A Modernist Manifesto

Of course a modernist manifesto in 2020 is a bit absurd (pun half-intended), but something has to be done -- or, to put it another way, we have to start somewhere. Postmodern culture, which has produced so few things that meant anything to me, has been stone dead for quite some time but its ability to envelop and ironize anything makes it hard to transcend. It's a blockage that needs clearing away.

I've always written manifesti of some kind at times like these, even if they were usually private, so here goes.

Found Form

I'm currently trying to prise myself away from my latest project and release it -- more on that soon, I hope -- and thinking about the next one. It got me onto the subject of how I handle large-scale forms and I thought it might be useful to try to set that down. Most of this blog is about the local details involving a note, scale or chord so this is a bit of a departure.

The "Rite of Spring chord" and some variations

Since shifting most of my attention from guitar to piano, I've been enjoying (among other things) the ability to play two kinds of chord: those with lots of notes and those with notes that are close together. In this post we look at a family of 7- and 8-note voicings (guitarists may be able to apply these by dropping some notes or, of course, by playing with someone else).

The Chymical Wedding

Today Minimum Labyrinth releases The Chymical Wedding, a six-hour album setting a reading (by Robert Kingham) of a strange alchemical text from the early 1600s to a continuous musical soundtrack (by me).

Rhodri Davies Archif Project

For about a year in the late-90s I ran jam sessions in a church hall in the West End, inviting people I thought were cool on the free improv scene to just hang for an evening and play without an audience or any real agenda. Two decades later, a recording of one of those sessions has emerged.

Compiling Dexed in Visual Studio

I've been tinkering with JUCE projects over the last few weeks but then discovered that Dexed uses it. I'm pretty familiar with Dexed and what I want to make isn't a million miles away from it, so I decided to grab its source code and see what I could learn from it. What followed was a series of small gotchas that are the reason for this post.

A Change of Emphasis

I thought a brief word was in order to explain the apparent change of direction of this blog of late. This is that brief word. In short, as the heading suggests, a lot is staying the same but the perspective is changing.

Korg Volca FM: Firmware 1.08 and All That

This is a quick brain-dump of what I've learned over the past two weeks about the Volca FM.

FM Synthesis with Dexed: A Quick Tour

Dexed is a free VST plugin that emulates (and acts as an interface for) the Yamaha DX7, the first commercial keyboard to use FM synthesis. The DX7 came out in 1983 and was a huge seller and was responsible for many of the iconic sounds of '80s electro-pop, but it was also an incredibly sophisticated synth engine.

The Augmented Hexatonic System

In a previous post I made some observations about what I call the Augmented Hexatonic (1 b2 3 4 #5 6). Here I pull some harmony out of the resulting scales. You should probably read the earlier post before getting into this one.