Jim Horton's Involvement With Playing Music 3of4 files
(1978-1982) League of Automatic Music Composers. Mike Rowell in SF Weekly nov 8-14 1995 Machine Dreams excerpt: Bischoff adds, "The whole form of computer network music is indigenous to this area. It started here with a group that a number of members of the Hub were in: The League of Automatic Music Composers." The League was stirred to life by the advent of microcomputers in the mid 70s, which swept through the local experimental music community. Formally established in 1978, the League is generally considered the very first computer network band. In fact, the group basically had to build their own electronic maze from scratch, since one wasn't readily available that would suit their purposes. According to founding League member Jim Horton, who still composes computer-controlled "process" pieces at his Berkeley home, prior to the arrival of these affordable little machines, computer music wasn't so much performed as recorded: Composers would program their pieces on big mainframes and play back the tapes at concerts. "When microcomputers came out," says Horton, "the thing that the Mills College crowd did, including myself, was immediately get them into real-time performance by making instruments out of them and playing them live." Horton's first computer was something called a KIM-1 -- a dinky machine by today's standards, with 1K of memory -- that he bought sight-unseen through the mail. He began programming it to play music, and when his Mills compatriots saw what he was doing, they naturally had to have computers too. Inspired by the theories of avant-garde composer John Cage and his music circuses in which different compositional pieces interact, the group tried linking them together. Thus the League was born. Horton, Bischoff, and Rich Gold formed the League's core; Tim Perkis, David Behrman, and Donald Day were later incorporated into the collective. Much like the later Hub, each member would program his computer to play an autonomous program, but the computers would also take information and cues from each other, the "net" result being three or four computers playing separate-yet-interconnected pieces. All of this was run through a mixer and played for the audience -- "at a goodly volume," of course. The group practiced/played regularly; for a time, they were gathering every other Sunday afternoon at Finn Hall, a community center in West Berkeley. League performances would literally take hours to set up and debug, and on an aesthetic level, they were pretty odd. "Envision a table full of electronic circuits, little boxes, computers, all kinds of wires and so forth," reminisces Horton. "A typical concert would be us at this table, continually fooling around with electronics, changing parameters on the programs." The League was obsessed with the idea of artificial intelligence, so much so that their motto was something to the effect of "We get new group members by building them." At times, the computers did indeed seem to have minds of their own, sounding not unlike a group of musicians playing off each other, be it free improvisation or an almost unified consciousness. Excited by the innovation, the League was spurred then to delve further. That members were essentially performing cutting-edge computer network research was mere incidental by-product. "One time this group from NASA-Ames came up to see us," says Horton. "They were designing this network for the space shuttle, and they had heard about what we were doing. They came up to check it out, took some notes, and seemed to enjoy it."
(June 26-29 1978) David Behrman at 80 Langton St. presented a workshop in "Homemade Instruments using Microcomputer Technology and Software." Adapted from Bob Davis' article in Synapse Jan. 1979: "During part of three other workshop sessions, Behrman arranged for other composers working with microcomputers to present their work. These were Paul DeMarinis, Phil Harmonic and "Real Time Computer Network Music" a trio of microcomputer artists, John Bischoff, Rich Gold, and Jim Horton, who initially developed their programs separately, but later formed an interactive configuration. All three produced a constantly changing exchange that produced hours of uninterrupted listening, and their piece created a delightful sonic environment to gently move about in, and converse with the musicians about their work."
(July 2 1978) Real Time Computer Network Music. John Bischoff, Jim Horton, Rich Gold at Blind Lemon/New Works. From Horton's program notes: I All data is structured by an interface and the structure's logic informs the imagination. II Ancient wisdom is Mathesis, the art of constructing and interpreting philosophical diagrams. Its basic logic is a mathematical theory of music: Just Intonation. The diagram was the interface by which experience could be correlated and imagination brought into conformity with the Cosmos. III Today a battle of the giants is being waged primarily between A.T.&T. and I.B.M. over the question: "who will control the interface?" to new worlds brought into being by the information explosion. IV A possible way to subvert monopolistic data formats is to construct and interpret a wide range of A.I. based personalized interfaces with corresponding experimental data structures and ways of imagining the world.
(1978) Article: "Music for an Interactive Network of Microcomputers" by John Bischoff, Rich Gold, and Jim Horton, published in FOUNDATIONS OF COMPUTER MUSIC, edited by Curtis Roads and John Strawn, MIT Press (1985), pp. 588-600 (originally published in COMPUTER MUSIC JOURNAL 2(3):24-29, 1978). Describes concepts, compositions, systems and software of the July 2 concert at BL/NW.
(November 26 1978) Multi interactive computer music with Rich Gold, David Behrman, John Bischoff, Jim Horton at Blind Lemon/New Works. On this concert we started the net and sat down to let it play.
