Music Mavericks

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This part of this entry is mostly for Noel. I just finished listening to a thing on NPR called Music Mavericks, Program 5: If You Build it They Will Come. It is a Sunday night weekly program about music hosted by Suzanne Vega and Michael Tilson (San Francisco Music Director) about music-y type things that I have typically ignored. This episode, though, happened to be on while I was cooking and made me think of Noel and his Perl/MIDI craziness from the beginning to end. Noel: you need to listen to this!

The show starts with the obligatory John Cage stuff, which was somewhat interesting to me (not knowing much about him), but I can see how it could be pretty generic. Then, it got into some of the more crazy cutting-edge type stuff. For instance, there was a guy back before computers that was doing some of the crazy computer-MIDI stuff that people do today: piano pieces that are impossible to play manually, weird time-delay stuff that automatically “echos” the notes that were played previously, and whatnot. How did he do this without computers? The player piano!

It talked about a guy who developed really crazy timings that all get played simultaneously. Of course, nobody could play it at the time because each musician had to play in their own time (like 1/12 vs. 1/48 or something) and kept messing each other up. The pieces could not be played until musicians were able to use headphones and electronically record themselves separately, then get the whole thing combined together later.

It got into people that ended up making their own notations because the typical number of notes in each octave were too constrictive.

It got into some guy named simply “Trimpin” who made music with MIDI, but none of it was electronic music. Using spare computer parts and junkyard pieces, he was able to convert all of the instruments in an orchestra into MIDI–including air pumps for the reed instruments. He then proceeded to make a “tornado” of about 600 electronic guitars, all played by MIDI, all mostly-self-tuning.

So, anyway, it was a good program–I cannot say anything about the rest of the episodes of that show, but this one was good.

So, what was I making in the kitchen while this was going on? (1) vegetarian enchiladas, (2) home-made oily tortilla chips with the leftover tortillas, (3) vegetable stock for a recipe later in the week. The enchiladas are nice, but pretty darn spicy. (Mental note: try not to get chili into open wounds around your fingernails while rehydrating the chilies.) The leftover veggies that were strained for the stock made a good stew/snack. I will attempt to save them for later, but I am not sure how well they will keep.

Posted in: Food Music

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