California 1: CNMAT and San Francisco

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.



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