(1978 ) Two short writings in BREAK GLASS IN CASE OF FIRE The Anthology From The Center For Contemporary Music Edited by Bob Davis with Rich Gold "Two lines are sounded at any moment..."(describes "Euler Music"). "I. Our culture is committed to..."
(late 70s date?) I was so intrigued with the sound of the group Other Music that I volunteered as roadie for one of their Bay Aria seasons in order to listen to their rehearsals and concerts. Learned a lot about Just Intonation. From OTHER MUSIC prime numbers lp: Other Music is a unique ensemble of eleven composer / musicians who perform their original compositions on a set of justly tuned instruments designed and constructed by members of the group. Founded in 1975 by David B. Doty, Henry S. Rosenthal, and Dale S. Soules, Other Music has evolved a rich and complex music which, while drawing on such varied sources as Balinese and Javanese gamelan, European polyphony, ancient Greek modal theory, African polyrhythms, and the American experimental tradition, is innovative and distinctly contemporary. The union of these diverse elements is achieved with the aid of Other Music's original tuning system. This versatile scale of fourteen unequal steps per octave contains hundreds of current and historic world music modes, and literally thousands of novel and heretofore unheard scales.
(December 17 1978) Recording session for John Bischoff's Lovely Music EP that includes a selection by The League of Automatic Music Composers (Jim Horton, Rich Gold, David Behrman, John Bischoff.) LOVELY LITTLE RECORDS (VR 101-06), six EPs of music by John Bischoff, Paul DeMarinis, Phil Harmonic, Frankie Mann, Maggi Payne, and "Blue" Gene Tyranny.
(1979-1980) I did various jobs for Ear Magazine.
Ear articles: Electronic/Computer Music News by Jim Horton EAR probably 1979 on Bob Gonsalves' multi-media projects. EAR volume 7 No. 3, may-June, 1979a, on John Bischoff's computer music piece "A momentary tuning of environmental sounds". EAR, Volume 7, Number 3, July-Aug. 1979b on Martin Bartlett's "Apogee Motor" black box computer/analog music system and about the Computer Music Journal. EAR Vol. 7, No. 5 Sept. - Oct. 1979 on Philip Loarie's digital music. EAR, Volume 8, Number 1, Jan.-Feb. 1980 on Nick Collin's music. EAR, Volume 8, Number 2, March-April 1980 on Maggi Payne's electronic music. EAR Vol. 8 No. 3 1980 on the League of Automatic Music Composers. EAR, Volume 8, Number 5, Sept. - Oct. 1980 on Paul Kalbach's music.
(1979) THE LEAGUE OF AUTOMATIC MUSIC COMPOSERS Perform every other Sunday afternoon from 1 until 5 PM: spring and summer 1979 at the Finnish Hall, 1819 10th Street, Berkeley. John Bischoff, Jim Horton and Tim Perkis.
(July 22 1979) on Arnie Passman's New Music "NO THY BOTTOM LINE" concert series at the Both Up Gallery, 2406 Stuart, Berkeley. Jim Horton and John Bischoff, The League of Automatic Music Composers.
(1979) Unsuccessful experiments on a simulated evolution piece using Fogel et. al.'s book "Artificial Intelligence Through Simulated Evolution."
(June 27 1980) League participation in ANOTHER ROOM PRESENTS: PUBLIC HEARING. Excerpt from article in Another Room: summer, Vol. 2 no. 2. by John Gullak about his experimental music event: On Friday, June 27 1980, the owner of the metal scavenging yard across the street dropped by our offices. This was no casual visit. There was something on his mind and he wanted to speak to me. He made reference to the loud noises which were at that moment resounding off the side of his building and echoing through the block. He mentioned that these noises were coming from our roof. Some explanation was in order. What he said was almost true. Yes, there were what he described as "loud noises" coming from our roof, emanating from a large 3,000 watt public address system installed the night before. But I had to explain this was serious business, not just noise. In reality, what he was listening to were specially prepared sound tapes made by various people and sent to us specifically for broadcast that day. The event, entitled "Public Hearing One", was sponsored by Another Room. I was surprised he hadn't paid us an earlier visit. We had been broadcasting similar sounds since 6 am that morning. It was now noon. When he found out we were only half way through the program, he didn't appear too happy. Most of the tapes we played blended in with the other sounds in our neighborhood, but some were a little disturbing. They weren't exactly something you'd want to hear when you were trying to give your driver instructions over the phone. Our neighbor had no grounds for complaint though. His business is responsible for much of the industrial din that invades our offices and becomes a way of life here. We feel if we have to live with it, we should be able to make our contribution. If you think some of the local bands are loud, you should hear two tons of scrap metal hit the pavement. It gives you new insights into your audio threshold.
