Jim Horton's Involvement With Playing Music 4of4 files
(1987) Acquired Atari 1040 computer and tx81z synth module thanks to Don Day.
(1987) "Up-down-v1" First began to use the "Formula" experimental music language thanks to Dave Anderson and Ron Kuivila.
(date?) I attended Dave Anderson's friday afternoon computer music seminars at the computer science dept at UCB.
(Sept. 1987) "JI Music Project" five 90 minute tapes. Thanks to Tim Perkis' TuneUp scale files.
(December 10, 11, 17, 18, 1987) "WORLD BROADCAST PREMIER!" w/ S. Ashley and B. Azarm. Classified ad in Express weekly newspaper, 4th, 11th and 18th of December 1987: "WORLD BROADCAST PREMIER! Listen to drive-by electronic music. 87.9 on your FM dial. 4:00-8:00pm, December 10, 11, 17, 18. Channing Way between Milvia and M. L. King." The piece was by Jim Horton, Sam Ashley and Ben Azarm. Horton's computer music system was plugged into a FM transmitter built from a kit by Ashley and Azarm. The antenna was spread on Horton's Channing Way studio floor. The continuously playing, Forth based, highly interactive, automatic music composition/program was written by Horton and later was modified and augmented for the Cloidt/Key/Horton collaboration "Music for Keyboard and Interactive Computer System 1-6" (Aug 1988). The sixteen hours of music were structured by playing all 100 scales in Tim Perkis' TuneUp scale collection, the files of which were integrated into the Forth program. That's an average of 9 min 36 sec per scale. A log was kept and signed. Besides Jim, Ben and Sam, John Bischoff and Paul DeMarinis also took turns at playing the system. Several cars (including Scot Gresham-Lancaster and possibly the landlady Helen Corbett) drove by with the music blasting away on their radios. Someone walked by with a Boombox and several cars (including Larry Polansky) parked for a while. Neighbors called in with reception reports.
(August 1988) "Music for Keyboard and Interactive Computer System 1-6", by Jay Cloidt, Jim Horton, and Steve Key. 1. Pastoral 7:12, 2. Somber 6:45, 3. Short Take 2:09, 4. Dramatic 6:49, 5. Hearts of Space 11:06, 6. Number Crunch 6:10. This collaborative composition by Jim Horton, Jay Cloidt, and Steve Key was assembled from recordings of rehearsal/experiments made in August 1988. Steve prepared a keyboard score that he played on a MIDI instrument into an interactive computer program built by Jim Horton. Jay wrote and played from a score that serialized the program's parameters and Jim performed an improvised real-time mix.
(Oct. 26 1988) "Up-down-v?" computer music played over the telephone. I called a party put on by B. Golden and S. Ashley at Rose street in SF where the receiver was placed on a table and people would occasionally pick it up and listen.
(late 80s-early 90s) Investigated the mail-art, cassette and zine based avant underground. W/ Mark Palmer.
(May 23 1990) DUET FOR TWO CONTINENTS at ATA Gallery SF. I played "Up-down-v17". Produced by Gunter Kreutz. From a letter to participants: A BI-CONTINENTAL, MIXED MEDIA CONCERT THAT, VIA COMPUTER MODEM, SIMULTANEOUSLY LINKS SAN FRANCISCO AND HANNOVER, GERMANY, IN A SPIRIT OF ARTISTIC COOPERATION. FRIDAY MARCH 23 10:30 p.m. ARTIST TELEVISION ACCESS 992 VALENCIA. Sponsored in part by the Technical University of Berlin. Performers/Musicians/Artists: Dave Anderson, John Bischoff, James Carman, Phil Deal, Jim Horton, Gunter Kreutz, Ron Kuivila, Tim Perkis, Frank H. Rothkamm. What's happening?: In the first half of the audio/visual performance featuring the individual artists, live music, film, slide projection, etc. at a length of approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour will be given. In the second half of the performance, however, a telecommunication link of two continents via modem/satellite will be made. Images and music will be exchanged between Hannover (Germany) and San Francisco (USA). The sound events are transmitted as a stream of MIDI information controlling various musical devices. Sound data production and manipulation originating from either side will allow a musical interaction across the ocean.
