Art + Music + Technology


Performing Arts




October 2014
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I've been working with Jane Rigler for a while - I've been helping her with some technical options for her performing rig, and I've been a guest lecturer at some of her classes at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs. I've also had the chance to see her perform several times, and she is a stunningly good flute player. She also pushes the instrument to its limits, creating multi-timbred soundscapes with her flute and Ableton Live.

I was really curious to find out how she became the player that she is, so the last time I visited UCCS I asked her to do an interview. It turns out that she's been listening to the podcast, and also has her students listening to it for class. Cool! She was game for the chat, and I was blown away by the result.

This is a great way to kick off our second year of podcasts, and I'm grateful to Jane for the opportunity. If you get a chance, please let your friends know about the podcast, and also feel free to drop me a line with suggestions or interview requests.


Direct download: podcast_051_JRigler.mp3
Category:Performing Arts -- posted at: 7:56 PM

Joshua Kit Clayton is one of the people I respect most in this world. He lives a thoughtful life that embraces technology, artistic practice, politics and spirituality in a holistic way that I find remarkable.

In our chat, we talk about his background (Ukranian Beet Farmers?), his involvement in the San Francisco 'scene' from the 1990's and 2000's, pulling together Jitter and his current work as both Cycling '74 CTO and live performer. We also talk about how he views politics, in particular, as part of the culture of an artistic life.

I've known Joshua for a long time, but I learned a lot during this discussion. What a treat!

This episode marks the first year of the podcast, and I really appreciate everyone that has been involved: interviewees, tech helpers and listeners. This has been a great ride so far, and I'm looking forward to the next 40!


Direct download: podcast_050_JKClayton.mp3
Category:Performing Arts -- posted at: 2:54 PM

It's hard to compartmentalize Jeff Kaiser. He's a monster trumpet player, a music label impresario, ethnomusicologist and technologist. Somehow, he finds a way to live his life where he can be all of these things - all of the time. He's a force, but also an incredibly nice guy to talk to.

In our chat, we talk about coming out of a religious music background, driving into (and through) an academic endevour, and coming out the other side with a hard-to-define career. We also talk about words, which might sound funny, but it really important when you think about how people interact with art and music's place in history.

Props to Jeff for the talk; you can find out more about him at Oh, and that's Doctor Jeff to you (and me)!

Direct download: podcast_049_JKaiser.mp3
Category:Performing Arts -- posted at: 3:44 PM

This chat was a real treat. I ran across Daria Semegen's work on a compilation of early Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Studio recordings, and was quite taken with her work. A little more digging revealed great depth in both style and performance, and I found myself drawn into her work wherever I could find it.

Fast-forward to a recent Facebook discussion with Meg Schedel, where I was talking about some people I was interested in interviewing. Her response to my suggestion of Ms. Semegen was "I can help with that!", and indeed she did. The result is a discussion about composition concepts, processes and perspectives that will prove to be an inspiration.

In addition to all this, I want to point something out from the podcast: Daria was incredibly deft about moving the conversation away from tools (gear) into tools (source material). Every time I talked about tools, she shifted the conversation to her collected material and choice process. Brilliant!


Direct download: podcast_048_DSemegen.mp3
Category:Performing Arts -- posted at: 5:01 PM

I've told the story before - I first met Brian Crabtree when he was working in LA, and he showed me a button/light combo that was a "<shrug>" for me. Little did I suspect that the concept would end up being at the heart of the music industry of the future, and that I would be the proud owner of several devices that use exactly that technology.

In this chat, Brian and I talk about the past, present and future of, including the continued development of the grid and the new modular devices they are creating. We also talk about his recent music releases, his design philosophy and how he feels about the state of grids in music technology. A very involved conversation that was also quite revealing.

The bumper music for this episode was actually composed (in about five minutes) using a Monome 128, a White Whale module, my portable modular and an Eventide Space. Not exactly a Super Demo, but it does tell you that this combo (Monome/White Whale) has already wedged its way into my rig...


