Algorithmic Midi Music

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There are a lot of things I Want to write about today

First I have been making algorithmic music – I take a midi file and then I process it a number of times. It’s not a genetic algorithm really, but it is evolutionary. There are three elements that change, the notes, the tempo, and the force the note is played (velocity). I can take these notes individually or in segments (bars for example), or chords (as another example). I can fix or two elements and let the third float. What room is there for randomness. John Cage used the IChing. I am reading about Olson and projective verse. What is poetry but the breath between two words.

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Tools for Personal Metaphysics

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I wrote before tools for personal mythology -but now I am talking about metaphysics. What is mythology? Stories with symbolic (multilayered/infinite meaning) that ground meaning – ie explain the world.

What is metaphysics? It describes or posits the nature of reality – of the world. Metaphysics is theoretical. Theory comes from the greek word for view. So there is something about metaphysics that is about a point of view. We are empiricists or realists – these are different metaphysical theories.

What is mythology? Mythology for me is concrete. It a story to describe the way things are the way things are. It can be interpreted in different ways. Mythology comes from the world mythos – the greek word for speech. So there is something about mythology that is about communication and about utterance.

Metaphysics is about sight, Mythology is about sound. A mythology can produce multiple metaphysics. A metaphysic can provide an impetus to create a mythology.

I go back to what does the spleen produce, what does the heart? Or even the olfactory sense? Here we have ears and eyes. I just imagined Titus Andronicus. Lavinia’s hands and tongue is removed… but she communicates eventually by holding a stick in her hand and drawing in the dirt.

Is mythology about talking or listening?

In tools for my personal metaphysics – I am thinking about the point of view, I am thinking about the structure of the thing, the scaffolding. How to bring things to life… so this is what I am doing as I compile my book of X of the past year.

  1. reflection: photographing parts of my journals
  2. reading: screenshots of pdfs / readings from the past year
  3. music (download spotify played songs)
  4. film (kino, amzn, netflix, youtube, vimeo)
  5. relationships (zoom converstions, discord conversations, emails, signal, telegraph, calendar)

As I write this I think of all the things left out, puzzles with kids, dishes made, intentions unrealized, fleeting moments, feelings, emotions, weather, plants, laying on the beach with a friend holding hands waving good bye to summer. But I am sure this is still there… The medium of a book imposes its own parameters.

Vessel Metaphysics

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I am not a dancer. Many years ago, at summer camp, if your bunk was the last to sign up for an elective you got stuck with Dance. One of my bunk mates really developed a love of Dance and learned dance moves and choreographed dances and eventually started selecting Dance even when we could pick fun things like water skiing.

I never understood it.

Mysteriously, I have been interested in Dance as of late. I am capitalizing Dance and that is intentional. Over the years I have tried to understand what is going on in dance. I would watch Youtube videos of Agon and then watch explainer videos.

I recently read Yvonne Rainer’s autobiography feelings are facts, because I am so interested in feelings these days. This led me to watch a lot of Trio A on youtube. This is not Trio A – but I saw I on vimeo and it is from 2020 – people wearing masks. I was watching it with one of my kids, who was not enthralled but liked snuggling with mama, so I’ll take it.

Somewhere Rainer said that you cant learn her dances from watching a video. That is a problem when you want to teach a particular dance (especially if the choreographer dies). Although now with some fangled new dance notation this may be less of an issue. I am finding a connection with dance more and more via my practice of tai chi, which is all about these subtle movements and focus of attention that impact your larger more obvious movement.

As I meditated on all this – I realized – dance is a space. That we can learn or transform by participating in these more specialized spaces, dance, games, theater. I always thought there was something reductive about games and rules – that I was able to focus less, or shut off part of my brain – but perhaps it trains us in participating in spaces through dance, through theater, through ritual- what do these different modalities offer us. Is it pedagogical or transformational/

Then – as I am writing this – in real time – I think of Huizinga and games and ritual and maybe Artaud. His name is floating through me. I am thinking about spaces and containers as spaces and containers for all types of things. Everything is a space of some sort. This is sort of like a metaphysics of the vessel. Maybe I’ll finish reading finite and infinite games.

Tools for Personal Mythology

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I am looking through things I have written drawn read collected entertained etc over the past year to understand where I have been and where I am going…

I drew some pretty crazy maps that I don’t have with me so I cannot post them.

I imagine this exercise as creating a personal mythology.

At first this felt onerous … however this should be fun.

I am creating a book – I call it “The Book of Meredith” … even though it is only from about Nov 2019 to Nov 2021. And although I am calling the process creating a personal mythology what I really imagine myself is redaction – preparing something for publication

Whenever something feels like too much work with this experiment, I change what I am doing and I do easy…

What is the smallest action I can take …

I want to ask questions at the margins … Why does something feel like too much- how can we shift that…

I originally thought that maybe I wanted to do this ‘Book of Meredith’ with other people. We could make and exchange our books with one another. But this felt like a pain to organize. I am sort of more interested in discussing personal mythology and redaction and making a syllabus … if other people want to make books and then we can share books – that would be cool too.