(early 1990) "Up-down-v19" simulated echo conceptual process piece.
(April 1990) Recording session w/ AA Bee Removal (S. Ashley and B. Azarm) of what I later called "Bird Removal Music" at Ben Azarm's studio in Emeryville. Ben was really good at playing perhaps the most difficult instrument in the world; a pre-amp who's output was fed back through a mixer to its inputs. He adjusted the intensity and pitch of the feedback and distortion by playing the volume and tone controls. Sam played feedback and had hardware-hacked a cassette machine for variable playback. He would record some of the music, rewind and play it back so slow that along with my and Ben's down-shifted sounds the cassette's bias tone made a beautiful mid range wavering drone. I played a version of Up-down.
(May 1990) "Bird Removal Music" Jim Horton w/ AA Bee Removal (S. Ashley and B. Azarm). A ten minute live performance under the Rotunda dome, next to the pond, outdoors at the Exploratorium with many others on the bill at an event organized by Nick Bertoni. I had designed a tx81z patch that somewhat unexpectedly turned out to effectively mimic the bird kingdom's universal alarm call. After we started to play I glanced up to see the event's director giving the universal emergency time-out signal by jumping up and down and waving her arms over her head and I saw others excitingly point to the sky above the pond. Hundreds of birds had been scared into the air and were wheeling about each together with their flock. For a minute or two it was like a scene from Hitchcock's movie "The Birds." They accused us of being AA Bird Removal.
(1990) "Rebirth" The computer, empty of suffering (running the language Formula), simulates high-speed attainment of Nirvana by playing the medieval Tibetan Buddhist game "Determination of the Ascension of Stages." Invented by Sakya pandita Kunga Gyaltsen ("whose banner is total joy"), the board shows 104 places of a fantastic cosmic geography. The scale is the justly intoned Other Music scale, borrowed from David Doty.
(October 1990) "Some Pointillism" This series of pieces started off being called "The New Pointillism" and evolved into "Horn Pointillism" to "Still Some Kind of Pointillism" (aka "Some Pointillism") to various versions of "Post-Pointillism" to "I Heard a Thousand Blended Notes." All these related but differently sounding pieces result from different inputs to the same computer program and with different types of signal processing. The program randomly selects notes from Max Meyer's scale of 29 just intoned pitches to the octave, and puts them into a randomly fluctuating buffer. Note-playing processes running at different tempos pick notes from the buffer and play them. Some pitches persist in the buffer longer than others, resulting in randomly-appearing tonal centers.
(June 1991) The Cactus Needle Project: Sam Ashley, Ben Azarm, Bob Gonsalves and Jim Horton. "61691T2" and "63091T2WJB" are from the Besler Series at the Besler Building in Emeryville played in June 1991. "63091T2WJB" includes John Bischoff as a guest performer. We protest all schemes and plots of the anti-democratic conspiracies from the beginning of the Nazi era to the downing of Pan Am Flight 103 and beyond. We have modularized and processed a great quantity of narrative source material gathered from declassified documents, court transcripts, news stories, history books, investigative journalism, congressional records, printed interviews, rare pamphlets and unpublished manuscripts. The modules are permutated, combined and selected differently for each performance. In this series we used a 30 minute videotape as a moving graphic score. Our music setup includes a unique feedback-distortion system and several computers running semi-autonomous MIDI generating algorithms that we monitor and direct by occasional intervention. Down with all CIA-Fascist conspiracies! We unconditionally demand all government out in the open, pure, cleansing sunlight of compassion and good intentions now!
(Memorial Day 1991) The Cactus Needle Project: Music video at the 16th annual Meadow Festival of Music. Somewhere in Northern California.
