two guitars and some live patching

I spent the day at Ben’s house, recording (guitars mostly) for an album that we (and others) are (sporadically) working on. Ryan joined us in the evening, and he played some guitar parts that Ben had written.

Ryan came up with a new guitar part for a tune that I’d written a few months ago. Whilst setting up to record this I really enjoyed the way Ben and Ryan were improvising together on the riff, and it started to sound better at the slightly faster tempo they’d gone to with it. Rather than pull it back to what it was before, I moved their amps/cabs to face each other, placed a Yamaha Pocketrak C24 between them, and set it to record in stereo. This meant that my laptop was no longer involved in the recording, and so my mind turned to video…

Whilst they played I took some photographs using an old Nikon E4600 set to its ‘continuous’ mode that, after the shutter button is pressed, takes 16 pictures that are saved as a matrix of frames in a single image file. The rate at which the 16 pictures are taken depends on light levels and other factors. Several of these were taken whilst the sound of the guitars being played was recorded. Here’s an example of the camera being moved while the frames are captured:


Using a utility that is a work in progress (I started programming it last week) the images can be split are recombined temporally as video… Post-production time is required for rendering this improvised (and somewhat experimental) video with its audio; anticipating that this would not happen before midnight tonight, I took a different approach to hacking a video together in (almost) real-time (only almost, because trimming the ends, and rendering it out are need).

After eating some cake, Ben and Ryan played guitar some more. Using the headphone output of the C24 as input to MaxMSP, the stereo signal was patched into my sub synth amp map patch, and I hacked together some jitter matrix manipulations to the visual output whilst recording the audio and a small section of the screen.

Here’s two minutes of the result – it’s pretty rough in more ways than one, but it’s improvised, and it’s video, and it’s newly created today:


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CreativePact is the hub of a group of artists, musicians and technologists who enter a pact to create and document some new creative output regularly over the course of a month. Pacts may begin between August-October and run for 30 days.

In years gone by the word regularly would have been daily, but I’m glad, for the greater good, that it has changed – doing and documenting everyday for month is quite a challenge. Yet it is day by day grind that this CreativePacter has committed to.

For me today is day two, and the new creative output of the day is going to be the addition of another, quite arbitrarily selected, video from the vimeo vaults. I fin myself questioning just how ‘creative’ that is, but then that question leads to whatever blah squeltch. Let’s just call this a research phase towards the more obviously newly created creative outputs I that hope to produce later in the month…

Overly detailed explanations of that research process shall be spared. Instead, today (and in no particular order), here is a shortlist videos that I have viewed this evening:

Having decided not to describe the process of deciding, it seems to me now that that process of writing is itself helpful in the ordering of thoughts towards a decision. Second-guessing and attempting to foresee where and to what and perhaps how things could be affected in the future by present choices is going on. Punctuation is needed in the previous group of words.

With only a vague idea of why, those embedded below are added to ← this is an open thing to which anyone can add videos…

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Day one for this CreativePact project (see the intro posted yesterday, and see for other projects going on this month), and to begin this month of collecting videos of improvisation I started with some simple searches. The term ‘improv’ returns many cases of words like ‘improvement’ in the video titles, descriptions and tags; nevertheless, this video did catch my eye:

Pressure Points Improv from James Cigler on Vimeo.

A short little improv of a simple FM+waveshaping patch being controlled by the Gate and Pressure outputs of a set of MakeNoise Pressure Points. Only the top row of potentiometers is used, controlling the pitch, the rest is all the Gate and Pressure voltages generated by touching the pads.

I love the way that the first part of this video is given to vocal description of the soundmaking instrument that is then played. On reflection, after viewing the next video to be discussed, this video by James Cigler can be thought of as having a certain nakedness about it: both in the way that the technologies being used are portrayed (rather than simply letting the hands be seen and the sounds they are making be heard, the performer exposes something of the underlying processes that would otherwise be unseen), and the visual aesthetic of the electronic instrument itself, which is a minimally dressed circuit board that responds to human touch, has (if not too tenuous now) a nakedness about it too.

