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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So you wanna control buttons?

Since I first started manipulating live samples, I’ve always wanted some kind of trigger surface that’s nothing but a bunch of dumb buttons that trigger samples via internal bank or MIDI.

For a long time I’ve been using loopers and other devices to gather and playback samples. But nowadays I’m looking at changing around my live setup, and think I’d really like to add a ‘sample bank’ to the config so I can work with pre-made samples as well as live-sampled sounds.

There’s a few interesting companies I’ve found, one of course I’ve looked at for several years for some kind of modular setup of my own: the Doepfer CTM series is along the lines of what I’ve been wanting. And now they have a cool ‘Mini’ enclosure to bring down the cost, cool huh?

A similar device, specific to MIDI button control is being produced by Monome, though they have a limited product line with not so comparable prices to the Doepfer DIY method. But they still look quite cool and extremely usable, not to mention sturdy.

Then there’s the brand new one by Yamaha. The Tenori-On allows both MIDI control and on-board audio, so it’s a bit of a different beast, and looks like it’s probably meant more for the mass-produce market than DIY’ers.

mmmm, think it’s time to get a doepfer?

Listening on

some recent releases on digital i’m enjoying. some brand new, some not so new, but they keep me coming back:

  • Kim Cascone has a special way of writing music like the sound of crumpling paper, here stratified by field recordings on The Astrum Argentum. I’m especially drawn to the sounds in this recording, especially how conscious-close they are to escaping all original form; the experienced listener expertly removes themselves from reality with kim’s music.

  • Two recent items of the Xymogen imprint are very enjoyable: Progress Report is the definition of a great compilation, with brilliance in each example of wide ranging styles and approaches. Mercury Effect also recently impressed with Ataxia, a crunchrubbery fractured hike down a trail of broken beats.

  • Boulder, CO’s Ten and Tracer has two recent large ominous blobs of fine output, one on Archipel : L-Msaria B-Lglass, and another on Zymogen : Baker’s Blood. Here is a sound with a special way of slicing its incongruence into your expectations, equal parts textured noise, equal parts thumping bass beat madness, equal parts bizarre.

  • From mates Audiobulb the spring begat an Ultre album wrapped as All The Darkness Has Gone To Details, a work of collage and contrast that has grown into my ear like a mercuric fuzz, creaking at the edges of fragile electro-acoustic balance.

Some vinyl jibber jabber coming soon, I figure this is as good of a place as any to express my views of some great music.


Networking ideas at Ramp

Liz Revision, aka Quantazelle has a new DJ residency at Ramp Chicago, a monthly night at Sonotheque featuring “ambient, IDM, electro and quirky, glitchy techno.” Yes, good music remains alive in Chi-town!!!

Congrats first off to Liz for the residency! If you know her music but don’t know her jewelry design, check out the goods at Fractalspin. I like them because she does similar things with jewelry that I’ve applied so some of my sculpture.

untitled, side

This is also interesting because they’re hosting a ‘demo swap meet’ as their July installment. I think this is a great way to build community and get the people who really care about music into the same room!

The Demo Swap edition of Ramp Chicago is July 17.


Brian Eno’s 77 million and the Mac

If you’re in San Fran, do not miss the North American premiere of Brian Eno’s 77 Million Paintings exhibit at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts the weekend of June 29th.

This looks like a fantastic thing, what’s even cooler is that it’s all done with Macs!

You can also buy the work on DVD, but obviously it was meant for a grand space. Details of the event are on the Long Now Foundation website.