Zero Gravity Explorations of Nostalgia, Decay, and Human-Technology Music.
FEATURING COSMO DUFF IN CONVERSATION WITH CONNOR HD.
Connor is an incredibly versatile, creative, well-networked musician, fine artist, and community organizer. Unassuming and insightful in person, dominating and energetic on stage -- from Calgary's Sled Island to Austin's SXSW, Connor is an accomplished independent musician and Contemporary Experimental Electronic Music (CEEM) artist.
Connor utilizes obsolete music technologies; expression-based improvised performance; experimental composition and scoring; analogue video and glitch manipulation; and, synthesis as a part of his alter ego Cosmo Duff. He has worked across multiple platforms including independent, main stream, live, and recorded music, film, theatre, improv, print, and animation in Canada and the United States. He researches post WWII experimental music, research-creation activities, and music technology lineage.
With Theodor Adorno’s Aesthetic Theory as its anchor, I am exploring and capturing the “truth content” in contemporary experimental electronic music or CEEM™, as I’ve come to call it.
In additional to using these truths alongside new compositions, an additional outcome of my exploratory research includes the incorporation of new knowledge as grounded theory applied to my artistic practice to invent new embodied CEEM™ instruments and audience interfaces.
The exploration of “truth content” (Wahrheitsgehalt - from the German) interrogates the art object, in this case a CEEM™ composition and the stories behind its creation, rather than one’s perception or opinion of the composition. Wahrheitsgehalt might also be thought of as a “measure of truth” – since the German “gehalt” can also mean “salary” or “payout” - an artistic rendering may be thought of as having earned its truth. “Gehalt” can also mean “import” or implication, as results from the dialectic interrogation of the artwork’s position relative to its subject, its societal position, and its internal dialectics.
I continue to be interested in interviewing CEEM™ creators and experiments with recording video and audio content. My expectation is that more “truth content” will increase understanding, consideration, and engagement with CEEM™ by revealing new insights and perspectives. Key questions include; how might we understand the relationships between composition and instrument, between the machine and ‘technical poetry’ of the artist, through interactive machine musicianship, and the engagement of simultaneous roles of performer, improviser, and orchestrator – all topics from my undergraduate scholarship.
As a part of this human/technology relationship, I have designed and built a prototype one-piece suit that doubles as an embodied signal processor. The suit will function not unlike a signal processor, with various elements (i.e., filters, envelope, effects, etc.) distributed on my body, requiring the musician to physically connect and patch the technology to the self. I've incorporated four effects units -- a reverb, a flange, a delay, and a freeze, an arduino programmed to output random low res rhythmic patterns, a microphone, and an external audio input that one can connect to various instruments (guitar, keyboard, computer, etc.) and outputs. Click the photo to listen.
Art & Research
A selection of scholarly projects completed during my Bachelor of Music -
Digital Audio Arts at the University of Lethbridge 2014-2017.
Prototyping in the Motorcycle Shop: the Milking Machine for Text Analysis (Chapter in book).
Critical engagement and sound component materialization described and credited for Prototyping Across the Disciplines (in press). Supervisor: Dr. Milena Radzikowska (Mount Royal University, Calgary Canada).
Exploring the Obsolete for Experimental Sound Creation
Undergraduate Research Project. A presentation to D. Andrew Stewart and Applied Research in Digital Audio Arts cohort in fulfillment of Bachelor of Music – Digital Audio Arts program. Faculty of Arts (University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge Alberta).
CROSSING BOUNDARIES SYMPOSIUM 2016
Technology in the Arts. Engineering support and recording for Disappearing, a performance by D. Andrew Stewart. October 27-28, 2016. Faculty of Arts (University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge Alberta).
materializing text analytical experiences: taking bubblines literally
Congress of the Humanities & Social Sciences 2016: Energizing Communities. Canadian Society for Digital Humanities – Sound design and engineering for Materializing Text Analytical Experiences: Taking Bubblelines Literally, April 15th – May 15th, 2016. Supervisor: Dr. Milena Radzikowska (Mount Royal University, Calgary Canada).
ARCHIVING the paul brandt legacy collection
The Paul Brandt Legacy Collection Archive. Assisting musician Paul Brandt with the digitization of legacy materials inclusive of print, correspondence, music notation, audio/video recordings, awards, objects and merchandise, and a number of related exhibition projects. These digital objects will be held in the Riddell Library & Learning Centre Archive opening in Fall 2017. January 2015 – Present. Supervisor: Ro Imbrogno, Buckspring Foundation & Brand T Records.