Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Reassignment for Banaphshu

In response to those inquiries regarding the omission of Banaphshu’s name as a contributor here in the last month, we apologize that we delayed in order to enable her to speak for herself.

“It has been touching to read the inquiries as to my whereabouts from even people I have never met and it brings joy to my heart as I remember all the wonderful people I have come across through my work acting as a guide and consultant for first the Embassy and later this Austronesian Outpost.

I pray that many of you will find the opportunity to visit me in my new position as the director at RNC (Radio Nabu Congul) and I want to let you know those doors will be open ones.

With this new position comes access to the facilities that will enable me to pursue my own artistic endeavors and to develop much of the electronic music that has taken a peripheral or back seat since my first musical collaborations. I expect to become more active than ever before, and I am sure that my long time partner, Kraig Grady, will keep you informed of these developments as we remain committed supporters of each others’ work.

It was originally amusing to allow inadvertently our identities to become confused. Often our collaborations were of a magical nature where neither of us cared to remember who did what, so our merging identities were less about deception and more about artistry. For the record, our long and deep connection was of a spiritual, cerebral nature, not a physical one. We had little choice.

The last few years, however, have seen those collaborations become less and less frequent, as we have become more familiar with the territory each provided for the other. We both feel that we will always carry these experiences with us into our musics.

To Kraig and all the supporters of Anaphoria, I thank you with my heart and my soul. May you always be nourished by the gifts of the imaginous spirit!

24th November 2010
Nabu Congul”

Friday, October 29, 2010

"Chopsticks" in the style of Charles Ives

From Richard Grayson's 32nd (final) Annual Occidental College Concert, March 31, 2001. Improvisation on a theme from the audience.
Yearly he would improvise on a theme and style given from the audience.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Hammer Dulcimer at Serial Space (excerpt)

from Serial Space- Sydney July 19.2010. NowNow series. excerpt near end of solo performance performed on Hammer Dulcimer tuned to Meta Mavila- a recurrent sequence that resembles a tuning found among the Chopi of Mozambique.
Flamenco music has always been a music that has quite informed my directions on this instrument

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Why Just Intonation?

A summary~

Why Just Intonation?

1. Just Intonation is based on the harmonics relations one finds in nature and is a natural product of the sounds we hear.

2. Just Intonation represents the most consonant intervals. It likewise can create great dissonances thereby extending the range of tension between the two.

3. Just Intonation is tunable by ear due to its acoustical qualities that are unambiguous in nature. This in turn gives one a palette of limitless emotional depth and flexibility.

4. Just Intonation is a modular system. . It is infinitely expandable in terms of intervals at one disposal. Just intonation scales are also ‘open’ scales. While they can form self-contained consistent structures, they are always capable of being augmented in many different ways. This though does not require having to change or discard the pitches one already has, the array of building blocks are the same.

5. Just Intonation allows perceivable structural possibilities that cannot be realized effectively any other way. While ambiguousness has it place in all the arts , It should be by choice.

6. One can have many different intonation systems and scales yet still have common tones, intervals and even scales common between them that can act as bridges. These easily can exist side by side. In a free world of any pitch at any time one can move from one system to another freely by common tone scales or chords.

7. As Just Intonation produces scales with unequal size intervals, this gives one the possibility of more different size intervals with fewer notes.
For example there are Just Intonation pentatonics that give one more different intervals than 12-tone equal temperament. As another example one particular 7 limit 12 tone scale harmonic known as Centaur will give one 50 different intervals within the octave.

8. Just Intonation allows for the possibility of each key or area of the tuning having its own unique flavor and quality.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


The Direction has been known for some time. There is little new to add to that.

What else can we be working toward if not total and direct freedom of expression- to convey or release whatever compels us, either personal or trans-personal, or both, by any and every means possible. Our territory is depth and the deeper the better.

In order to do this we have to keep our tools in place whether these be methods, systems, and yes processes. They provide little in themselves and yet often they are indispensable. Kandinsky was wise to point out that such paths quickly can make us its slaves. Such failures is all around us, usually in myopic segregated camps.

These tools are mere means that at their core enable a true fruition, a flow of energy from one moment to another. Can we think or express anything that is not somehow directly related to the previous? A work must preserve this by neither omitting too many steps in-between causing its disruption or stagnating it by the unessential. A focus on a ‘well made plan’ or ‘well made process” too often stop a work in its tracks.

We should liberate the concept of the idea as being based solely in the word, otherwise humans would have no necessity of anything beyond it. The ‘explanation’ of works and the forces behind it often eschew the true spirit that moves toward where it seeks. When words are used it only function might be nothing more than another element of that flow. Hence its methods and processes should be no more restrictive than the work itself. Formulas and common practice just will not do.

It is not that we will not have our “constants”, an element Pound always pointed out as being part of any work, and likewise ourselves as one also would be no different. We might accept our resonance to some and not to others, an aspect of our own antennae. The goal is to have as many open as possible.

