a new sound system designed and built by the Rolling Ryot arts collective to create an immersive audio experience.

“It’s been very interesting to think about what ‘multichannel’ means when channels are spread out across 420 ft, and especially fun problem-solving this in Kyma,” Simon explains, “Using Kyma I’ve set up some sounds to translate across the system very quickly, but in a unified motion. At other times, the panning happens very slowly, so slow that someone walking could outpace the sound as they walk across the space.”

In other sections, Hutchinson treated the individual channels as the individual keys of a giant instrument, and the “melody” traverses the broad, 420-ft space, with each speaker assigned only a single note. More details on this process are revealed in a video on Simon’s youtube channel.

The sound materials for the piece are from field recordings and analog synthesis samples processed through Kyma. Simon “unfolded” ambisonic field recordings across the 15 channel space, worked with mid-side transformations of stereo recordings, and leveraged the multichannel panning of the Kyma Timeline.

The Ghost Line X event is free and open to the public. All ages are welcome, and the audience is encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets and to bike or ride-share to Rosewood park.

Bell tones freeze on imaginary ice

 Concert, Controllers & Instruments, Event, Installation  Comments Off on Bell tones freeze on imaginary ice
Nov 112022
 

On November 28 2022 at the Prater in Vienna, the audience will board a Luftwaggon of the Wiener Riesenrad ferris wheel to experience Bruno Liberda’s new composition still-kreisen-drehen-stehn / frieren die glockentöne am eingebildeten eis (still-circling-turning-standing / bell tones freeze on imaginary ice) for double carillon & Kyma.

Two carillons are played live and fed through Kyma — repeating, turning, or standing still through various granulations, feedbacks, ring modulations, pitch deteriorations, moving reverbs and more — creating a frosty new soundscape, while the public has a moving view over Vienna.

The instruments are artworks in themselves: fully functional carillons created by composer, Bruno Liberda

It’s all part of the AIAIA project Milky Way im Luftwaggon — Wiener Riesenrad

28.11.2022
1. Vorstellung: 18:00 2. Vorstellung: 19:00

Wiener Riesenrad, Riesenradplatz 1, 1020 Wien, Austria
28.11.2022 Wiener Riesenrad, Riesenradplatz 1, 1020 Wien
1. Vorstellung: 18:00
2. Vorstellung: 19:00

Four ferris wheel wagons as floating, circling, stages for works by:
Bruno Liberda, Masao Ono, Anita Steinwidder, Christine Schörkhuber, Verena Dürr, Sophie Eidenberger, Stefanie Prenn.

Und er lässt es gehen
Alles wie es will
Dreht, und seine Leier
steht ihm nimmer still
(Wilhelm Müller, 1824)

I am Violet the Organ Grinder
And I grind all the live long day
I live for the organ, that I am grinding
I´ll die, but I won´t go away
(Prince, 1991)

Introducing the Pacamara Ristretto APU

 Release, Symbolic Sound Products  Comments Off on Introducing the Pacamara Ristretto APU
Sep 062022
 
PRESS RELEASE
September 6, 2022

Symbolic Sound Unveils “Pacamara Ristretto” Audio Processing Unit (APU)

2.5 times performance boost, 20% lower price, expanded connectivity, and inter-application audio


CHAMPAIGN, ILLINOIS — Symbolic Sound announces a new Audio Processing Unit (APU) representing a giant leap forward in performance, energy efficiency, and connectivity over previous generation APUs. At less than half the size, the new Pacamara “Ristretto” delivers, on average, a 2.5 times jump in performance, a 20% reduction in cost, cooler operating temperature, expanded connectivity options, and seamless inter-application routing of audio and MIDI to/from applications running on a host computer.

Performance

Pacamara Ristretto’s compute-cycles and memory are solely dedicated to sound computation, delivering unprecedented levels of performance capabilities to sound designers for film and games, live electronic music performers, sound artists, educators, researchers, and audio professionals who require the highest-quality real-time audio, responsive live interaction, and unbounded creative flexibility from their tools.

“The Pacamara Ristretto represents a radical transformation, not just because it’s Symbolic Sound’s most powerful external APU yet, but because of the ease with which it communicates with the rest of the world,” said Symbolic Sound’s president Carla Scaletti. “Audio, MIDI, and OSC streams can be freely routed between Kyma and other audio applications on your computer and audio devices in your studio, including across LANs and out onto the Internet, creating a combinatorial explosion of sound creation possibilities.”

According to game/film sound design consultant and Pacamara field tester, Alan M. Jackson, “It’s the latest, most powerful revision of the most important audio DSP environment of the last 30 years.”

Powered by Kyma

Audio professionals can leverage the full Kyma 7 accelerated sound design environment for rapid prototyping, testing, creative exploration, and refinement of production-quality sound synthesis and processing algorithms to run in real time on the Pacamara Ristretto.

Kyma, described as a “recombinant sound design environment,” gives sound designers access to extensive libraries of unique audio synthesis and processing modules, along with tools for creating limitless combinations of those algorithms. Galleries of automatically-generated signal flow graphs help speed development, spark the imagination and boost the creative flow — providing creators with the advanced models needed to solve sound design challenges for games, film, live music, data sonification, voice processing, multi-sensor controllers, and more.

