August 15, 2018

The skies sent out a sound (Ps. 77.17).

8.00 am: A communion. 8.30 am: Postgraduate admin and a rationalisation of my teaching timetable, to ensure that I’ve uninterrupted blocks of time for research during the next few weeks. 9.00 am: I reviewed yesterday’s work on the PowerPoint design, and further considered the nature of the ‘new’ Diary that will supersede this one, in its present from. I’ve not fully persuaded myself of the need for a continuing public account. Perhaps, I should return to an entirely private rumination. 9.45 am: Off to the School for an appointment review meeting. The building was resplendently empty:

A good meeting; all were in agreement. In the course of the discussion, we reflected upon a cluster of questions that’re becoming increasingly fashionable to ask at job interviews: ‘What decision have you made in the past that you now regret?’; ‘What one thing would you now do differently?’; and ‘What are your weaknesses?’ Boy! An honest response would require a considerable degree of self-cognisance and humility on the part of the candidate. To each one of them, I’d reply: ‘How long have you got?’

11.30 am: Back at homebase, I considered my priorities for the hours until lunchtime and for the remainder of the day. Every part of each day must count. To begin, I created a sample slide of one of the paper’s illustrations. This will need to be tested at the School’s lecture theatre and seminar rooms. I need to know what this’ll look like in a variety of viewing conditions and on a range of equipment. It’s the same policy as I adopt for listening to audio mixes. And there’ll be sound samples imbedded in the PowerPoint to audition too. For my performance piece at the conference, I’ll take my own amplifiers and speakers. I wont risk my efforts being heard on inadequate technology; it’ll undermine the integrity of the piece. One must take control of that over that which one has control:

After lunch, I returned to the studio for the afternoon to review two compositions, whose ambitions have not yet been fully realised, and to reduce my performance rig as far as possible … for portability. This is an important consideration. The first sound performance I gave was at the close of a paper on my visual art entitled ‘An Anti-Icon: A Protestant Art Now’. It was delivered at the Department of Fine Art, University of Calgary, Canada, on September 23, 2009. I played ‘The Second Commandment‘. This was the first version of the composition:

The piece’s second outing, also recorded live, in a somewhat different arrangement, was at Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, USA on April 15, 2011. (The track opens the second CD on The Bible in Translation album (2016).) On both occasions, I’d schlepped a headless guitar, pedals, a pedalboard controller, power supplies, and cables in a heavy suitcase across two continents. (You can imagine what airport security made of all those little boxes of electronics.) The point is that you don’t want to carry more gear than necessary over great distances and on public transport.

The reduced version of the rig is centred on the MacBook, which supplies power to both the VirtualDJ controller and the sampler pad. The laptop will also record their inputs. The iPad will provide me with a map of the composition, which I’ll follow like a music score. The output from the computer will be sent via a Bluetooth connection to a pair of Bose Revolve+ active speakers in stereo formation. These have enough volume and sub-woofer ‘uumph!’ to unseat the conference delegates. (I’m out to shock!) All the electronic units can be operated on their internal batteries. This minimises cabling and is, therefore, an ideal arrangement for a short performance within a small space:

A little putting away of gear followed. A tidy studio is an efficient one.

7.30 pm: I examined ‘Write the Vision …’ with a view, now, to dividing up the components and inserting them into the sampler, in order to reproduce the composition live.

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