And I’m back | New improvisations


My life is killing blogging, but i’m going to fight back, because there’s tons of great stuff to write about. I have been busy though, new job, new house, new business etc. Lots of interesting (and time sucking) stuff going on.

So my focus in playing and listening has changed a bit and it’s been causing me to be less active here. I’m trying to turn that around though, and I have a post in the works about all that, but it’s taking some time to write.


In short my playing has changed and become more focused (i think). I used to want to play everything in the world, but i have decided to limit what i do to a couple different things, so i can really begin to develop my own way of playing. What i’m working with right now is mostly centered around frequency, vibration, and playback. My tools include: motors, recorders, contact mics, and objects that can be struck or driven by vibrations.

I’ve also become concerned with the when, where, and why of making this kind of music, so some of my concerns as i’m playing are: How is this sound related to the others? Now that that is over what can I do next to make a break/continuation? How much/little space should there be? Should I do what feels right, or something more dramatic? etc. etc. And in general I’ve eschewed most stereotypical forms of drama or visceral action. I use very little physical movement or gesture, and i’ve done away with vocalization completely. The idea being to move focus away from my presence as a human and “artist/musician” to focus completely on sounds and their relationships/lack thereof.

Below is a couple of somewhat recent solos exploring these devices and ideas. One is using only motors and resonant objects, the other uses those in combination with pre-recorded sounds. I often record/playback sounds that are very similar to what I play live. In some ways it’s a device to blur the line between what i am playing ang not playing.


Motor solo 1

Motor solo 2 (with recordings)

BTW, I suck at wordpress, so I have no idea how to do an image caption. Anyway, what you see there is a vibrating construction with electric toothbrushes a speaker cone pickup and some tin-foil for resonance.

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14 Responses to “And I’m back | New improvisations”

  1. Steve Says:

    Link to #2 points to number. I believe this is the link proper:

    [audio src="" /]


  2. howsthatsound Says:

    both files have been changed to mp3 so they play in your browser properly. thanks steve!

  3. Nathan Says:

    You have some interesting experiments going on here, but you should try to incorporate rhythm into your future projects.

  4. Jake Says:

    Welcome back to the interwebs. Some of the drones you are getting in these recordings are awesome. Do you mind if I borrow a couple bits to create a piece?

  5. Argibachev Says:

    Thanks for coming back.

  6. erm Says:

    nice! i enjoyed these pieces quite a bit. i’ve been interested in motors lately as well. i ripped apart an electric water pick the other day and exposed a pretty nice motor. haven’t recorded anything with it yet though.

  7. Nathan Says:

    Well I don’t think that I will get you to agree with me then, but I do want to point out that the first three videos are all rhythmic. You can follow the beats by tapping your feet. I think the first two pieces are even in 4/4. “Modern” classical music is particularly mathematical, even if it’s unconventional and sometimes sounds are placed on odd beats. All the instruments are able to play together and everyone knows at exactly what point in time the next beat is going to occur.

    • howsthatsound Says:

      Yes, there is a form of rhythm in both pieces (though neither 4/4), so perhaps i misunderstood you. Either way, I really don’t have time to get into all of this, but it is clear from what you assert that you have missed out on quite a bit of the last 50 years of music. The idea that music had to have a rhythmic center was pretty much abandoned (at least in academic/classical circles) as early as the fifties (John Cage?). Furthermore, i don’t see how it helps anyone, walking around dictating to them what is music. It doesn’t even matter in the long-run if you use the term music or not, the fact is that many people listen to very abstract sounds for auditory pleasure. Sure you can say it’s not music if you like, but there are entire musical cultures that would say otherwise.

  8. mike Says:

    Hi i just wanted to stop by and say great that you have come back, i felt i should say hi because i have read your blog for near 2 years and it helped keep me sane in a bad time in my life just because you have a good calm writing style beyond what experiments you are going for. I just wanted to say that because life can go by somethines and things you meant to say even if they are trivial and wouldnt be missed if you never said can still be erm said lol. Anyway i just wanted to say that i think this blog is great and your experiments and friendly open mind is really cool and i hope you continue with it šŸ™‚

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