Tuesday, December 8, 2009

If It's Too Loud You Are Too Old

Dear ________________,

I wanted to write to thank you again for your concerns and advice following my recent performance at ___________, and I want to take this opportunity to respond to a few of your comments.

First of all, I want to say that I entirely agree with you that in terms of volume I was louder than would be normal for the space in that room. There were several reasons for this:

1. I sided with achieving an overall physical balance of sounds in the room, regardless of the position of individual audience members. Since the music I was performing is meant to be heard in the chest and knees as much as the ears, and as it is common practice to wear earplugs at many of these concerts (as ridiculous as this practice is) I figured it would be a good idea to turn it up. Besides, you guys had just hosted the _____(big noise) Festival in ________there so I figured it would be fine to turn it up.

2. I sought and achieved a correct mix of live-acoustic and amplified sound in the space. For me to perform this music correctly it is necessary that the electronically amplified and the reproduced sounds be at least as loud and at most times louder than the acoustic viola. Due to the spacial positioning of the audience in this space, the sound system, and the performance area, a sufficient volume turned out to be a pretty loud one! Still, it was necessary to eliminate the dominance of the non-electric element in the music.

Bearing these factors in mind, perhaps it would have been wiser, upon realizing the intimacy of the space, to abandon these pieces entirely in favor or an improvisation or some other alternative. Maybe after seeing the other bands perform, I should have opted to play very very quietly like they did. Perhaps it was my poor judgment to try and present an immersive work in such a context, however, these are the pieces that I was presenting on this tour, and so I stuck to this model even though it was, admittedly, a small space.

I played the music I had prepared, which requires a sensitivity to the space, but not so much to every individual person in it. After all, I play the way I like. I don't conduct a social survey before I start to determine what each audience member might feel like that evening and then average them in the manner of Komar and Melimid to find the perfect mediocrity that satisfies the greatest number (in theory). I think these pieces are interesting. They haven't killed me yet. Since you are like me, by analogy, I assume you will like them too. That is my logic. Its a small space. Still, it is a small space inside ___________'s best known experimental music studio/theatre complex. So I figured people would know how to deal with it. With the exception of yourself, it seems most of them did.

In addition, I am sure you have been to numerous performances that occur at even higher amplitudes in even smaller spaces than yours. This is quite common today, fortunately or not. I am forced to present a good deal of my work in such contexts as many places that are not as well off as _______(rich country) and have little else to offer in the way of venues, especially for the immersive sound experiences, which I am designing. Ear plugs are standard equiptment at many venues associated with rock and "noise" music and I play a lot of concerts in such places. In my own work, I look for the line at which ear plugs should still be unnecessary when the scale and physicality of the sound I am seeking is reached. In fact, I don't think the sounds I was producing at my concert there were all that painful or dangerous, but if you wish to wear earplugs, or for that matter, go outside, please be my guest.

I am not fond of the fact that earplugs have become such standard equiptment. I believe the negative function is twofold. Firstly, in most cases people do not have good earplugs and the music is distorted, especially in the high frequencies, to a ridiculous extent. Second, musicians are playing louder because they and the audience have their ears plugged, and because of this ear plugs have become a requirement to avoid hearing damage at many concerts. I think this is ridiculous. Yet your venue presented the ______(big noise) Festival the weekend prior to my concert there. How was I to know that my show was to be a "quiet" show? Perhaps I was simply misprogramed. As you said, maybe I just played "on the wrong night." Its possible, but was that my decision? Not really. My music is generally quite large in terms of scale and in terms of amplitude in particular, promoters should know that, I sent samples. There is no secret.

Now, unfortunately, I do have a few differences of opinion regarding some other assertions you made about me and my music:

A. You observed that I kept increasing the volume as I was performing. This is, in fact, entirely inaccurate. I rather decreased the overall limit of possible volumes and worked for a balance between this and the component frequencies involved. The density increased, and yes, in the first piece so did the volume, but at no point did I raise the overall ceiling of the sound, and at all times it was well within control. As such, you may have thought it too loud, but I did not. This puts all the blame on my initial decision to play loudly, but as I explained earlier, I accept that.

