Metatron Press releases Gray Code on

Metatron Press (the website is slightly outdated, but not necessarily incorrect) has started a netlabel archive, posting releases formerly available only on CDR, as well as more new stuff to come.

A quintet I played in for some time called Gray Code now has a live recording up, from the 2000 Philadelphia Fringe Festival.

The name of the group is taken from the structure we often used to improvise: “In performances using the Gray Code structure for five players, we proceed through all the possible combinations of members of the group, including the silence that starts and ends the performance, five solos, ten duets, ten trios, five quartets, and the single quintet involving all the players. Each combination appears exactly once. To move from any combination to the one that follows it, a single player starts or stops performing.”

Tangent and an Improv Rig

The synth used for my Feb 8 show at Dangerous Curve, incorporated in my live electro-acoustic rig. There’s a video of the show that actually has pretty decent sound!

What you see below is my homebuilt synth (three square wave oscillators fed through dual 2-pole lowpass filters, each metal box has an engage switch, tone control, and cutoff frequency) fed through (or not) a Boss AW-3 dynamic wah filter, an acoustic guitar contact microphone fed through (or not) an Audiobulb FZ-Bulb, a pocket shortwave radio, several found objects (near and in the tin can), and behind that a Line6 DL4, Electrix Repeater, Alesis Quadraverb and Behringer Xenyx 1622 mixer. Oh and the white box on the front is a small music box, plus there’s a second one without a cover underneath the tin polka-dotted ratchet.

One reason I use hardware is because I am drawn to the tangibility of performing music, of relaying mind and body energy through my relationship with the instrument at hand. I can dive directly into the creation of experience as the gear becomes extensions for expression.

New Release: Density Operator

Behold the appalling beautiful world of Density Operator now available on Stadtgruen.

“The title is program: everything in this world seems to be under pressure in order to extract the highest concentration of agility. Computer sounds are algorithms, just another form of mathematical strings. Thus the densification of sound works by finding the shortest possible expression.”

Music on this album picked its own paths and themes as it emerged from ideas I’ve had about quantum mechanics and atomic theory, and how the same conceptual mindspace is occupied by the intense spontaneity of improvisation.

Album art done by Walter Montes de Oca is a spectacular accompaniment to the sound, merging organization and chaos in a beautifully simple manner.

There’s some nice things being written about the album:

RIP: Loungeometry at the Kettle and the Keg

In response to the many sad emails and messages about Loungeometry, the evident is true: Kettle and the Keg has decided on their own to forgo lounge music to try and bring in more customer base. Loungeometry has been discontinued.

At a certain level, the finger can be pointed at the City of Fullerton. Incentives for business to open downtown, efforts to revitalize and bring consumers into the city, extensive renovation projects and residential development… all these things have brought an enormous influx of people, and merchants are struggling to compete for their wallets in the only way they know how: bait them with popular culture.

Ultimately I think it’s just causing growing pains, and Fullerton can’t quite deal with it. The way to deal with the kind of crowd that they don’t want isn’t to limit the rights of the People (and it’s obvious that, after seeing nightly fist fights all over Fullerton parking lots, there is a distinct element of People that Fullerton wishes were diminished), but to diversify how the People can Experience Fullerton.

People complain that the Fullerton PD is too much in evidence (regardless of the fact that their HQ is practically the same block as a majority of frequented Fullerton bars), but would they be if there was not so much to notice? There seems to be a desire by local business owners to grab the attention of city visitors in hopes of catching the most action from their pockets, not broaden their horizons or provide entertainment for a diverse population.

I’ve also noticed that, when it comes to drawing people in, places tend to copy one another. Supply and Demand, basic economics right? I have never taken a single business class in my life, but my experience has witnessed the need for Balance in the Supply and Demand factor, and lack of diversity causes stagnation. The popularity of Hip Hop and 80’s nostalgia is overwhelming to the point where bar owners are hiring those kinds of DJ’s exclusively.

It makes me think that music directors for these places are really more interested in doing as little work as possible promoting their place while going with “the sure bet” in music. These places continue to shift their allegiance to the dollar instead of the music. Picking up the popular item of the day shows how transient these bars are in their attitude; if they believe keeping up with the trend will give them ultimate longevity, then they aren’t thinking ahead nearly far enough.

Are there merchants in this town that are truly interested in what music venues used to be about: presenting, supporting and glorifying great music from ANY genre? Do they have a choice, or do they even WANT the choice? To what extent are businesses responsible for our cultural upbringing? How can they claim to be when they go for what’s hugely popular in a vertical market instead of what can be widely popular over multiple markets? Maybe those are business questions I just don’t understand.

Promoting yourself by yourself is difficult, even when you’re accustomed to it. I didn’t get a lot of promotional support from the people at the K&K, seemingly because a lot of them are in different social circles than I. Many times I felt like I wasn’t being met halfway by the venue: i delivered flyers and media to them which subsequently got lost or forgotten, there is very poor marketing (if you were a block away you wouldn’t know it was there, a lack of advertising in area publications)… the loss of hookahs with no effort to replace them really hurt big, it was a huge draw for the kind of demographic that enjoys the music I play. After they were removed, every thursday we noticed at least one large group of people walk in and walk right back out because the hookahs were gone – with no explanation. One Thursday the place was completely shut down by the control board because of unpaid or late bills. It seemed like when they hit a roadblock, they would roll over and pretend it just didn’t happen.

The worst part about being ‘let go’ by the bar isn’t that I can’t play there any more, but that they brought in a partner to re-do the entire entertainment offering without bringing it up with me. I’ve been there nearly two years, I am hands-down the most reliable and punctual DJ they’ve ever had. I never let the show collapse because of any reasons outside of weather. I did my best to try and find appropriate acts to bring in, had many guests over the months, and a barrage of comments like “you can’t hear this kind of music anywhere else in LA!” I had Ubiquity asking about listening parties and shows there, but now I can’t follow up to try and schedule it.

