Columbia Gagaku Ensemble

Video clip by jeronimo jh of the Columbia Gagaku Ensemble performing at St. Paul's chapel last week [Vine]

This crop hides actual audience size (much larger than what's shown) to squeeze in as many of the ensemble members as possible. The acoustics in St Paul's astound, creating an ideal setting for this medieval proto-ambient form of Japanese classical music. The performers file in, in stocking feet, and take their positions, seated in half-lotus, and the shō players lead off (as I recall). The music consists of antiphonal call-and-response among various woodwind groups, with drums, koto, and other percussive strings adding punctuation. The effect is a drifting or floating wall of sound, meant in earlier times as a component of Shinto ritual (to inspire a rice crop, say). In modern times we hear this music echoed in Harry Partch or Steve Reich.
The Columbia Gagaku Ensemble is a diverse mix of ages, sexes and backgrounds -- the percussionists tended to be older, for whatever reason, and wonderfully poker-faced. Everyone had their characteristic look and stance with an instrument but the dress was uniform black and the mien was serious, as befits religious ritual (in a Western church, no less). The dedication to the details of an obscure niche of music and performance impressed. Very ethereal evening.

(Thanks to Ensemble member and shō player Alessandra Urso for the invite.)

"Steam-Powered Jambox"

"Steam-Powered Jambox" [mp3 moved to Bandcamp]

6th in a series of Reaktor Limelite remixes (will probably give this a rest for a while after this).
The preset is called "Steam Power." Once again loops were recorded (4 in all) and moved over to the Octatrack for assembly.
The first theme is Reaktor's (except for the snare); since it was only two repeating pitches I wrote the second theme, recorded that for the 2nd and 3rd loops (with and without reverb), then recorded the drums separately for the 4th loop (and added some reverb later).

59 people liked this


The first three "likes" are art writer/curator types of the "net art" persuasion -- can't tell from the screenshot (hat tip wigs) who else finds this funny or profound, only that there are 56 of them (is there an expectation of privacy here? Sorry!). Anyway, this is what cult of personality looks like, Facebook style. You can say something meaningless (except that it lets everyone know you think you're an artist) and have it instantly validated.

I am a male artist as much as I am a mail artist.
[Smedley Q. Moma, Earl Whitney, The Late Peggy Guggenheim and 56 others like this.]

net art vs real art


hat tip anonymous (wigs)

Since we don't know what net art is (anything made by an artist profiled on anything made by a media arts professor?) and are still debating what real art even is (any expression that can be described in a wall label?) it's not immediately clear why a "net artist" would freak out in a given scenario. (Obviously we haven't investigated the background of this high-five.)
Someone accustomed to validation of online expressions by means of likes or the approval of "art and technology" websites is confronted with a new set of problems when attempting to exhibit in a white box-style validation-of-expression. Posting a web page and getting 59 likes from your fellow artist-curators is a low threshold of commitment compared to sending out invites and making 100+ people travel by car or subway to a room where their expectations of being entertained/mindblown are proportionate to the hassles of getting there. And where you have to see them in the flesh and know what their reactions are from body language. Is this cause for "freaking the fuck out"? Maybe. Practice helps.