Iain Cameron's Diary
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2006-10-30 - 9:04 a.m.

Lawrence is back from Rome – he went to see Shostakovich SQ8 in Oxford yesterday – I am envious. We watched the Departed on Saturday night and I cut trees and bushes down to size this weekend. Reviews of the Glyndbourne Turn of the Screw which we are seeing in Woking this Thursday. Vita is working in GAP at the weekends.

On Friday I spent an hour looking at shiny old cars – especially early 1950s Porsche and Austin Metropolitans. I was with Julia who it transpires used to be a dancer and has danced in the Kylie troupe on tour and with Tom Jones in Las Vegas. We drove from the NEC back to central Birmingham to do the RDA Economic Strategy consultation.

I have started to use a Yamaha a-100 as my power-amp at cameron-towers. I bought it second hand in Coventry about five years ago and then had to have it serviced so that somehow it never made its way into the setup. I sneaked out from a session I had introduced led by the Cambridge technology route-mapping specialists – it was held in Coventry Football Club.

It’s a decent studio power amp of one two generations back. I have bought some marginally better bookshelf speakers for it. And it has provoked me into reconfiguring the disposition of Wavelab across the laptops and the outboard kit. The result is that I can record something and run it on the demo version of Wavelab with the nice effects and play it through the outboard Edirol soundcard – while recording the playback and an added part, back through the Edirol into the standard version of Wavelab.

In many ways this process is the simplest of sound on sound techniques but it suits me. The current piece uses the Casio GM box playing chords which began to take over this weekend – a diminished chord with two added notes a minor third apart – this minord third is a semitone down from the diminished chord – so the harnony has two minor seconds. The highest note from the added minor third is taken as the dominant – and this resolves conventionally into a six note major chord. Then that tonic provides the root for the next diminished chord. It cycles the way things do through three key centres.

However it is two such cycles the first shorter than the second which is a complete cycle – the first cycle is only two thirds the length. So the structure is BCA ABCA – so there is a defininte sense of destination. The second voice at the moment is a trumpet patch from the Casio GM box. I have been playing around with flute lines. It’s the kind of piece that could end up as a soundtrack on a short text-driven vid.

I read and article this weekend published in June this year about BS and music technology. BS is now the boss of IRCAM where Boulez presided for a long while – this is the sort of the thing that would only happen in france – given that he has done time for robbery I think it is. In england delinquent philosophers arent put in charge of the V+A. The article looks at the deep philosophy of technology of BS and starts to play with its implications for music technology.

If technology represents a deep engagement as far as our awareness of ourselves and our surroundings is concerned – this is the fundamental starting point for BS – then music as a domain which carries meaning is likely to change radically when technology takes hold. We might expect forms and the meaning carried by forms and the developmental possibilities engendered by musical forms to shift. You might say that Steve Reich and looping-phasing is an example of this process at work.

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