Jerry Hunt update

jerry hunt performance

Added to other sites (blogroll): a page dedicated to the late Texas-based composer Jerry Hunt.
The page has been mentioned here a couple of times but it seems to have expanded over the years with more content, including some amazing interviews and a full, up to date discography/videography.
Bandcamp has an audio excerpt from a Hunt performance available for seven bucks, which includes a nice PDF brochure with photos (such as the above) and explanations.
I think about Hunt frequently, after having seen him perform three times in the early '90s. The Hunt website gives some helpful background on his methods, which I was far from understanding at the time, and am still not completely clear about, if anyone is. His stage persona sticks in the mind: an unlikely, conservatively-but-carelessly-dressed quasi-shaman moving erratically about the stage, picking up an array of strange sculptural objects, shaking them, or pointing them meaningfully at the audience. Yet his real interest was in a flow of unpredictable musical events, with the physical gestures (and the objects in his hands) acting as focal points, or as he put it, seeds for audience attention. As for the unpredictability of his gestures, he says:

Every piece I've ever done has involved what I regard as a rational translation of something that's happening in the space (picked up through sensors) into a consistent rational schedule of changes. I don't do direct translation, which I think is vulgar after three minutes. It's fascinating to watch somebody go like this (wave arm) and hear a sound connected with it for a minute or two, but then it becomes compositionally appalling after a while. It's like watching etch-a-sketch, you know, it's wonderful for a few minutes and then it limits itself. It becomes so self limiting that no matter what you do in way of effects, it just gets increasingly self-defining until it just keeps getting tighter and tighter and after 30 minutes you're almost ready to scream, because you say, I got the idea. Oh hey, he did a new sound. I got the idea. Oh hey, he did a new sound. I got the idea ... (etc.) That's all you can think of at a certain point. So, I wanted to stay away from that.

As an antidote to this, Hunt developed systems, originally for tape cassettes and later digitally, for how certain sounds could be triggered at certain times (or not triggered -- accidents were built into the process) as he moved around the stage. In the interviews he goes into detail about how he used time codes on the tapes, and external randomization sources such as alchemical texts, to achieve this. In his formal writing about the pieces he relied on scientific-sounding jargon to mystify the proceedings, but in the interviews he is much clearer, and very entertaining with his Texan gift for gab.

some editing after publication

update re: Doris Piserchia website

For almost 20 years I've been maintaining a website (with Joanna Pataki) on science fiction author Doris Piserchia. At the time we began the site Piserchia's books were all out of print; they've since been rediscovered and republished as ebooks by SF Gateway, a Gollancz affiliate.
In the past couple of days I've added some posts to the site's blog, so check 'em out.

And thanks again to Jim Bassett and Digital Media Tree for making the site possible.


Old school blogger Roy Edroso (Alicublog) hasn't been very good post-2016 -- he seems not to understand the populist rejection of the Dem slate -- but I enjoyed this ridiculing of the New York Times trying to come to grips with Joe Rogan. The Times says "Imagine if I had told you, a dozen years ago, that the former host of 'The Fear Factor,' a [mixed martial arts] color commentator who loves cool cars and shooting guns and working out, a guy with a raw interview show featuring comedians, athletes and intellectuals, was more influential than the entire slate of hosts on CNN. You’d think I was nuts. But it’s true. His fans are everywhere — I’ve met them working behind the register and wearing loafers at hedge funds." Edroso quips: "Wow, lazy signifiers for the high and the low -- he sounds even cooler than Cool Kids' Philosopher Ben Shapiro! I've only seen about 10 minutes of Rogan rappin' with Elon Musk, and he seemed to me not to have advanced much from his days watching people eat bugs. But maybe I'm just prejudiced. Who am I to judge?"



Modular synth patch used in recent track. All this is doing is quantizing random, sample-and-hold voltages ("s/h wave" in the diagram) and using them to control pitches in the synth but it looks complicated. This image will probably be the next LP cover. I have 10 songs finished but some of them are reworked older tunes and some are classical remixes -- am mulling over whether to use them all or just press on with more new material. I kind of like the eclectic state it's in right now.