B. You observed that my music is cumulative, and actually yes, in the case of a few of the pieces I am presenting on this tour, you are correct.

C. You questioned other promoters decision to present my music. This is totally indefensible and assinine. The promoter in question that you brought up organizes a lot of concerts, most of which you would probably find too loud. If you don't enjoy what I am doing than fine, don't come to my next concert, but keep out of my business. What I do with other people is not your concern.

D.Although "violin phase" by Steve Reich is indeed a wonderful piece. However, and though I am very grateful to Mr. Reich for his music, my current work bears only a passing, cursory and superficial relationship to this famous work, and only in terms of surface. These pieces, as one can hear easily with even a little attention or better, a little analysis, are structured entirely differently from the Reich piece. They employ totally divergent conceptual and constructive processes and at best can be said to share a starting point. In addition, they were, I imagine, arrived at through totally different perspectives, at least I would be very surprised to learn otherwise.

Still, you know, we are in a world of imitators. I like Reich's music and am now way concerned if a couple of pieces of mine bear a slight resemblance in passing to a few of his. He has written a lot of music, you know. Its like being told you look like a wonderful, beautiful model from the past whom you admire very much. It makes me feel quite glamorous that you think so highly of my work as to compare me to this guy. Still, in the larger body of my own work these pieces occupy a logical place and are in no way a stopping point. Besides, I enjoy playing them, and they are quite different from the work in question.

Further, this entire comment was misplaced as the only piece I played that can even be said to bear a resemblance to a Reich work was the one I used for sound check, but I didn't present this one at the concert. Additionally, this relationship is purely coincidental, and the only relation between the piece and Violin Phase is that I am playing the viola. In fact, the motive is similar to and inversion of the motive of Piano Phase, another Reich piece. Though still, this piece was arrived at independantly and from another perspective entirely. Thus if similarities ("to any persons living or dead") than it is purely coincidential. And then it is important to consider that I did NOT present this music on the concert.

E. Your final and most offensive comment was the remark implying that I am not paying attention or thinking about what I am doing musically. That one nearly got you a bloody nose, but I was to tired, in fact, to respond to your dim witted blather any more in any form. I hope by now your concerns as to whether I am thinking about what I am doing musically are satiated, though I appreciate your concern, and love above all else the pursuit of new questions. In that spirit, or should your prefer, the spirit of the bloody nose which I would still gladly give you when next we meet, I am happy to answer any more questions you have regarding my work (though you might need to wait until I have time to respond to you).

Good luck and happy listening.

Jorge Boehringer
the Core of the Coalman

Mobius Strip,or "Why I am Not Looping"

To loop implies things. To loop implies that something heard once will be heard again. Is that even possible? I will leave that up to you, but from a certain perspective of time and progression it most certainly is NOT. That perspective is one which views time as an irreversible continuous flowing suchness, in which we float as little mice upon our leaf-rafts, on downward and upward through through the rivers of our lives. The rivers even change speeds, there are rapids...but this is the apparent perspective, the one most of us describe experiencing most of the time with respect to time.

Still, in all practicality, we do loop. We do it, or we say we do it. We move in circles and revisit recursive materials in time. And we say we do, we describe ourselves as doing "the same" things each day, going the same places, having been somewhere before. At least we don't know how else to describe these experiences otherwise, or it is merely too much trouble. Everyone understands what you mean, after all, so there is no point in delving into a phenomenology of time just to explain to someone that you have "seen that film before" when she asks you to the theatre.

Yet, hidden inside of this is something of a paradox. After all, the very thing which gives the "repetition" its experiential appeal, at least for me, is the very fact that a repetition highlights the fact of time gone by, or time going by. If the material being presented is kept exactly the same and presented in exactly the same way, which is not at all difficult to achieve digitally, there are still myriad changes in both the presented and perceived phenomena. These changes, the moving frame of the sounds, as well as the participative aspect of the mind and body of the listener and her environment (not to mention other listeners and their behavioral interactions with the aforementioned listener) are all highlighted by the presentation of repetitive material. The solid, exact repetition of a material of enough substance to take up a certain amount of attention or perceptual space, be it sound, or a physical object of static quality, can function to highlight the otherwise under- or un-perceived qualities of many experiences. The complexity implicit in our own systems and the environmental systems complexity which we are part of is highlighted by the regularity of the presented material, which inversely becomes a frame for the environment. This is, of course, a complete reversal of the normal framing aspect of an environment with regard to the sounds played into or on top of it to make music. And yet, there it is.

