ABC-TV Appearance and New Ambient Track

First, the new ambient track was recorded in stereo with a Fractal AX8 and a Boomerang III, which is capable of recording 4 unsync’d loops that overlap and don’t line up rhythmically. This song is part of a group of demos for a new CD. I will be writing more like this for an upcoming CD. This one is called Here Child, Finish Your Nothing.

The next item is from a Julie Black appearance on ABC-TV’s Morning Blend show. We played one acoustic song (Majesty of Hope) that appears on her 3rd CD, Follow the Muse.

Check out our appearance here.

The green room at the ABC studios.

Our view across the studio

Projection on the floor of ABC-TV studio

Watch a clip of me recording the solo in the recording studio.

 

 


Generative Music Apps

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I love Brian Eno’s concept of Generative Music. Music that repeats, but never the same way. In other words, we set it in motion and it randomly generates. It usually focuses on a few keys, but it is something I can listen to hours. It is kind of like looping, but the patterns never repeat exactly. Several loopers playing a piece together might be closer to the concept, but doesn’t describe it exactly. Eno encourages musicians to use these music generators in their own compositions either on record or on stage, and I certainly intend to.

I love all 3 of the apps he offers, and I recommend them all. They are perfect for falling asleep (they include a sleep timer- yay!), or just on in the background when you read or work.

Scape

Using Scape, you drag shapes onto the screen. Their shape and position changes the generated sound. Over time, more shapes reveal themselves, so you can use them in your Scapes. I love this idea, and Scape allows you to save Scapes, or share them. Each Scape plays for a finite amount of time (about 20 minutes), so it is perfect for falling asleep.

Bloom

This is so hard for me to describe, so I will repeat some of the description from their website:

“Part instrument, part composition and part artwork, Bloom’s innovative controls allow anyone to create elaborate patterns and unique melodies by simply tapping the screen. A generative music player takes over when Bloom is left idle, creating an infinite selection of compositions and their accompanying visualizations.”

Trope

This is my favorite, because it is like artwork as well as a music generator. You draw on the screen, it makes music from your shapes, and it never repeats. From the website:

“Darker in tone, Trope immerses users in endlessly evolving soundscapes created by tracing abstract shapes onto the screen, varying the tone with each movement.”

Air

This is essentially some sort of ambient piano and voice music generator, although I tend to mix out the voice sometimes- it is limited to just a few notes. This is an interactive app as well that allows you to conduct the music, in a way. This would probably sound really awesome with multiple players playing at once, but it works well on its own, too:

“Air features four ‘Conduct’ modes, which let the user control the composition by tapping different areas on the display, and three ‘Listen’ modes, which provide a choice of arrangement. For those fortunate enough to have access to multiple iPhones and speakers, an option has been provided to spread the composition over several players.”

Read more about Brian Eno’s generative music apps here.


Reward Your Toil: Music to Quiet the Mind

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Reward Your Toil: Music to Quiet the Mind

This is a release I made that consists of 14 hours of music presented on a DVD. The DVD includes video, a recording blog, many pictures and details about the process of putting together such an expansive release. There are 14 one-hour pieces of music, with a few more mp3s thrown in the multimedia section.

The idea is to have an hour of sleep/meditation/relaxation music each day for 2 weeks, so no repeats. The music is performed on guitar, guitar synth, and loops, but I consciously avoided any kind of rhythms or repeating patters. The result is long, flowing passages without sharp transitions, and perfect for quiet times. A one-hour sampler was produced for those not ready to engage with 14 hours of music.

Personally, I’ve used music to help sleep in the past, but rhythms and transitions would be startling, so I decided to take those out.

The original DVD pressing is sold out, but I am looking at ways to digitally release at least the 14 hours of music as one package. Traditional online digital retailers are not quite equipped to deal with such a project!

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My Favorite Ambient CDs

Ambient music isn’t for everyone, but it is a great way to slow the mind down. It is also so fun to play, as I an’t rely on ‘stock licks’ and massive amounts of gain. It all is very slow, and evolves over time. Here are my 2 favorite ambient releases, like, ever.

Brian Eno’s Discreet Music

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This album comes in 2 parts, but what I really like is the composition called Discreet Music. Composed of super simple 3 note melodies (at the most) weaving and overlapping, this is not a constant loop. It is a slowly evolving loop over time, and this is what caught me, and set me using loops the way that I do. As these simple melodies come in and out, I could almost hear what they should be before they were played. A brilliant piece of modern composition using primitive synth tones, it takes time to understand exactly what is happening here, which is why I think it is so brilliant.

Fripp & Eno’s Evening Star

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Add Brian Eno’s ambience to Robert Fripp’s angular, sustaining guitar and you have a win-win from me. Side 1 works better for me than Side 2, but there were really no rules here about what this music should sound like at the time. Yes, there are some guitar solos here, but they are more beautiful than shocking. We can hear how how loops build up, and how Eno manipulated them as they were played. It is difficult to work with someone this closely who gets what you play, and is sensitive enough to lift the whole thing up higher rather than push you out of the way. We can hear this here. The cover photo is the perfect idea of what you will hear.

 


Collectives: What does it mean?

Here are some notes about my Collectives project from a few years ago:

Guitarist and composer Dave Eichenberger has completed a unique project called Collectives. Simply put, this collection consists of 50 CDs which each hold an hour of improvisation. Each CD is completely unique, and has its own artwork as well as date and time of creation.
Each CD also contains a multimedia section which features over an hour of bonus audio, a video, artwork, and an extensive journal documenting the project.

