Software over the rainbow

desearch and revelopment

“I Stopped Buying Music”

speaking of which, there’s also The Real London Underground: Experimental Music at the End of the 90s, in which kenneth goldsmith makes a map of the london underground (music) of the time.

His mention of chris cutler makes the article appropiately relevant for the discussion sparked by his recent filesharing epiphany published in the wire, in which he admitted “As a result, just like you, I stopped buying music.”, and got responses from chris cutler and david keenan. The fact that the 90s article seems to be based on one of the record hunting field trips that he mentions in epyphany no.4 gives a nice context to the discussion.

Popular Guide to Unpopular Music

I keep going back to the popular guide to unpopular music, a series of articles on avant-garde music and life written by kenneth goldsmith around the end of last century. On “don’t quit your day job. yet…” he interviews 5 composers about how their (non-composing related) day job has helped and influenced their practice. “High pop: the avant garde as ear candy” is a grumpy reflection on the popularisation of new music in the late nineties, with the american premiere of a xenakis piece as an excuse. The generally disgruntled style and his deep knowledge of the subject make the articles a very engaging read.

Handmade Winter

Back in january I spent some time exploring simple electronic circuits for sound, following the lovely handmade electronic music. One of the greatest discoveries was voltage starving, which gave a great degree of unpredictability to any circuit.

I recorded some explorations. I find it interesting to imagine what is happening inside the circuit to make the sound vary so wildly, as I was just slowly turning up and down a couple of knobs.

handmade, 15 jan by jesusgollonet

winter noise

Erikm & Ferran Fages @ Cccb [L’ull Cec]

This was going to be a blog post about how sometimes I discover a new music scene that I have no clue about and get into hunter mode, looking for more about the context, label, whatever in a glutton, semi-intoxicated state, and how this week this has happened with emeralds, and the not-new-york-not-california usa experimental music scene, which release mostly on tape and cdr, and how a couple of months ago it was experimental turntablism, via dj sniff, steim, erikm, paul bell, james kelly and the itchy muzik forum which extended my rather traditional philip jeck/christian marclay culture in that area.

But it ended being a linkless, 5 minute post because it was getting long, and was going to get lost as always, and the only thing that I really wanted was an excuse to plug a concert by erikm & ferran fages next week (wednesday 4th, 21:00) at cccb (bcn). organised by l’ull cec, a collective that is arranging lots of concerts that I usually haven’t attended because I didn’t know the artists, but end up invariably regreting 2 or 3 months later when I discover them.

Not this time.

Meanwhile, Near By…

An openFrameworks workgroup has started this week at Hangar. Every thursday until March, the wise Arturo will be there helping you with any doubt that you have. From 19 to 21 pm. +info

The equally talented Chris Sugrue will be doing the same in Madrid’s Medialab. Every friday from 19 to 21pm. +info

Last, and this has been going on for some months now, the incombustible Alba Corral has created an increasingly active spanish speaking processing community, with forum, wiki and more cool projects on the way.

Edit: I almost forget that there is also an introductory workshop to computer sound synthesis taught (with chuck) by Eduard Aylon. In a couple of weeks also in hangar.

Instructions, Limitations

Instruction set is a recently launched site that gives some instructions every month and asks for implementations in code. Think Sol Lewitt goes 2.0 (sorry I couldn’t resist). It is a beautiful simple idea and It’s stealing me lots of braincycles (see).

I’ve heard raindrops here and there about design by limitation lately. Number of chars in twitter, flickr video length, 1 photo/day in fotolog… There are a couple of limitations in instructionset which I missed at first but on a second thought I found interesting:

  • There’s no clear way to post a result (images, applets, audio…). You can always give a url, but it is not even suggested. I thought it might be an obvious improvement, but after trying to come up with solutions for the 2 first instructions, I’ve discovered that results could be a distraction. Instructions are about language and interpretation. I’ve found myself repeating the sentence, trying to define exactly every word, looking for a fold, or a flaw in which to introduce a deviation… Thinking how they relate to the programming language, how I relate to the programming language (specially with the first one “draw a straight line and follow it”)… I think that this relationship between everyday and programming language is a powerful one to explore.

  • There is no form of comments/discussion other than the description of you implementation. After seeing some of the contributions, I’ve found interesting approaches and I’d like to give feedback, but given the overwhelming noise ratio in today’s software playgrounds, I appreciate that there’s no way to do it. Paraphrasing Cage: just respond with your implementation.

Now, I don’t know if these are intended features or result of an early release, but if one could vote against new features… :)

A Timestamped Generation

Thinking about the traces we leave behind in all the software we use, I was wondering:

How will the biography of a data-intensive person – you know, blogs, twitter, delicious, tumblr,…– look like in the future? Will those “domestic privacies” be taken into account?

How will the fact that we have a clear, unambiguous point of reference for our own thoughts, places visited, people met, images, consumed products… affect the way we perceive ourselves? or the way we will be perceived in the future?

Just thinking out loud, to hear how it sounds like.

La Metatortilla

o de cómo se me cayó un trozo de la tortilla que estaba friendo en el plato de la que estaba batiendo.

Mess Up, Dig for Context, Scatter… and Find Your Stuff

So I bit the bullet and have just opened a tumblr account. I’ve been somehow reluctant to try just another service (despite passionate, reliable recommendations). The way I use delicious (keeping an annotated track of interesting stuff) is pretty similar to what I could get using tumblr, so why should I add another tool?

The main point for storing things (es) is retrieving them. Common sense dictates that to find your things easily (and I’m rather obsessed with that), you should keep similar things in the same place, so the use of multiple services to keep track of similar information might seem counterproductive.

I have the tentative feeling that this is not so:

The richness of our homes results from our influence over their every characteristics and their accumulation of the traces of our activities. This richness is missing from our digital dwellings (by which I mean file systems, application windows, blogs, and mobile phones as well as the virtual locations in online worlds that more closely mimic physical homes).

Exploring personal digital archives for non-functional purposes.
David A. Mellis.

One of the things I’ve learned to love about storing bookmarks in delicious is to forget about being organised at all. Taking advantage of idiosincracies related to personal experience, jokes, fuzzy relationships, ongoing thoughts etc. in titles descriptions and tags helps me find my information more easily. It adds the rich trace of my activities that software usually lacks.

Then, using different services adds, I believe, an additional layer of context. Episodic memory is characterized by having a unique context associated with a learning episode. The context of storing a bit of information is both physical (at work, at home…) and digital (where it comes from, where you store it…). Adding variety at this level might help a bit. You’ll save it in a slightly different way, and to a different place, for a peculiar reason. The little thoughts that you have when deciding to store it in either place will also be part of its context.

So my experimental feeling is that a reasonable amount (it’s not necessary to become francis bacon) of scattering could inject some healthy variety to our experience of digital information, giving us a richer context in which to manage our own data. To put it Mellis words again, we might be making our storage less efficient, but we’d be improving our memory of it.

And after all, the honorable 2.0 tradition of giving outer access to personal data makes scattering a simple problem of aggregation. You can always centralize your traces.

Let’s see how it goes.

Support Dublab!

For those of you who don’t know, L.A.’s is simply the best radio station of the internets.

I still remember that glorious day that my brother told me “hey you must come and see that!, I’ve discovered a radio station and they’re playing Sun ra’s ‘Space is the Place’. Full length!!” (gracias nono). That was like 5 or 6 years ago, and in this time my debt for them has only grown. I’ve discovered there tons of my favorite musicians…

So I thought that you could go there, tune in to the stream or download some podcasts, fall in love with their music and donate some money to support their expenses, could you?

dublab proton drive poster