We loop, or say we loop. And in music especially. My friend Mike used to say when we were at school in California "everyone here is looping and drone-ing." Still, I am not looping even when I am and I will tell you why, after a little while.

To loop in music implies that material previously heard is heard again. In a sense it implies that it is played again and again either mechanically or physically. Regardless of whether that is philosophically possible (see paragraph one) I am not doing this. Not guilty.

The recurring materials that I set into play against one another are assymetrical themselves in terms of their phrase structure. Further, they are placed against one another in irregular and rhythmically asymmetrical ways. Thus they recombine on their own once set into play and these recombinations, since not sequenced or rhythmically quantized or otherwise locked into sync with one another, drift in time, and develop a certain amount of unpredictability, an indeterminacy in their relations. This is surprising and a source of great happiness to me, since the initial phrase material is quite set. This way I get to compose and be surprised.

This is true for almost all the "lattice patterned music" that I developed over the last couple of years and performed on the tours listed in previous entries to this blog. This music can be heard on the records Affinity Groups, which is not yet released, and on Box of the Last Help, which should come out on Zum records soon, I hope.

Where overall periods of true repetition in this music, that is to say, the point at which all individual patterns and periodic patterns of interaction between patterns become periodic (repeat), where such periods actually exist they are too long to be perceived as such, and likely they have been augmented by other material and their original orientation with respect to time and spatial function (background/foreground relation) in the music will have changed prior to the point at which repetition can be perceived where overall periods of true repetition in this music exist. Thus even when the material "loops" through the use of one or more electronic devices which play the recorded material again and again and again and again, it is either that the combination of two or more of these functions to create a highly changeable or even chaotic situation in which overall periods of repetition in the whole do not exist, or that the overall period is so long that it is negligible, where overall periods of true repetition in this music exist. Further, in these instances the material presented is not heard as a loop even when it is in fact, looping, in the sense of being re-presented by one or more electronic devices which record and then play back sounds in the manner of a tape-loop, but rather the material is heard as a continually shifting pattern of changeable pieces as in the manner of a polychromic kalidescope, in which individual sheets of colour are translucent and as such when superimposed affect one another in the manners described by Wittgenstein in his book about Colour. Sounds lack opacity in general. Though they can mask one another, when presented in a musical context sounds of similar timbre and amplitude will blend into an incredible variety of translucences. And this is what is happening when I play these patterns on top of and against one another, and since the colours are always changing the overall aspect is not looping. It doesn't repeat, even if the parts inside do, and the do, a lot.

In fact, the only way this recent music of mine can even be described as looping is in the most simplistic (overly simplistic, reductive levels of description) and with reference only to a few of the tools and techniques used to play this music live. Only in terms of construction can this even begin to be described in this way. In effect, it is something else.

The overall assymetry of the superimposed parts (themselves assymetrical) results not in bland repetition (which itself can be, or produce, very interesting effects as mentioned above in terms of functioning to re-frame the perceiving mechanism of the listeners themselves) but instead the result is the unfolding of a continuous process, which may only be described as looping in the specific cases where it wraps back on itself in the manner of a mobius strip, which is indeed a special sort of loop.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Frank and Claude

The King and his very arrogant cartographer, Honza, were lost in the Great Grey Wood. The King had on a very large and heavy hat made of gold so that all could see his shining eminence, and the cartographer kept his back very stiff and straight and was very careful to always check his teeth in the small mirror he carried with him, to ensure that they remained clean and white.

It must have been during one of these breaks in Honza's concentration, when he was looking at himself in the mirror, that he failed to notice the trail receding behind him in the mirror and soon, despite being less than a 20 minute ride from the castle, they were perfectly lost.

