mostlynoise

noise5

A blog following my musical activities

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My First Android App in the Marketplace: Mostly Noise Blog

February 9, 2012

Click on image to go to Android Marketplace for download

I used the service Publish5.com to create an app for my blog and video portfolio on the Android marketplace.

Not being a programmer, I don’t know if there are better ways to do this, but for a simple content app, this was painless and cheap!

The website itself walked me through a series of templates where I could host blogs, twitter feeds, or YouTube in their mobile templates. For $19, the company will create an apk with two screenshots for you to upload to the Android Marketplace.

I paid the one time $25 to Google to become a developer, and within an hour, my app was in the marketplace!

A very simple experiment. It feels kind of cool, even though I didn’t do one bit of programming. However, I now have one more way to distribute my content.

The webhub for Steven Speciale. This page contains previews of his blog ‘mostlynoise’, over 500 YouTube Videos, links to downloadable concert recordings, and other examples of his musical or teaching activities.

via Steven Speciale.

January 12, 2012

An Unwitting Collaboration: Props from Video Artist David Montgomery

December 13, 2011

While checking my email this morning, I found a nice note and blogpost from artist David Montgomery. He wrote about a video on which he unknowingly collaborated with me. I took audio from a concert where I played John Cage’s “In A Landscape” and by applying “Cagean” procedures to David’s Dandelion loops, created a music video.

I sent the short film to David. He was very complementary!

Steven Speciale is an inspired music teacher and choir director at Loyola High School in Los Angeles. When I post my work to the Internet Archive I think of it being used for VJing or video remix though I always hold out hope that it could be used in education. Steven Speciale managed to combine all of the above in brilliant fashion. I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise that someone from LA, home to LAVA (one of the most established video art coalitions in the US), who is a mainstay at SoundWalk in Long Beach would make the most innovative use of the Dandelion Free Culture video loops to date.

Personally, it is very satisfying and validating to have one’s work acknowledged by colleagues. The reality is that none of this would have happened without the culture of sharing promoted by the open-source movement, and by extension, social media. David Montgomery would appear to live in Florida; I live in California. Our paths only crossed in this virtual realm. Because they did, we both have benefited, and because we benefit, my students benefit.

Setting Up My Google Artist Page on Google’s Artist Hub

November 22, 2011

On November 16th, 2011 Google released Google Music from beta. One of the most intriguing functions of Google Music, and the prime differentiator between it and the many competitors, is the introduction of the Artist Hub. Turning an online music retailer into the musical analog to YouTube is a brilliant opportunity for the independent artist.

Google offers a 70/30 revenue sharing to the artist as well as social integration with Google+ and YouTube. In my experience, this is the best deal out there. While one might not have the marketing support of a label, a media-savvy musician has the opportunity to promote and sell music minus the middleman.

I set up an account to see how it all works.

Logging into the Hub with my Google credentials, I paid a one time $25 setup fee. Google led me to pages where I created my profile, uploaded a picture, filled out tax forms and connected my bank account, and uploaded material for sale.

The setup process was familiar, easy to understand, and quick. I am having an issue with my photo appearing upside-down, but this is a minor annoyance. My new hub was delayed for two days or so while Google verified me. After verification, my Artist Page appeared in the Android Marketplace. It was a thrill to see my page in the Android Market!

I uploaded a choral piece I arranged and conducted into a test album. It appears that I can have unlimited albums and tracks for sale. Via dropdown menus, I have control of sharing-previews: from 90-seconds long to tracks in their entirety, and control over how many shared plays someone might enjoy. I set my preferences to unlimited plays.

There are also menus to set prices for the tracks or albums. I selected free. I wish there was a “pay-what-you-want” choice a la Radiohead’s “In Rainbows” or Bandcamp’s model. Perhaps this will be a future feature? After a day delay, my album with one track appeared on my Artist Hub Page. I “bought” a copy. After downloading, I was offered the opportunity to share my purchase via Google+, Twitter, or +1ing it.

Sharing purchases on Google+

I shared my purchase on Google+. The album art and title appear in a neat package. I do wish it had the flash of Soundcloud with the embedded player and waveform. I also have not yet determined how I might share music as the creator without “buying” it first.

So far, I am impressed with the capabilities of the service. I wish the ability to upload and share were a little faster and more frictionless. When I post to Soundcloud, I can share within seconds. Nevertheless, I am hopeful that this platform will accelerate the ability for artists to become more self-sufficient thus promoting a more secure place for creators in our society.

Fiskabur Samples released into the wild via Creative Commons

October 27, 2011

After my annual “Physics of Music” lecture/demonstration I give each Fall to our science students, some of the kids create musical instruments based on these acoustic principles.

This year, my music students borrowed some of those instruments and recorded improvisations with contact mics they built from piezo discs.


These loops, some distorted, some not, were loaded onto my Soundcloud account with a Creative Commons license that allows for derivative works on the condition that subsequent works are similarly licensed.

