I recently played bass in Nomi Lyonn’s show at the Macha Theatre in West Hollywood, the third incarnation of her evolving cabaret performance that I’ve participated in. The previous two performances were at the M-Bar in Hollywood. I think one-woman shows are a real challenge to pull off, and Nomi did a great job. It helped that she chose some great music to weave the story of her political, yogic, and ecological obsessions into. She added two dancers to this performance, and I think they strengthened the show even more. I got to back up Ron Snyder, who is a wonderful accompanist, and drummer John Puhara helped carry us through. It’s not every day that you get to play in a fun & enjoyable performance like this one. Nomi plans to take the show to a variety of venues in Candada (she’s from Vancouver) and elsewhere.
Many years ago, a group of singers that included Warren Burt, Deborah Kavasch, Ann Chase, Philip Larson, Edwin Harkins, and Linda Vickerman at the Center for Music Experiment and related research at UC San Diego recorded a Lexicon of Extended Vocal Techniques. This includes various harmonic singing techniques, fries, shakes, clicks, and a host of things that would make the ministry of funny noises proud. The lexicon was issued on tape, and I’ve been working on turning them into samples.
I digitized the various sounds from the tape and have chopped them up into short sound bites, then put them on CDs. I ended up with over 200 separate sound files, and since CDs can only have 99 tracks, they have to go on 3 CDs, even though the size of the audio files would all usually fit on one CD.
I know, I know; singers who can master these techniques would scoff at having them on samples, but I guess it’s part of the labor-intensive lazy man’s digital revolution. So it’s a work in progress; I don’t have commercial aspirations for the samples, especially since I didn’t create the original lexicon, but I do hope it will provide a rich tapestry of “choral” possibilities for experimentation and composition.
If anyone knows any of the original singers, I wonder if they’d be interested in doing anything else with the Lexicon, which as far as I know, is the only resource of its type.
So one of my long-time dreams is to see the Schillinger System of Musical Composition get applied within current computer music systems. It’s obviously well-suited to it, but somehow no one has ever put the pieces together. It seems like a place where I have some expertise that no one else seems to have. So if I don’t do it, nobody may.
I also have been interested in computer-human interaction design within music software for ages, but haven’t acquired the professional experience yet. Curtis Roads told me it was a field that was open for me to dominate as an expert if I wanted, so I’m starting up this blog to try to get the ball rolling. I’ve done some research in the area, but haven’t undertaken a, um, “concerted effort” to move forward with it.
Visit the blog and jump in with suggestions.