Later, upon returning to what they believed to be the same mountain for the fourth time, and as they were without food and very hungry both Gentlemen began to become uncomfortable and move back and forth in their saddles. Ni ether wanted to admit aloud they were lost. After all, for the King, it was perfectly unthinkable that he should be lost in his own kingdom, much less just outside the walls of his own castle. For the cartographer, it was, of course, a matter of pride.

Soon, however, the two men and their two horses visited the same breathtaking vista for the fifth time. This time, clearly something had to be done, as it was certainly becoming quite late.

"I do say", said the King, clearing his throat loudly," I feel that I have seen thither mountain before..."
"Ah yes" said the cartographer," indeed."

This type of exchange continued for several minutes, the King becoming more and more frustrated and the cartographer more and more reserved and the horses more and more and more tired (the horses had long ago grown hungry and amid the droning monotone of their two noble masters could only think of how they might get moving again, for horses dot mind distance if they are moving but if they are forced to stop and listen to men talk, they get VERY impatient very quickly).

"And what is the name of that mountain" continued the king.
"Not sure..."replied Honza, the cartographer, smoothing his mustache," but you own it, oh liege"

And on and on in like manner, still neither nobleman wishing to admit that they were totally lost. Finally, it could continue no longer, after all, a horse must get home!

"Claude" said Frank the light coloured horse with the big socks, to Claude, the dark coloured horse to his left. "You reckon its a left up there, and then a right, to get back to the castle"
"Pffffffffft" said Claude blowing his nostrils loudly and shaking his mane," surely, I could have told you that hours ago."
"Well, why didn't you speak up then?"
"well, why didn't YOU speak up then?|
"OK, ok lets just get going" and so off they went, snorting and tossing heads and tails, in the direction that they knew would take them home for sure. A left, a right, and in the distance, though not at all too distant, the castle could be seen. The King and his map-maker were beside themselves. they couldn't speak and both were a little embarrassed.

"I am the smartest man in my land" thought the King," that is why I wear this great and noble crown on my great and noble head, and still these horses seem smarter than I. What if the people hear of this, that I, the King, became lost in my own wood and had to seek help from my horse? Can such a man lead his people? Better I keep this quiet, that no one will find out"

Meanwhile, the cartographer was busy trying to take credit for the achievement of the horses. "Look here, you beast, I told you to turn left hours ago, if you hadn't gone running off hither and thither but followed my directions we never would have been lost in the first place. And were do you think you are going now?" to which neither Claude nor Frank responded, endlessly loyal and defiant to their masters, and, truth be told, much happier to be moving along again.

Finally the King spoke aloud, but to the cartographer, as everyone knew that horses can't talk:
"I shall have your head"
at which point the cartographer, struck cold to his toes, stopped his bubbling and nonstop rant.
Then, disparate, he began again
"but how could you do such an unkindness to me? for if it was not for me we should still be lost deep within the wood and you would never have found the way home?"
the King responded, his voice deep and grave
"That, as usual, is untrue. You, in your arrogance and distraction, got us lost,and besides your maps are all wrong".
"OK, ok" replied the cartographer, "but lift my head from my shoulders and you shall have to explain to everyone how you returned from the forest with the help of a talking horse. Thus really you should consider it a great favor that I keep silent."

And so the cartographer lived to make it back to the castle, but his pride burned inside of him. That he, the royal mapmaker, could be bettered by a talking horse was simply inconceivable. Angrily he stomped back and forth in front of the stables, making such a fuss and racket that the boys who worked there left, not wanting to disturb the noble man in his foul mood.

