Category Archives: podcasts

The Bugcast

The Bugcast podcast just ran an episode with a new cloxco tune. You can check out the podcast in question here: http://www.thebugcast.org/2012/01/07/the-bugcast-192-1st-show-of-the-year/

The tune is Fade:

Artists Are Different – Mostly

On a recent episode of the Back to Work podcast (you are listening to that one, right?) there was a heated discussion around how many jobs a person can have and really enjoy any level of success or have a decent quality of life. As someone who believes strongly in what I do at both The Day Job and in The Work I thought it was interesting that there was such a strong opinion that either you’re all in or not in. I can’t be the only artist who sees that as really, really weird. How does one go all in on being a sculptor? Or a poet?

At first, I was a little bummed out my the podcast because it seemed to neutralize some of my ideas around my manifesto. But after a week or so of simmering, I think that it strengthens several points. One of them is simply that art is different from business. There are so many brilliant people trying to add entrepreneurs into the same pile with artists that I think I’d lost the distinction myself. There are many similarities, but the fundamental differences cannot be ignored.

An artist is in a lifelong marathon. The Work is a collection that begins the first time we try our hand and ends when we’re planted in the ground. Success is measured in our own minds based on metrics that are not easily explained. History gets to judge our output against all that it remembers, but success is not a moment – it’s not nearly that simple.

Can you work a day job and start a new business? Sure. People do it all the time. But that’s not my question. My question is how the artist can maintain The Work along side The Day Job and still be taken seriously in both places.

I’m not sure of the answer, but I’m actively working on framing the question.

AE Sci-Fi Podcast

So some friends of mine started a magazine and have added a podcast to their offerings. The magazine is called AE Science Fiction and it’s got some great stuff in it. I highly recommend their podcast. As there is only one episode, now is the time to get in on the ground floor. Episode One.

Oh. Yeah. Full disclosure: they use my tunes in the podcast. Pretty keen, eh?

open to influence

I have a nasty commute. 40 miles each way in Houston is about two hours on the road daily. With that kind of time my very large catalog of music gets dull quickly, so I rely on podcasts to fill the gap. I have to say that of all of the things The Almighty Internet has brought, radio is the best. Wait. What I meant was that I listen to a lot of podcasts on a number of different topics. When I have exhausted the reserves of a given set I will go in search of new life and that’s how I found Radio Lab [http://www.wnyc.org/shows/radiolab/]. It’s a great show that deals with science and art. Mostly it’s radio shows the way I would do them if I had the drive. Every show is really a long piece of music from the way the interviews are edited to their presentation. It’s brilliant.

This morning, I pulled down a couple of their older shows to fill the gap and there was a short about Terry Riley’s “In C.” A group of composers was asked to remix it and the results were pretty exciting. For me, they were perfectly timed.

Last night I spent my time in the studio pulling apart a couple of tracks I’ve recorded over the past couple of weeks. All of the tracks were acoustic guitar. Using a variety of simple techniques, I managed to obliterate any reference to the actual instrument and instead created a smear of sound. The structure of each piece was left in tact, but the effect was entirely different. I did the work hastily and without too much thinking. That’s more difficult than it sounds given the nature of software and user interfaces. It’s really hard to simply react with software the way one can with a musical instrument. There’s a lot of work to do in that area. In any case, the results were interesting but there was something missing.

And that’s why “In C” was a good thing to hear this morning. The approach taken by the various composers suggests solutions that I might not have come to as quickly. It’s relatively exciting.

