Sunday, December 16, 2007

Doing It All…Or Not

So for all of those musicians out there who think that they have to do it all (like me), it's not only easier in the long run to get as much help as you can, you may end up with way better results than if you were to do it all alone. Decide on what your strengths are and try and get help on the areas where you know you are weak. I’m guessing that this may be more of an issue with men simply because they have a harder time asking for help but I’ve found women who fit into this category too. Remember that I’m speaking here from years of experience trying to do it all myself. It’s simply more efficient, more satisfying and cheaper (in terms of time and money) to get others involved in whatever you may be working on.

You also end up making some valuable connections along the way. Not only there is the possibility that someone you know may have other valuable connections that you can use but as far as exchange of ideas and knowledge, there’s no better way to get the inside track on what’s happening. If you have a lack of funds like most musicians, remember the tried and true barter system. Whenever I’ve gotten somebody to work on my material I always made sure that there was something in it for them even when they were just happy to take part. This included credits on the CD, a copy of the finished product, and recommendations to other clients and contacts.

So for example all the songwriters out there, you don’t need to do it all. Find some players to play on your demo. Find someone in your area who’s good in the studio as far as recording and mixing. Having this step alone will save you years. Barter the time that they spend on your demo with singing on their demos. Everybody needs a great singer. If you want to learn to do it all, take it one step at a time. Focus on the songwriting first, get your demo done and learn the skills along the way. I know people who had a hard time getting the exact results they wanted so they decided that they were going to do it all themselves. Most of the work never got done because the learning curve on all of the different skills needed to put together a great CD was just too much. It may be some work trying to find the right people get the sound you hear in your head to tape it but in the end you may save yourself a lot of work and time.

Sometimes You Just Have To...

I’ve had tons of singer come through my studio and sing my songs. Sometimes the results where great but a lot of times they weren’t: it’s all part of the process. A few times I had a song and just couldn’t get the singer to get the sound right. Sometimes you have to just make the best of it. Sometimes it’s more important to get it done than to wait for that perfect performance. It all depends on you and the song but the point is that you want to get it done the best you can within a reasonable amount of time. If you have more time and a bigger budget then you can take advantage and get the premium players. If you don’t have all of the resources at your fingertips, get it done anyway and don’t make any excuses. No matter what the situation, first demo or major label release, some concessions are always going to be have to be made. While some of you may argue with this point, I think that it’s better to get it done and out there than to let it sit on a shelf forever because it didn’t live up to your expectations at the time.

If you're not sure it's always a good idea to get an opinion from somebody that you trust and isn't a fan or a family member. It may be hard to hear the truth sometimes but it's an essential part of the process. Try to find somebody who knows what they're talking about. This doesn't have to be a musician, just a person with great ears. One of the best critiques I got was from an industry professional who didn't play an instrument at all. She told me what was wrong with my song and after listening, I realized that everything she said was right. It was at an industry listening session and after hearing the song, a lot of people commented that they really liked the song and didn't agree with what she said. After listening to the song with fresh ears, I knew that she was right. Take criticism with a grain of salt, try to listen with a fresh perspective and see if what was said applies. Even with people who know what they're talking about, music is an opinion and nobody is right 100% of the time. This step alone is worth the effort. It's this type of thinking that will differential you from the pack. So many people are just happy to get something out that they think that every note is necessary and perfect. If you get the same critique from a couple of different source though, take note! People with great ears may be just as hard to find as a good player but very valuable.

Within A Reasonable Amount Of Time

Keep in mind that I talking about making the best effort you can in making it as good as you can at this point in time. This isn’t an excuse to be lazy, simply make sure that you make the best of what you’ve got. This mostly applies to all of those people out there who take forever to get a project done and even then they're not happy with the results. I've been through this a million times and I've seen it in other musicians as well. Tweaking something to death while trying to do it all is counterproductive. I've also met bands who worked on their CD for the better part of a year and the results reflected all of their hard work. Mostly though I've seen a lot of time wasted on working on material that never sees the light of day being bogged down by people try to do it all. It’s also good to get into the habit of working with somebody as soon as you can because odds are it’s going to come up a lot. If you're a bit of a perfectionist and you know somebody who's eager to get things out there, try to work together. A lot of time their eagerness to get it done will rub off on the perfectionist 'it's not quite perfect yet' and the perfectionist's eye for 'quality and detail' will rub off on the eager beaver's 'just rush through it' attitude. I'm being really general here but you get the idea. Whatever you do, get out there and make those connections. In the end, you will save time and effort over trying to do it all yourself and it may lead to some great partnerships and ultimately some great music.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

You’re A Big Biz Now!

We're A Lot Alike...