Deep integration between hardware and software has always been central to the Symbolic Sound approach. Hardware design is continually informed by software development and vice versa. As a result, the Kyma 7 sound development environment is optimally tuned to take full advantage of the huge increases in processing and memory bandwidth made available by the new Pacamara APU.

Sound designer and musician Cristian Vogel describes the Kyma software environment as “the best for innovating, prototyping and designing innovative digital sound processes… frictionless for ideation and research. Then, reliable and consistent at the outcome stage.”

Say Hello to My Little Friend

The Pacamara Ristretto is as comprehensive in its connectivity as it is diminutive in size. The back panel of the rugged, roadworthy enclosure includes:

• USB-C port for audio and MIDI transfer to/from host computer
• Two USB 2.0 ports for connecting audio interfaces and MIDI controllers
• 3.5 mm jack sockets for mic input and stereo headphone output
• RJ-45 network port to connect via a gigabit Ethernet cable to a host computer
• Wi-Fi antenna jack
• USB-C power input port

An APU does for Real-time Audio what a GPU does for Real-time Graphics

Audio professionals require high quality, low latency, reliable real-time audio synthesis and processing. That’s what an APU can deliver.

“The question is not whether a CPU is capable of real-time graphics generation and processing. Everyone understands the advantages of offloading real-time graphics computation onto one or more GPU(s) running in parallel with your main CPU. Not only does it free up memory and computing resources on your CPU, a GPU guarantees the highest-quality, glitch-free interactive real-time graphic performance. The same is true for audio!”

“With the Pacamara you have high quality, configurable algorithms running on dedicated, uncontended hardware,” explains Jackson, “The result is that it sounds great and it’s reliable.”

Soft Hardware

Unlike traditional audio hardware, which has a fixed functionality that never changes, the Pacamara Ristretto can adapt to the evolving needs of users. Regular, significant software updates ensure that Symbolic Sound APUs continue to gain features and functionality so that they actually improve with time.

Jackson adds, “there’s a subtle and important difference between hardware that is upgradeable… and hardware that DOES get upgraded continuously and significantly. Kyma is [Symbolic Sound’s] only product and [they’ve] been working on it, passionately, for decades. [They] have a proven history of constant and significant upgrades.”

What’s in a Name?

The name, Pacamara, comes from a hybrid coffee plant bred to produce larger beans on smaller trees planted closer together — evoking both the ‘recombinant sound’ design philosophy of Kyma and the smaller size, higher-yield of the Pacamara APUs. According to Scaletti, “Coffee aficionados know that a ristretto shot delivers twice the caffeine per milliliter as a standard shot of espresso. The Pacamara Ristretto is actually 2.5 times more powerful and less than half (44%) the volume of previous generations, meaning that the computational performance by volume has increased 5.7-fold.”

Summary

The Pacamara Ristretto is an APU, designed from the ground up for real-time sound synthesis and processing; it works in parallel with your main computer to deliver high-quality real-time audio signal computation, freeing up resources on the CPU for managing your overall studio workflow.

Audio professionals can leverage the full Kyma 7 accelerated sound design environment for rapid prototyping, testing, creative exploration, and refinement of production-quality sound synthesis and processing algorithms to run in real time on the Pacamara Ristretto.

The Pacamara Ristretto APU is the most recent development in a consistent flow of innovation from Symbolic Sound — from Capybara, to Capybara 33, Capybara 66, Capybara 320, Paca(rana) — the sixth generation Pacamara Ristretto APU is groundbreaking in terms of raw compute power, delivering a 2.5-fold leap forward in performance, connectivity, and dependability backed by extensive field testing in real world performance environments.

Pricing and Availability

The Pacamara Ristretto is available today at https://kyma.symbolicsound.com/order-now
Initial supplies are limited due to ongoing (and inexplicable) global electronic component shortages.

The price for a 4-processor Pacamara Ristretto is $3,818 (US)
An entry level, 2-processor system is available for $3,302 (US)

The Kyma 7 software for macOS or Windows is included with the APU.

Learn more

About Symbolic Sound

From its origins in 1990 when the first generation of APUs were assembled at a kitchen table in a student apartment, Symbolic Sound’s current software and hardware offerings represent over 30 years of continuous development, creation, refinement, and close interaction with customers, inspired by a passion for sound and an obsession with learning new things. Our business model is to share the results of our research and creative explorations in order to make it possible for us to continue this work and share future results with others so they, in turn, can build upon these results in their own creative and scientific work.

The Reality of Illusion

 Release, Sound Recording, Video  Comments Off on The Reality of Illusion
Oct 032021
 

Composer, performer, reviewer, writer, Barton McLean has studied composition with Henry Cowell, performed on double bass in jazz ensembles and the Hudson Valley Philharmonic Orchestra, taught music composition and theory at Indiana University, and directed the Electronic Music Center at the University of Texas at Austin. In 1974, he began touring as the McLean Mix, performing electro-acoustic music with fellow composer Priscilla Taylor. We caught up with him to ask about his newest piece, which he composed in Kyma using his “Melodic Sculptor” technique.


Thanks for speaking with us, Bart! Your recent work, Illusions, true to its name, sometimes conveys the “illusion” of an acoustic ensemble in a physical space. Yet, on careful listening one hears moments of “physical impossibility” achievable only through synthesis or electronic manipulation. I assume this is at least one of the “Illusions” referred to by the title. But in the notes, you go further to say that “In the larger sense, every time a work of art or a musical composition is created, an illusion of reality accompanies it…” which reminds me of a quote attributed to Einstein that “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.” Can you comment further on this idea?