(July 4 1991) Broadcast on Barbara Golden's KPFA radio show "Crack o' Dawn" The Cactus Needle Project: a three hour "Independence Day Special"
(1991) Review of Formula computer music language in Leonardo Music Journal, Vol. 1, #1, 1991. Plagiarism prank gone awry. When asked to review the language Formula I thought it would be interesting to support the questioning of orthodoxy around the concepts of plagiarism and copyright being carried out by the English philosopher Stuart Home, and the composers John Oswald, and the Tape-beatles. I was a subscriber to publications put out by the Iowa organization The Copyright Violation Squad. I plagiarized from a preprint of Anderson and Kuivila's paper "Formula: A Programming Language for Expressive Computer Music" that eventually appeared in the July 1991 issue of "Computer", (Vol 24, #7, ISSN 0018-9162), published by the IEEE Computer Society. I also copied without quoting from the Formula user's manual. I found the process of assembling the review to be very difficult- much harder than if I had started from scratch. I was only partially successful and had to supply about 20 percent of my own words. The idea was that once the review was published by Leonardo Music Journal I would write them a letter explaining what I had done and why; then I would make a report on the project and response, if any, to the Copyright Violation Squad -- but terrible events made me hesitate and abandon this plan. While listening to a BBC news broadcast about the mysterious death, possibly by assassination, of the socialist British publisher Mr. Robert Maxwell, I was startled to hear that his rival, the rightwinger Rupert Murdock, had made contentious charges that the Leonardo Journal was a money laundering front for transfering large sums of Communist gold from Moscow to some unknown place in Europe. Because the Maxwell businesses were under fierce political attack and collapsing I became slightly paranoid and thought my plagiarism prank, if revealed then, might possibly harm the magazine so I never sent the follow-up letter. I know this sounds somewhat spineless but that's what happened.
(1991) "Accelerando" is four accelerating lines running at different tempi. The lines ascend or descend a fixed diatonic melodic pattern. Every 90 seconds the pattern is retuned to one of 12 ancient Greek, justly intoned scales. Thanks to Tim Perkis for his TUNE-UP program.
(Oct 4 1991) Broadcast and interview on Barbara Golden's KPFA radio show "Crack o' Dawn". Played: "Accelerando", "Rebirth", "Playing Through the Classical Repertoire: Tchaikowsky Piano Concerto" (excerpt) by Phil Harmonic, "31091T1" by The Cactus Needle Project, untitled from "JI Music Project" tape 3 start of side A, "Bird Removal Music" by Jim Horton w/ AA Bee Removal preceded by the announcement "Warning! if you have birds as pets please turn down your radio!".
(January 1992) "Simulated Winds and Cries" Justly intoned sliding intervals selected by 1/f fractal patterns. This piece, like "I Heard a Thousand Blended Notes" and "Rave Patterns" is among other things a signal processing piece. I play the processor interactively in real time just as I play the computer program. We find ourselves wandering upon an infinite plain. "In the likeness of the immeasurable inextinction of space, should the immeasurable inextinction of the minds of all beings be understood." --Line 258 of The Perfection of Wisdom in Eight Thousand Lines.
(Jan 21 1992) Before an experimental music session there occurred possibly an historic first in the annals of Artificial Life. Bill Thibault called me up to say the session had to be called off because his computer instrument had been infected by a Bulgarian "Stoned" software virus. This virus stole cycles from the machine slowing everything down while writing a notice on the screen: "This computer is stoned." This might be the first time a session didn't happen not because of the stoned musician but because the musical instrument was too stoned to make it!
(January 1992) The Cactus Needle Project: music video for Jack Ruby's Carousel Club II at Artists Television Access.
(date?) Excerpt of The Cactus Needle Project tape played on John Gullak's KPFA "No Other Radio Network" show.
(April 21 1992) Acquired good Nakamichi cassette tape recorder.
(date?) Tape of dense drone in 31 equal temperament.
