01 May 2000

Chance Composition: Super Ball As Notation Device

Location: Racquet Ball Court

Paint a musical staff around the court's walls, allowing ample space for the ball's potential movement. Once ready, dip each ball in paint and freely bounce it off of the walls, ceiling and floor. Use four different colors of paint to distinguish whole, half, quarter and eighth notes; more than four colors can be used to include sixteenths, thirty-seconds, etc. Eventually, melodies and harmonies will be left along each wall; the composer can choose to impose a time signature and draw vertical lines on each staff to identify measures, or leave them blank and decide later. The same can be done for rests between notes.

Location: City Street

Draw a musical staff along a city street in the direction of traffic. The length of the staff is left to the composer's discretion, but should vary from a single block to a few miles in length. From a helicopter flying thirty or so feet overhead, drop buckets of super balls which are sufficiently wet with paint. As in piece 1 (above), bar lines and rests can be decided later.

Location: The Moon

Transport a large, transparent dome to a flat surface on the moon. Prior to leaving Earth, make sure you have painted staff lines as concentric circles on the inner circumference of the dome, beginning at its apex. Because of the lack of gravity on the moon, it is recommended that the super balls be submerged in paint prior to entering the dome. Ideally, a mechanical contraption could be fabricated to both douse and release each painted ball individually within the dome, as handling balls and liquid in zero gravity introduces very obvious obstacles to the composition's success. As the balls exit the contraption, participants may aid in their travel however they deem fit, being careful not to create too much paint loss. Once the paint has sufficiently dried on the notes left by the orbiting, wet balls, the dome may be brought back to Earth, at which point bar lines and rests may be set.

[DISCOGRAPHY] Sound Options

Sound Options (Systorm Technologies, 2000)
Format: CD, limited to 1000 copies


(taken from the album, Initial Experiments in 3-D)

18 April 2000

A mixtape really is...

... not exactly what you think it might be. It isn't simply a selection of music you make for - or receive from - a friend. A collection of music (specifically on cassette and created by dubbing music with one's fingers on the record + play buttons) is more a mix of time and everything the individual attaches to it.

Music is an aural text of our lives. Why do you think some songs - regardless of melody, rhythm and dynamics - make us cry, laugh, scream, or move us to dance? Sure, hearing a song for the first time can make us do all of those things, but that is because it has become the present text onto which we sill subsequently connect our experience. Familiar pieces of music inevitably evoke the environment in which they were first heard, or the general era of our lives in which they became part of our sonic memory: how old we were; if we were with friends or alone; if we were happy or sad; what we were going through at the time; even what the weather was like. We can remember tastes and smells from music. We can remember imagery. And the more we listen to a piece of music, the more diversified and rich the associations become.

A mixtape - not manufactured, but hand-made - is thus a visceral record. Although an artist will release a recording relating his/her experience through song, the mixtape is the listener's record, adding a personal element which strengthens the magnetic tape itself. Like a handwritten correspondence, the music exists between loops, waves, and angles of the letters. If you look hard enough, you can strip away the alphabet and see thought; if you listen hard enough, the sounds aren't solely musical: they are emotion. They are the steps of our progression forwards, and the balance we need to make them.

24 March 2000


Tarnished gold glitters against the soft
Maroon as its soothing sounds soon become
Buried by clicks of fingers on brass
And pearl-plated vertebrae. Eyes are wild
Behind their lids, striking his skull's sides
Before slowly opening a blank stare.
Beneath them, his cheeks puff and deflate,
Breathing in circles while a single vein
Expands to cable size in his neck -
Complexion reddens as saxophone screams
Soften to saliva sizzles. The
Sudden feel of her leg against mine is
Warm as she slides closer, smiling while
His note touches the silence between us.

07 March 2000

On Chance & Silence

"Apparently, the more discovered the less we know, the greater the mystery."

And so begins Carolyn Brown's essay On Chance: the realization of the correlation between the progress of scientific thought and artistic revelation.

"Is man truly the chance result of a billion or more accidents?"

And I ask, can artists play God? It is inevitable. When art is left to come through an artist rather than left to the artist to create, the resulting art is purer. As John Cage said, "the highest purpose is to have no purpose at all. This puts one in accord with nature in her manner of operation."

If it is true - that man was the result of chance operations - then what are the benefits of composing with chance, and what does it say about an artist who "chooses chance"?

"...any conscious use of chance by an artist says something quite specific 
about the artist: he admits and welcomes the unknown into his work; 
he is interested in going beyond his own environment 
and cultural heredity and particular set of habits and tastes to 
make possible influences from unknown sources."

From early works within the Dada movement through Cage, Feldman, Brown, Cunningham, and others, people have used varying degrees of chance to realize their works. While some feel the appropriation of such techniques is "copping out", Brown correctly points out, "if the commitment to chance is honest, there is no lack of responsibility on the part of the artist."

John Cage, in Silence, often uses chance to determine the length and content of some of the essays and lectures about his compositional techniques (truly an intermedia man!). By tossing the I-Ching coins, he determined tempos, density (how many sounds at once), amplitudes, and durations for Imaginary Landscape No. IV. He set up a chart of 64 squares in which 32 were sounds, and 32 were silences. Although, as he explains, THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS SILENCE: 

"One hears - in an anechoic chamber - two sounds: one high and one low. 
The high sound is our nervous system, and the low sound is our blood in circulation." 