I would turn Einstein’s famous quote on its head; an illusion IS reality. For example, Modal realism is the view, notably propounded by David Kellogg Lewis, that all possible worlds are as real as the actual world. In short: the actual world is regarded as merely one among an infinite set of logically possible worlds, some “nearer” to the actual world and some more remote. In music and art we do actually create our own illusion-reality, which, when perceived by others, is a reality to them as well, albeit one tempered by their own experiences. Perhaps that’s why music is such a powerfully emotion-engaging art.

I hear “Illusions” as a kind of sonic ‘curiosity cabinet’ with many doors, each opening into a different space with its own color and atmosphere — some playful, some melancholy, some ominous, and all intriguing! Did you name the individual sections?

I chose the five section titles from Priscilla McLean‘s poem (see below):   (Golden, Dreamy, Colder, Music, Fantasy).

The illusion of summer flashes in the mist
of a golden morning, keeping fantasy alive
through dark, colder times, evoking the
dream of flowers and music.

One of my objectives was to make each of the five sections as different as possible (which, as it so happens also highlights the scope of multiple possibilities that Kyma has to offer. With the thousands of individual Sounds that I’ve created and collected over seven years of working with Kyma, I had much to choose from).

What is the connection between the music and the visuals in the video?

The visuals were created by my co-collaborator in this work, composer and media artist Stephen Dankner, who generously opened his library of fractal-generated visuals for my choosing. These visuals share my own concept of creating work which engages the emotional response of a live audio or visual experience but yet has its own set of perception parameters which go beyond what can be achieved by merely representational art or live performance. Is it or is it electronic? Hard to tell, but why would anyone care? Just relax and absorb the emotional responses.

Can you talk a little bit more about your “Melodic Sculptor” technique and how you use it to create these hybrid physical/acoustic/imaginary spaces and worlds?

My Melodic Sculptor takes an existing melodic line and scrambles it in an unprecedented variety of controllable ways. For the raw material, I begin with an improvisatory sample — jazz lick or contemporary extemporaneous single line, for instance. In the introduction to my Melodic Sculptor Tutorial (available, along with other tutorials I’ve written for the Insights magazine), I describe it in more detail:

Once sampled and converted into a spectrum sample, this is placed in a SumofSines shell to be manipulated and molded in such ways that the original may no longer be evident, instead migrating into a sea of possibilities of creation constrained only by the composer’s imagination and patience as each stage of the 16-stage StepSequencer affords a unique sound-sculpting opportunity. The basic procedure is to isolate each sequencer stage and develop it using the many parameters available here (sample start, forward or reverse sample and sequence, pitch transposition independent of sample speed, stretching sample stage time or sequence stage time, along with many random features attached to each area).

In other words, the finished melodic result can be extremely different from the original but yet retain its live-generated illusion. You can, for example, take the Star Spangled Banner and convert it into a Messiaen or Coltrane or Arnold Schoenberg-like melodic phrase. My tutorial gives examples and takes the user through each type of transformation.

How would you describe the state of being “in the flow” or in the creative flow? How do you get there? Do you have any tips or tricks that you’ve learned for staying there once you’ve gotten there? Have you set up your studio in a way to achieve or maintain an environment conducive to creative flow?

Because Kyma is so rich in possibilities and complexities, I have three* rules:

  1. I never begin a work with rigid preconceived notions of what the piece will contain. Kyma is set up most amazingly to allow for boundless discovery, and the first step should be, not to begin a Timeline and start inserting Sounds in it, but rather to set up conditions in which I can discover combinations that have never been heard or which I could never imagine. I DO NOT START A COMPOSITION YET.
  2. I first began with the Kyma Sound Library and, as I became more familiar with it, I began to develop my own stock library apart from that. These were all individual Sounds. I would take an existing Sound and try different samples. I would take a spectral Sound (SumofSines) and explore the galleries that appear when I convert an AIFF sample to spectrum, etc. I DO NOT START A COMPOSITION YET.
  3. With the Multigrid, which allows me to instantly realize all sorts of different combinations of Sounds and their relation to each other, I take these Sounds and experiment with different groupings and presets. This further expands my understanding of what works and what doesn’t. When I have developed a rich understanding of capabilities and have collected a library of Sounds and Multigrids, then I use the Multigrid as a prototype, I find combinations that seem most promising…

THEN I CAN BEGIN A COMPOSITION. It could be a Timeline, or perhaps I might want to try an improvisation work using the Multigrid only. Or, on rare occasions, I can compose a work with one Sound only, as I did in my “Dreamy” section in Illusions.

*I said there were three rules, but there’s actually one more! I DO NOT PUBLISH THE COMPOSITION UNTIL I HAVE COMPLETED RULE 4:

  1. Find someone you can trust to tell you the unvarnished truth about your work, and take to heart any criticism. Personally, my wife and fellow composer and collaborator Priscilla McLean (who also has been a professional reviewer for the Albany Times-Union, Musical America, and other publications) is my tormentor whose criticism is on the mark much of the time, presenting a viewpoint that I perhaps have not considered. By and large, much of the work I have composed since we were married (in 1967) has had to pass the “Priscilla test.” With this in mind, for every two works I finish, I will (roughly) discard one of them as being not up to my standards.

