I am chuffed to see ‘Musical Practices, Virtual Spaces,’ edited by Thomas Busch / Peter Moormann / Wolfgang Zielinski finally published. It comes from an international research project of the same name that was facilitated by the University of Cologne and the Grimme Institute as part of the Grimme Research College at the University of Cologne. My chapter Rhythm, Presence, and Agency: Defining Tele-Collaborative Space as a Site for Net Music Pedagogy’ describes a 2-year telematic music collaboration between students at the University of Technology, Sydney, and Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts in 2011-2012. It underscores what I believe is imperative for music degree programs to give students hands-on experience of online musical collaboration. Thanks to the students who participated, Malcolm Riddoch who organized it from WA, and Kirsty Beilharz who allowed me to write it into the curriculum at the time!
The first of March saw the release of the Ethernet Orchestra album, Oceans between Sound, published by the Chilean netlabel Pueblo Nuevo.
It is free to download and comes with fantastic artwork designed by Patsy Farrar that includes a fold-out sleeve and on-body CDR dis prints for collectors!
Thanks also to Caroline Meyers who designed the sleeve layout.
Download album here
It has been a tumultuous time with the COVID19 crisis coinciding with the release of the album. The silver lining to the virus (if there is one) is that it has pushed remote collaboration and online music-making to the fore, and we have gained a lot of interest in what we do. This interest has culminated in performers wishing to join the ensemble and radio and reviews of the album. While we welcome the interest in what we do, it is not, for one minute, to downplay the seriousness of the Coronavirus crisis, and we hope and wish everyone stays safe and well.
A selection of reviews and radio broadcasts:
Isotopica – An interesting radiophonic program on Resonance FM, London hosted by Simon Tyszko. Listen here
El Ruido es el Mensaje (Noise is the message) is an Argentinian blog and podcast produced by Franco Falistoco A. Read review and interview here
Recommended in Furtherlist 18 along with a range of dynamic culture straddling the fields of art, technology, and social change. Read
Special recommendation by clongclongmoo, which features netlabel releases every week. View site.
Another exciting development to come out of the album is the generative mix engine that Thomas Parke constructed for us.
The app randomly selects and loops track samples to create an evolving generative soundscape, accompanied by morphing images and video of the oceans and waterways from which the album track titles are named. You can also choose to manually mix these generative streams in the mixer bar beneath the interface for further indeterminate listening! Save the link below to open as a default browser window providing a unique screensaver.
Load the Oceans between Sound generative mix here. Open and click ‘load track’ under the video window.
Below is a short excerpt I recorded on my mobile phone from my computer but it gives you an idea of what it is like.
Ethernet Orchestra is continuing to jam on a weekly basis and working toward a series of online performances that include live net film soundtracks and collaborations with filmmakers and dancers in the months to come, so watch this space for further details.
2020 has well and truly untethered itself from the lethargy of the Christmas break, but before announcing future plans, a re-cap of 2019 is in order.
My book, Tele-improvisation: Intercultural Interaction in the Online Global Music Jam Session published last year, has continued to develop an expanding audience of interdisciplinary practitioners and researchers interested in understanding the nuances of displaced creative interaction.
I’m also really excited about the number of citations I’m receiving from authors referencing ideas from various chapters. It continues what I felt was a great reception to the ideas in the book from students and researchers I met during my author talks in Europe, March / April 2019. Many were experts in fields such as HCI, musical human interaction, interaction design, musicology, ethnomusicology, and educationalists. There were many light bulb moments in the audience’s questions and responses, particularly to the pedagogical necessity of networked music-making in tertiary music courses.
This perspective is one that I explore in a chapter for a new publication, Musical practices, and virtual spaces, edited by Busch, T., Moormann, P. & Zielinski, W. for the publisher Kopaed: Munich. In this new chapter (currently in process), I outline a case study of networked music-making between degree students at the University of Technology, Sydney. (UTS), and Western Australian Academy of Performing arts (WAAPA), Edith Cowan University, Perth. It relates to the development of curriculum I pursued while I convened the subject, Contemporary Music 1, on the Sound and Music Design program, UTS 2010-2013. I feel strongly, that the deficit of networked music-making in Australian tertiary music courses is a real disservice to students, given the profession of music, will, in part, be a networked, global industry, in which musicians collaborate online with directors and editors in the US, UK, Europe and beyond. It is crucial that music students are provided with the requisite technical and experiential knowledge of remote, online interaction to fully prepare them for a future in which they will be required to interact and collaborate across international borders, times zones and cultures.
Rant over, one of the aspects of finally publishing my book was that I could once again focus on performing and creating music again, most of which was taken up in recording sessions, and editing the Ethernet Orchestra album Oceans between Sound. The album has finally been mastered; thanks to the talents of my co-producer Chris Vine, and we have handed it over to the Chilean netlabel Pueblo Nuevo, who is currently finalising the download page and links for a March release.
Thanks to Caroline Meyers for the sleeve design and artist Patsy Farrar for doing such fantastic artwork, which was inspired by painting and drawing directly to the music. Check out Patsy’s long-form design ideas as seen in the clip below.
