Saturday, March 31, 2007

Scale of the Day: F Locrian 1% wide


The F Locrian 1% wide Scale. The standard, equal tempered F Locrian scale deliberately detuned by stretching the intervals outward. This leads to the noticeably "out of tune" octave that is 12 cents sharp.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Scale of the Day: F Locrian mapped to the Triative

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The F Locrian mapped to the Triative Scale. All the proportionality of the equal tempered Locrian stretched across the triative. This adds an openness to an otherwise darker harmonic territory.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Scale of the Day: A Sharp Locrian mapped to the Square-root-of-2

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The intervallic content of the A Sharp Locrian mapped to the Square-root-of-2 Scale. The halved proportions of the Locrian scale leave a clean trio of quarter-tones just as one ascends from the tonic. The 50-cent steps just after the A natural and leading into the 300-cent "minor third" makes for interesting gravity in this scale.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Scale of the Day: F Locrian diminished 4 mapped to the Square-root-of-2


The F Locrian diminished 4 mapped to the Square-root-of-2 Scale. This one is a steady sequence of 100-cent "semitones" (sonically equivalent to an equal tempered chromatic scale) except for the two quarter-tones at the second and third scale degrees. It's as if the initial 100-cent scale degree split into two tones - both 50-cents flat and sharp.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Current HurdAudio Rotation

Terry Riley: Atlantis Nath. I wrote about this one earlier. I'm still charmed by it - warts and all.

Peter Apfelbaum and the Hieroglyphics Ensemble: Jodoji Brightness. I love the compositions/arrangements on this one. The setting of the Dylan Thomas poem "The Hand That Signed the Paper" opens my ears to some outstanding words.

Terry Riley: The Book of Abbeyozzud. A perfect example of the "moving target" quality of Terry Riley's output. These are great arrangements for acoustic guitar and percussion that are a real sonic departure from other Riley soundscapes. This is one I keep coming back to.

Albert Ayler: Holy Ghost box set Disc 1. This is another one I've written about in this space. I keep going back to hear Ayler and Cecil Taylor playing together.

The Bad Plus: Suspicious Activity? Another one I've mentioned earlier. It keeps sounding cool.

Elliott Sharp/Orchestra Carbon: Abstract Repressionism: 1990 - 1999. This one gets plenty of rotation here at HurdAudio. Exquisitely ugly and some great thematic lines that really stick with you.

James Tenney: Postal Pieces. Rembering this inspiring composer, teacher and friend. These conceptual, post-card sized compositions are stunning examples of how much sound lurks within simple forms and ideas. These pieces really open up the ears.

Scale of the Day: D Sharp Locrian

Audio realization of the D Sharp Locrian Scale.

See also:
D Sharp Locrian notation.
D Sharp Locrian interval analysis.

Locrian is the least commonly used of the seven diatonic "modes." It is also the darkest and the only one lacking a perfect fifth relative to the tonic - making traditional cadences to the root triad somewhat problematic. All of which makes the Locrian scale deeply appealing to my harmonically subversive instincts.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Scale of the Day: A Sharp Locrian diminished 4


The intervallic content of the A Sharp Locrian diminished 4 Scale. The diminished fifth of the Locrian scale allows the fourth degree to be diminished without opening up an augmented second chasm between the fourth and fifth scale degrees. And as standard, 12-tone equal temperament tunes major thirds and diminished fourths the same way this scale allows one to exploit the sonic ambiguity of having scale degrees at both 300 and 400 cents - hinting at both the major and minor third.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Deep Jazz Roots from Amsterdam

I enjoyed the Instant Composers Pool's second set at An Die Musik last night. This 10-piece ensemble has nice range and some great leadership/chemistry from pianist Misha Mengelberg. Drummer Han Bennink is also a significant attraction. I was also impressed with the arrangements and chops of saxophonist Michael Moore.