ONLY AFTER THIS REVIEW AND SUBSEQUENT REVISION WILL I PUBLISH MY COMPOSITION. As an aside, before publishing my “Illusions,” I spent a year of chasing after possibilities only to discard them as not fulfilling their initial promise. I’m reminded of the Thomas Edison quote that comes up on the front of the Pacarana — something about how his most productive activities in inventing were his failures.

Was it this one?

I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work. —Thomas Edison

Right, Illusions is one of my successes. But it was arrived at only after finding and discarding dozens of ways that did not work.

In the past you’ve written that “without Kyma, I probably would have quit composing a few years ago.” Do you recall why it was that you had gotten discouraged with composing at some point? And what it is about Kyma that drew you back in? (I’m reminded of Al Pacino’s famous quote from the Godfather “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!”)

Ha! My discouragement has more to do with my own creative approach, which puts often impossible demands on performers and also the current state and limitations of music notation. During my initial composing career, like most composers I wrote exclusively for traditional performers in orchestral, wind ensemble, vocal and chamber group configurations. Too often the performances just would not produce what I really wanted to say, either due to the notation limits, limits of performers’ time, or limits of the instrument itself. Particularly worrisome to me were the balances in larger ensembles, which, to my taste had to be perfect in order to satisfy my intent. And there are my own quirks as a composer, which dictate that I often need to hear something before I can write it down. And finally, the limitations of my electronic instruments from 1996-2013 increasingly did not keep up with my ideas and aspirations. (Just before switching to Kyma in 2014 my studio consisted of ARP, Ensoniq ASR-10, Yamaha TX81z, Kincaid modules, Macintosh, Alesis keyboards, 2 Korg Wavestations, 2 Prophet 2000s, etc, migrating in 2011 also to MAX/MSP as well, with an 8 track and 4 track and two 2 track decks, and using Studio Vision and other software).

With Kyma, I found that I could not only have exact control over all these limitations (instrument ranges and capabilities, balances, performer issues, and above all new sounds never heard before) but I could custom design each Sound with dozens of parameters that could then be exquisitely controlled in real time using keyframe protocols (as in video). Most remarkably with Kyma 7, the Multigrid provided an authentic way to rearrange, posit, change a group of Sounds as they work together, again speaking to my quirk of having to hear something before I enter it in a composition. For me, a whole new world of possibilities came before me—a world that I will never exhaust. To celebrate this new way of music creation, I wrote two versions of Discoveries  which present the work in video, first with its Timeline, and then with selected Sounds used in the piece diagrammed. To me, if I were forced to produce one word that most encapsulates Kyma, it would be “discoveries”.

You’ve worked as a professional composer both inside and outside of academia. What are some of the advantages and rewards of life as an independent artist? Are there any aspects of university teaching that you miss?

Our freedom from academia resulted in our 39 years of touring and reacting directly with all sort of communities — concert series, university residencies, museums, installations, etc. In all these cases we were able to interact directly with listeners on the spot— a gift unavailable to those composers who limit themselves to performing for academic audiences only, and one which we valued highly (we retired from touring in 2013). There was also the creative freedom, knowing that all we had to do was to compose our best work and the only judge would be our listener communities, not academic committees. Being a free spirit and sort-of vagabond has its drawbacks (see “bad weather”) but also brings forth a kind of kinetic energy — a “not knowing where your income is coming from next year” kind of fear plus excitement — that cannot be reproduced in academia. I did, however miss my composition and some theory students, many of whom have become lifelong friends and colleagues.

What (if any) advice would you give to a composer just starting a career in 2021?

I wish I could be more optimistic about university teaching careers today. But even in the 1970s when we graduated, the supply-demand situation for university teaching began to turn negative.  It is much worse now. And so, it is my opinion that current graduating composers should turn to other means to gradually open the door. I have written extensively about this topic, and I invite interested readers to take a look at “In Search of an Audience: Outside the Bubble,” as well as “HOW TO SURVIVE AND PROSPER AS REVEALED BY THE “NEWSLETTER NINE,” in which as the Independent Composer Representative on the SCI Executive Committee, I interviewed nine independent composers with insights as to how they started and maintained their careers outside the university.

You’ve chosen to live in an area of great natural beauty which also offers some extreme weather challenges. Have you always enjoyed the woods and the mountains?

We are fortunate to have a small mountain in back of our house, with an entry trail owned by my good friend Jim Dahoney. From my house to the top, it is 3 miles round trip and 650 feet in elevation. I do this every other day, no matter what the weather. My doctor says that it is this, more than anything else, that keeps my medical age “at least ten years younger” than my real age, which is 83. A few times each summer we go mountain hiking in the Lake George Wild Forest. I am an Adirondack 46er, by the way, which I attained mostly in the 1960s. During the early 2000s, Priscilla and I would spend our summers in British Columbia hiking around Jasper, Banff, Glacier, and Revelstoke parks, as well as Vancouver Island.

What is your favorite part of using Kyma? Your least favorite?

My greatest thrill in Kyma is in creating new Sounds. Next is fooling with the Multigrids, which always produce surprises, sometimes ugly, sometimes ho hum, but sometimes sublime. My least favorite activity in Kyma is the actual composing in the Timeline, where I really have to stop having “fun” and get serious. But I guess they say all play and no work makes a composer … ?

