Monthly Archives

September 2011

Ingenuity Fest 2011 – Cleveland, Ohio

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Ingenuity Fest is Cleveland’s yearly festival showcasing art (mostly music) and technology. Patternbased and Akron’s Center for Audio and Visual Experimentation (CAVE, run by Rubber City Noise) teamed up to create a space at the festival. We had the weekend filled with electronic and experimental artists, hand-built walls of art and mobile electronic busking units powered by car batteries. Some of my favorite acts to bless our stage over the weekend were _node, Ondelette and Giant Claw. Two projects I am involved in, Low in the Sky and Bellows both put on their best shows to date. In general, it was a very positive event and even though we had a shoestring budget, our space and artists greatly added to the festival. Special thanks to Pat McNulty on the sound boards, all the artists, experimedia for the initial hookup and everyone who manned the merch table all weekend. If you missed it, Frank J Lanza’s Flickr contains some great photos of the festival. Up next on the festival front for Patternbased is the VIA festival in Pittsburgh, PA where Kendra Minadeo and I will be doing handmade film workshops and VJ’ing as Bellows for Tim Sweeny.

The Age of Timbre and the 2004 Ford Seat Belt Reminder Beeps

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How is it that the seat belt reminder beeps in my car match up with such a huge amount of the music being played on the car stereo? The beeps are F# at 243 BPM. Because most modern music is diatonic and concert tuned to the modern equal tempered western scale, I think simple math would tell us that there is roughly a 2 in 3 chance that F# would belong to a scale used to create (I am guessing well over 99%) of the modern music being created, distributed and played today. Other scales and tunings, bad file conversions and songs being played back at different speeds (the rare DJ spinning vinyl on the radio for instance) would account for some of that < 1% remainder. So the odds look good based on the harmonic content but what about the tempo? I am less sure how to calculate the tempo odds but I noticed I am usually giving a several BPM leeway on the beeps matching to the music. Also, the beeps can match in many ways. ie. the beeps become 8ths, 16ths, 8th triplets, 16th triplets or part of a more unsual poly-rhythm.

I feel like this helps to illustrate how we live in a musical age of timbre. An age that started in the 50s and 60s with the rise of electronics for music making and manipulation. For better or for worse, the 440Hz western equal tempered scale is essentially a world wide standard and has been for a while. Almost everyone is using the same twelve notes. Where much music generally feels like it is breaking the most new ground to me is in the timbre and sound design. Certainly people are still finding endless new ways to combine rhythms and harmonic content and always will.. not to mention that these thoughts are somewhat based on popular music (as opposed to experimental, classical, jazz etc) which is what I am usually hearing in my car but I feel that it is still timbre that is creating the most forward movement in music today and the beeps in my car will continue to sound like they are playing along with so many things.

Ode to 2004 Ford Focus Seat Belt Reminder Tones by patternbased