(Mar 28 80) AUTOMATIC MUSIC/EAR BENEFIT/NEW COLLEGE SF At this concert we played under a 1000 watt quarts lamp. We needed to wear sunglasses. From the program notes: Their approach to an artificial musical intelligence is broadly based on a cybernetic theory of mental activity. They are attempting to gain practical insight into the musical potential of systems that exemplify Gregory Bateson's six criteria of mental process: 1) "a mind is an aggregate of interacting parts or components" 2) "The interaction between parts of mind is triggered by differences" 3) "Mental processes require collateral energy" 4) "In mental processes, the effects of difference are to be regarded as transforms (i.e., coded versions) of events which precede them" 5) "mental processes require circular (or more complex) chains of determination" 6) "the description and classification of these processes of transformation disclose a hierarchy of logical types immanent in the phenomena" -from Bateson's "Mind and Nature: A Necessary Unity" The musical system can be thought of as three stations each playing its own "sub"-composition which receives and generates information relevant to the real-time improvisation. No one station has an overall score. The non-hierarchical structure of the network encourages multiplicity of viewpoints and allows separate parts in the system to function in a variety of musical modes. This means that the moment-to-moment form the music takes is the combined result of the overlapping individual activities of the parts with the coordinating influence of the data exchanged between the computers. John Bischoff's station directly generates various noises, glissandi and tones through a Digital to Analog converter. It usually makes its decisions (i.e. play/rest, hold/continue, faster/slower, pitch up/down, etc.) by consulting data that encodes aspects of the states of both TP's and JH's stations. TP's computer calculates this information and JH's program signals the moment when it is accessed. In a context outside of Automatic Music, John's program is duplicated and the input supplied by a performer through two keyboards. It is called "Audio Wave". Tim Perkis' station can be described as a software implementation of a three dimensional network of virtual machines each of which plays one of nine voices. The state of a machine depends on its past state, the current state of its neighbors and the pitch of the present or last note played by JH's station. The envelope generators can be adjusted so that Tim's program can play in chordal or percussive modes. His program is an illustration of how coherent activity can result from the intersection of randomness with cooperative structure. Jim Horton's station plays part of Max Meyer's psychological theory of melody. It uses a 29-tone to the octave justly intoned scale. The program contains a group of (if conditions are met)->(make a change) modules that calculate rhythm, tempo, octave, rest and repetition. The conditions are set by the histories of other modules, the number of rests entered by JB's station, the amount of time since the last change, etc. as well as a random factor. Jim's station consists of two computers, one of which does these calculations, while the other plays the note or responds to data passed from JB's station by playing a glissando.
(May 3 1980) League concert at Fort Mason SF on the bill w/ Other Music. John Bischoff, Jim Horton and Tim Perkis.
(date?) League concert at a church(place?) in Berkeley. John Bischoff, Jim Horton and Tim Perkis.
(Oct 19 1980) 7-9 PM. League participation on John Gullak's ANOTHER ROOM'S PUBLIC HEARING TWO (A.R.P.H.2) ON KPFA 94.1 FM BERK.
(November 15 1980) New Langton Arts LEAGUE OF AUTOMATIC MUSIC COMPOSERS: JOHN BISCHOFF, JIM HORTON, TIM PERKIS Music concert. From the Catalog: "All that is not information, not redundancy, not form and not restraint--is noise, the only possible source of new patterns." -Gregory Bateson. The League presents their music not as entertainment but as an example of how nature operates when we perceive it as cooperative, democratic & musical. We have constructed a multi-computer based network of non-hierarchical, interactive, simultaneous processes that are open to information from larger environments. As these processes overlap & interact they generate mutual contexts for sonic motions. Sometimes when the system enters a strong interactive mode, its activities may be heard as if there is a unified mentality improvising or composing. Because the semantics of whether we can ascribe intentional acts to nonliving entities seems to be open, we can choose to consider that we have invented a (partially guided) musical artificial intelligence.
(Feb 7 1981) League concert at Mills College concert hall. John Bischoff, Don Day, Jim Horton and Tim Perkis.
(date?) The League interviewed and music played on Steve Key's "Big Sky Music" KPFA radio program. The show also included Phil Loarie and Rich Gold(?).
(June 1981) New Music America 81 Tuesday, June 9 THE LEAGUE OF AUTOMATIC MUSIC COMPOSERS at Japan Center Theatre. Bischoff, Horton and Perkis.
(1981) I consulted with Chet Wood, one of Sequential Circuit's chief design engineers on a proposed electronic music instrument [interface] standard that became MIDI. I suggested using an opto-isolator to kill all ground-loop problems.
(Dec. 1982) Participated in M.U.S.I.C. (Marvelous Unlimited Sounds in Concert) produced and directed by Barbara Golden and Melody Sumner. LEAGUE OF AUTOMATIC MUSIC COMPOSERS "6/7/81" John Bischoff, Jim Horton, Tim Perkis.