I sometimes get the impression that the artists who really take to Kyma also seem to be independent-minded, self-reliant individualists and non-conformists. Do you concur with this observation?

If I have any sort of independent streak it must have been nourished by study with Henry Cowell in 1963-4 at Eastman (I may very well be his last surviving student, as he had a crippling stroke soon after that and could not teach). When you studied with Henry it was an all-consuming affair; you ate dinner with him, you had informal gatherings at a student’s house, you played bridge with him and his lively wife Sidney, and you enjoyed his informal conversations where he assumed the mantle of being at the forefront of virtually every historical development in the early – mid 20th century. His independence from any stale academic trend was legendary, as he happily migrated between atonality, experimentation, Asian influence, polytonality, and at times unabashed tonality and even banality. When the whole composer world zigged into post-Webern serialism, Henry was deeply zagging with Indian ragas. The stodgy Eastman composition faculty endured him, while the students loved him. I hope that some of this has rubbed off on me, but the determination on whether or not I am a “self-reliant individualist and non-comformist”  will, I’m afraid, have to be made by others. I just do what I do, day by day (as Henry would also say), and don’t really think about whether or not I’m that kind of person. I guess I’d like to be, but I really don’t know.

You interact with a lot of Kyma users through your tutorials. Have you noticed any commonalities among the user community?

As I consider my Kyma friends and read the posts, there may be two kinds of Kyma users: The ones who use Kyma as the vehicle for serious composition are the kinds of people who think long-term and can smoothly make the connection between the left and the right brain skills. The other group of Kyma users are what I would call the “process” users who are more interested in the technical challenges Kyma affords, and are not hesitant about pushing the envelope of what is possible, even beyond what might be practically useful or evident in the ultimate result. Kyma is fortunate to have both kinds of users working side by side, and in having a leadership team that nourishes both areas.

Who would have thought that, when I was struggling with algebra in the 8th grade, that I would someday be using it to fashion a spaceship through the universe of sonic possibilities!

In closing, I’d like to come back to Priscilla’s opening lines from Illusions:

The illusion of summer flashes in the mist
of a golden morning, keeping fantasy alive
through dark, colder times, evoking the
dream of flowers and music.

Do you think that music (listening to music, creating music, remembering music) can, in some way, help us get through “dark and colder times”?

Yes, definitely. And music (such as that produced with Kyma) that does not require us to sit shoulder to shoulder in an audience setting is particularly relevant in today’s pandemic world. In our living room, we have an Optomic video projector which projects onto a nine foot screen, with a state-of-the-art stereo sound system. I have noticed that, as each year has passed recently, more interesting music has appeared on YouTube. Every evening just before dinner I take an hour or less to listen to something. This allows me peace, energizes me, excites me, calms me—in fact this listening experience is my most enjoyable activity. Recently on YouTube I have been quite excited by the work of Austrian composer Olga Neuwirth and the Rumanian Horațiu Rădulescu, along with my perennial favorites Berlioz and Sibelius, not to mention (well, the list goes on and on). One of my favorites is Angelo Badalamenti’s Industrial Symphony #1, which we heard decades ago at BAM and happily discovered that same performance recently streamed on YouTube. In other words, the electronic arts which do not require audiences may very well have a more important place to play in our post-pandemic future.

Bart, thank you for taking the time to share your some of your musical philosophy and compositional approaches with us today! It’s all about Discovery!


Composer Barton McLean in his studio seated in front of Kyma

Emerging from the Shatter Zone

 Album, Interview, Release, Sound Design, Studio  Comments Off on Emerging from the Shatter Zone
Aug 302021
 

As part of an on-going series of interviews with artists adapting to and emerging from the disruptions of 2020-22, we had a chance to speak with independent sound artist and photographer Will Klingenmeier to ask him about how he continued his creative work in spite of (or because of?) the restrictions last year, what he is up to now, and some of his hopes and inspirations for the future.

Will is a self-described omnivore of sound and noise, living as a borderline hermit and wanderer in order to focus on developing his unique artistic voice.


Thanks for taking the time to speak with us, Will!

Thank you so much for having me. I’m honored and happy to have the opportunity to talk about my work.

The colors and arrangement of your studio photo seem to capture just how central your studio is in your life (you’ve said that you spend more time there than in in any other place, and I think a lot of us can identify with that). Can you give us a brief description of how you’ve set up your studio workflow and say a bit about how you feel when you’re in the studio and in the flow?

My studio is really sacred ground for me. It’s a special place that I have spent thousands of hours in, as well as making. All of the acoustic treatment, gear racks, speaker stands and shelves I made with my dad over the course of many years. When I’m in the flow it’s like I’m on a tiny planet in my own little world, and it’s immensely satisfying. It’s a source of constant joy and a never-ending project.

At the moment, a lot of what I do is based in Kyma so it is the heart of my studio. I try to perform everything in real-time without editing afterwards; even if it takes longer to get there, it’s more satisfying. I have a few different set-ups including laptops and an old Mac Pro. I have mostly the same content on multiple computers not only for back-ups, but also to make it easier for traveling with a mobile rig. When I can’t avoid using a DAW, I have an old version of Pro Tools on my Mac Pro. Outside of Kyma, I have a handful of microphones, instruments, synthesizers, outboard gear and tape machines that I use. There’s a ton of cabling to the closet turned machine room which looks confusing, but my set-up is actually quite straightforward. Also, I leave all the knick-knacks out so my studio looks like a bricolage, but that way I know where everything is when I need it, and it’s only an arm’s reach away.

