May 28, 2016

Maxim: Change must begin on the inside and work its way outwards. Opening prayer: Help me to work intelligently, methodically, intensively, passionately, and contentedly. 

9.00 am. A studio day. To begin. The apparatus that I’d constructed for the SteelWorks project needed to be put through its paces. The system, having lain dormant for the last few months, may now be plagued by gremlins. Each handboard and pedalboard, and every effector thereon, required a thorough test for function and efficiency. Alongside, I compiled a shopping list of items required to secure the betterment of the whole, and began schematising (again) the relationship and connections between the parts. The system must be made not only studio worthy (for the purpose of recording) but also road worthy (for the purpose of touring).

Switch on! Silence. Stage 1 diagnostics: Test each handboard and pedalboard independently. Success! On this occasion, I was the gremlin — having wired an output to an output (rather than to an input). (The blue socks played no part in it.):


Each of the handboards and pedalboards required its own schematic. My, former, integrated schematic, showing the connections between all boards and their components, was too complex, visually, to be useful. Once Handboard — which is very eccentric and immensely versatile — was certified operational, I commenced ‘nailing’ the effectors to the table and rationalising the audio and power cables. ‘Let the Velcroification begin!”


In the background, I listened to episodes of BBC 3’s Late Junction. I make it a matter of professional commitment to hear new music regularly. An artist/student ought to be immersed in the work of others; it’s not only invigorating but also helps them to determine the distinctive contribution that their own work may make to the field. New music has taken hold of the concept of the ‘outsider’ musician/artist in a very positive and defining way. In visual art ‘outsider art’ refers to the work artists with psychiatric conditions, principally. We really need a much broader application of the term. In music, it appears to refer to those who don’t affiliate with established record labels, movements, and groups. In art, we stand in need of an analogous identity.

Afternoon. In the same vein: fixing and binding. Some great news from Maureen (‘Mo’) Vyse — one of our PhD Fine Art contingent. She’s had two paintings accepted for the forthcoming RA Summer Exhibition. ‘Rejoice with those who rejoice’:

Maureen Vyse, Reflections on Gaia (2016) [detail]

The best students thrive in spite of their teachers. In the late afternoon, while working under the ‘bonnet’ of Handboard 1, I listened to music by and interviews with Cornelius Cardew. He was one of the great, pioneering experimental musicians of his generation. The Art/Sound module stands in need of a little more content on his contributions at the visual-sonic interface [To Do]. How do I convert the mono output from Handboard 1 into a stereo one (or is that two)?

5.20 pm. ‘Sufficient unto the day …’. An evening with my wife.

Closing prayer: Thanksgiving for challenges received and overcome, as well as for those that defeated me.


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