Wednesday, December 3, 2014

from circuits and code to birch and horsehair

Remember being a bit disappointed when I read this piece, six years ago, about how computer music pioneer Paul Lansky had gone back to acoustic instruments:

"After 35 years immersed in the world of computer music, the composer Paul Lansky talks with wonder about the enormous capacities of primitive objects carved from trees or stamped from metal sheets: violins, cellos, trumpets, pianos. “To create the sound of a violin — wow!” he said in a recent interview. “I can’t do that on a computer”... “I hate to say this, but I think I’m done,” Mr. Lansky said. “Basically I’ve said what I’ve had to say. Here I am, 64, and I find myself at what feels like the beginning of a career. I’m interested in writing for real people at this point.”

".... He acknowledged feeling a twinge of jealousy toward successful acoustic composers, saying he sometimes wished he could produce the acoustic music of his graduate students. He even came close to admitting a dirty little secret: “I basically don’t like electronic music. I like to compose it. I’m just not a big fan of it..... 

"His conversion, in a sense, is a relinquishing of the need to control, the rejection of what he called an antisocial bent. What drives many creators of computer music is the desire to have total mastery over how a piece of music sounds. “I wanted to be a filmmaker rather than a playwright,” Mr. Lansky wrote. “That is, I was interested in creating the finished product rather than in creating scripts for other people to execute.”

".... Shedding electronic gear and the labor of writing computer programs is a “huge relief,” he said. “I’m digging out music in me that I couldn’t have with electronic music.” The sheer process of reinvention, Mr. Lansky said, is satisfying: “It’s more interesting to get good at something than to be good at something.” He recalled those pioneering years fondly. “We really felt as if we were at the beginning of a revolution,” he said. “I don’t have any regrets.

Makes a lot of (personal) sense. But must say I still prefer this kind of thing... 

to this 

Although it's pretty.

But yeah

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