When it comes to doing business, corporations have certain ways of doing things. From what we’ve seen of the music business in the last decade, this hasn’t always been the best ways of doing things, but from a pure business and project management point of view though, there are a couple of things that we can learn from them. For one thing, businesses always put together a business plan including all of the financials when they first start out. This may be overkill when first starting a band because initially you may just be jamming and seeing if you gel. Once into a situation where you’ve been together for a while and are planning on going to the next level and plan on getting things done, you should get together and discuss some things. You may want to discuss where you are all at as far as the band is concerned, see what you want to do next and see where people’s priorities are.

On the surface you may not realize it but you have the same issues that a big corporation would have when taking on a new venture. You may be trying to figure out your style and the look and feel of the band. You want to get a demo done and start making some money. You want to set up some shows. You have to get a web site set up. At the very least, you need to have a MySpace page. These are the same things that a corporation has to deal with; they just call it different things. Finding your sound would be their developing a product, finding your look is their branding, making your demo is the same as their manufacturing and the MySpace and website is their marketing. If you look at how they get these things done, it will be easier for you to figure out what to do. Since corporations have big pockets, you may feel that you don’t have much in common but if you look at how they do things, you can learn a lot. For example, when the big labels release a new album, there are a whole series of things that they do before it ever sees the light of day. Yet I don’t know how many times I’ve heard a band booking their CD release party before they even have the CD printed. There should be about a 90 day grace period where you can set everything up before making the official release and having a CD release party.

...With One Big Difference

From a music point of view, I’ve heard this analogy for a long time from industry professionals and never really cared for it. Comparing my band to a soulless corporation took all the coolness out of it. It's just a good idea to keep this in mind when sitting down and making decisions. I actually think it’s better to keep the attitude that your band and music is anti-corporate. That what you’re creating is not some lame dispensable product but your voice: your art. The reason why I bring this up is because when making big decisions and trying to keep organized and get things done, it’s better to approach it with the professionalism of a corporation. If you’ve ever put a CD together or a tour for your band, you’re aware of all of the things that go into making these things a success. It’s so easy to start out without any plans and just jump right in. Ask anyone who’s been on tour though, once you do this the first time, you don't do it again. There's nothing like being stuck in the middle of nowhere with no spare tire, no transmission, etc. You can always tell a band that’s been on the road a lot. They seem to have it all down to an art form: organized, stripped to the bare essentials, and prepared for all the million things that can ( and usually) go wrong.

Lessons From The Road

They are the things in the business world called logistics. That’s all the things that are needed to get you (and your product) from one place to another. Most of the guys that I know who’ve spent a lot of time on the road, including myself, learned the hard way. The first time I went on the road I took so much stuff with me, that I spent half of the time just moving this stuff around. The band I was in was also booked for about 6 months so I left my apartment, put my stuff in storage and was going to find a new place when I got back. Bad idea. The tour ended prematurely and I ended up being homeless for a month. The point is that when you undertake any one of these things, it’s better to be prepared than to just do it tempt the Gods. If you can get material on the subject and most of all talk to bands that have been on the road and ask them about their experiences. You'll be amazed how much you learn. Guaranteed one on the first things they'll say is 'Make sure you don't...' and then go on to tell you some horror story.

Project Management 101

When it comes to project management though, there’s a whole other list of things that you should take into consideration. Right now I have about 5 different projects going on at once. This is nothing new for me and a lot of times it’s necessary. For example if I have the time, I like to have something I’ve completed sit for a day or two before I come back and make any final decisions. If you leave a piece of music for a while, you come back to it with fresh ears. If there’s anything wrong, it’ll usually jump right out at you. I try not to listen to something I’m working on too many times because you tend to fall in love with something after a while. I listen to it once or twice, then make the changes. If you’ve listened to a track too many times, you lose your objectivity. It's called demoitis, falling in love with the demo simply from listening to it over and over.

Let’s start at the beginning. You have the idea for a new demo, new song or new band. The first thing that you should consider is if this is worth pursuing in the first place. Keep in mind that you already have a couple of things on the go and your time is precious as it is. If there is money involved (I mean money now, not the prospect of some in the future) then that my take the highest priority. If you’re making the final adjustments on another project that’s really important to you, you may want to put it off or not do it at all. It may be something you’ve always wanted to do creatively (like tackling a new genre or new instrument) or work with somebody that you’ve always wanted to work with.

There are no hard and fast rules for making these decisions. For example, the two above (working in a new genre or with somebody new) sounds like a no-brainer. Anybody will tell you that it’s always a good idea to work with somebody new to make connections and hopefully make something better than you alone could create. Musicians generally hate to say no to anything, especially more music! The problem is that there is only so much time in the day. Even if you’re young, there’s only so much you can accomplish in a 24 hour period. You might be thinking that you just want just try anything that comes along and see what works out. This was always my thinking. The problem with this is you don’t have any focus and instead of having more opportunities, you end up limiting yourself because you have no real direction.