The opening for this 50 CD series was on Friday November 3rd, 2006, at the Progress Energy Art Gallery in New Port Richey. 

“The idea of improvising for an hour straight might be considered a silly one, until we consider doing that 49 more times afterwards,” states Dave. “I thought of the discipline of a visual artist, who might sell a painting but not make prints- the artist lets go, and the lucky fan has something that is uniquely theirs.”

The CDs contain improvisations consisting of guitar, guitar synthesizer, and looping. Looping is a process of recording segments of sound, and repeating them, while adding to them and manipulating them in real-time.

And if I thought it had been done this way before, I probably wouldn’t have tried.

Releasing 50 hours of music at once is something I did in my younger days, when I didn’t care that you weren’t supposed to do that. I recorded on a minidisc, released them on tape, and sold them at live performances. I used these recordings to learn about my instrument, my looping devices, and how to structure an hour-long improvisation.

So why do it again?

Well, its been awhile, more than 10 years since I have attempted such a thing. I think the purpose was the same: to test the bounds of creativity, and to learn more about the equipment I use to make this music.

I will tell you this…I am no longer afraid to start pushing buttons during a performance.

But why ‘Collectives’? What do all these crazy names mean?

Honestly, I have always liked words. I like strange words you usually have to explain. I never thought ‘The Troubling of Goldfish’ should sound like goldfish, although I am suprised at how sometimes the names reflected parts of the recordings. Generally, the songs were recorded, and the names added later. I didn’t think the name or sound of an animal should steer me in a dparticular direction musically.

These new recordings were more labor-intensive, better quality, and more rewarding in the end.

When an artist uses up their stock ideas, what is left? I didn’t know, but I wanted to find out. It could be just reassembling those idea in a different order, or it could be some new ideas altogether. I worked really hard to not just change the order of my ideas. I did lots of research, learned new chords, scales, and all that music theory stuff all musicians should be drawing upon. I listened to a lot of different music, and forced myself to not play the same patterns I had been playing.

In the creative visual art world, the artist isn’t as concerned for ‘making it big’. There is much creativity, and, with the end expectation level lowered, they dream up wild ideas and regularly make them a reality.

In the music world, we have access to more people. Sadly, more people can ‘get’ music before they understand visual art. However, the expectation level is high, and we musicians are constantly compared to our peers, and usually are asked ‘Do you sound like anything I have heard before?’.

Being a musician, I really dislike being in this situation. If I stay true to myself and play what I like, I risk a life of obtuse obscurity. If I play what they want me to play, I get the love, the chicks, the money. I have jumped between both worlds, and I have to say, I’d rather keep my soul.

Playing improvised music that has really no base in modern rock, blues or jazz (but is certainly modern, being that it couldn’t have been made 15 years ago) presents many challanges to this musician. Describing what I do is hard enough, much less finding a venue for it. But I’ve always had hope.

I know there is a huge gap between ‘rock star’ and ‘lazy musician’ and I am determined to live between that world of fake opulence and drama-laden despair. Outlets for all types of music are out there, it just takes a little more digging to find them.

Guitarists, especially, tend to play in patterns. They might move the patterns up and down the neck, but they are the same. I find myself doing this all the time. This leads to boredom, and a really unsatisfying creative life.

And in the end? I have to say I feel like a better musician after all of this. I also made a terrible racket, and had a lot of fun.

– Dave
Monday, Oct 9, 2006

The names of the CDs are taken for the name of groups of animals.

“It apparently isn’t good enough in the English language to say ‘a group of goldfish’. The proper term is ‘A Troubling of Goldfish’. Yes, I had to look all 50 of these terms up too,” says Dave.

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List of Collectives CDs:

1. The Troubling of Goldfish
2. A Lovliness of Ladybugs
3. An Array of Hedgehogs
4. The Exaltation of Larks
5. A Kettle of Hawks
6. A Cete of Badgers
7. The Seige of Herons
8. A Blessing of Unicorns
9. A Convocation of Eagles
10. A Quiver of Cobras
11. The Deceit of Lapwings
12. The Flamboyance of Flamingoes
13. The Business of Ferrets
14. A Rookery of Seals
15. A Cowardice of Curs
16. The Wisdom of Owls
17. A Smack of Jellyfish
18. A Confusion of Weasels
19. The Richness of Martens
20. The Sloth of Bears
21. The Unkindness of Ravens
22. A Mob of Emus
23. A Raft of Otters
24. A Mutation of Thrushes
25. The Shiver of Sharks
26. The Mustering of Storks
27. A Leash of Greyhounds
28. The Labour of Moles
29. The Scurry of Squirrels
30. The Pitying of Turtle Doves
31. A Prickle of Porcupines
32. A Flutter of Butterflies
33. A Pounce of Cats
34. The Cry of Hounds
35. A Brace of Quail
36. The Pladge of Wasps
37. A Bale of Turtles
38. A Grist of Bees
39. The Charm of Goldfinches
40. The Scold of Jays
41. A Gulp of Magpies
42. The Skulk of Foxes
43. A Steam of Minnows
44. A Pandemonium of Parrots
45. The Obstinancy of Buffalo
46. The Paddling of Ducks
47. The Rhumba of Rattlesnakes
48. The Lamentation of Swans
49. A Battery of Barracudas
50. A Husk of Hares

The Collectives Project was proud to be sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, the Florida Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts.