References / relations / background:
Contagious Speech is a video essay by Nicoline van Harskamp about breath, speech, and screens. She points for instance to the influence of zooming on our way of speaking online and in "real" life.
Ximena Alarcon, Three listening rituals in Sonic Migrations.
Language Removal Services :
http://www.ubu.com/sound/mo.html (CD2 : Tracks 2, 8 and 13)
John Cage "Empty Words" (1974) (excerpt https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w5U4Z3Z5ff0) ... making English less understandable. Because when it's understandable, well, people control one another, and poetry disappears --and as I was talking with my friend Norman O. Brown, and he said, "Syntax [which is what makes things understandable] is the army, is the arrangement of the army." ... https://writing.upenn.edu/~afilreis/88v/cage-radio.html
Revisiting our assumptions regarding our process altogether /// third anniversary /// a metaconversation about if we will be a group that decides about our future direction based on non-blindfolded conversations or will we be a group that figures out our future direction by continuing to throw ourselves in and have blindfolded whatever they are. or both.
Utterings was always about communication , not using words, in an online environment where an algorhytm is participating
where we can have individual goals, startingpoints, attention points
with an interest in a liminal space between language and music, semiotic communication - it became also about or relationship about us, about these people different places, different agenda's, about being with the others, but not obliged to go along
others with whom I can discuss without walking away - that's precious
we did very weird and delicate things together - a change in attunement changes everything and that tells that we are more similar than we are different - something to cling to in an environment where everybody is tribalizing, highlighting differences
what would make Utterings most worthwhile (personnaly going forward) and why?
utterings is unique - to be so close to people in such an intimate way, that was not known before to us and exists nowhere else
we are a good BAND
we are special, it's us, we do it in a certain way
we try to reach out to others, to establish some kind of communication - we throw sounds in meant to trigger a specific person (empathically)
we do weird things and are crazy
utterings is one "person" consisting of us 5
( Gibson Steely Dan: "Artistic collaboration is a profoundly strange business. Do it right up to the hill, as it were, and you and your partner will generate a third party, some thoroughly Other, and often one capable of things neither you nor the very reasonable gentleman seated opposite would even begin to consider. "Who," asks one of those disembodied voices in Mr. Burroughs' multi-level scrapbooks, "is the Third who walks beside us?" My theory, such as it is, about Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, is that their Third, their Other, Mistah Steely Dan hisself, proved so problematic an entity for the both of them, so seductive and determined a swirl of extoplasm, that they opted to stay the hell away from him for twenty years." https://sdarchive.com/2vngibson.html )
why would it be a public practice? what do we present to the audience as an objet?
some satisfaction of some audience is important and that gives anxiety
how do we want to cherish the audience, how do we want them to respect us?
as a private practice I got knowledge of myself and you - how to make this public otherwise than letting people in utterings? (as a practice utterings might be stronger than utterings as an object)
already now: we are valueing the audience as a means to develop the practice, and this makes us more rigorous
If we consider what we are doing research, then the audience is getting access to this research through our practices, they get access to the laboratory. They would need to know what the practice is about to be able to be "engaged spectators". (here we could do better) From our side it is a strong gestures to give them this access. The performance is not the object. The object is the video when we decide to put it online or not, the object is the website and it could be a well-designed performance.
the object will be the conceptualizing of the practice, more than the pratice itself - this relieves psychologically from the issue of the audience - we are not working on the outcome but we are working on something with specific, carefully driven outlines in a transparent lab
what we did as performances so far were moments of utterings, all together they form the object
test utterings with a life audience - it could bring an interesting layer to what we do and why we do it online - each time we do it, it changes and shapes the practice - we could explore the role of the audience more for instance in a set-up were one or more of us would perform in front of an audience, still all online. (other configurations are possible)
It wil always stay ways of trial and error - if this then... What was gained, what was lost in the different situations?
a point of discussion/friction: conversation versus music / legitimacy
For some there is a need of discipline, better knowledge of what we do - there is a lack of precisson, would we need a vocab?, language?, musical ideas? Structure?
legitimacy (being with people), but there is a part that needs legitimacy and needs to work hard, needs structure, so others can ty into it, understand, work with it.
what could be the tools we could talk about?
- envelopes that create the duration of a sound, the tone that generates the sound, the wavefold that changes the timbre, triggers that initiate the start of a sound, an algo that generates when these triggers go of over time
there could be a system with for instance a person in the group that has the role to be the signal instigator, and each person could be assigned a pitch or a phoneme or whatever and those roles could switch - what if this group were a modular synthesiser?
Could you take humans and come up with a system where one person controls the duration of a sound without making a sound and another the pitch without controlling the duration of a sound ?
A signalinstigator would be the closest thing towards something we could identify as a direction, and there seems to be a way to influence the different elements influence each other (randomness), and the elements need to know how to reply to the original instigation and to each other -> it adds constraints - it would be good to try such a session with a direction and all constraints fully explained - it could be a relief from "working hard" ... it would be not sloppy and we still won't be in control of the outcome, we will never be, so we should try
a hybrid between human empathy (life improvisation) and a generative system
Could we make a list of these determining concepts, so we can understand what they refer to and then to see how we could apply it. it might bring forth a different kind of artistic statement reconsidering what we offer, exhibit
some of us might be bad at music, but are willing to try a more musical direction
Our 5 bodies together in one room in a circle, backs to each other, total noise cancelation in the ears, and microphones - finding a togetherness we never had and also find out what would be lacking in this situation - we would lack the algorhytm, all alone, no noise, fewer distractions, not seeing each other and basically listening to the weaving (without bonuses as dogs barking etc.)
If we can do such a life session, it would be interesting to see and feel all the changes, and then afterwards going back to online it would be interesting to see and feel these differences, not assuming they will all be beneficial. something is always lost in changes and something is always gained.
I'd like to work on two aspects defined by our glossary, tone/timbre (pitch, intensity and strength) within waves :
- Tone / timbre = color or timbre and is more about the quality or thickness of a note. Think of tone as the emotional aspect of a sound. The pitch, intensity, and strength of the sound are all things that determine its tone. https://sloanschoolofmusic.com/pitch-vs-tone/ In terms of soundwaves, tone is the result of the shape of the wave (its waveform). A smooth sine wave has a smooth tone, a triangle wave has a sharper tone, a saw shaped wave has a more aggressive tone, a square shaped wave has a kind of smooth distorted tone. Folding a wave back on itself creates complex wave forms. If you fold a wave enough, its pitch changes.
- Wave: There are lots of waves in the world (light waves, microwaves, gamma waves, sound waves). None of these waves are fundamentally different than each other. They are all just waves of different amplitudes (heights), frequencies (rates), and shapes (forms). What humans call a sound wave is just a wave that falls within a frequency range that human bodies interpret as “sound.”
Using what we already explored around 'words' as a base, what happens if our common language is primarily made of pitch, intensity and strength, and that's what we get to modulate?
10 minute attunement on this Pauline Oliveros Accordion & Voice track (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uT20aS-NvOo&list=RDEMwGCcagZ_xcHTB4WqgiKS-A&index=1 the first 10 minutes) + Session 20 minutes.
Two precise moments, one of suspension and one of silence. These moments can follow one another, but preferably shouldn't. Our knobs are pitch, intensity and strength, as well as the shapes our overall sound makes as if what we created were a kaleidoscope: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9onVbHa9sk .
We know that our individual perceptions of the common sound we produced are actually different and skewed, but how do we contribute to the harmony/balance/journey of the overall sound individually by modulating pitch, intensity and strength so that we get to that moment of suspension, and that moment of silence? (silence could come before the moment of suspension, also)
We will use low noise reduction in zoom and that for 10 miutes we should stay with tone / timbre before we could include prosody.
a metaconversation - third anniversary
January 30st 2023 16h
unique, weird, one "person" consisting of 5, audience role, transparent lab, legitimacy, glossary
April 22nd 2023 6pm CEST
Session tone / timbre
I have been listening to a lot of vinyl lately. On older worn records, when the song gets quiet and goes to the "silent" part in between songs, crackles gradually emerge (maybe they were there all along and they are just allowed to appear), and then when the next song starts, the sound of the next song overpowers the crackles. Parts of the performance made me think of that.
There were some cool harmonic overtones at 6:45-7:00, and throughout. They seemed to be coming from the network's compression algorithm rather than anything a single person was doing. I love stuff like that: the "voice" of the media substrate rising up to audibly collaborate with us. The overtones sound to me like tuvan throat singing ( https://youtu.be/CSyVS_kPMeU ). When I am participating, I only ever hear those overtones once I stop making sound myself. I assume this is because the software silences those overtones for each person while they are talking, so that things don't feed back.