I remember the turning point for me. I always figured I would become a session musician; playing one- nighters or whatever came up. I practiced a lot and tried to become well versed in many styles. Not a bad plan, right? The problem is that I had been in a couple of projects that were terrible from the very beginning yet I spent time and money (gas mostly) in them anyway, while still pursuing anything else that came my way. I had spent valuable time in a lot of bands with people with attitudes and a lot of flakes. Keep in mind; I don’t think musicians are any more flakey than the general public, they are trying to put something together that does take a lot of personal time and effort.

One day a friend of mine who I had played with before asked me if I wanted to be in this band that a friend of his was putting together. I said sure without even meeting the other guy because my friend was a good guy and I trusted him. Well, I hated it. I didn’t get along with the guy who ran the whole thing but I stuck with it until the end anyway. The reason why I didn’t like the guy was that even though he had put together this CD which wasn’t bad, I didn’t consider him a very good musician and had trouble ‘taking orders’ from somebody who I felt had less talent than myself. Plus, it wasn’t a true band in my sense of what a band should be. The main guy had put together a CD and was looking for a band to play his material. I wanted to be part of a band that wrote together, he just wanted people to take orders. There are times when the above situation could lead to some work, even a tour with a major artist. But for me, it was a bad situation that surprisingly turned into a great learning experience. I decided that if I was ever going to do anything musical again, it was going to be on my terms. That was the last time I was ever in a band that I didn’t put together myself. I learned a lot from this guy. As far as I was concerned he had minimal talent (it was no secret among the band members that he was the least talented player), and was a bit of a jerk. But, he had put together this CD, got a lot of great players to play on it, and got a band to tour with. Not bad. It was because of two major factors; he was organized and he had focus.

Focus..With A Point

Which brings us back to the point in the very beginning; while it’s great to pursue many avenues while trying to make a living and figure out what it is you want to do, it’s vital that you have some sort of focus. If you do have that focus, you will have to turn down some ‘opportunities’ while pursing your personal vision. If you're not sure what exactly that focus is, as soon as you examine what you really want to do, ideas will pop up. If there a couple of things on your list that you'd love to get done, just pick one and get on with it. Make sure though, that whatever you pick, you stick with and see it to it's final conclusion. This guy only did the one thing; he created the CD. Once that was done, he put the band together, and shopped the CD. He was the least talented of all of the musicians yet he had the most success.

From that point on, I decided that I was going to really sit down and decide exactly what it was I wanted to do and I was going to see it through. The next band that I played in was my own. It was a funk band and it was the best band I ever played in. I got the best players that I could and this time it was me who was the ‘worst’ musician. This sounds bad but it’s really a good thing. If you’ve ever played in a band with musicians who are better than you, it can be intimidating but you learn so much and become a better musician way quicker. The bar is raised that much higher. Plus this band rocked. It lasted a couple of years and ended up disbanding because of lack of gigs. I then started a small project studio and opened my doors to songwriters and musicians who wanted to create a demo without the need for a band. I had learned to play numerous instruments along the way (not something that I planned but was well worth it; you can’t plan everything) and became a one stop shop for songwriters. Most of my clients never even played an instrument and I usually had to fill everything in, including the chords. It was another great learning experience. I stopped playing live for a while to focus wholly on this new business. Financially it kept me going for a while but on its own wasn’t enough so I had to augment this with a couple days of teaching a week. I now just work in the studio, focusing on creating the best music that I can.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Why Things Always Go Wrong: You Can’t Predict the Future

The Ubiquitous To-Do List

The problem lies not with the technology itself but the utilization of the technology. It’s fine to make lists of all the things you want to do and all of the steps needed to get there, but what is it that motivates you to get all of these things done? The problem with any undertaking is that things will invariably go wrong: or at least not according to plans. The reason for this is 'variables'. In life there are just way too many variables to predict what’s going to happen from one moment to the next. So what has this got to do with my plans? Well when you make plans if one way you are predicting what’s going to happen in the future. For example, you decide that you’re going to bring in a guitarist to play on your demo. That one thing could lead into any number of directions. Do you have one in mind? What happens if he can't make it or it doesn't work out? What happens if he suddenly has to leave town? You get the idea.

Once you start trying to get things done on your list, a couple of things are going to happen. You going to have some setbacks, have some troubles staying motivated, get discouraged and sometimes just want to quit and give it all up.

How Do You Work?