During the lockdowns and travel restrictions of spring 2020, you were caught about 7000 miles away from your studio. How did that come about?

I don’t go looking for tough situations, but I always seem to find them. On February 1st, 2020, I left Colorado for Armenia where I was scheduled to volunteer teaching the next generation of noisemakers; two week intensives at four locations around the country, including Artsakh, for a total of two months. I booked a one-way flight so I would be able to travel Armenia and the region, and I had another flight afterward to visit a friend in India, but needless to say that’s not what happened.

When I left the states COVID-19 was around but every day things seemed to stay about the same. For the first month in Armenia things were normal, there wasn’t even a documented case of COVID until March. I made it through two schools and I was at the third when I got a call that the World Health Organization had increased the epidemic to a pandemic. That’s when things changed. A driver came for me and took me back to Yerevan where I was told things were going to change and ultimately go into lockdown. The school said I could stay in their apartment or do whatever I felt I needed to, including going home. I didn’t really know what to do; who did? Throughout my travels I’ve learned not to be reactionary and instead concentrate on options and to realize a working solution. As such, I figured if the virus was going to spread it would be mostly in Yerevan, the biggest city, so I left Yerevan on my own and went to the Little Switzerland of Armenia, Dilijan. It’s an incredibly beautiful place in the mountains and I thought “I’ll lay low here for a few days and plan my next move.”

After five days I decided to go back to Yerevan, and found out that I could have a three bedroom apartment all to myself indefinitely. I thought, “that sounds a lot better than scrambling and traveling 7,000 miles across the world right now”, so I talked with my family and I decided to stay put. I was in that apartment by myself for six months and it was an incredible opportunity to turn inwards. As it turned out, I stayed until one day before my passport stamp expired so I took the experience as far as I possibly could. In hindsight, I don’t think it was ever impossible for me to leave, but I never actually pursued it until I absolutely had to. And I wouldn’t change any of it.

Can you describe how your sound work was modified by your “quarantine” in Armenia? How is it different from the way you normally work in Colorado? Has it changed the way you work now, even after you’ve returned home?

It turns out that an ironing board makes an excellent, height-adjustable desk for a sound artist in exile.

Basically everything I’m doing now has come out of exceedingly difficult situations that I persevered through. Several things happened that I’m aware of and probably even more that I’m unaware of and still digesting. I definitely breached a new threshold of understanding how to use my gear. And I absolutely learned to make the most of what’s on hand—to repurpose things, up-cycle and reimagine. I remember taking inventory of everything I had, laying it all out in front of me and considering what it was capable of doing, the obvious things to start like the various connection ports and so on, then I moved to the more subtle. By doing this I was able to accomplish several things that I didn’t think I could previously based solely on my short-sighted view.

This same awareness and curiosity has stayed with me and I’m really grateful for it. Essentially, it was realizing there’s a lot to be gained in working through discomfort. Moreover, I’ve heard that creativity can really blossom when you’re alone, so maybe that is some of what happened. Not that I held back much before this time, but now I really swing for the fences—I love surreal, far-out, subjective, ambiguous sounds. Creatively speaking, I’m most interested and focussed on doing something that’s meaningful to me, and then I might share it.

Once I returned to Colorado a different level of comfort and convenience came back into my life. Some things were left in Armenia and some things were gained in Colorado. I’ve made it a point to make the most of wherever I am with whatever I have. That’s something I’ve lived by, and now it is a part of me. It is nice to be back in my studio though. I’ve spent more time in this room than any other so I know it intimately. To be sure, I’ve always enjoyed my space and I thrive in solitude so having the situation I did in Armenia really brought out the best in me. Back in the states there are definitely more distractions, so since returning I’ve become even more of a night owl to help mitigate them.

Do you have Armenian roots? Can you explain for your readers what’s going on there right now?

I don’t have Armenian roots, at least none that I know of. That said, I have been told by my Armenian friends that I am Armenian by choice, and I will agree with that. They are a wonderful people and it breaks my heart with what is happening there now. A lot is going on and I don’t claim to understand it all, but there is definitely a humanitarian crisis—thousands dead, thousands of refugees and displaced peoples, and many severely injured people from a 44 day war launched by Azerbaijan. As a result, there are both internal and external problems including on-going hate from the two enemy nations Armenia is sandwiched between. It is a tough time and when I ask my Armenian friends about it they don’t even know how to put it into words. I can see the sadness and worry in their eyes though.

Throughout the pandemic, you’ve maintained connections and collaborations with multiple artists. Please talk about some of those connections, how you established them, how you maintained them, how you continued collaborating (both in terms of technological and human connections).

The first of these collaborations began when I received a ping from one of my good friends and fellow Kyma user Dr. Simon Hutchinson. He said he would like to talk about YouTube. I’d recently started ramping-up my channel (under the name Spectral Evolver) and he was looking to do the same. We discussed the potential for collaboration and cross-promoting our channels. At the time, I was making walking videos around Armenia and we eventually decided to create a glitch art series which used these videos as source material for Simon’s datamoshing. Additionally, we decided to encode the audio for binaural and to use Kyma as a part of the process. We started with short videos up to a minute long with varying content to run some tests, and then started doing longer videos around ten minutes once we figured out the process. We used Google Drive to share the files. It was immensely satisfying and a totally new avenue for me; he is incredibly creative and talented and I was thrilled to be taken along for the datamoshed ride.