(Aug-Sept 1992) "Noisy Artificial Animal-Like Sounds and Noise 1-6" is strung together from late night parameter tweaking experiments carried out in late August and early September 1992. The attentive listener can hear the tape run out at the very end because the last section was recorded after I fell asleep. The computer however, untiringly and autonomously composes and plays music in real-time. Although the term "animal-like" is used in the title, please feel free to supply your own imaginative program.
(August 1992) "Rave Patterns" Bent notes through the echo machine for a trance effect. The echo time is fixed, while the performer varies the tempo and the pitch bend depth, searching for variety and expression. This piece is justly intoned. A 45-minute version of "Rave Patterns" was recorded for Scot Gresham-Lancaster to play at the experimental area of a rave dance party held in early fall 1992 in Oakland, California, but the police shut it down before it fully got started. (Thus is the underground confirmed in its oppositions.)
(Dec. 4 1992) Broadcast and interview on Barbara Golden's KPFA radio show "Crack o' Dawn". Played: "Music for Keyboard and Interactive Computer System 1-6", by Jay Cloidt, Jim Horton, and Steve Key, "Up-down-v17", "Untitled experiment (Oct. 30 1992)", "Post-Pointillism I and II" ( Nov. 1992), "Simulated Winds and Cries", "Rave Patterns", "61691T2" (excerpt) by The Cactus Needle Project, "Noisy Artificial Animal-Like Sounds and Noise: part 5". "Rebirth".
(December 1992) "I Heard a Thousand Blended Notes"
I heard a thousand blended notes, While in a grove I sate reclined, In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts, Bring sad thoughts to the mind.
To her fair works did Nature link The human soul that through me ran; And much it grieved my heart to think What man has made of man. --"Lines Written in Early Spring", William Wordsworth 1798
(1992) Cassette compilation "Numbers Racket: The Just Intonation Network Compilation Volume 2" includes first version of "Rebirth".
(November 1992) The Cactus Needle Project: a presentation of "602T2630WJBT2SIMONE616T2324T2" as a work in progress in the Song Lines series at Mills College. From TCNP proposal propaganda letter: "From the start we have embedded the politics of the group into the sound of the music. For one performance piece, known as 602T2630WJBT2SIMONE616T2324T2, we set out to create a single sound in which all components were treated as being exactly equal in importance at all times -- reflecting the anarchy of absolute equality layered equally across time. The result was a dense mix without solos or leads." Ashley, Azarm and Gonsalves toured this piece to the east coast. Performances were presented on the Interpretations series at Merkin hall in New York City, at Wesleyan University and at the Pauline Oliveros Foundation's series in upstate NY (February 1993).
(early 1993) "For Our Friends the Ancient Krell" aka "Bill and Jim Play Along With the Electro-Acoustic Classics 1-5" was composed by Jim Horton and Bill Thibault. Jim interacts with his FORMULA-based microtonal computer programs while Bill samples from Jim's sounds mixed with the music of the Classic. The sound files are parked in a virtual place where they are triggered when virtually touched by a VR glove. The sounds are played using Bill's specially designed "mudra" finger position input language. One of the classics is played backward and the others are looped. 1. "has a calm sky survived" Vladamir Ussachevsky "Suite from No Exit" 1st 1:10 x6 = 7:00. 2. "he can jog" John Cage "Totem Ancestor" 1:55, simultaneously with 1st part of "Perilous Night" 2:15, total length= 4:33 (Horton plays Wendy Carlos' "alpha" scale of 15.385 steps per octave). 3. "my teen jeans" James Tenney "Collage #1 (Blue Suede)" played backwards = 3:22. 4. "dr edge as rave" Edgard Varese "Poem Electronique" 1st 1:34 x4 = 6:18 (Horton plays in twenty equal temperament). 5. "sob o endurable brain" Louis and Bebe Barron "Ancient Krell Music" from "Forbidden Planet" soundtrack 1:47 x8/3.1416 = 4:33 (Horton plays in eleven equal temperament).