So you've decided on a major project and have started to put together a list of all of the things that you have to do to reach your goal. If you’re new to the process, then there’s a huge variable right off the bat. I think we can agree at this point that once you start a new project, there’s going to be a lot of things come up that are unexpected and not on your list. So right from the start, the list is going to be a work in progress that’s going to have to be updated on a regular basis. Using the guitarist example from above, if for some reason he becomes unavailable, you’re going to have to make up a new list to include finding a new guitar player or learning the parts yourself or…you get the idea.

The basic point here is that one of the reasons why projects don’t get done is because of the inevitability that things aren’t going to go as planned. The problem that sometimes when things go smoothly, we naturally assume that that’s the way things are supposed to be and when things go ‘wrong’ then something is off. As we’ve seen from the example above, the chances of things going off course are far more likely than things going exactly as planned. So when you start a project and things go wrong, it takes more energy than you thought that it would and adds extra stress to the project. One of the great things about experience is once you’ve been through a certain process, you’re more likely to know what may go wrong and are equipped to deal with it effectively. When building a house for example, a professional is aware of all of the things that can go wrong where a novice would probably get frustrated and quit before the process is even finished. So not only do you have to deal with all of things that can go wrong, you can’t give up or lose sight of what you’re trying to accomplish in the first place.

Building A Career

This is where the musician comes in. The musician starting out is like the novice trying to build the house from scratch. And like building a house, a lot of projects that you may have to undertake are big and demanding; putting together a band, creating a demo, putting together a tour, etc. There are tons of variables like: all of the people involved (band personnel, agents, friends, club owners, studio people, etc.) and the fact that most of these things can take up to a year to accomplish. No small feat even for an organized person. Not only does this apply to the projects that a musician must take on but it applies to his/her whole career!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Career Musician: Where to Start

Getting Things Done

When it comes to getting things done, it would be nice if we could just get to it: do the things that needed to done, when they needed to be done. But it’s rarely as simple as that. First of all there’s deciding exactly what it is we’re supposed to be doing at this moment, then there’s how to go about doing it, wondering if you’re doing it right or wondering if it should be done it at all. Combine this with the fact that our lives are busier with more options than ever and it’s a wonder that anything gets done at all.

If you’ve done any reading on career management you’ve probably come across the same basic concepts: decide what you want to do, make a list of all of the things that you must do to accomplish that goal and go about doing the items on your list one at a time. There are many variations of this but these are the essentials. So even though we know this, how is it that we still have so many troubles getting things done? I don’t know how many to-do lists I’ve made in my life, there must be thousands. Yet when I check these lists months after the fact, very little is done. Why? I’m not lazy or completely unorganized. Let's look at a couple of factors.

Ummm...Now What?

The biggest problem the musician faces is unlike most other careers, there is no one blueprint. As many different careers there are in the music industry, there are paths to get there. The good thing about being a musician in today’s society is that there is more information available and ways of making it than there ever were before. With all of this info comes the problem: what applies to me and what doesn’t? What can I use and what is useless? Since there are so many ways in making in the music industry, it won’t be the same for everybody. What may be good for you may not be good for somebody else.

There are a few general guidelines that you can follow: for example if you want to release an album, there are certain things that need to be done. The specifics though, are up to you. For example how you go about marketing the album is entirely up to you. Since most musicians don’t have much of a budget for marketing, you may have to come up with some creative ways to get your name out there. If you’ve been in a band and that hasn’t worked out, what do you do next? Like I said there is no blueprint. Do you join another band, go out on your own, try to capitalize on another musical talent that you have? The only way to know is to make a decision, then get in there and get dirty. Experience above all, will allow you to make better decisions. Once in there, you’ll gain knowledge and meet other like minded people that will help in your journey. In the beginning, since you don’t have the experience, you may just have to jump in there and see what works. Once you’ve started and got your feet wet, it becomes clearer of what you need to learn and do.

So it can be said that sometimes things don’t get done because we’re not sure what to do and even when we do, there can be so many things that come up that it’s easy to get discouraged and lose focus. One of the things that we’re going to have to deal with on a constant basis on our journey to get somewhere is figuring out what has to be done, and then having the discipline to see it all through. One of the big factors why we don’t get things done is because we may lack long term focus and discipline. You may be saying at this point ‘Wait a minute, I have discipline, I get things done everyday!’ The problem with the music industry is that it takes a long time to get where you want to go. It takes long term focus and commitment. Think about how long it took you to learn your instrument and apply the same principles to the rest of your music career.

You Already Know The Way

You learned your instrument by practicing everyday. This included practicing when sometimes you weren’t in the mood. Sometimes you practiced things like scales and sight reading when you really hated doing them. You also followed a path and tried to go a bit further each day. For those of you who had professional lessons, your learning path was maybe more conventional but even those of you who were completely self taught, had a method by which you learned and grew. If might have been haphazard and sporadic, but it’s there. It’s this same type of method that we’re going to apply to your music career and things that you want to accomplish.