(Sept 25 1982) Roto-League, a combination of The League: Jim Horton, John Bischoff, Tim Perkis & Rotary Club: Sam Ashley, Kenneth Atchley, Ben Azarm, Jay Cloidt, Barbara Golden. My computer instrument was in 31 equal temperament and can be heard on Barbara Golden's "Flaming Toast" on the cd included as part of "Barbara Golden's Greatest Hits, Vol. 1" book/cd package published by Burning Books with Boner Girl Prods. (1995) From the press release: "Members of the League of Automatic Music Composers and of the live electronic music group, the Rotary Club, would like to announce a debut performance of their collaborative group the Rota-League. This unique group employs a battery of instruments which includes synthesizers, lap steel guitar, computer-controlled electronics, rhythm generator, processed sound effects tapes, and plastic castanets from the Republic of China. This performance represents a merger of widely different approaches to New Music performance, and will incorporate high-tech microcomputer technology, a vocalist, random switching techniques inspired by John Cage, and pop music elements." Postcard: ROTA-LEAGUE, DEBUT PERFORMANCE. ED MOCK STUDIO. 32 PAGE STREET, SAN FRANCISCO. CALIFORNIA. SATURDAY. SEPTEMBER 25, 1982. 9 P.M. -- $4.00. wine will be served at nominal cost. THE ETERNAL NOW = 1776. Pieces: (I WAS AN) INDUSTRIAL DRONE, ANGEL OF ATTENTION, ONE NOTE A DAY, PITCH MATCH, FLAMING TOAST, EXPLODED VIEW, SYMPATHETIC CONNECTIONS, APPALOOSA GALLOP.
(April 7 1983) Lecture at Mills Jim Horton "The Cafe Med: 1972--"
(1983-1986) Various studies and experiments with small A.I. programs mostly on the Commodore 64. Logical specification of indeterminate music scores. Properties of some aesthetic measures. Expressions of creative subjectivity by automatic music systems. Musical application of multiple context pattern learning.
(1986) I was a founding member of the Just Intonation Network. From JIN's webpage: "Just Intonation is not a particular scale, nor is it tied to any particular musical style. It is, rather, a set of principles which can be used to create a virtually infinite variety of intervals, scales, and chords which are applicable to any style of tonal music (or even, if you wish, to atonal styles). Just Intonation is not, however, simply a tool for improving the consonance of existing musics; ultimately, it is a method for understanding and navigating through the boundless reaches of the pitch continuum--a method that transcends the musical practices of any particular culture."
(Spring, 1986) Article: "Jim Horton Hears a Who (le Number Ratio)" 1/1: the Quarterly Journal of the Just Intonation Network. Volume 2, Number 2, Spring, 1986 Excerpt: Just Intonation, in both its horizontal and vertical manifestations can also be used in situations where the perception of any kind of scale is very difficult. The League of Automatic Music Composers (John Bischoff, Tim Perkis, and I) devised a kind of free atonality that made heavy use of Just Intonation tools. In a typical setup for a league performance, several microcomputers, each automatically generating its own sound, would be configured in a network. Each machine's program would make decisions as to what to play, based on information received from other machines. For instance, station B would play a sequence of pitches and glides, based on a complex high-prime number tuning. Station P would track the frequency of that signal, designate it as 1/1, and perform an accompaniment using pitches based on the formula 1/1 * A/B, where A and B are integers between 1 and 16. P would tell Station H what pitch P was playing, and also retune a synthesizer circuit used by H. H would then use the received information as input to a just, seven-limit melody and counterpoint generating algorithm. The resulting music would form floating and temporary tonal centers, defined by just intervals. In another experimental composition, stations P and H each generated their own sonic patterns (usually in Just Intonation but sometimes in other microtonal tunings), while station B silently listened. When P's and H's lines conjoined in some specified just interval, B would calculate and play a third tone, to make a chord. These sporadic interventions had a remarkable tendency to pull the two lines, that were not always well tuned to each other, into a complex but perceptually-unified whole. These experiments proved to me that Just Intonation and atonality are not counter indicated but can be combined to create a "well-tuned" atonality.
(mid 80s to early 90s) Participation in The Advanced Listening Club which would meet occasionally to further the practice of advanced listening. Horton, Bischoff, Perkis, Don Day, Pusina and others.
(1986) Cassette compilation "Tellus #14: Just Intonation" included: THE LEAGUE OF AUTOMATIC MUSIC COMPOSERS
(1987) Short article in Larry Polansky's compilation on the "The Future of Music", Leonardo Vol. 20, No. 4, 1987 p.365. (Reprinted in Evos Newsletter #8, Perth, Australia).