Transom: March 2022

Noise, George Lewis & Amina Claudine Meyers, Sister Rosetta Tharpe

Gahlord Dewald :: 4/23/22 :: Mānoa, Hawai‘i


“But noise can also be expressive: both the distribution and the frequency can be adjusted to produce new effects. Adjusting the distribution is a very common method of altering the kind of randomness used”

Preliminary Poetics of Procedural Generation in Games

03/21/2022 Conversation between George Lewis and Amina Claudine Meyers, filled with insights on playing free, connecting to people, listening to sound.

“A number of younger scholars working on new music have noted that widely accepted historicizations appear to premise the very identity of American experimental music upon the erasure of African-American forms, histories, and aesthetics, despite the ongoing centrality of blackness to the international identity of American music. “

“Playing with people in these free-improvisation contexts, too, I can figure out a lot about the other musicians—where they want to take the music, the messages that they are interested in or capable of receiving.”

“Well, there’s one musician, a bassist; it seems like he always knows the right thing to do that works with the music. Technically he can do it, and he has feeling and soul. He knows what I’m doing and where I’m going. There’s no ego.”

Amina Claudine Myers by George Lewis

03/20/2022 Listening to Sister Rosetta Tharpe reminded me of a piece I made for a Disquiet Junto prompt. I started with an Elvis Presley song. Then, using audio analysis software trained on a song by Tharpe, subtracted Sister Rosetta Tharpe from Presley. At the time, I was unable to share the results because all the usual audio sharing services flagged it. But now that I’m using my own streaming service I can share it here eventually.


“Journalistic treatments of burnout—such as Anne Helen Petersen’s widely read 2019 essay—tend to emphasize the heroic exertions of the burned-out worker, who presses on and gets her work done, no matter what. Such accounts have significantly raised burnout’s prestige, Malesic argues, by aligning the disorder with “the American ideal of constant work.” But they give, at best, a partial view of what burnout is.”

The New Neurasthenia


“Part of my reporting involves reading Internet juggling forums, where the art vs. sport topic is endlessly debated.“

'Bizarro World' That's what my wife and I entered when we drove up to an arcade in Weirs Beach, New Hampshire, where she would attempt to break an official world record in the classic video game Tetris.


“the term “cutting session” is a jazz term, which is you “cut” somebody, and you blow them off the bandstand. Well, Monk never did that. His thing was, if he heard someone struggling, even if heard them when he’s sitting in the audience, he would go up to that person and say, “You know what, you don’t know the changes. Come to my house tomorrow at nine o’clock and I’ll teach them to you.” And musicians would come to his house—a little tiny apartment: two bedrooms, the piano was partly in the kitchen and partly in the living room. These cats would show up. He would sit down with them and show them music. He would show them tunes. A lot of those musicians were pretty unknown, like Danny Quebec West. But he gave them a chance because he really believed in them. Then people like Jackie McLean would show up. John Coltrane would show up sometimes and learn some stuff. Sonny Rollins, after high school, would head straight to Monk’s house. Monk was a teacher! And his home became the center for cultivating the culture, but also creating community. And the idea of creating community among musicians is something that we don’t always recognize.”

“The idea that people want speak­ers or want to read things that confirm what they know rather than challenge what they know. That’s where I think, if I have edges that show up, that’s what I’m most critical of. Because it’s tied to the opposite. The culture of ad hominem and the culture of hating: the flip side of that is confirmation. Neither of them is dialectical. Hating is banishment. Confirmation is nothing changes. They’re two sides of the same coin.”

“So for me, the project of understand­ing music and politics is to discard notions of “tradition” and “authenticity,” except in the way that it frames the work, the way it frames the commercial limitations and possibilities and constraints, the way it frames how critics write about it, the way it frames even the way musicians think about the music. And I don’t want do deny. Like when Randy says, “I play traditional music,” I know what he means by that. It’s not to say that I’m having an argument with Randy; but again, it is inseparable from commodification. So when we get to the question about “cultural appropriation,” to me, I can never separate the issue of “appropri­ation” from the issue of the market.”

“Perhaps more importantly, for me at least, was Hegel’s lessons that when we look at individual things and phenomena, we see only the differences between them, and they stand as discrete entities. But looking dialectically, we can see how they are all part of the same process; they acquire meaning once we see them in dialectical tension, as moments in a process of change.”

“Solidarity Is Not a Market Exchange”: An Interview with Robin D. G. Kelley

03/12/2022 spectra research


“Where did my singular focus on building a billion-dollar company come from in the first place? I think I inherited it from a society that worships wealth. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Bill Gates was my all-time hero and the world’s richest person. Ever since I can remember, I’ve equated 'success' with net worth. If I heard someone say 'that person’s really successful,' I didn’t assume they were improving the well-being of those around them, but that they’d found a way to make a ton of cash.”

Reflecting on My Failure to Build a Billion-Dollar Company

03/10/2022Some small adjustments of style and organization on the N0d3book page.

03/09/2022Conversation with Robert in preparation for my lecture at Lehman College on Friday, a “no Twitter” day as it’s been consuming a ton of my time and not productively, working on Timbre of Starlight.

03/08/2022Long conversation with my Jaguar Stereo duo partner, Toussaint St. Negritude. Talked about many things, but directly relevant to the music we discussed song ordering for vinyl release. Might be a double LP.

03/07/2022 Setting up The Additive Sines Computer—lots of fussing with tiny screws and cables and electricity. End result is feeling pretty good though. Some of the ADSRs have slightly different response times, at least in the decay. I might migrate those to high number slots so that high pitches ring longer in various tones.