It's so hard to separate pitch from timbre/tone, because certain uneven harmony intervals cause dissonance (waves at uneven divisions of each other), which creates wave interference, which alters wave shapes, which results in tibral changes. It's (arguably) why spooky heavy metal music is spooky. To head down that rabbit hole: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tritone
My friend David who is a drummer was asking if there was some known correlation between vowel sounds and pitch. Like if certain vowels, when held, tended more toward one pitch than another. This seemed a strange question, but he did some research and discovered there was a kind of oblique correlation between the two (which surprised me, because I just thought the shape of your mouth and the pitch of your voice were totally unrelated).
Curt send us a video explaining the system of his practice related to ou project.
Curt's video is very helpful especially when it comes to the role the algorythm is playing in our performances. Just like a distortion pedal, but slightly more confused because there are several inputs, the algorythm seems to be looking for an affinity and it produces a lingering soundwave. We are using a conference tool whose presets likely can't handle unison, therefore algorythm undecidedness - its efforts to pick one influence over another - is also coming across. (Constança again)
I (Daniel) enjoyed about the "as if what we created / were a kaleidoscope" and the video that Nerina sent is the slowness of it, the similarity to the vocal technique called "death growl" which is also characterized by its ugliness and unintelligibility among other things. and I do feel that exploring what Nerina is suggesting can also relate to the exploration of shapes through sound (specially exploring the wave ...)
Afterwards: harmony is intuitive, it is perceived as comfortable, a good fit between different pitches (interval) if one isn't tone deaf, while dissonance is uncomfortable, it is learned. We have pursued the counterintuitive because the majority of our references were not, strictly speaking, musical and because as (mostly) non-musicians we are fearful of singing,harmonizing or anything that can be perceived as such. When we do harmonize, we usually do so in pairs and it begins with a sort of call-and-response which then a third elements disrupts. This is why uneven numbers feel safer and more interesting: they are almost a guarantee that we won't fall into the intuitive trap of producing harmony. (Constança)
... Try again. In limitation sits exploration.
WE NEED TO TAKE TIME TO BALANCE SOUND - no more dangling mics.
https://youtu.be/Ksy0k5VXhNE Ascending and Descending · David Hykes · The Harmonic Choir
It is like tuning one guitar string to another guitar string: you wait until the beating between the two strings (the wave interference) slows down and eventually stops, then it's "in tune." Except here, they purposefully and slowly pass each other (one group tunes up while the other tunes down), so you can hear the points where the beating stops and things stabilize. They stay at those stable points for a while, then they start moving past each other again. The non-stabilized, "out of tune," "spooky" interference parts happen while passing up and down, then eventually things lock and synch. They are listening for the stabilization to happen to know when to pause and stay. And you can hear all the extra harmonic resonances created on top of the fundamental notes of their voices. (Curt)
Overtone singing Anna-Maria Hefele https://youtu.be/UHTF1-IhuC0 lesson 1: basics https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HP0iotICL7k
Mai 5th 2023 6pm CEST
Session (over) tone / timbre
40 min. Stay with the tone / drone. Silence en suspension.
Attunement : OVERTONE SINGING & LAMBDOMA - 3 - pure minor and major 3rds, Anna-Maria Hefele
Audio conditions Tests - zoom suggested we use professional audio settings. We had to use headphones and earbuds to avoid looping though.
(High Fidelity Audio mode option. It enhances “Original Audio” mode, allowing for disabling echo cancellation & post-processing, while raising audio codec quality to 48Khz, 96Kbps mono/192kbps stereo for professional audio transmission in music education and performance applications.)
video with excerpts on vimeo
video 90 min: discussion + session
We are not in the domain of language but somewhere else - more abstract?
attack, sustain and decay of sound
more difficult, less theatrical, less emotionally varied, more inside the body, more universal because we work with waves
there still is a struggle in the algo - the machine decissions are real time - somehow it felt as if we were playing the algo more than that it played us
there was no silence but always white noise, different kinds of white noises
lanuage is made of all this, in language learning there is a continuous negotiating of layers that come together - in this session we are playing the fabric of language (in a physical way)
we appropriate our own organic resonators
we are on track, we have a new tool, how to do this better relationally
What do we do with this?
ps plosives are also drones, short drones