Then Honza had an idea. If Frank and Claude had helped him in the forest, surely they could keep helping him. These horses must have many secrets to tell, after all they bore the great King on every hunt and midnight tyrst. These horses could help him have the power he had always wanted. So, looking around to make sure he was unobserved Honza entered the stables.
"Frank" he whispered, "Frank...wake up"
but Frank only snorted and tossed his head.
"Dammit beast," Honza said, punching the horse in the neck" wake up"
at which point Frank suddenly opened his eyes, and deep inside them for a moment, but only a moment a fire raged. Then, instantly, he remembered his place, and being loyal, looked blankly back at the servant to the king who stood in front of him.
"Look Frank, I brought you some nice oats" said the cartographer, pushing bundles of oats into the pen where Frank and Claude lived. But Frank ignored him. He could sense that something was strange, something was not as it should be. he just snorted, tossed his head.
"All I ask," began the cartographer, "is that we make a little deal. You like oats right? I like information. We are both looking out for what is right for this kingdom, yes? So maybe you can tell me somethings about where you carry our King at night and what things you hear..."
Again, Frank just snorted and tossed his head, moving away from the oats. They smelled of trouble.

"Fine!" yelled Honza, "if you can't cooperate with me, I shall have you made into dogfood! At least perhaps your colleague is more reasonable."
but Claude, Frank's "colleague" simply tossed his head and snorted, pretending to be asleep.

The map maker was beside himself with rage. Mixing with the fatigue from the days journey and the whiskey he had drunk earlier that evening, he was no longer sure if he had really heard the horses talk or if instead it had all been a dream. He feared for his own sanity but wanted power more than anything. "Speak!" he commanded them. "Damn you! Speak!"
but still the horses kept silent.

Honza grabbed a nearby broom and began striking Claude violently on the head again and again. Frank tried to put his body in the way of the broom but being tied to a pole managed instead to catch the pull force of the assault in the teeth.
Still, both horses stayed silent. After beating them for a few minutes, the map maker showed his teeth and snarled:
"last chance, speak, speak or BURN!" and being greeted with silence he spilled the oil from his lantern onto the hay beneath where the horses were tied. He lifted the lantern high above his head, ready in a moment to smash it down onto the oil soaked hay, his eyes glowing with murder. Frank and Claude, though frightened, stood their ground. They looked back at him with their deep eyes. Without hatred, they were his superiors.

And at that moment they were saved. In rushed the stable boy and poured water all over the fiend and his lantern. And in rushed the Sheriff and, wrestling him to the ground, placed handcuffs on the would-be horse murderer.
"Madman," he said, " why are you trying to burn the King's barn? The stable boy heard you in here talking to the horses and getting angry, so he called me to come. What is wrong with you, fool? You will be hanged in the morning for certain."

And so he was hanged the next day, and as the stable boy drove the cart with the body of the cartographer's body to the prisoner's cemetery (for, being a traitor, he could no longer be buried in the King's cemetery) he asked the horses:
"So, what was all that about last night? What did you say to make him so upset?"
Now the horses had long been friends with the stable boy and had come to love him very much and so when no one was around they talked openly with him.
"I said nothing" said Claude, "I just pretended to be asleep"
"Me either" said Frank, tossing his head and snorting.
"So what was the problem?" asked the boy
"dunno" said Frank, "maybe he was crazy, "thinking horses could talk"

Later that day, while Claude and Frank were chewing things in the pasture, the King came to see them.
"So," said the King, "I must thank you for showing me the nature of the incompetence and treacherous fool I had in my court. I owe you greatly, and from now on you will receive special oats every midday."
The horses said nothing, ignoring him, as is the usual behavior for them.
"But I must ask you" asked the King" how is it that you never spoke to me before, after all, I am your great and noble king?"
There was a long pause, and then Claude looked up from the grass, looked into the Kings blue eyes with his own dark infinite eyes, and said "you never asked".

And so it was true. The King went home, and everyone went to sleep.

Ancient Mammoth

ancient mammoth
remain aloft
let not thy
eyelids drop
though heavy let me keep
the movement steady
the footprints deep
and roots that grow
through rock and ice
growing warmer
with ancient voice
whose ringing out
melts blocks of ice
and melting
dispells sleep

Deep Mine Nitro Uhlíře Time Tunnel parts 1-e

Havent been really putting any writing up here for a while, because I have been busy for the most part but now I will begin to put some new things here...here is, more or less, the record of my tour from the end of last summer...there were some changes, some additions and things, but this was basically it.