Half of getting good creative work out the door is being open to different ways of thinking about it. I’m intrigued by how events and input that could be taken as random really aren’t (in this case by virtue of the fact that I’m me and I chose to expose myself to a given piece of material) and exactly how important that is to the development of the work.

a little navel gazing

i listen to a lot of podcasts. why? because i live in houston which means that i have to drive 45 minutes to get to work and another 45 minutes to get home. this is because the city is a complete cluster to navigate. you could live 10 miles from work and it would still take 45 minutes because the surface streets don’t allow for easy passage. for me it’s 45 minutes of zipping down the freeway/tollway. with that much time in the car, my music collection gets stale so the best solution is to make a playlist of podcasts. it’s like making my own little radio station. this pleases me greatly.

one of the podcasts that i listen to is the interview features podcast from echoes.org. these are the artist interviews with various producers of heavy gauge new age stuff. to be honest, part of the reason i enjoy it so much is because it makes me laugh.

now anyone who has spent any time with me knows that i am a seriously pretentious dude. i went to a conservatory. i used to wear all black and have long hair. for years i sat in a tiny room writing art music that the unwashed masses just wouldn’t understand. when it comes to pretension, i am a master of the craft. but i understand it. i’m aware of it. i’m amused by it and i do my best to amuse those around me with it.

that said, what i find so compelling about this podcast is partly in the voice of kimberly haas. her voice is the voice of your college girlfriend’s roommate. you know the one, the art major who is just one tenth of one percent too hip for you. this may sound mean, but it’s not. every time i hear her voice i flash back to college and i’m falling over myself to get a cappuccino and my free jazz collection. it brings a smile to my face.

the other thing that draws me to it is what started me writing tonight. i just finished up messing around with something that is completely arrhythmic, atonal, and really a timbre experiment. it is unrepentantly static but constantly shifting. nothing stands still, but it doesn’t go anywhere either. imagine watching the oily rainbow in a puddle on the sidewalk with its colors moving like some kind of laconic amoeba. it’s like that only with sound. and no bad similes. it sounds almost like something you’d hear on echoes. almost. what’s the difference? well, this is where it gets a little harsh.

the difference is that it isn’t boring. most of the music that i pick up as a result of these interviews that i hear (and thank goodness for emusic so i don’t have to drop iTunes money on the albums) are actively boring. what i mean by that is the music is trying so hard to make me not listen that it’s distracting. i catch myself locked in a war with the music: i’m trying to focus on any development of themes or shifting of rhythms and it is bound and determined to make my eyes glaze over and drive my mind to thinking about composting or when the last time i changed the oil in my car was.

i should blame myself, but i don’t.

maybe this is music that isn’t meant to be heard. maybe it’s part of a deeper experience that i just don’t get. but i have a pretty decent musical education and all of the comparisons to arvo pärt make me think that they do intend for people to listen to it and believe in it. but pärt they ain’t. or they don’t get pärt and that i can forgive.

why all this ink? because i’m sitting here, listening to this piece that goes nowhere, fascinated with it and wondering. and i’m thinking about those interviews.

the composers and musicians that are featured go into such deep detail about their creative process and their history with the music. each one tries to be ever so much more unique than all of the other composers of similar tunage that i find myself breaking into a smile. i would love to sit down and simply ask, “really? you found some old recordings of a factory fan and decided that it would be the basis for 5 concept albums?” because that’s how it comes across. this guy is trying to sell me on the idea that a 30 year old accident of a tape was worthy of spinning off into 5 albums worth of loops that sound more like the last than the next. the snippets that are played behind the interviews make me giggle. again, not being mean here, simply wondering if people think about the things that they say when put in front of a microphone.

i will own up to being that bad. i was interviewed when i was in school about a piece that i wrote which was performed by a rather prestigious ensemble. the title of the work was “the mirror for string orchestra.” a critic grilled me over the title and its significance. i tried to spin it and in the end he simply told me, “i don’t hear that at all.” and he was right. i was busted. two things happened that day. first, i gave up laying down overly creative and deep explanations of my work and secondly, i stopped titling my pieces. the titles i give to songs now are often the first couple of words i think of when i’m done mixing. that helps me avoid some of the more painful explanations.

this might be my longest post here in the history of othertime. it’s funny how a 7 minute interview piece can really set me off.

now i need to get back to mixing up my art music. it’s an exploration of the greater oversoul of the world wide web and an ode to my sister-in-law’s long dead hamster. not that i expect you to understand.