Searching on vimeo for ‘improvisation’ – before applying any additional filters to the results – displays first the four results shown in the screenshot below:

Search videos for improvisation

These results, for me, raise number questions and potential issues for this somewhat un-planned-out project. Even before watching them the lower two of those, in particular, had me pondering along various trains of thought… for now, let’s just think about the improvised dancing from the woman without clothing:

Quick Improvisation from Bubulcus on Vimeo.

Natasha Improvisation. Music composed by SredAn / Based on Ethiopian song.

Nakedness is no big deal, especially in the context of the arts, but it’s also something that I don’t recall ever having to think about in the context inclusive improv, but rather than explore the question here, I’ll just let you do your own thinking, and will respond to any comments below… Moving on towards choosing a video to add the inclusive improv collection today let’s think about licensing.

Whereas Quick Improvisation has a (cc) by-nc license, the Pressure Points Improv video is without creative commons licensing. Although the video can still be added to vimeo collections (an option that can be switched off by the uploader) this subtle detail of the way the video has been shared by its creator helps to simplify the task of curating…

Add to the mix of ideas today that I’d rather focus on newer content, I decided to filter the search results to show, by date, videos with a (cc) by license, and then to go with the first result in that list. So the video chosen today is:

Search videos for improvisation (cc)by

I’m happy enough with that as a start:

Evan Parker Jams With The Reid School of Music from HSS Webteam on Vimeo.

International Saxophonist Evan Parker leads a unique lesson in musical improvisation at The Reid School of Music.

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CreativePact 2014: Inclusive Improv Vimeo Group

CreativePact 4 Aug – 4 Sep, 2014

In short:
share a video each day via (either something found or something new), and blog about it.

After an exchange of messages, few months ago, with someone on vimeo about the inclusive improv group on that site, a new description was added to the group:

Inclusive Improv began around Huddersfield in 2007, organising events of different kinds involving improvisation […]. This Vimeo Group is now open to addition of videos by anyone anywhere as a way to share diverse improv practices…

For CreativePact 2014, I would like to add a video each day to the inclusive improv vimeo group; these might be newly made (perhaps using the inclusive improv archive) or plundered from vimeo, either way I plan to write something about each one at in order to document the process of expanding this open collection of improv videos.

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Visually Representing CeReNeM

Several people, including Monty Adkins, who was the co-supervisor of my PhD, shared a link to an article on which describes many of the inspiring goings on at CeReNeM – the Centre for Research in New Music at the University of Huddersfield.


The thing that first caught my eye about this was the way that it is one of my Max patches that has been used as the featured image for the article.

The image will have been taken from the HISS website where it is one a few of my images originally created as part of the WofS events in 2010.

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thisis drawing circles

A data matrix from sdfsys exported as a png:


The data was drawn using the macro syntax of thisis; six slightly different macro sequences were recorded for putting points relative to points that have been put, and another macro is defined for drawing six circles at a time with those points.

The delay prefix to the macro run command for the drawing was used when moving and then drawing within the same parse of the text buffer.

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Getting there

With such a backlog of things that one could blog about, one may feel overwhelmed to the point of paralysis, and thus end up not posting anything.  Having updated aspects of my internet self in the past 24 hours, I thought it time to post something, so that’s what this is.

Because it’s blog post about posting blog posts I’m creating the ‘meta’ category for it, but I’ll also file it under ‘null’ which is the only other category in place so far.†

I’m close to completing the ‘minor corrections/amendments’ to my PhD.  Alongside the process of correcting typos, adding a few citations, and so on, I have also been porting most of my PhD work to a static HTML site: – I’m getting there now with all that, and looking forward to actually finishing it.  The degree was award six weeks ago, which is when all the congratulations come, but I don’t expect to feel that it’s over until I’ve got the hat on.

I hope the University’s Chancellor will be there to preside at my graduation (whenever that may be)…

† (having written more, I suppose there are more categories that can be created at this point too)

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Hello world!

Welcome to yet another WordPress site. This one is for me (sdf/Sam/Samuel Freeman) to represent various involvements that I have and have had.  From my academic work and publications, to commissioned collaborations and recreational musicking.

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