When you first started learning your instrument, you may have bought a book, took lessons, learned from a friend or even just started noodling around on your own. You didn’t know what you were doing in the beginning so you just kind of muddled your way through. The more you played though, the more obvious it became of what you needed to learn and want was missing from your knowledge. You may have learned a couple of chords and were quite proud of yourself until you got together with a friend of yours and saw how he could solo without knowing the song. So you started asking questions. ‘How did you do that? What's a scale?’ You now had a couple more nuggets of knowledge that you applied to your playing. It was at this point that you realized that you needed some help and either set up some lessons or went out and bought a book. Or, maybe you went on the internet and downloaded some tabs of guitar solos to see what they were made of. The point is you took it step by step without really thinking about it.

This is what we've got to do with our music career but we should be more organized and deliberate about it. Every decision will have a lot more impact on your future and be time consuming so we want to be more thoughtful about the steps we take. It becomes a little more daunting when applying all of this to your music career because now you’re going to have to be out there, in the thick of it. It’s one thing to try different things in the safety of your practice, but it’s another to go into a room full of professionals and sell yourself. Like your music practice, there are many different directions you can take, and the ones you decide will depend on you, your talents and personality.

Help, I Need Somebody

So are you going to do it on your own or are you going to get some help. I hate to be the one to tell you but it’s going to be both. So if you’re great one your own and have trouble asking for help or vice versa, you’re going to have to make some changes. Here’s why.

As a career musician you’re going to have to be incredibly self motivated and have a lot of confidence in yourself. At the end of the day it’s your career and it’s a tough industry so you’ll have to keep focused and learn to develop a thick skin. Rejection and disappointment are part of the course, not exceptions. There are going to be times when it feels like everything is going wrong and you don’t have an ounce of energy left to deal with it. It’s then that you’re usually on your own and the only person you have to really depend on to pick yourself up is …you. It’s also easier to get other people motivated and to get help when you’ve got it all together.

Herein lies the second part of the dilemma. No matter how tough, organized and together you are, you’re going to need other people to get where you want to go. The music industry is a relationship industry. Managing a music career on your own is also way too much work for one individual to do it effectively. The sooner you get used to asking for help and getting people involved, the sooner it will all happen for you.

Next we'll look at some principles in project management.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Manangement for Musicians: Intro

I’ve been working on quite a few projects at the same time in the last couple of weeks and decided that I would spend the next couple of blogs talking about management for musicians. I’ve worked on my own and with a lot of artists over the years and I’ve found that most musicians don’t get as much done not for lack of trying but of simple mismanagement. Most musicians these days pretty much have to do it all: write, record, tour and promote. Getting all of this done can be overwhelming to almost anyone never mind the fact that most musicians have never been taught how to properly manage any one of these things. I also have come to realize the value of this discipline and hold it right up there with marketing and promotion. It’s the use of these management skills that ultimately allows me to get everything else done.

Basically when it comes to getting anything done, it’s all about management. There’s time management, project management and career management. No matter what you’re working on right now, all three of these have a place in what you’re trying to accomplish. If you don’t like doing paperwork and feel that you’re not much of a planner, stick with me, nether am I…or at least I wasn’t. I’ve learned how to incorporate some great time and project management skills without becoming a stiff administrator.

In the next couple of blogs I’ll be focusing on project management and how to make sure that you get everything done using your existing skills and habits. I’ve taken courses and read many books on the subjects of time management and project management and they all seem to want to make you fit into a preconceived program that has no bearing on who or how you are. I’ve been making to-do lists and creating planners for years yet never seemed to get very far. I’ve always had a problem doing things on a regimented system and tried to find some sort of way to use the great skills that these courses described but within my own capabilities and faults. It’s all about using what you have and not trying to squeeze into some regimented drill sergeant routine.

More to come…

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

October Октябрь

Meam - ska019

Meam - ska019
Video sent by 103clips
Video Clip on line at

Monday, September 24, 2007

meso-Progress Bar - Interactive Bar Coffee Table

Creation of a interactive table by meso digital interiors for satis&fy. September 2006. Utilising VVV a multipurpose toolkit. Documentation including video clip and images at:

Youtube video at:

Embedded youtube video:

Anthony McCall

Filmmaker Anthony McCall ..."uses the physical properties of projected light to create and illuminate architectural spaces. McCall's new work, entitled 'You and I, Horizontal' is comprised of two projectors and a fog machine which combine to create a three dimensional space in which the viewer can observe and manipulate the power of light to convey space."(Source: Rhizome News listing