Another collaboration during this period was with my long-time friend from college Tim Dickson Jr. He is one of my favorite pianists. Everything he plays is very thoughtful and he has developed this wonderfully minimalist approach. He was going through tough times and wanted to share as much of his creations as possible so I asked him if he wouldn’t mind sending me some of his compositions for me to reimagine. He uploaded about 15 pieces and I used only them and Kyma in creating our album ‘abstractions from underground‘.

The Unpronounceables‘ as a trio was yet another collaboration that started during lockdown. Somehow I finagled my way into the group comprised of İlker Işıkyakar and Robert Efroymson, both friends of mine from the Kyma community. At that point, there was still hope for KISS 2020 in Illinois and for us performing as a trio, therefore we needed to start practicing. The only way that was possible at the time was online. As I remember we had a few chats to check-in and say “˜hi’ then we jumped in and started feeling our way forward. The only guideline we ever had was to split the sonic spectrum in thirds, one of us would take the lows, one of us the mids, one of us the highs—that was İlker’s idea I think. However, that quickly disappeared and we all just did what we could. I remember using a crinkled piece of paper as an instrument and opening my window to let the sound of birds and children playing in the courtyard come into the jam. I didn’t have my ganjo yet so I used whatever I could to be expressive, it was really beneficial to work through that. To jam, we used a free application called ‘Jamulus’. Robert made a dedicated server and the three of us would join in once a week and play for 30 minutes or so. Surprisingly the latency wasn’t unbearable. We were doing mostly atonal, nonrhythmic sounds though and I suspect if we needed tight sync it would have been painful.

Finally, despite the lockdown, I was able to continue volunteering with the school once they made the transition to online. While brainstorming with the school on how it would be possible to offer workshops for kids in lockdown at home with seemingly limited resources, I realized I could immediately share what I had just learned: to use whatever you have where you are! The results were spectacular: they created a wonderful variety of sound collages created, recorded and edited mostly through cell phones. I assigned daily exercises to record objects of a certain material, for example, metal, glass, wood etc. I asked them to consider the way the object was brought into vibration by another object. Don’t just bang on it! We also discussed the opportunity to use sound to tell a story even if it’s a highly bizarre, surreal, subjective story. In the end, I learned far more from them than they did from me. I was asking them how they made sounds and I was taking notes. For these classes, we met through Google Hangouts and shared everything on Google Drive.

Your recent release, “the front lines of the war,” is the result of another collaboration, this time with Pacific rim poet/multi-disciplinary artist Scott Ezell. Visually, tactilely, sonically and verbally, you and Scott employ multiple senses to express the disintegration and despair of the “shatter zone”. What exactly is a shatter zone?

Shatter Zone has at least a double meaning. It started off in geology to describe randomly cracked and fissured rocks then came to also be used to describe borderlands usually with displaced peoples, so for me, it carries both of those resonances.

The sounds you created for this project are also intentionally distressed and distorted through techniques like bit-crushing, digital encoding artifacts and vocal modulations. Particularly striking is the section that begins “In the shatter zone too long…” whose cracking dripping conveys a miasma of putrescence and disease carried along on a dry wind. Can you describe how you did the vocal processing in this section (and any other techniques you employed in this section that you’d like to share)?

True, there’s a lot of different audio processes happening to make the album sound the way it does including all of the things you’ve mentioned. The piece you’re talking about is called “Shatter Zones” and it came to sound the way it does through Kyma granulation. Scott’s reading of the poem is one take of about 8 minutes and I used a SampleCloud to read through the recording in a few seconds longer than that and used a short grain duration of less than 1 second. What results is a very slightly slower reading, but the pitch of his voice stays the same. It’s just slow enough and granulated enough that we can feel uneasy but not so much that the words aren’t intelligible. It’s super important that we understand what he’s saying so I had to find the line between making an evocative sound and leaving his voice intelligible. I thought there was an obvious correlation to Shatter Zones and granulation which is why I decided to use that technique. The sound around his voice is granular synthesis as well but with long grains of 5 or more seconds. I had this field recording I did on my cell phone of a dwindling campfire, down to the embers, and it always sounded really interesting to me. I brought it into Kyma, replicated it, added some frequency and pan jitter so each iteration wouldn’t sound the same, and used the long grain technique.

What other techniques did you use to “degrade” and “distort” the sound? Did you intentionally choose to distribute the sound component on cassette tape for that reason?