01 March 2000

This Is Very Strange

I am sitting on stage and I just got bored with Solitaire not even part way through a single game. I decided to write. This table is very small and barely fits two laptops, so I am kind of crooked here. Still in "Moonboots". I can't even tell if it sounds good out there cause I think I have no monitors... I wonder what would happen if this laptop fell asleep - that would be fucking bizarre, right? I think I would fall asleep if this machine fell asleep, cause it's the thing that's really keeping me awake...

The monitors aren't working, and I just heard some weird pops... I wish they'd fucking fix this shit, but as long as it sounds cool out there, it's all good. Seeing some familiar faces in the audience.

Wow, so this is my first real show as Caural. As an alias. As myself, just by myself. As the me that sits behind a blue box. And I don't have any fucking monitors, dammit!!!!! Ahhhh. Nothing can be perfect but, the fact that it's as perfect as it can be is perfect... Life is so perfect, and here's those monitors I wanted. God is with me. Well, I have a SINGLE monitor now, right in front of me, and that shit sounds wonderful. So nice... So nice to hear this music on a system besides my system - besides my dad's system - besides my nervous system - besides Teren's system in the studio - besides the system in the Tahoe. I wonder if people think it's weird that I am sitting here typing; if they do, I think that's pretty fucking funny. I think it's fucking funny that people might actually be watching me right now.

They can watch the visuals behind me, shit - I wish I could watch them! But then people would really know I am not doing shit up here. They might wa - (just looked at the other screen to pretend I was monitoring something) - tch me and realize I am typing LOL.


How fucking weird is it that I am sitting on stage with 2 laptops with some weird shit going on behind me, and I am just smiling and doing absolutely nothing except for THIS!

I can hear people talking. I hope it's not cause they're disinterested.

Here comes "Blue Green Value Five"... Let's see what happens.

I can't see a difference, but I am not really looking. These monitors are so bright and I can really only see a few faces behind the mess of light but, out of the corner of my eye, I see these beautiful dancing lights courtesy of Lukas.

That was weird: people just applauded at the end of "Blue Green Value Five"!!!!

They said woo!

Did they think it was over?

I think if there was complete silence (on the audience's part) I'd feel pretty awkward. That would mean... What? I don't know. It might mean they are paying too much attention to me, or too much attention to themselves... To their heartbeat. Maybe some of them are high. I kind of wish I was high. This would be totally off the fucking hook, or the fucking wall.
One of the two.

I am listening to "Snowy". This shit sounds fucking ill.

Man. I am in my own fucking world right now for real. If absolutely no one was here, I wouldn't care. I could be performing on the moon. I could be performing on a space ship. I could be performing for aliens right now - they could have a live stream on the universe's internet. I think it's like that, right now...

"Glow In The Dark".

Someone just made a sound when Marissa laughed. I think this could be a good one. It sure sounds dope to me right now. Man, I can't even imagine how it would sound with all the monitors on!

Imagine what would happen if Stu and I traveled around the world doing this... What would be funny is if we'd just sit on stage, writing each other messages while music played.

I can't help but bob my head while this beat plays. This is some fucking.. I keep saying "fucking", why? Cause I've had a couple beers? Whatever. Not important.

So, what are these people thinking right now? Why do I keep thinking that? Maybe it's cause I don't need to concentrate and cause I have heard these songs a fucking thousand times... There are some loud ass girls right in front. I can't decide whether they're annoying or if I am enjoying the sound of them. It's nice. It goes with the overall ambience of it all. Then, there's Oliver and Brian.

I can hear them, but I think they might be talking about the music. I think my music is understood by only a few people - intelligent people - people with an ear for sound. People who can see when they close their eyes. I know I can never not see anything when I listen to music, when I...

New thought: I have seen that visual before. How much is he changing them? It's weird. I kind of want to be in the audience, then I can really hear the music instead of this mono bullshit out of one monitor, but you know what? Like I said, what's fucking perfect? Nothing is perfect. But, life is perfect. Life is perfect. Life is perfect. Life is perfect. Life is perfect. This fucking loop is perfect. These samples are perfect. I can listen to this album again, cause now I am ready to hear it. I am ready to start over again and do my whole set over again, cause I think now that people know - no... Now that they have even the faintest idea about where I am coming from, they might be able to listen to it better. But, it takes so much time! It takes time - even for me - to realize the beauty in certain things.

What is that about?

Why does beauty take time to uncover? Because not everyone can see it first off? Because beauty takes time to uncover and it uncovers truth, and no one sees the truth immediately? It takes time to learn, so why shouldn't it take time to notice beauty? Why shouldn't it take time to understand? It DOES! Since you learn to love art (possibly) by understanding it, it only makes sense that man/woman/somewhere in between LEARNS TO LOVE ART. That only makes sense. And the more you learn about art in general, the easier and quicker you can appreciate all forms of art.

You can hear something/see something/feel something/taste something/smell something for the first time, and since you've experienced its essence before - which is easily understood since the aspect of art we experience is TRUTH - you can more quickly uncover the TRUTH in a new work - a work you have never heard. Because since we are in a progression forwards, we have uncovered similar truths in other things, and can therefore relate to what we experience.

Oh my God! I am done!

Here's Jessica and Shana.


                                    - written on stage during the entirety of "Initial Experiments In 3D" at my first                                         ever show as Caural at Invisible Cities (Brownies, NYC)