My students are writing music inspired by the creatures living at the Aquarium of the Pacific using these loops as source material.

One Hundred Thousand Views on YouTube and Some Thoughts On Public Sharing

October 21, 2011 2 Comments

We crossed the 100K views threshold today!

This afternoon, the ticker on the front of our YouTube page rolled over one-hundred thousand views. While our aggregate-views pale in comparison to any internet meme, I am proud of this milestone. As a resource for my students, a portfolio of work, and curriculum diary, using this service has brought rewards far exceeding any expectations I had when I launched the channel.

By sharing our work with the world, I have begun building a supportive community both on campus and internationally. Students share the videos and audio clips with family around the world over this channel. Successive generations of students share their work with future cubs contributing to our own institutional knowledge. Artists and educators all over the world have offered support, advice, and information about our projects.

This philosophy of sharing has extended into a greater notion of digital citizenship. When we create material in class, my students license them with Creative Commons and post them in the world for others to share. Many of our projects are made possible by the generosity of Open-Source programmers, musicians that share via Soundcloud, or VJ’s giving away their work on the Internet Archive.

When I use someone’s Creative Commons material, I often share what I created with the originator. This has led to other opportunities for both of us. For example, I used some dandelion stop-motion animations to accompany a piano recording of music by John Cage I made. I shared it with the video creator. He enjoyed the work, told me he was inspired to continue posting his work on Archive.org, and is using my video to promote a VJ project in a local chamber music festival.

The free-sharing of ideas and work via social networks has evolved into a way of life. Now, I document all of my students’ work, I have learned many sophisticated pieces of software to create digital media, and in the process, become more media-aware and critical in what I view, hear, read, and create.

Aquarium Reactive App Project Overview: 2011

October 13, 2011 2 Comments


One of my music appreciation classes is beginning a new project: writing music inspired by sea creatures, then embedding those songs in an audio augmented-reality app.

The project began with students going to the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific to shoot images and gather film-footage of some of the creatures living there. The footage is for reference inspiration when composing.


Link to the YouTube Aquarium Playlist

I have assembled the clips into small movies in iMovie, removing the sound. The short films are loaded to our YouTube channel to be available for my students at school and home.

The photos are edited and loaded to the app so the user can match the visual on the phone to the actual display in the aquarium.

I am building on the compositional skills learned in the “Krapp’s Last Tape” project in the creation of the apps. Using the RJC-1000 software by the RJDJ team, each app can host up to four samples as well as little reactive modules written in Pure Data.

RJDJ, as hosted on an iPhone or iPad, allows programmable access to the microphone, gyroscope, etc…, to modify sounds and filters written in Pure Data. Each “page” of a “scene” can be labeled with an image. Four pages are possible per scene. The project I assigned my students is to compose four reactive compositions/soundscapes, each of which is inspired by a different aspect of a single exhibit at the Aquarium of the Pacific, then perform and record the piece at the aquarium in collaboration with the animals.

Once the apps are written and loaded onto devices, we will return to the aquarium, film the composer using the app in front of the display, and record the resulting reactive composition. The composition will then become the soundtrack for the film. We plan to make a documentary as well as art films.

I have been in touch with Marilyn Padilla of the aquarium. She has been very helpful in negotiating releases for the educational uses of our filming and photography. The Aquarium has been very open to our project and approval for the work came in one day! Extraordinary!

“Krapp’s Last Tape” on ReacTIVision Vimeo Channel

October 7, 2011

One of our “Krapp’s Last Tape” videos has been featured on the ReacTIVision Vimeo channel. I encourage you to surf around this channel and see the astounding variety of projects made possible by the open-source release of the ReacTIVision software.

Krapp’s Last Tape: Soundwalk 2011 Installation

October 3, 2011 1 Comment



Go to 20’21” to hear our contribution to the Audio Catalog.

The Soundwalk festival happened this past Saturday. The installation created by my students was very well-received. It was particularly interesting to watch the variety of interactions with the piece; I documented some of them in the above video.

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Krapp’s Last Tape: Mapping Fiducials to Ableton with ReacTIVision and some Links

September 29, 2011

With our Soundwalk installation date rapidly approaching, my students have just finished their soundscapes, hosted them in Ableton Live 8, and are learning to MIDI map them to ReacTIVision fiducials via OSCulator.

What I have enjoyed about this kind of project is seeing my students not only grapple with the abstractions of composition, but watching them consider multiple modes of interactivity. I think the important lesson is not just learning to execute the project by daisy-chaining software, but dealing with the metaphors of the objects and their associated sounds.

I am especially appreciative of Martin Kaltenbrunner and Ross Bencina for their open-source gift of ReacTIVision, the software that allows fiducial-tracking. This has opened up a creative use of technology to my high school students that otherwise would be well beyond their capabilities, not to mention mine!

Even the simplistic implementation we use has far-reaching implications for metaphoric and abstract thought.

Links:

ReacTIVision

Osculator

Ableton Live

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