Anthony McCall website:
SFMOMA event:
Rhizome Listing:

Experimental Music and Video Resource

Excellent experimental Music and Video Resource run by Spenayoung.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Timescape - Ji-Hoon Byun & E.J. Gone

Timescape is the image representation of sequently stacked 1pixel-width video lines that are extracted each from the camera input. Timescape represents the apparition of the time-flow of the space, whereas photography is the visual presentation of the moment of space and movies express the space changed by time.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Light Bead Curtain

The Light Bead Curtain is an interactive musical installation that can be freely played by person's touch. The installation takes the form of a beaded curtain; strings of simple clear beads. Each bead, on a users touch, lights itself and emits a unique sound. People play with the curtain by weaving their hands through it, touching it with their faces, and moving through it with their body. An environment of light and sound is created when people engage with the curtain. "

The Light Bead Curtain

The Light Bead Curtain is an interactive musical installation that can be freely played by person's touch. The installation takes the form of a beaded curtain; strings of simple clear beads. Each bead, on a users touch, lights itself and emits a unique sound. People play with the curtain by weaving their hands through it, touching it with their faces, and moving through it with their body. An environment of light and sound is created when people engage with the curtain. "

The Light Bead Curtain

The Light Bead Curtain is an interactive musical installation that can be freely played by person's touch. The installation takes the form of a beaded curtain; strings of simple clear beads. Each bead, on a users touch, lights itself and emits a unique sound. People play with the curtain by weaving their hands through it, touching it with their faces, and moving through it with their body. An environment of light and sound is created when people engage with the curtain. "

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Dissociative Fugue video - Stretta

See Video on You Tube

"This was an attempt to visualize some of the abstract noise that goes on inside my head when listening to music. At first blush, it may not seem that different from a software visualizer. Unfortunately, visualizers are bound by the analysis of a stereo mix. While a it may extract information from certain frequency ranges, it can't really tell a clarinet from a duduk and represent each discretely. Here, each element has its own visual counterpart." Source

Transmediale 08 - Call for Works

Limiteazero - Laptop Orchestra

laptop_orchestra is an interactive synaesthetic instrument, designed for performances of audio visual compositions in real time.

The space conformation of the fifteen laptops, arranged on regular rows, brings back to the formation of an orchestral group.

Limiteazero is an architecture, media design and media art studio based in Milan, Italy, founded in 1998 by Paolo Rigamonti and Silvio Mondino.

"Limiteazero’s areas of expertise include: installations design, responsive environment design, crossmedia design for retail, media in architecture and public space, interaction design.
The studio works both on independent research projects and commissioned installations, for clients like Toshiba, BlackBerry, Alberto Aspesi, Nice, Siemens, Antonio Citterio & Partners." Source

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Database of Virtual Art

"The Database of Virtual Art documents the rapidly evolving field of digital installation art. This complex, research-oriented overview of immersive, interactive, telematic and genetic art has been developed in cooperation with established media artists, researchers and institutions. The web-based, cost-free instrument - appropriate to the needs of process art - allows individuals to post material themselves. Compiling video documentation, technical data, interfaces, displays, and literature offers a unique answer to the needs of the field. All works can be linked with exhibiting institutions, events and bibliographical references. Over time the richly interlinked data will also serve as a predecessor for the crucial systematic preservation of this art."

Prof. Dr. Oliver Grau

Friday, July 13, 2007



"The Octopulse shows that noise is music. With this cuddly ‘alien bagpipe’ you can control analogue sound synthesis through unconventional means. The ‘tonetacles’ of the Octopulse react to movement and light, transferring movements into information for an analogue synthesiser to convert into cacophonous noises."



"The Octopulse shows that noise is music. With this cuddly ‘alien bagpipe’ you can control analogue sound synthesis through unconventional means. The ‘tonetacles’ of the Octopulse react to movement and light, transferring movements into information for an analogue synthesiser to convert into cacophonous noises."

Wednesday, July 4, 2007


The Blog

'Getting There' is all about the trials and tribulations of making music and life in the music industry. It's practical info on becoming a better musician, better organized and better at the business of music.

We focus more on the music making, motivation and practical business tips than marketing or industry news. There are more than enough of these online and I've included my favorites in 'My Blog List'.

Included are practical tips on:
  1. becoming a better musician - better at writing and composing, practicing and performing
  2. motivation and inspiration - info to keep you focused, creative and productive
  3. music business - keeping organized, informed and profitable

The Composer

My name is Robert Maddocks. I'm a composer/producer who owns and runs InTense Productions, providing songwriting and composition services to the music and film industries.