Direct download: podcast_047_BCrabtree.mp3
Category:Performing Arts -- posted at: 2:53 PM

Sometimes you run across a person that everyone respects, and that seems to be on top of their game for the long run. So goes the story of Katy Wood, who everyone seems to agree is the best at it - almost regardless of what 'it' is! This is a marker for someone that I'd find interesting, so I reached out to Katy and was very pleased when she agreed to have a chat.

Whether talking about the process behind sound for film, suggesting ideas about location recording or revealing tips on starting a career, Katy was open, honest and willing to share everything. It was also fun to ask her about Virtual Katy, a virtualization of a conforming tool that matches some of her production work on the Lord of the Ring trilogy.

I make mention within the chat of Katy's IMDb listing; if you want to check it out, take a peek here. This could be intimidating, but when you talk to Katy, she is anything but intimidating. It was great to talk to her about her work, and I hope we can find more about her in the near future.

Direct download: podcast_046_KWood.mp3
Category:Performing Arts -- posted at: 3:53 PM

If you spend time around the media art technology forums, you've probably run into Tommy Dog. The iconography is pretty striking (some sort of moose/dog combo smoking a cigarette and giving you the finger...), and the posting will almost always be opinionated - and well-informed. I've had the pleasure of interacting with Tommy over the last decade-and-a-half, but we've never gotten to talk in any depth.

Doing that reveals some surprising things: while Tommy embraces the Punk asthetic, he also considers himself a fan of many kinds of music. He also has significant learning disabilities - which (as you can imagine) make working with media tech a particularly difficult task. And he is fascinated by tech both new and ancient, but he has some specific ideas about what makes for useful technology.

All-in-all, a stellar chat. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Direct download: podcast_045_TDog.mp3
Category:Performing Arts -- posted at: 5:51 PM

Tim Weaver is one of the people in my life that inspires me - but also pushes me into things that might be challenging. He helped me get into grad school, helped me get a gig teaching and is always helping me out with my academic stuff. But beyond that, he is an artist with a very particular method to his work: he uses biological data as the spine of his work. Whether it is using protein data for melodic moves, or using the structure of a moth as an instrument to be played, biology always plays an important role within his work.

And it makes sense - because Tim is a trained biologist. The path that he took from protein-geek to art-geek is quite fascinating, and he spells it all out in this podcast. Additionally, we talk about the difficulties in having artist works with scientists (which can be more significant that you'd think).

Enjoy! If you'd like to find out more about Tim's work, you can check out an overview at or get more detail at

Direct download: podcast_044_TWeaver.mp3
Category:Performing Arts -- posted at: 3:26 PM

I first met Nick Ciontea at a Max/MSP/Jitter workshop in Madison WI, and it was clear at the time that he was (creatively) on fire. He wanted to know about everything, and wanted to understand how it all worked together. In my experience, people with this attitude end up doing great things...

Well, in fact, Nick has done just that, but in a very unexpected way. He decided to focus on live video art, but did so by being one of the first people to embrace the LZX modular video system. As a result, he was doing work unlike most others, and it ended up getting him a lot of attention. As a result, he's been doing work for a number of high-profile artists, doing live gigs around the world, and doing work preparing video for large-scale shows. And all of this happened over the course of three years!

This is a great podcast for people that are wondering how to get into video art, but is also a great discussion for peple that are not sure if their hard work will make artistic sense. I really enjoyed this discussion, and I hope you do too!

You can check out Nick's work at

Direct download: podcast_043_NCiontea.mp3
Category:Performing Arts -- posted at: 3:24 PM

I was having an email chat with Mark Vail when he suggested that I think about an interview with Tim Caswell, one of the founders of Studio Electronics. I jumped at this chance, since I've long been a fan of SE's work, and wanted a chance to find out more about the start of the company and what it is going to do for the future.

The discussion was wonderful, and I got a chance to dig into Tim's head about design (and especially filter design), old-school music and new-school electronics. Additionally, we find out a little about Studio Electronic's future product plan (a scoop!!!), and learn more about Korg filters than anyone has a right to know!

I hope you enjoy this chat as much as I did; Tim is a gracious and thoughtful synth designer, and it was an honor to be able to talk to him.

Direct download: podcast_042_TCaswell.mp3
Category:Performing Arts -- posted at: 2:58 PM