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Glasgow Blog 5

I’ve jumped a day again. Each day is quite full out here!

Monday morning we awoke before 7, (well I sort of opened my eyes, as I was in the midst of my first night of real jetlag inspired sleeplessness), cleaned up the flat and headed for the station assuming that trains north would be very crowded. (The video and images of the flooding are pretty horrific). As it turned out, our 8am train was pretty peaceful, so we rocketed north, enjoying really bad coffee, and the views out the window, along with a little Max programming! The train passed through Peterborough, Berwick (with nice views of old stone buildings and the Tweed River) and Newcastle (surprisingly large, with a great looking concert hall!) then along the east coast which we followed up to Edinburgh. A quick change there, put us into Glasgow a hour later, and after a 10 minute taxi ride, we were at Sebastian and Jane’s lovely flat at 1:30. The efficiency and relative ease of the train travel was astounding! No security to pass, no sitting for hours waiting, and tangible progress forward: I could see that I was getting someplace, fast! I love the way the speed of the train makes it look like the video out the window has been sped up. I find it disorienting and pretty exciting.

So we arrived in Glasgow and took a walk up hill to Queens Park to get the lay of the land. Somehow Glasgow is bigger than I thought (over 2 million people) but we could see north to the centre of the city and even a peak a the Highlands further north.

And we built a filter for my patch. Now that I have so many looping recorders (3 now) it makes sense to incorporate a filter, a processor I’d avoided in the past due to way the result of the filter was cancelled by my cello sound. Now with recordings playing the filter can be hear, and I can manipulate it on the iPad through the Parat+ app. The patch is getting pretty complex again, but more on that later.

Tuesday I awoke after 10 am! I guess needed the 10 hours of sound sleep….and it was sunny. The sun is funny here: we’re so far north, it barely creeps over the horizon in December, so if you face it, it’s shining blindingly in you eyes! We took advantage of the weather and walked through Pollock Park, a larger park complete with a farm, mountain bike trails and a quite grand manor house. The park also houses the Burrell Collection, which was found in a grand wood beamed on the inside and pretty icky on the outside museum. Sir William Burrell was a shipping magnate who from the 1920’s to the 1950’s collected art and antiquities, usually from auction houses and dealers. He owned over 9000 pieces eventually and we saw some impressionist pastels, some Rembrandts along with a mishmash of armour, Chinese vases, carpets etc. In all documentation about Sir William we are told of his “eye for a bargain” (he bought ships during economic downturns, and Monets that weren’t quite finished, at cut rate prices!) yet he gave it all to the people of Glasgow along with the money to build his museum. And he lived to be 96!

Walking with Sebastian is a productive time, he is a great walker and thinks well on his feet, for sure. On this walk we talked more about improvisation, and our thought processes and decisions. The beauty of free music is that each individual can invent his/her own process! Mine is very instinctive and trusting: I trust myself to contribute something; I trust others to support me, or to push me in different directions. I trust that I am musical and my contribution will make the piece better, and my instincts and listening tell me when and what to play. Some would define those “instincts” as an incredible number of series of split second decisions, but I think it’s less pressure to lump them together into “instincts” (and just trust (again) that they’ll serve me well, which they do!). The result is all that music: expression, construction and interaction.

After the walk we talked more about my patch, it’s increasing complexity and the necessity for me to get a stronger grasp on how it’s working. I (along with Sebastian) have been building this thing for almost 10 years now, and it’s gone through many iterations and renovations. So many that I can look at parts of the patch on the computer screen and see echoes of each of my programming attempts, and versions of Max/MSP software.

So today I’ll create a flowchart of all the processes of the patch, to clarify in my head exactly how it’s working! That should be a good challenge that will make my music making with the computer more conscious and informed. My instincts will be informed by consciousness! Oh and today I’ll practice the cello, I have a show tomorrow!

Dec 9, 2015 at 05:38

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