Minimal Live Electronics SetupI’m working on a new project that I’m releasing via my Hollow Earth Recordings label that is an investigation of music as a physical object. There are many facets to this project, more than any previous project I’ve work on. It is a year long project with twelve different releases (11 musical documents and a “summation”) each release exploring a different aspect of “music as object”. Beyond that though the music itself is a year long exploration of Live Electronics. I’ve basically always worked in this area, almost all of my earliest releases fall into this category, but I tended toward an electro-acoustic aspect with a blending in of my prepared wire-strung harp.  About mid-2009 I began a serious exploration in my electronics performance primarily codifying ideas that I’d been working with for years.  This has led to the theory of the Network Instrument and the notion that a particular instance of a Network is actually a continuum of networks. This is basically the “state exploration” notion that the earliest releases in my no-mind project were based on. In Network Instrument parlance I refer to these particular states as “clouds”.  So for this new project in conjunction with the ideas that I’m exploring I am also iterating through a series of clouds, exploring this simple live electronics setup that I have reduced myself to (pictured). This isn’t I should say as minimal as it may appear, the red box is a Nord Micro-Modular which is a virtual analog synth which while having its own limitations allows for a vast amount of creativity. The small white circular device is a Chimara BC-16 patchable synth which while also quite limited thanks to its patching allows for quite a bit of variety. The larger silver box is a Korg Kaoss Pad (the original) which I’m using exclusively as a controller for the BC-16.  I’m not adverse to patching other things in with these elements, but this is the core and I’ve only used these for the music so far.

I'm not completing any thoughtsWhich brings me to the first couple of entries in the series. The first is I’m not completing any thoughts. It was made with the setup as described above and clocks in at about 20′.  It was put onto a 3″ cd-r in a little slim jewel box with the image to the right there. See its page on the Hollow Earth Recordings site for both more information and a larger version of this picture. This was put out in an edition of four (4) all of which have been given away as of this posting. Each of the objects in the Eleven Clouds series have a unique criteria for how they are to be distributed and this release required that they all be given away. It also was desired that they spread as far as possible in such few copies.

Skipping StonesThe second release, Skipping Stones, was made with an iteration of the above setup, in effect a new “cloud” though still the same network. It is a longer piece, a little over 33′, and thus wouldn’t fit on my beloved mini-cd format so it is on a normal sized cd-r.  It comes in a vinyl pocket with the image to the left there printed as a nice 5×8 postcard. This piece to me is vindication of this process for as much as I love I’m not completing any thoughts. (which is a lot) I think that this piece is maybe the best pure electronics piece I’ve done. Every aspect of it works for me, from the structure, to the flow to the sounds used, to its dynamics and so on. Even the one or two moments that flirt with failure (it is live electronics after all) I think add to its structure and its overall charms. And as I say on its page on the Hollow Earth Recordings site there is a stretch of maybe five minutes that may be the best bit of music I’ve made.

Now that I’ve talked this up I’m sure you are saying, “yes and is this one is already oop as well you bastard?” and I’m pleased to say that as of this posting it is not. It is in fact available to anyone who wants a copy for free. Well almost free you must send me a Self Addressed Stamped Envelope and then I will send you a copy. Oh and this envelope must be mailed out to me in the month of February (so if you are reading this outside of February 2010, then yes I’m afraid it is oop).  To get my address to mail your SASE to simply send an email to skippingstones AT hollowearthrecordings DOT com and the auto-responder will send you my address. This is all automagically  handled and is not checked by a human so if there are any issues please contact me via my email address here or post in the comments. Also please contact me if you reside outside of the united states and setting up a stamped envelope is impracticable and we shall work something out.

I’m quite pleased with the first two entries in the project and am looking forward to working on this throughout the year. I’ll post here for each of the releases as they come out but it is worth keeping ones eye on thee Hollow Earth Recordings site where updates will appear first. At the close of the year there will be an assessment of the project and I’ll go into such details as the multitude of ideas that have gone into this project, why the releases are put out as they are and so on.