Monthly Archives: October 2006

One, two & three; Lectures so far

The first three lectures of my University career were reassuring (that I’m not completely out of my depth) but also re-emphasised the fact that nobody can do well without serious thought and effort. I’ve made very few notes from each lecture but I feel as though I have come away having consumed what I was supposed to.

The first lecture in the series seem to be putting the task of learning to be creative in context. The main point I took away with me was that experimentation is a key asset and only by practicing can you actually move yourself forward in your creative ability. I think playing these two quotes off against each other will produce an effective working strategy without constraint on scope;

“The more I practice the luckier I get” (Gary Player)


“Chance or guess work can sometimes produce better work than systematic procedure. But you can’t depend on them” (the Universal Traveller)

Learning in this style is completely new to me (my ‘A’ level subjects included Maths, Physics and Computing) but it has had a significant impact on my thinking. Thinking of creativity in terms of the mind at play, or the ability to be spontaneous and surprising, as simple as it is represents a step forward for me. Previously the majority of my success has come from systematic experimentation until a satisfactory result is achieved, now I can continue to do that but also expand upon it significantly. My thoughts on the subject are still rather chaotic though.

Intrigued by the Alvin Toffler book, Futureshock. I should read it.

I came away from the second and third lectures having had the slightly chaotic feeling, that was swimming around my head after the first lecture, calmed down completely. A system behind the chaos has been clearly defined, what it is to be creative or to improve ones creativity is now much more tangible for me.

Gifted? I snapped this during a lecture. It is a doodle on somebody elses hand out. I guess it is phsychedelia?

Since the lecture I have been working on jumping the synaptic gap and indeed, I think I’ve succeeded with a few things.

In addition to the Interactive Arts lectures I have the option to attend another lecture each Friday (on changing subjects, literature and media based, it seems). Bill Rob is wholly excellent at delivering his lectures.

The first was about the use of various systems and techniques in writing. Specifically exploring what was the first novel to be written, and how it represented a shift in popular writing.

Although completely out of my depth, missing a lot of the references and language that Bill Rob was using, I can see the value of attending these lectures; it was very inspirational. Also Bill Rob’s amazing delivery and ability to articulate his points with finesse, gives me an idea of how I would like to be able to perform, should I need to to be my own advocate for my art.

I love my Mum!

My Mother is excellent. Whenever I speak to her about some creative work I’m trying to do, she seems to produce infinite different concepts to mine, both in line with them and completely disparate.

Fortunately I generally know what I want to do, and then do it, but if I were stuck it takes a weight off my shoulders to know that my Mum would back me up with a wealth of inspiration.

Birthday Notes. My birthday card from Mum & dad, on the first page is a selection of words copied from Roget’s Thesaurus relating to “Scratches” – one of my first University projects. I didn’t use any of it in the end, but as contextual research I think its priceless.

Review: Chris Clark’s Body Riddle

Starting with natural jazz beats and sweet tinkle noises, Chris Clark’s Body Riddle swiftly develops deep electronic stylings. Clark carries the style and quality that I’ve come to expect as given from Warp records (other artists include Squarepusher, Aphex Twin, Jamie Lidell & Jackson, to name a few). I think the first track, Herr Bar, sits as an exposition of what is to come.

The record rises and falls in an organic way, always with electronic soundscapes sneaking into the fore but with “real” sounds ever present too. Exceptional production and crafting of the music is evident throughout. The 3rd track, Springtime Epigram, marks the end of the beginning with a slow and calming 90 seconds. Herzog, follows on and slowly crescendos into a glitched and harsh but almost anthemic synthesizer led medley. It really draws you in, and sets up the listener the first really beat heavy and punchy tracks, Ted.

Clark’s website. I like the “written” menu.

The remaining six tracks take you on a musical journey that, to my ears, just feels right to listen to. With dark and bleak industrial sounds on tracks like Vengance, and the sinister title Matthew Unburdened is matched by a seemingly not-to-be trusted array of sounds. Haunting horns and magical beats at the end. Sporadic, uneven, but perfect.

Penultimate track Night Knuckles I think is one of those classic tracks that somebody is going to play to me in 20 years time and it will still do something special. This track is constantly in development throughout, almost like a variation on themes in classical music. Consistent throughout the track is another sweet “Tinkle” sound that blends blemish-free with the rhythmical elements and space-like background noises flesh the whole thing out. Its a stark contrast with the final track, which is a return to the darker, slower end of Clark’s spectrum.

Really, very, good.

Scratch Notes

Notes from thinking about what to do with the “Scratch” title.

I went through a lot of different things before arriving at the web project that I started and the audio work that I actually presented at University.

Its a really good example of how you can have many, completely separate, but all equally valid ideas from a word or subject that initally may mean nothing.

Below the heading “Scratch That” (in the image above) is where I decided to scrap all of my other ideas and make something with scratch sounds.