I studied classical performance and composition at university then not satisfied that I knew enough, I went on to study jazz and popular music at college. I taught at both institutions before going on the road for a couple of years playing all types of music (from rock to country) trying to make it as a working musician. I then opened an independent recording studio where I worked with everything from single songwriters to full bands. Most of the time it was singer/songwriters who would come in with a song and I would then produce the rest of the track.

This experience allowed me to hone my skills in a number of different genres and styles. I then used those skills to produce a music library encompassing a number of different styles. The library now has over 30 CD's in everything from rock to jazz to hip hop to full on symphonies.

The Company

InTense Productions continues to work in film and TV along with various solo artists. The music library continues to grow and there are more and more titles being added all of the time.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Jordan Belson - Five Essential Films

Center for Visual Music announces a new DVD release:

Jordan Belson - Five Essential Films

The DVD includes three classic films:
Allures (1961)
Samadhi (1967)
Light (1973)
A never-before released film: Fountain of Dreams (1984), and
Belson's latest film, Epilogue (2005)

Jordan Belson is one of the greatest artists of visual music. Belson creates lush vibrant experiences of exquisite color and dynamic abstract phenomena evoking sacred celestial experiences. ( William Moritz)

Curated by Jordan Belson, Produced by Center for Visual Music
NTSC, Region-Free, SD, 4:3, TRT approx 45 minutes
$25 private home use, $150 institutions (does not include public performance rights)
June 2007 release

Purchase at:

Belson's bio, bibliography, filmography, plus information re the films on the disc:

Monday, June 4, 2007

INTERAKT STUDIO - Božidar Svetek

Božidar Svetek,
"a private researcher and video artist, has since 1979 been exclusively concentrating on the connection of music, painting and technics, i.e., the linking of sound and picture. With the onset of modern computer technology, he transfers such »classic« experience into a new medium. In 1996 he took out a patent for a procedure of visualizing a sound event, so that by the help of a new instrument, he »plays« the colour contents of each music work. The new instrument offers a new post-productive expressive form to music, which is accessible to every individual. What is achieved by this is a film quality that opens new concepts and aesthetic extensions united in two human immanences, in a united duration frame of time and space. All the so far accomplished promotions of the connection of technics, music and fine arts, prepared at home and abroad, have brought him several prizes and distinguished awards." (source from website - link below)

Splitska 6,
SI-1000 Ljubljana,
tel.: +386 (0) 1 283 30 24,
fax.: +386 (0) 1 283 30 24

Pat. for protokol for visual ton

Friday, June 1, 2007

Soundwaves - Kinetica Museum, Spitalfields, London

Soundwaves - A collaboration between kinetica museum and cybersonica.
18th May - 29th June 2007

Thursday, May 31, 2007

AWN - Visual Music Article - Jean Detheux

Visual Music Marathon: Musical Fine Art Animation Benchmark by Jean Detheux

Excellent article by Jean Detheux, May 24th, 2007 discussing the Visual Music Marathon Event held on April 28th, 2007 in Boston. 13 pages of excellent comments and discussion, with a selection of videoclips from the event online, illustrated with the article.

Friday, May 11, 2007

book+dvd - "MuVi. Video and moving image on synesthesia and visual music"

Dina Riccò & Maria José de Cordoba (edited by),
"MuVi. Video and moving image on synesthesia and visual music"
Edizioni, Milano, 2007 [book+DVD]

MuVi, an acronym for Musica Visiva (“Visual Music”), an event of the Second
International Conference "Synaesthesia: Science & Art" (from April 28th to
May 1st 2007, Granada, Spain), is a collection of kinetic visual,
audio-visual or interactive works that spring from music by artists,
musicians, designers and performers. This catalogue collects the works of
the 23 participants that answered the call for kinetic works. The attached
DVD includes 40 movies, for a 150 minute video content.

The book is for sale here:

Dina Riccò
Politecnico di Milano - Facoltà del Design
Dipartimento INDACO
via Durando 38/a - 20158 Milano - ITALY

Sunday, April 29, 2007


The Visual Music Marathon Event took place yesterday, 28 April 2007 at the Egan Research Center, 120 Forsyth Street, Northeastern University, MA 02115 , Boston. What an amazing show of incredibly beautiful and stunning visuals and music. Organised by Dennis Miller.

This was an event worth seeing!!! - more here soon. Meanwhile, previews of some of the work that was shown is online at:

PREVIEW ANIMATION from Visual Music Marathon


The Visual Music Marathon Event took place yesterday at the Egan Research Center, 120 Forsyth Street, Northeastern University, MA 02115 , Boston. What an amazing show of incredibly beautiful and stunning visuals and music. Organised by Dennis Miller. This was an event worth seeing!!! - more here soon.