We arrived at putting the sound on a cassette for several reasons. I think a physical element is a really meaningful necessity for music and with the chapbook there was already going to be a physical element so we knew we wanted physical music. These days there’s basically three options: CD, vinyl, cassette — all of which will have a noticeably different sound. We thought about this from the beginning instead of it being an afterthought. Initially, we were thinking vinyl but because of the cost and the length of the sides we realized it probably wasn’t the best solution, if it was even possible. Between a CD and a cassette, this content lends itself to the cassette format more than a CD, not that CD would have been a bad choice. We welcome what the cassette tape might do to the sound—a further opportunity for the medium to influence the art. Besides, over the last year or so I’ve been buying music on cassette—they are really coming back—and they don’t sound nearly as undesireably bad as you might think. In fact, some music sounds best on cassette. I think it’s really cool if an artist considers all the different formats and decides which one is best for the art—like a painter choosing what they will paint on, it matters, it changes the look. When listening to this project on cassette there is a noticeably different experience than listening digitally, and with the exception of one track I think it is all more desirable on the cassette version. As for other techniques for degradation and distortion, I used a lot of cell phone field recordings, there’s a few databent audio files and I recorded out of Kyma into another recorder and during that process a bunch of noise came along. I also have a 1960’s style tone-bender pedal I made a long time ago that’s super special to me, and all of the guitar tones went through that. Then, of course, there’s the stuff inside Kyma which you’ve already hinted at: Bitwise operators, granulation, cross-synthesis and frequency domain haze.

Do you think it’s ironic to use Kyma, a system designed for generating high-quality sound, to intentionally degrade and distort the audio?

Kyma is definitely known for high quality, meticulous sound, but that’s not actually why I got into it, or why I continue to use it. Over the years, I’ve developed and found a way of working that’s meaningful to me and it’s centered around Kyma: real-time creation, no editing, and performing the sound. Kyma thrives in that situation and is extremely stable in both the studio and live use, therefore it’s where I feel really creative and capable of expressing the sound in my head.

One way I think about Kyma is like a musical instrument, say a guitar. What does a guitar sound like? What could it sound like? When does it stop being a guitar sound? Seems to me there’s no end to that and definitely no right or wrong. Kyma is the same way for me. In fact, it never occurred to me that I was making lo-fi sounds in a hi-fi system. I think there’s a sadness when data compression is used for convenience and to miniaturize art, but when it’s used from the onset for a unique sound or look, like we’ve done here, that’s different.

Is this piece about Myanmar? Or is it about “every war” in any place?

Both. The spoken words are specifically based on Scott’s first-person experience of a Myanmar Army offensive against the Shan State Army-North and ethnic minority civilians in Shan State, Myanmar in 2015. Scott was smuggled into Shan State under a tarp in the back of an SUV. The Shan State Suite (side one of the cassette) tells this story. At the same time, the project is expressing a bigger realization as it explores the ways that global systems implicate us all in vectors of destruction and conflict in which “everyone is on the front lines of the war.” (This last sentence is Scott’s words, he said it perfectly for our liner notes, so I’ve just repeated it here.)

Can you offer your listeners any suggestions for remediating action?

It is incredibly difficult not to be lost in despair and discouraged by the things that we, especially Scott, have seen and experienced, but I think the work of art itself is actually meant to be a positive thing. It’s once we fully ignore and disregard things that hope is lost, or rather that we are taking an impossible chance hoping that it “works out for the best.”

I believe we have to make an effort and that effort can come in many forms. This project cracks open the door and offers a start to a conversation, a very difficult, long conversation, but a necessary one, I think. Scott and I have had success bringing this kind of content into different University environments including an ethics of engineering course at the University of Virginia. We shared a piece of art we made and shared our personal experiences and relationships to contested landscapes and marginalized peoples. The response we got from the professors and students suggested there would be on-going consideration for the topic.

Finally, there are lots of good people in the world and lots of human rights organizations seeking to stop violence both before and after it has started, so that’s something encouraging. There is hope and we can start to do better immediately even if only on a very small, personal level. In fact, that’s actually where it all needs to start, I think.

In an ideal world, what would you love to work on for your next project?

An installation of some kind. I really want to do something on a bigger, more immersive, more tactile scale using Kyma and sound as a medium of expression along with some of the visual forms I’ve been getting into. In the meantime I’ll continue to do what I’m doing!

What do you see as the future direction(s) for digital media art and artists? For example, you’ve gone all-in on developing your youtube channel for both educational and artistic purposes, video, and live streaming. How does youtube (and more) figure into your own future plans?

I think we are going to continue to see extremes and new forms of art. Artists, as a whole, always challenge and question which leads to new horizons. Digital media has certainly created many incredible and wonderful on-going opportunities for artists. I see VR/AR getting more and more capable as well as popular. Also, with the advent of everything becoming “˜smart’, new needs have arisen for artists. Like Kyma being used in the design of the Jaguar I-PACE, that kind of stuff. As for my YouTube channel, I have every intention of continuing it. I don’t know exactly what all the content is going to be, but that’s why I put ‘Evolver’ in the name.


As a coda, we strongly recommend that everyone check out the detailed description of ‘the front lines of the war’ on Will Klingenmeier’s website, where you can also place an order for a copy of this beautifully produced, limited-edition chapbook and cassette for yourself or as a gift for a friend.

It’s not an easy work to categorize. It’s an album, it is a video, it’s a chapbook of poetry, yet it’s so much more than that: it is a meticulously crafted artifact which, in its every detail, conveys the degradation, despoilment and degeneration of a “shatter zone”. It arrives at your mailbox in a muddied, distressed envelope with multiple mismatched stamps and a torn, grease-marked address label, like a precious letter somehow secreted out of a war zone, typed on torn and blood/flower stained stationary and reeking of unrelenting grief, wretchedness, and inescapable loss. It deals with many topics that are not easy or comfortable to confront, so be sure to prepare yourself before you start listening.

 

 

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