Deep Mine Nitro Uhlíře Time Tunnel parts 1-e
letni konzerti
dates in chronological order, bands in no particular order, according to my memory or momentary proclivities
as such:

August 12
Tabor, Czech Republic
Core of the Coalman/Dead Labor Process/Crank Sturgeon/Hans Svoboda

August 15
Praha, Czech Republic
Core of the Coalman/Dead Labor Process/Steve Weenie

August 20
Edinburgh, Scotland
Henry's Cellar Bar (grind sight open eye)
Bo Ningen/Core of the Coalman/Fordell Research Unit

August 22
Glasgow gig cancelled due to miscommunication (I am pretty bummed about this but I might play a fest in Birmignham on this day)

August 25
Cambridge (organized by Bad Timing)
The Portland, 129 Chesterton Road, Cambridge, CB4 3BA.
Part Wild Horses Manes on Both Sides/Core of the Coalman/Motherfucking

August 27
Blues Control/Tropa Macaca/Core of the Coalman

August 29th/30th
Rowf!Rowf!Rowf! Festival

August 31
Victoria Hotel
Blues Control/Tropa Macaca/Core of the Coalman

Sept 2
Core of the Coalman + other acts TBA

Sept 4th
maybe Blackpool? crossing fingers and things

Sept 5
Rammel Club@Chameleon
Blues Control/Tropa Macaca/Core of the Coalman

Sept 6
Upset the Rhythm @ Barden's Boudoir
with (seeing a pattern here?)
Blues Control/Tropo Macaca/Core of the Coalman

Sept 10
The Greenhouse Effect
Murphy&Nyoukis/Teignmouth Electron/Core of the Coalman/Sunshine Variety

Sept 11
Hamburg, Germany
Hosho/Core of the Coalman

Sept 13
Berlin, Germany
Fuel@ Schokoladen Club
Core of the Coalman and other acts TBA

Sept 16
Hamburg, Germany
Unlimited Liability
Core of the Coalman and other acts TBA

Sept 17
Berlin, Germany
Sinclub, Kruetzberg
Core of the Coalman & other acts TBA

Sept 18
Tillburg, NL
ZXZW Festival
I play at 8 I think in the cellar bar v39
Hey Greg, if you are reading this we should meet up and hang out because I think you are playing nearly the same day (but I could be wrong, it happens alot)


Sept 20
Helsinki, Finland
(subject to small changes)
Core of the Coalman and Nicola Morton's Dog Cloning Workshop

Sept 22
and hopefully 23 in Sweden someplace TBA

Sept 25/26
Oslo, Norway
Sound of Mu
Core of the Coalman other acts TBA

Sept 27
Trondheim, Norway
Core of the Coalman other acts TBA

Sept 28
Koln, Germany
Tsunami Club
Core of the Coalman other acts TBA

Sept 29
Strasborg or Metz
Core of the Coalman other acts TBA

Sept 30
Der Salon of Silly Art Fick
at Silke Arp Bricht
Core of the Coalman other acts TBA

Oct 1
Le Generale? unclear where show is actually
Chad Popple/Core of the Coalman/other acts TBA

Oct 2
unclear where show is actually but its on
Chad Popple/Core of the Coalman/other acts TBA

Oct 3
unclear where show is actually but its on
Chad Popple/Core of the Coalman/other acts TBA

Oct 4
Le Embobnieuse
Chad Popple/ Core of the Coalman/other acts TBA

Oct 5
unclear where show is actually but its on
Chad Popple/ Core of the Coalman/other acts TBA


Oct 7 Milano? but really same situation

Oct 8
Cave 12
Chad Popple/Core of the Coalman/other acts TBA

Oct 9
Antwerpen in all hope
unclear where show is actually but its on I hope
Chad Popple/Core of the Coalman/other acts TBA

Oct 10
unclear where show is actually but its on
Chad Popple/Core of the Coalman/Buital Orgasm/other acts TBA

Oct 11
unclear where show is actually but its on I think
Chad Popple/Core of the Coalman/other acts TBA

Oct 12
Maastricht? still dont understand if this one exists
Core of the Coalman and ???

Oct 15
Impakt Festival present by Kraak
Theatre Kikker