Meanwhile, previews of some of the work that was shown is online at:

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Theodore Watson - Audio Space - 2005

"Audio Space is a 3D augmented aural space. A user wearing a headset can leave messages at any point within the room and hear all the sounds left by everyone before them spatialised as if the people were really still there. It has been exhibited at ICHIM 05 in Paris and at the 2006 Eyebeam Summer Exhibition in New York."

"superimposes a dense sonic environment onto a completely empty physical space and allows the participant to explore and shape this seemingly hidden world of sound. "

Graffti Research Lab
Dedicated to outfitting graffiti artists with open source technologies for urban communication.
One of their events is:
"The Graffiti Research Lab will be in Rotterdam from February 7th through the 10th (2007). We’re taking control of the Renzo Piano KPN Telecom Building and turning the Kop Van Zuid into the People’s Revolutionary Green Laser Light District. We are turning the 37 x 72 meter screen into a place to display your uncurated animations and graphics"

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Heart Chamber Orchestra - audiovisual performance

"The Heart Chamber Orchestra - HCO - is an audiovisual performance. The orchestra consists of 12 classical musicians and the artist duo TERMINALBEACH. Using their heartbeats, the musicians control a computer composition and visualization environment. The musical score is generated in real time by the heartbeats of the musicians. They read and play this score from a computer screen placed in front of them.HCO forms a structure where music literally "comes from the heart".
"the musicians are equipped with ECG (electrocardiogram) sensors. a computer monitors & analyzes the state of these 12 hearts in real time. the acquired information is used to compose a musical score with the aid of computer software. it is a living score dependent on the state of the hearts."

Moonlight - Interactive Visualization of Beethoven's No.14

Moonlight is an interactive installation of the visualization of the first movement of Beethoven's No.14 Sonata.

Assign colors to songs at the free music promotion community,

"Synaesthesia is the mixing of the senses. Those affected by it hear colors, see sounds, and taste tactile sensations. When the two senses involved are sound and color, this phenomenon is no longer limited to synaesthetes: anyone, given a sound and time for contemplation, can ascribe color to that sound. Often, these connections between sound and color will overlap from person to person.
Color Of My Sound is an informal experiment to test that hypothesis. First, choose a sound category. Then, after listening, choose the color to which you are most strongly drawn. Give us your thoughts. Then, you can see how others voted for that particular sound. "

Wolfram Tones: An Experiment in a New Kind of Music

"WolframTones works by taking simple programs from Wolfram's computational universe, and using music theory and Mathematica algorithms to render them as music. Each program in effect defines a virtual world, with its own special story--and WolframTones captures it as a musical composition. "
This is really fun to play with....!!! Amazing composition controls in terms of a huge variety of musical scales

Transfer of Music into a Graphic Image

Interesinting work on transforming music intervals into a graphic image. Other project is the correspondence of sound to colour

Musical Graph Theory

Graph Theory enables you to navigate among 61 short, looping musical gragments to explore a composition for solo violin.
Jason Freeman - concept, music programming
Patricia Reed - design
Maja Ceran - violin

CTM2007: Illuminations 1.1

"Realtime projection, still images for print. Java + Processing w/ OpenGL. "
Marius Watz 2007

CODE & FORM: Computational Aesthetics

"CODE & FORM is a blog supporting the coding and teaching activities of Marius Watz. It contains documentation of workshops, as well as code for various projects. Email tips about relevant links or pieces of code to marius-at-unlekker-net."

Friday, February 2, 2007


"Audiopad is a composition and performance instrument for electronic music which tracks the positions of objects on a tabletop surface and converts their motion into music. One can pull sounds from a giant set of samples, juxtapose archived recordings against warm synthetic melodies, cut between drum loops to create new beats, and apply digital processing all at the same time on the same table. Audiopad not only allows for spontaneous reinterpretation of musical compositions, but also creates a visual and tactile dialogue between itself, the performer, and the audience. "

See website:

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Moditifed Toy Orchestra

Modified Toy Orchestra makes music from abandoned toys. They are a collection of abandoned and reconstructed Childrens electronic toys, conducted by a selection of musicians.

See their myspace website:

Make Beautiful Brain Music

Artist Luciana Haill uses medical electroencephalogram, or EEG, monitors embedded in a Bluetooth-enabled sweatband to record the activity of her frontal lobes, then beams the data to a computer that plays it back as song.

Make Beautiful Brain Music article in wired magazine

Monday, January 22, 2007

Futurevisual Call For Projects - 2007

Futurevisual Call For Projects.
Manchester, UK
"In 2007 we are inviting submissions of projects at the cutting edge of immersive sound and image. " Deadline: Thursday 15th February 2007.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

James Auger-Loizeau

Networked Performance Blog

Networked Performance Blog