Edges

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We are going to have a new moon in scorpio on the 4th. I was reading an astrologer friend say that scorpio is called the edge walker.

Edges are very interesting.

In games of chance you always want to find an edge. (probably in any game really)

In modernist paintings we talk about the picture plane, color, and edges,

When one of my kids were young they would play with trains a lot and always ask what is an edge (with regard to a train track).

There are other places I could go with this – but I wont (edging) ok maybe i will

In graph theory you have verticies and edges.

Also you can edge towards someone – slowly approach them – how is this like an edge.

I read yesterday in a book on Freud that systems are made so that there is an inside and an outside -I don’t agree with this -but boundaries are also edges.

  1. A thin, sharpened side, as of the blade of a cutting instrument.
  2. The degree of sharpness of a cutting blade.
  3. A penetrating, incisive quality.
  4. A slight but noticeable sharpness, harshness, or discomforting quality.
  5. Keenness, as of desire or enjoyment; zest.
  6. The line or area farthest away from the middle: synonym: border.
  7. The line of intersection of two surfaces.

From the online dictionary

I am reading a lot of Owen Barfield at the moment – and apparently the word Focus originally meant hearth.

What does the word edge originally mean -well from old English – sword.

But from Greek we have

…akros “at the end, at the top, outermost; consummate, excellent,” akis “sharp point,” akros “at the farthest point, highest, outermost,” akantha “thorn,” akme “summit, edge,” oxys “sharp, bitter;” Sanskrit acri- “corner, edge,” acani- “point of an arrow,” asrih “edge;” Oscan akrid (ablative singular) “sharply;” Latin acer (fem. acris) “sharp to the senses, pungent, bitter, eager, fierce,” acutus “sharp, pointed,” acuere “to sharpen,” acerbus “harsh, bitter,” acere “be sharp, be bitter,” acus “a needle, pin,” ocris “jagged mountain;” Lithuanian ašmuo “sharpness,” akstis “sharp stick;” Old Lithuanian aštras, Lithuanian aštrus “sharp;” Old Church Slavonic ostru, Russian óstryj “sharp;” Old Irish er “high;” Welsh ochr “edge, corner, border;” Old Norse eggja “goad;” Old English ecg “sword;” German Eck “corner.””

Steve Jobs was always talking about rounded rects -that is sort of an edge – a corner

Expression and Communication

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“It is not much use having a perfect means of communication if you have nothing to communicate except the relative positions of bodies in space-or if you will never again have anything new to communicate. In the same way it is not much use expressing your_ self very fully and perfectly indeed-if nobody can understand a word you are saying.” Owen Barfield

Rules and Art

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I am listening to this great lecture by Pat Lipsky – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g0QHr-FwBsU. I participate in her painting class at the Arts Students League.

Anyway – why is art with shock value more popular today than art that is beautiful.

One thought is taste, i would really call this an epistemological issue – that people don’t know what beautiful is. I’m not say I do – but that there is something call beautiful and it involves knowledge and its hard to know.

What I think is this… In the lecture Pat I think quotes Kant “Genius is a talent for reproducing that for which there are no definite rules”

So somewhere people got confused. Art became about breaking rules rather than about doing something that has no rules.

And that my friends is what shock art is

thank you for reading

to quote Rousseau – “Man is born free but everywhere he is in chains”

also there is freeportism – art is a form of exchange

Modular sound

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Today I received the Teenage Engineering newsletter with the following clip

It is called a scientific study in modular sound. The modular sound is the yellow module. I really think the live drumming is critical. I enjoy looking at the landscape but cannot imagine the location impacts the acoustics well since there is no place for the sound to reverb off – but maybe that is the point.

What is the point of the study? What are we testing? I am not sure.

Modular sound, is a play on modular synths. Modular synthesizers are synthesizers that do specific things, like low band pass filters. You string the different synths together to create a sound.

What is a module of sound. How do we string sounds together?

Music Generation & I have no idea what I want to write about

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Sometimes I dont know what to write until I start writing. That is sort of irritating. I would like to imagine that I have an idea of what I want to express first and sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. But as I start writing now I realize I do have something to express. WOW!

Sometimes I also dont know how to respond to people and how to have conversations and I get anxious and then I really dont know what to express – this sort of sucks. I feel pressure I feel fear and then whatever comes out of my mouth is banal and I feel like an idiot. All this

Right now as I started writing I thought of the generative music project I am working on. 100 years ago when I was dewey and 24 – I worked on a collaboration with amazing women on musical robots – dbots. These were robots made out of cell phones and they played a generative dtmf song – it was amazing.

What is good generative music? I am workin on something now with Stephen Williams

Have a listen – what famous classical piece do you think this is based on?