Monthly Archives: October 2011

I’ll have a wrap up of my visit to California up soon, once the jet lag has worn off. I just wanted to post this article- apparently, Muse’s ‘Hysteria’ was voted the best bass line ever on a poll conducted by

Here’s the rest of the list:

1. Muse – ‘Hysteria’
2. Rush – ‘YYZ’
3. Queen – ‘Another One Bites The Dust’
4. Queen and David Bowie – ‘Under Pressure’
5. Pink Floyd – ‘Money’
6. Metallica – ‘Orion’
7. Michael Jackson – ‘Billie Jean’
8. Yes – ‘Roundabout’
9. The Who – ‘My Generation’
10. Tool – ‘Schism’

What do you guys think?

Also, I put together a spotify play list for Julie on my flight back from California. A variety of styles and genres, but all around it’s a pretty laid back list with some great electronic artists and some cool acoustic cuts. Check it out here.

Well I made it out to California! Had a very early flight yesterday, and went straight to UC Berkeley where I sat in on a lecture by Fred Lehrdal and David Wessel. It was really interesting to hear their perspectives on cognition in composition. They covered topics like acousmatic composing/listening, perceiving complementary relationships in sounds, and cognitive sound experiments. I came out of that seminar knowing that I could learn quite a bit here.


Afterwards I headed out to CNMAT to meet Adrian Freed and his researcher Yotam Mann. The things they’re doing there is incredible. They have every microprocessor under the sun in the labs, crazy controllers built into fabric, even a few Buchla synthesizers. It was a gestural controller paradise. Pictured here is their speaker array with over 120 speakers built in. Yotam is building a Max/MSP patch that uses a Kinect to detect where the listener is, and directs the audio towards them.

Compact Spherical Loudspeaker Array

Another thing I’d like to note is that I see a lot of collaboration between departments at UC Berkeley. As someone with a diverse background that’s important to me, and it’s really nice to see collaborative efforts that are producing great research. If there’s anything I’ve learned from the Toscanini project, it’s that collaboration is the key to innovation.

Last night I went with some of my new friends Miriam and Ilya out to San Francisco to see Cash Pony. The band was great, their bassist had some serious grooves, and a good time was had by all. They just successfully completed a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for their first album, and it’s going to be great. Check out their bandcamp page for some tunes.

Cash Pony at Hemlock Tavern

That’s all for now, I’m going to head back out to UCB’s campus to get a feel for the area.


The inventer of LISP and the originator of the term AI has passed at the age of 84. While many developers denounce functional programming languages for being unnecessarily difficult or having too many parenthesis, functional programming is an essential part of a well rounded developer’s diet. It is one thing to learn how to use pointers, but nothing can be more useful than to build a mutable language yourself. As a musician, LISP has begat many tools useful for music synthesis and composition. Common LISP, David Cope’s EMI system, and even SuperCollider (which employs the same syntactical traits as LISP) are in existence because of the work done by McCarthy.

SuperCollider was the first language I learned, with Scheme following. Since then I’ve done many projects in Scheme/Racket at NU. I’m currently studying program languages using Racket by constructing AST grammars, interpretors, and compilers. My career as a developer is strongly rooted in a fundamental understanding of logic and computation, which I could not have achieved without functional languages such as LISP.

There is good news. Plenty of good work is being done on LISP, Racket, and other functional languages. While it is mostly relegated to the academic realm, the research being done is helping to further the vision of John McCarthy, hopefully one day bringing closure to his search for an intelligent machine.

More information on his passing can be found here, via BBC.

The concert was great! Highlights included a beautiful piano sonata by a 3rd year Music Technology student, Eric Woods’ acousmatic piece “Gee Thanks Samuel Cohen!” Or The Grand Finale of The Walking Ghost, and hearing my piece ‘Animal Science’ diffused on a six channel system.

If you’ve noticed, I added a Compositions tab at the top of the blog. I’ll be using this website to host my portfolio, so check out my pieces and see what you think. If you’d like to read my CV it’s linked over there on the right, as well as some other fun links.

So I have an exciting trip coming up. Wednesday morning I’ll be flying out to the bay area and heading directly to UC Berkeley, where I’ll be attending a seminar on ‘Cognition and Composition’ given by Fred Lehrdal. After that I’ll be meeting with Adrian Freed and Yotam Mann to take a look into the work they do at CNMAT and the controller universe Adrian is involved in. That evening I was also invited to check out Ian Saxton’s band Cash Pony in SF, hopefully I’ll be able to make it out there alive. This is my first visit to the bay area, so let’s hope I don’t get lost/mugged/derezzed!

The rest of the week I’ll be checking out more of UCB (including their gym, gotta make sure it’s good!), Stanford, and the area. I need to make sure it’s the right place to move, and since the girlfriend won’t be able to attend this visit I’ll be taking plenty of pictures to report back. While I’m out in CA I’ll be updating this blog at least once a day, so be sure to check it out.

Hey all.
There’s a student composers concert this sunday at 77 St. Stephen’s street (the fenway center). I’ll be having my tape piece ‘Animal Science’ premiered, and there will be performances by the wonderful Won-Hee An and Australian writer and vocalist Xenia Hanusiak.Concert Poster

Best of all, it’s free! Show starts at 8pm, hope to see you there.

Also, on November 9th I’ll be giving a lecture at NU as part of the NUACM Evening Series. Here’s a brief description of the talk I’ll be giving:

“[I] will be talking about the steps that went into designing and creating the Toscanini interface, covering topics universal to audio applications in the Max/MSP environment. A portion of the time will be spent on how audio applications work, and the advantages and disadvantages of open sourcing the software. Students interested in the field are welcome to come and ask questions, as there will be ample time for Q+A.”

That’ll be at 6pm at Northeastern’s West Village G building, room 104.

EDIT:: If you can’t make it to the concert, feel free to check out ‘Animal Science’ on my SoundCloud account, or the “My Music” link on the top of the page.


The µ-law algorithm (often u-law, ulaw, or mu-law) is a companding algorithm, primarily used in the digital telecommunication systems of North America and Japan.

  1. thus; thus written
Now that we’ve defined our terms, greetings, and welcome to mu(sic). I’ll be using this blog to detail my projects, experiments, and experiences in music and technology. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m a developer/composer studying Computer Science and Music Technology at Northeastern University. From a motion sensitive MIDI controller to a heap of electroacoustic compositions, compounded by my current attempts to make it into a graduate program at a university media lab, I am currently buried under a mountain of projects. This blog will be my way to make sense of it all, and to document my experiences along the way. Please stop by often to check for updates, and if you’d like, I can be contacted at grodin (dot) robby (at) gmail (dot) com.
Coming soon, to a blog near you:
  • I’ll be visiting CNMAT at UC Berkeley and CCRMA at Stanford at the end of the month, and I’ll document the visit here.
  • There are three compositions in the pipelines: an acousmatic piece, a vocal tape piece, and a mixed piece for piano, all of which will be posted on my soundcloud.
  • I am currently taking place in multiple research projects involving interactive interfacing with musical software and hardware.
  • November 5-6th is Boston Music Hack day, where I’ll be coming up with something awesome with a few friends of mine. Make sure to check out the blog as the date approaches as I’ll be live-blogging the event.

More to come!