Patsy has also suggested a novel collaboration in which she paints live to our improvisations, which is seen by online audiences. We think this is a great idea, so watch this space for future live tele-improvisatory music and painting! More about Patsy’s art and thinking can be found in her blog here.
Listen to an excerpt from the album below.
The launch of Oceans between Sound will run in parallel to a special performance we are doing with visiting artist, academic and Ethernet Orchestra keyboard player, Holger Deuter. The performance, Aquatic Movements will be staged at the UTS Data Arena on March 5th and will feature guitarist, Chris Vine, performing from his home in Londrina, Brazil with myself and Holger in the Data Arena.
I originally composed the sound design for the premiere of the work last year, but in this rendition, Ethernet Orchestra will perform a live score. The performance will also include an excerpt from our previous work Homage to Wassily Kandinsky as part of the Bauhaus anniversary last year. This event will also coincide with an author talk I am doing at the University of New South Wales, 4-5:30pm Tuesday, March 3rd, which will be the first on home turf. It will be chaired by Dr. Adam Hulbert and I’m hoping for some lively discussion.
While we have been keeping this under wraps, we will also launch a new collaboration with Thomas Park, a sound artist exploring generative music and sound. In this piece, Thomas has built an engine that randomly selects audio segments from our album Oceans between Sound and re-forms them into an ongoing generative soundscape that accompanies a video of the oceans and waterways from which the track titles take their names.
The generative mix engine can be set as a default browser page so that it acts as a screen saver, providing endless permutations of the album and relaxing images of water and scenery! It will go live in the second-week of March, so again, watch this space for the launch of this extraordinary project!
Finally, I am pleased to announce that I have become the project lead for a community music research project called Net Diasporas. The project is a collaboration with IHOM (Iranian House of Music), Sydney that enables Persian migrant musicians in interstate, urban and regional areas to collaborate and perform together online. Using SoundJack (Internet audio technology), the project aims to provide opportunities for geographically dispersed musicians and audiences to reconnect with and develop social and cultural practices through sustainable online musical collaborations and real-world performances. The project seeks to understand the ways in which Internet music performance can provide new avenues of cultural expression to diasporic musicians and audiences and how the network may shape the development of culture-specific musical repertoires online.
Improfest-Festival is a festival of improvisation being held at the Hacienda – Arte & Tecnologia club in São Paulo, Brazil on the 26th of November 2019. I will be performing from Sydney in a live online improvisation with fellow Ethernet Orchestra guitarist Chris Vine and guitarist Brasilian Paulo Hartman.
Watch this space for further details about streaming the live audiovisual feed!
‘Music beyond the Rim of Time’ – a 10-hour net radio feature about La Monte Young and his music on KKUP radio, California.
Sunday, October 13th, 2019. 08:00 – 18:00 Pacific Daylight Time
International times: 02:00- 10:00 Sydney AEDT, 16:00-02:00 GMT 17:00-03:00 Berlin
This is a great opportunity to listen and absorb the slowly evolving sounds of seminal minimalist composer La Monte Young in this day-long special. Add to that the temporal displacement of listening to it in the meridian future of the Southern Hemisphere, and it really will be, music beyond time!
It’s been a little quiet on telesound in recent months since the end of my European author talks and performance tour. I’m glad to say that the performances and book presentations were very well received and I was delighted that Neural Magazine gave my book a great little review. For those of you reading this blog for the first time, I have just published a book called Tele-Improvisation: Intercultural Interaction in the Online Globa Jam Session. While brief, what is great about the review, is the way that it highlights the importance of the book’s investigation into networked musical perception and cognition. It is these characteristics that fascinate me the most, and while there are phenomenological differences between colocated and networked performance, I often think the two share many similarities. Particularly, the performer’s ability to transcend virtual and real spaces via musical sound.
Talking of all things telematic sound; work on the new Ethernet Orchestra album is also picking up a pace with some stunning mixes being mastered as I write. The album is a compilation of live performances and online jam sessions the ensemble has recorded since 2015 to the present. I think the material really explores the breadth of our sonic and musical pallette and the outer territories of multi-idiomatic improvised music. We strive for intercultural interaction and exchange combining traditional and electronic instruments and processing. The following clip is a short excerpt of one of the tracks as a teaser 🙂
This track features guitarist Chris Vine performing from his home in Londrina, Brazil, keyboard player Holger Deuter playing in Speyer, Germany and myself on trumpet here in Sydney. Stay tuned for the label and release dates!
LICHT_redux by tranSTURM Collective Sydney Fringe Festival 5-8th September 2019 Bay 43 (Circular Quay), The Rocks, Sydney.
I have also enjoyed producing the sound score for a new tranSTURM work LICHT_redux, which premiered at the Sydney Fringe Festival in early September. It is a mixed-media installation of light and sound that includes animations projected onto a metal, glass, mirror, and perspex mechanism. The following clip is an excerpt I took on my mobile phone and captures four minutes of this fourty-minute soundtrack. There will be further documentation to come.