ICP has developed a nice balance of composition and group improvisation techniques. The sonic texture of the hour-plus set covered a lot of ground as different configurations of the wind, strings and rhythm sections showcased various smaller ensembles contained within the full orchestra. And even as the group ranged from exaggerated, dramatic hand gestures drawing from game-theory improvisation approaches to smart arrangements of familiar tunes by Thelonius Monk, Raymond Scott and Hoagy Carmichael there was never a feeling that this ensemble was searching for something that would eventually stick. If anything, this ensemble makes clear the beautiful continuity that seamlessly links contemporary free improvisation to full century of jazz traditions. The fractured story telling from Misha Mengelberg between numbers simply added another layer of charm to the overall experience.

Scale of the Day: F Pythagorean Locrian


The F Pythagorean Locrian Scale. This is a dark, 3-limit scale with the added instability of the 1024/729 diminished fifth.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Scale of the Day: E Whole-Tone mapped to the Square-root-of-2

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The E Whole-Tone mapped to the Square-root-of-2 Scale... as one would find it on any conventionally tuned, equal tempered instrument. Which is an unusual quality for square-root-of-2 based scales. And it poses the additional challenge of treating the 600-cent "tritone" as a harmonic equivalent (in the same manner one treats the octave as harmonically redundant in tonal music) so it doesn't come off sounding like a typical 12-tone chromatic scale.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Scale of the Day: G Whole-Tone

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The intervallic content of the G Whole-Tone Scale. This is just a straight-up, G Whole-Tone scale in all of its bland, white-bread, equal tempered ambiguity. Like the Dorian, it is symmetrical. But unlike the Dorian, the restricted variety of interval classes make this a useful harmony for transitions between otherwise "unrelated" scales.


No more roaming Wi-Fi for HurdAudio now. This desk and chair will hopefully be home base for a little while now.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Left Coast No More

It took much longer than anticipated, but HurdAudio is officially Left Coast no more. If there's anything to be said for flyover country; there is a lot of it and it takes a long time to drive through it.

"Left Coast" has been on the profile at HurdAudio since the beginning and that geographic designation managed to withstand the move from Seattle to Los Angeles. Now I'm ready to embrace the city of Baltimore and hope the Orioles make things interesting in the AL East. Though I'll probably be rooting for the Toronto Blue Jays in that division.

I'll be taking on an exciting professional opportunity here and hope to make regular pilgrimages to the Red Room for some sonic exposure from the fringe.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Happy Ornette Coleman Day 2007

It seems that this is the year the world is starting to catch up to Ornette Coleman. With his lifetime achievement award and critical acclaim and buzz for last year's Sound Grammar, the old revolutionary is getting his due as he turns 77. The beauty of Coleman's output is clear to anyone who simply listens. And it takes time before enough sympathetic ears catch on to such an original, harmolodic soul.

Lately, my ears have renewed awe for Skies of America. It's pure Ornette at it's most ambitious, over-reaching and intoxicating state and I can't get enough of it. And it beautifully conveys the sound that makes every March 9th International Ornette Coleman Day here at HurdAudio.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Scale of the Day: E Whole-tone (2 - 1)


The E Whole-tone (2 - 1) Scale as one would find it on any conventionally tuned, equal tempered instrument. It's a straight, 6 equal-tempered-tones-to-the-octave scale with the second degree flattened to break up the steady stream of 200-cent major seconds.
This nomadic blogging experiment comes from a hotel room in Southern California as I wind down my time in the golden state.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Scale of the Day: E Octotonic-1


The E Octotonic-1 Scale as one would find it on any conventionally tuned, equal-tempered instrument. 8-notes filling up the 2/1 octave in an alternating order of 200-cent major seconds and 100-cent minor seconds.
Today's "Scale of the Day" is being posted via the free wi-fi of a fast food establishment in Southern California with about 38dB of James Brown pouring down from the ceiling speakers. This experiment in nomad blogging is going to be surreal.