I brought an entire studio worth of DJ equipment to the venue every week (because I feel it a duty to keep the Vinyl DJ alive, that also included three bags of records); my turntables were even stolen from there once, and I persisted. Along with a steady and healthy reggae following, Loungeometry nights – and all the people supporting me – helped build their reputation as a lounge you could visit and relax with unique entertainment, but it turns out that was a reputation they didn’t want to uphold.

Just for the record, I found out about the “new” entertainment the day before I was supposed to present Loungeometry again. The ‘partner’ apparently asked if I could play different music… that a band goes on first, followed by some other act, and I would be the wrap-up filler DJ at the end (they don’t have DJ equipment, remember).

But that’s not the reason I DJ, I’m not in this just to have a DJ slot where I can be a rock star and get attention. I’m in this for the music, and the nights I put together are solely for celebrating the kind of music you cannot hear anywhere else, but that deserves every right to be heard because it’s great and wonderful stuff.

I don’t mean for this to be a hurtful diatribe against the venue, the people, or the city; but they are things I feel need saying.

Sometime soon I’ll compile a list of some of my favorite Loungeometry music, but in the mean time you can hear archived sets on the CraqueCast.

New on CraqueCast: Amalgamation

Starting off the new year with an archival live show: Amalgamation: Live at Smartbar, Chicago, 2002 is a set I did at SmartBar in March of 2002.

This is a set where I combined many influences, methods and directions together through a wide assortment of sampled objects, guitar playing, voices, and softsynths. It’s glitchy, ambient, dark, funky, beaty and bouncy all at the same time! A really nice listen with highly contrasting sections of sound and rhythm.

Subscribe to the CraqueCast, or download the whole show to listen. You can also preview CraqueCast entries through the iTunes podcast library. The ‘bug’ cover art was done by my wife, Kary.

December So Far

Well I know you could just go through my listening or whatever, but it doesn’t represent everything. So this isn’t a best-of by any stretch, just a viewfinder into what I’ve been listening to the past 3 weeks. They’re loosely grouped by category… I’ll let the reader decide how to categorize them.

The Necks
Derek Bailey/Evan Parker
Skinny Puppy

Celtic Cross
Dusty Brown
Mercury Effect
Hakan Lidbo
Parov Stelar
Savvas Ysatis

Ten and Tracer
Porcelain in the Backpack

Vladislav Delay
Dub Taylor
Sound Track
Rhythm & Sound

Jan Jelinek
Entia Non
Giuseppe Ielasi
Shuttle 358
Tim Hecker
DJ Olive
Evan Bartholomew
Carl Stone
Jodi Cave
Kate Carr


The amazing things people say to a DJ

I don’t know whether to call this sad or a sign of the times (surely it’s both), but if nothing else it certainly makes me feel on the fringe (of what, I am not sure) moreso than ever.

Now I’ve noticed in particular that girls who come up asking if I take requests don’t listen to my answer and ask if I have this or that, or act surprised that I don’t have anything you can hear on the radio. About half the time they’ll love what I’m playing and just want to know if I have something.

Last night, a well-cleavaged young lass (do groups of friends always send the hottest chick they have at the table to request something from the DJ?) begins asking me questions about what I have to play. Not happy with my answers of “no”, and “not really” and “i don’t play pop music”, she goes on drunkenly about some REALLY GREAT CD they have in their car, but that I wouldn’t be able to play it because I had “this”.

In the most alluring way possible she leans over, cocks her head sideways, motions at the turntable playing tech-house and asks, “So what do you call this anyway?”

I respond, oh this is Dub Taylor.

At first she just nods, and her blonde friend comes up. Ms. Booby Brunette says to her, “oh he can’t play our CD because he only has this Dub Taylor” while pointing at the turntable.

Incredulous, I interrupt… “no no no, this isn’t a dub taylor, this is a TURNTABLE, the MUSIC is dub taylor”

To which they both kind of giggle and flit off.


Circuitbend ahoy!

I’ve now dived pretty headlong into the world of circuit bending and synthesis, and it’s hooked me. There’s a unique similarity between creating digital and analog sounds with circuits and finding sounds with microphones on objects, so I’m motivated on the ideas behind what one friend so rightly calls my “tinkering”.

What’s on the bench now is a small, multi-oscillator synth, probably with a movable filter. This will sit some how on my ever-evolving soundboard and contribute to the medium.


CraqueCast: Craque + Viv + Carol

The CraqueCast for October/November 2007 features Matt Cooke-Davis (voice, sampled objects and electronics), Carol Genetti (voice) and Viv Corringham (voice) in a three-part free improvisation at The Nervous Center Festival of Electronic Music, Chicago 2002.

Viv is a vocal experimenter from the UK who I met through Pauline Oliveros and the Deep Listening group, and has done some interesting work with ‘walkabout’ listening and binaural recording. Carol is a Chicago-area vocalist who has worked with many other free improvisors and electronic musicians, we met through the improv scene there and were excited to do some collaboration for the Nervous Center.

Three improvs were performed without any rehearsal for a small but exuberant audience in the basement of the Nervous Center. The three of us actually never rehearsed at all, what you hear is the first time any of us had performed together (we did do some pre-show planning the night before to go over technical details).

The music is a fascinating romp. Most of the first two parts features Viv and Carol on voice, and I contributed vocal stuff in the third. During all of the set I am controlling the mixer and effects sends, as well as doing live sampling and amplification of objects (rocks, hand percussion, toys, etc).

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