LICHT_redux emerges from earlier tranSTURM collaborations and residencies at Sydney Olympic Park and exhibitions in VIVID 2016 & 2019. The sound score includes sound produced, in, and around, the Armory at Sydney Olympic Park, and its environs. A lot of time was spent in Building 20, a munitions bunker made up of three large cylindrical concrete tunnels that generate a large space echo when noise is sounded in them. Drones, impulse responses and field recordings produced in these spaces capture both the internal and external acoustics of the park. Situated on Sydney’s Parramatta River, I also had the opportunity to drop a pair of hydrophones (underwater microphones) into the water at the Armory wharf. The microphones revealed the multiple activities that occur beneath the surface of the river; snapping shrimps and the occasional motorboat propeller or ferry engine all produced unique sonic events in the recordings. These recordings were then granulated and time-stretched to create site-specific soundscapes that flicker, bubble and spit in sync with the animations. Underscoring this sound is processed trumpet drones and percussive instrumental techniques, which give the soundtrack, I hope, a sense of flowing movement that occurs in waves.
Ethernet Orchestra has been commissioned to perform a homage to Wassily Kandinski for the 100th Anniversary of the Bauhaus School at the University of Applied Sciences in Kaiserslautern, Germany.
The performance is Friday 17th May and features:
Holger Deuter (DE) (keyboards and synths) from Campus Kammgarn, Kaiserslautern.
Roger Mills (AU) (processed trumpets and electronics), Sydney, Australia and guitarist
Chris Vine (BR) (guitars, Sas, and electronics), Londrina, Brazil
We will be interpreting four of Kandinski’s ‘Improvisation’ series paintings as graphic scores to guide the online ensemble’s online tele-improvisation.
Kandinski argued that improvisation reflected the “inner thoughts and feelings” of an artist and this idea is something that resonates very strongly in the paintings, and, I hope, our musical and sonic interpretations of them. They were painted before, and between, the first and second world wars, and very much reflect the anxiety of this period in European history. As someone who was entranced by the Bauhaus at an early age, albeit well after the school closed, this project has been a really interesting and delightful one to work on for me!
Rehearsals have been going well and it is interesting how the paintings pull the improvisation together in distinct timbral and harmonic structures. Most noticeable to me is how the abstract lines and colours of the paintings begin to merge and become definable shapes and entities as we focus on them.
My set up in Sydney below. I’m processing my horn through Ableton and we are using the SoundJack network interface (centre) for connecting online. I have each painting on an additional monitor (left).
Chris Vine in Londrina Brazil, performing on his Saz
Holger Deuter in his studio in Speyer, Germany
The performance in Kaiserslautern is part of the closing ceremony of the visit of the touring Bauhaus bus exhibit, which is touring the world finishing in Hong Kong.
After a great book talk and brilliant few days in Speyer and Kaiserslautern University of Applied Sciences, I have finally arrived in Cologne. I am now preparing my talk and Ethernet Orchestra performance at the Institute of Music Education. Event details below. This concert is the only performance of my tour and I’m very much looking forward to performing with local bassist Achim Tang, as well as regular Ethernet Orchestra ensemble members Hervé Perez and Chris Vine, who will be performing from their respective cities of Sheffield, UK, and Londrina, Brazil. I have enjoyed meeting Dr. Thomas Busch, who is hosting me, as well as editing the book Musical practices and virtual spaces, which I have contributed a chapter. The book is soon to be published by Kopaed: Munich. I have found many kindred spirits among the staff here because of a recognition that tertiary music education courses should be teaching telematic music-making as part of the curriculum. This perspective is also what I argue in my book, namely that we should be preparing music students for a future in which tele-collaborative work will be a central component of their profession.
Building no. 216, 3rd floor, “Musiksaal” (room 336)
University of Cologne, Institute of Music Education
I have now been Speyer, Germany for a few days and very much rested after a hectic few days in Bristol and London. My talk at Kaiserslautern University of Applied Sciences is tonight and I will be speaking to a large group of undergraduate students from the Virtual Reality Studio. Thanks to Prof’s. Holger Deuter and Christian CJ Schmachtenberg for hosting my talk.
I attended the open day they had at the university on Saturday and I was very impressed with the quality of student work. I was also able to experience Holger Deuter’s Aquatic Movements animation that I did the sound design for. The work was originally designed in stereoscopy for the UTS Data Arena and it was interesting to see how it transferred to a virtual reality application using Oculus Rift.
I have just spent a wonderful 10 days in the UK giving author talks on my new book Tele-Improvisation: Intercultural Interaction in the Online Global Music Jam Session. My tour has so far taken me to Queen Mary University, London, Bath Spa University, and the University of Bristol. I finished off the UK leg yesterday with a lovely book launch at Furtherfield Commons, Finsbury Park, London followed by dinner with friends and collaborators I hadn’t seen for a while!
I have very engaged audiences for each session and I hope I am generating interest in the need for tertiary music schools to smell the coffee and start teaching students how to perform online to prepare them for the jobs of the future.
While in the UK I also had the good fortune to be hosted by Mac Dunlop and Annie Lovejoy of the Falmouth Independent School of Art. This visit resulted in a great afternoon of improvisation with pianist Mac Dunlop. Listen to an excerpt of the session here
Next stop Germany!