(April-May 1993) "Far Away Stations." Amplitude modulation by complex periodic pulse wavetrains directed at midi global volume on the tx81z. An attempt to play radio station interference and shortwave telemetry sounds of the imagination. This started out as late night am radio dx sessions.
(May 23 1993) "Jack Ruby Interview." "CIA Sponsored and Run", "Mae's Lecture" and "Backwards" were also composed around this same time.
(June 1993) "Jody Ambient With Cypherpunk Noise." A Mix of 1. loop of Jody Diamond singing on Larry Polansky's "AL Het" from "Interactions: New Music for Gamalan" cd, 2. Kenneth Atchley's recording off an AM radio of electromagnetic noise from a Vic 20 running an anagram program, and 3. Jim Horton's computer program making acceleration patterns.
(Aug. 30 1993) "Some Possible Martian Jewel" This kind of sounds like hippy flute music.
(October 1993) The Cactus Needle Project: a performance of "Yjr <ohjyu Eit;oyxrt" at the Lab in San Francisco included: 1. "CIA Sponsored and Run", "Mae's Lecture" 2. "Jack Ruby Interview", "Backwards" w/ videos by Bob Gonsalves. I played on pieces by Sam Ashley, Ben Azarm, and Bob Gonsalves. From propaganda handout: "In another piece, 'Yjr <ohjyu Eit;oyxrt', the social experiment involves the portioning of the performance time into quarters with each member conceiving/producing an unique section using much original working material created by the group as a whole. Although Cactus Needle is mostly organized around the making of music, the group also exploits digital image rendering and computer animation software. In a performance we show video tapes (if possible on multiple monitors), and use a simple kind of live acting." Ashley, Azarm, and Gonsalves toured this piece to Wires in Los Angeles (January 1994) and to the Alternative Museum in NYC (March 1994).
(October 1993) I was interviewed by Steve Key and Mic Gendereau. Two 90 minute tapes.
(Dec. 1 1993) "A Prayer" Recorded by Carter Scholz. One of many tapes solicited by Barb Golden from her friends for her early Christmas Co'D show. Text read over a dense drone in 31 equal temperament. Used as ammunition in a struggle for power over control of the show between Barb and Frank Moore! : May the glorious immaculate and wondrously mystical Virgin Birth of our sacred and glorious Prince of Peace the very most holy Little Baby Jesus by the glorious and blessed Virgin Mary Mother Queen of our cloudy blue little doomed planet glorious Earth of universal ignorance and abject suffering Oh! bring sweet joy to all our hearts!
I performed on Kenneth Atchley's piece for barb's show. I sang in bass chanting style a text selected by Atchley from the Bible over the telephone which Ken recorded by putting a microphone in front of his speaker-phone as he read a story about Christmas at Children's Fairy Land by Lake Merrit in Oakland.
(March 9 1994) "Gorgeous Clothed Flies" by 4D City. Text from W. Blake's epic poem "Milton." Highly processed singing by Horton, noise guitar by Kenneth Atchley and digitally processed video feedback with derived electronic drumbeats and signal processor control by Bill Thibault. Music video played at Jerry Hunt Memorial Concert, San Diego, April 94.
"4th of July Music" for July 4th 1994 morning show on KPFA. One of many tapes solicited by Barb Golden from her friends. Sam Ashley said that listening to the program was hearing all the new music styles in one place all on the same theme: "Oh say can you see ..."
(May 1994) "Rushing" This tape sounded great being played on a boombox at a dinner party.
(1994- ) Participation in an Experienced Composers discussion and music listening group.
(july 1994) "Wondering Through an Artificial Paradise Called the Harry Partch Scale" third version. The computer plays Partch's 43 tone scale. It accidently came out to be 43 min 43 sec long.
