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Options March 10, 2012: Nicolas Collins: As Slow As Possible - for Radio Boredcast

NICOLAS COLLINS: AS SLOW AS POSSIBLE – FOR RADIO BOREDCAST

I’ve always held that slowing things down was one of the fundamental tactics in experimental music (in fact, in my book, Handmade Electronic Music – The Art of Hardware Hacking, I pompously enshrine “Slow it down, a lot” as the “third law of the avant-garde.)  It’s a weakness of mine, and one that I’m sure has cost me many a grant – an old friend of mine, having served on an arts council panel that had just turned me down, admitted, “Nic, you don’t make ‘panel-friendly music’ – it takes too long to get going.”  My formative years were spent immersed in “minimalist” music under the tutelage of Alvin Lucier.  I’ve always thought the first act of music making was careful listening – I just don’t listen fast.  After LaMonte Young, Glass’s “Music In 12 Parts”, and a lot of Cage’s music my offerings strike me as pretty middle of the curve, but I guess others think otherwise.

What follows are a number of recordings of mine that depend upon either a stretching out and suspending of otherwise fleeting sound material, or just an extended period of relative unchanged to focus one’s attention.

Pea Soup (1974/2002-11)
Audio file: http://www.nicolascollins.com/peasouptracks.htm
Description: http://www.nicolascollins.com/aboutpeasoup.htm
http://www.nicolascollins.com/peasouptracks.htm
A self-stabilizing feedback network creates an “architectural raga” out of site-specific room resonance.

Tobabo Fonio and It Was A Dark And Stormy Night. From “It Was A Dark And Stormy Night” (1992)
Audio files & liner notes: http://www.nicolascollins.com/darkandstormytracks.htm
Essay on weird trombone: http://www.nicolascollins.com/texts/TrombonePropelledElectronics.pdf
In Tobabo Fonio a homemade digital signal processor – controlled from and playing back through a trombone – suspends and draws out fragments of Cusqueña brass band music.  It Was A Dark And Stormy Night is an even more drawn out re-orchestration and extension of Tobabo Fonio, for vocalists and mixed ensemble.

Real Electronic Music (1987)
Audio file: http://www.nicolascollins.com/otherrecs.htm
Another work for my trombone-propelled electronics.  Here the instrument is used to draw out signals from a scanning radio, similar to that in an automobile, but hacked so that it sits on each station for less than a second before scanning up to the next – a sort of an “aetherial drum machine”.

Baby, It’s You. With Peter Cusack, bouzouki
Audio file: http://www.nicolascollins.com/otherrecs.htm
Similar trombone-propelled electronics extension of the Bacharach/Dixon/David song, as recorded by the Shirelles.

Still Lives and Still (After) Lives. From “Sound Without Picture” CD (1999)
Audio files & liner notes: http://www.nicolascollins.com/soundwithoutpicturetracks.htm
Essay on history of hacked CDs: http://www.nicolascollins.com/texts/cdhacking.pdf
In Still Lives a CD player is hacked to enable a drawing out of 22 seconds of early Baroque music to almost 6 minutes, suspending the counterpoint into rhythmic harmonic loops, with live trumpet and voice above.  Still (After) Lives is an arrangement of the same musical material for a purely acoustic chamber ensemble.

Broken Choir (1997). Performed by Zeitkratzer ensemble
Audio file: http://www.nicolascollins.com/otherrecs.htm
Another work for hacked CD players drawing out 2 recordings of early music, with ensemble interplay.

Sonnet 40 (1998). Axel Dörner, trumpet.
Audio file: http://www.nicolascollins.com/otherrecs.htm
Score: http://www.nicolascollins.com/texts/sonnet40score.pdf
Acoustic trumpet “reads” a Shakespeare Sonnet – at tempo, drawn out, and bebop speed.
Prattle (2011)

Audio files & text: http://www.nicolascollins.com/prattle.htm
This is almost the opposite of the rubric: the first 22 months of my son’s life, tracking the evolution of his speech.  But it sure felt as slow as possible at the time.



Listen to this show:

Artist Track
Nicolas Collins  Prattle (excerpts)   Options
Nicolas Collins and George Cremaschi  Pea Soup   Options
Nicolas Collins  Prattle (excerpts)   Options
Nicolas Collins  Tobabo Fonio   Options
Nicolas Collins  Prattle (excerpts)   Options
Nicolas Collins  It Was a Dark and Stormy Night   Options
Nicolas Collins  Prattle (excerpts)   Options
Nicolas Collins and Peter Cusack  Baby It's You   Options
Nicolas Collins  Prattle (excerpts)   Options
Nicolas Collins with Ben Neill and Kammerensemble Neue Musik Berlin  Still Lives (Nabokov)   Options
Nicolas Collins  Prattle (excerpts)   Options
Nicolas Collins with Ben Neill and Kammerensemble Neue Musik Berlin  Still After Lives   Options
Nicolas Collins  Prattle (excerpts)   Options
Nicolas Collins/Keitkratzer  Broken Chair   Options
Nicolas Collins  Prattle (excerpts)   Options
Axel Dörner   Sonnet 40   Options
Nicolas Collins  Prattle (excerpts)   Options

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