Began learning LiSa yesterday, which is what I came to STEIM to understand/use. Found out that having been out of a school learning situation for years, my mind is having a difficult time focusing: comprehending how to use the program. What the program does was explained very well by Robert van Heumen. My problem so far is loading and playing samples, the simplest aspects of LiSa.
The lecture clearly demonstrated that the program will be useful for my project of composing a piece for an improvising orchestra. Some of the musicians don’t read music, so I’ve developed a way of notating what they’re supposed to do, which works for them as well as trained musicians. For the musicians who read music, I will use this system combined with traditional notation. I hope to use LiSa to “thicken” sections of the piece, give musicians something unexpected to respond to in other sections, and be able to produce new textures with processed samples. If I am able to learn that while I’m here, I will have accomplished the goals that were set out in my proposal to STEIM and to the Canada Council for the Arts, which is funding my time in Amsterdam.
An added bonus to this period is being invited to play with the free jazz group, the As If Trio, as well as meeting and sharing information with German sound artist, Black Ninfea (aka Elisabeth Szwarc) who is traveling to Amsterdam to brainstorm with me on future projects.
I arrived at for my almost 2-week residency at STEIM . After Nico Bes got me settled in the guesthouse, the 3 other residents and I were given a thorough introduction to the institute and what I does and has done. Over the next few days we had lectures and demonstrations by Robert van Heumen, Daniel Schorno, Tao G. Vrhovec Sambolec, and Ivo Bol, all of which were thoroughly informative and creatively stimulating for the concepts/strategies/aesthetics they embodied.
As my intended goal was to learn how to use and integrate LiSa into a piece I’m writing for improvising orchestra, I spent one-on-one time with both Robert and Daniel. They were responsive to my questions, keen to show me how to begin building useful components of what will eventually become my setup for the piece, and forthcoming with suggestions on useful and relevant presets in LiSa. It was my time with Robert and Daniel that was key to me beginning to develop basic competence and compositional strategies with STEIM’s software. Daniel also turned me on to a wonderful concert of experimental compositions and improvising by some excellent musicians at Badcuypt (?), where he made a point of introducing me to some interesting artists.
STEIM is a hothouse of creativity, both on a technical level and as a place to meet other people with fascinating ideas and backgrounds. It’s a great place to exchange information and make contacts for potential future collaborations.
I’m grateful to Robert, Daniel and Nico for their advice, support and personal generosity. I’m already looking forward to my return to STEIM to expand my musical language, perhaps with Wii controllers, JunXion and Frank Baldé.