(Aug. 4 1994) Broadcast and interview on Barbara Golden's KPFA radio show "Crack o' Dawn." w/ Bill Thibault. A five hour program. Played: "I Heard a Thousand Blended Notes", "For Our Friends the Ancient Krell" aka "Bill and Jim Play Along With the Electro-Acoustic Classics 1-5" by Jim Horton and Bill Thibault, "Some Possible Martian Jewel", "Gorgeous Clothed Flies" by Horton, Thibault and Atchley, "Mae's Lecture", "Jack Ruby Interview", "Backwards", "Jody Ambient With Cypherpunk Noise", "Rushing", "Far Away Stations I, II, III", "Tibetan Horn Improvisation with Feedback" by Tom Zahuranec and Jill Kroesen, "Plant Music" by Tom Zahuranec, "Joy Journey" by Warner Jepson, "Fish and Men" by Lisa "Suckdog" Carver, "Wondering Through an Artificial Paradise Called the Harry Partch Scale", "Bird Removal Music" by Jim Horton w/ AA Bee Removal (w/ warning).
(1994 ?) Jim Horton Cassette Collection. FROG PEAK MUSIC a composers' collective Box 1052 Lebanon NH 03766 Tape 1 Jim Horton: Solo Music. Tape 2 The Cactus Needle Project. Tape 3 Music for Keyboard and Interactive Computer System 1-6. Bill and Jim Play Along With the Electro-Acoustic Classics 1-5. [aka For Our Friends the Ancient Krell]
(fall 1993 - ) History of Experimental Music in Northern California Project A compilation of texts put into the computer. Over a million words in over 1100 files. In 1991 Mason Jones put out his compilation "Wakened By Silence: San Francisco Area Experimental Music" (two cassettes and a booklet in a box.) I found it interesting that I didn't know any of the artists on these tapes and that none of the many experimental music composers that I knew were included. This led me to study the various circles and scenes and their histories. From Mason Jone's preface: "I moved to San Francisco in 1988 without knowing anyone, knowing nothing about the music scene here. ...aside from a few groups I knew were here, I was basically starting from scratch. It didn't take very long to start meeting people, though; at the first show I attended in the city, I met people involved in the experimental music scene. Immediately thereafter, I found myself in the middle of a healthy scene, which has definitely grown since then. Three years later, I'm extremely happy to be able to provide this document as an introduction to the San Francisco Bay area's experimental/industrial artists."
(November 3 1994) "Noisy Artificial Animal-Like Sounds and Noise 1-6" played on Barbara Golden's Crack O'Dawn radio show on KPFA. Show featured Wendy Reid being interviewed and sharing her newest perfectly minimal, perfect music (Barb's description). Also a tape piece by Jan Pusina.
(May 4 1996) Wonderful cd introduction party at John Bischoff's and Vangie King's house!
(May 1996) "Simulated Winds and Cries" ART 1013 cd on Artifact Recordings. Produced by John Bischoff and Larry Polansky. "This music is in the tradition of process music. It is without necessary beginnings, middles, or ends. All the pieces originally functioned as ambient music for my own enjoyment. I wrote computer programs embodying several musical ideas, and played them by adjusting parameters in real time. I call this "cooperative playing with semi-autonomous musical processes". On the following days and weeks I often spent an hour or so exploring the piece's "parameter space" and then let the program play its music for several hours as I read, engaged in conversation, or did other things. After a while this music became attuned to an aspect of my taste as an experimental listener as it was in the early 1990s. Of course there is no reason why these pieces can't be listened to with close attention, as well as heard as experimental background sound. When the programs are running autonomously, slightly beyond my comprehension, playing music I probably wouldn't have thought of left to my own devices, I like to imagine they are precursors to uplifting, slightly alien musical A.I.s of the twenty-first century. Oh, how I hope and wish that contemporary cyberculture will lead to a beautiful utopian compassionate world of Good!" 1. "I Heard a Thousand Blended Notes", 2. "Simulated Winds and Cries", 3. "Some Pointillism", 4. "Rebirth", 5. "Rave Patterns".