An Aside.
It is not that History(ies) is capable of being resurrected but it is immortal as an active part of the fabric in the continuum of our present. More often than not when we find ourselves at an old intersection with the same old things on the corner, we have approached it from new directions than before. This is what is easily mislabled as “influence”.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

New Research Reveals a Hidden Meaning in The Footpaths of Anaphoria’s Abdiz Valley

One of the most perplexing mysteries of the footpaths found in the most rugged terrain on the island has been the many branching tributaries it seems to take without explanation. These pathways, form an entangled array rarely more than a few meters away from each other that required extensive work to build even though it follows the landscape. Scholars have studied them for years sensing a meaning that has evaded them till now.
An ancient cryptographic text found in the area being studied at the Center Of Alphabetical Sequence has revealed the paths turns out to be a score to an ancient music in 6 part harmony sung while people walked long it in groups. The text preserves what appears to have been once the oral instructions memorized by those who walked and sang upon these paths. The text also reveals the story how the music appeared in a dream to a old man who knew it related to this uninhabited area of the valley. The fragment ends there. So the mystery is not completely solved for now. What does it sound like? Prof. Mij says we won’t know till they actually go there and try it out next month with his group of singers.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

An example from Robert Lowell

The other day I happened to glance at a book of poetry by Robert Lowell, reading a collection of his poems entitled ‘Near the Ocean’. I was completely unfamiliar with his work except recognizing the cover from many times before. It was work the grabbed me instantly. ( I am sorry I could not find an online version) .
While I know more about his overall poetic practice now after researching him, at the time the form struck me. The majority of the lines were rhyming couplets, but exceptions appeared frequently. Sometimes these stretched the limits of rhyming while other times he made no effort to force the work into this mold.
Here was a good example of how an artist can be informed by a method or system or even an idea and not become a tool of the tools they choose. What the balance should be so we prevent being lead into some robotic existence or blind worship of an arbitrary. This seem a pathetic state for the arts to choose.
Should we pursue looking for the methods or a way to find our way without them. I prefer the latter. But if we do use them we should always being the one leading as opposed to being lead.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


THE ACT OF SCALE FORMATION ( Erv Wilson in a letter to Gary David from the 1960's)
The act of scale formation is inseparable from the other creative aspects of music formation. The human voice illustrates admirable how scale formation participates fully in the whole creative process of song. The scale is perhaps as unique to the song as are its rhythms and melodies. And like rhythm and melody, the scale neither precedes, nor follows the song, but progresses in the full flow of real time as a soft and sensuous and endlessly malleable expression of human consciousness.

Particularly in fixed-pitch instruments the role of scale tends to be diminished, if not entirely put aside. Even in a polyphonic keyboard instrument, whose ostensible goal is scale-making, the spontaneous, song-like scale is far from being achieved. In the design of a new instrument, one does well to recognize the technical limitations, and to compensate accordingly. (1) The fixed-tone needs to be bendable. (2) The fixed-pitch must have alternate inflections. One makes “knowledgeable guesses” as to what these will be, basing one’s judgment on past creative explorations. These are assigned to a Generalized Keyboard in an appropriately organized pattern. (3) One must have the facility for introducing, in performance, and in creative explorations, new pitches/inflections that may not have been anticipated when the “best-guess” tuning was assigned to the keyboard. Particularly as we “compose” we must be able to create our tunings, immediately from the console, as part of the same, if I may say, somewhat ritualized, creative act. To whatever level is optimally feasible, we should espouse creative tuning as part of the “live performance” (again, a ritual). The wall separating the “composer” from the “performer” should not be designed into the instrument.

The keyboard may be visualized as a Navajo loom upon which intricately lovely and endlessly variable scale patterns may be woven. A canvas. Arbitrary limitations to this variability must not be designed into the instrument. The keyboard is an art, and an interface, a crossroads and a bridge. The keyboard is a ship. In the tunable generalized keyboard we have the birth of a new art and the rebirth of an old art, as ancient as man. The keyboard must Breathe, poetically speaking, for it is the extension of a living process. The scale is a volatile genie that knows how utterly to transform its shape. Every effort must be made to accommodate this mercurial creature-of-the-psyche through the keyboard. The keyboard/console must animate the scale. While undoubtedly it is valid and admirable to study the scales of other peoples and other times, we are concerned primarily with the creative processes and the development and expression of our own arts. We see the keyboard in an attitude of creative anticipation, and to jealously guard against closed, limiting, non-living attitudes, and the great body of “tacit assumptions” and “forgone conclusions” (which, incidentally, we do not assume ourselves to be free from) which might hobble or render ineffectual those subtle intuitions of beauty.

Design philosophy, in a word, should be OPEN. Keep it general(ized), viable, versatile, changeable. Guard against the proverbial cul-de-sac, the one-track, the squirrel cages! My heavens!

The keyboard is a transient lens through which a cosmos of musical relations may be observed. Keep it volatile. Forgive the metaphor! Or interests are primarily “just” and in that regard the acoustic universe is seemingly endless.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

" Iwabue " -Japanese native stone flute

Thanks to Yannick Dauby for sharing elsewhere-Mr Yokozawa kazuya playing " Iwabue " Japanese native stone flute in Silkroad Butokan 14, February,2010

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Podcast: The Complete Creation Myths of Anaphoria

Banaphshu here presents for the first time available anywhere outside of Anaphoria the complete creation myths found on our island
Tales of Anaphoria/podcast

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Hall of Mirrors-Works of Ledhead-

Going here by the name Ledhead, former collaborator and voyager is some recent work called Hall of Mirrors
found on our staff notices page with the center of alphabetical sequencing.
one sample


At 3:00 in the morning
You can face any direction
And it is still night.

Is that why Jamie said,
“Acid is a jungle gym
At 3:00 in the morning.”

All rights reserved, Ledhead 2010

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Butterfly Constellation

The people of Anaphoria are perplexed at how some places in the world see a hunter [Orion] where they have only seen a Butterfly [Marpessa].

This photo has been updated here

Saturday, April 24, 2010

A family of 9 tone Scales with some 14 ones on the side.

We have to thank John Chalmers for his Tritriadic Scales. It causes us to keep focus on the material generated by the combination of tonic, dominant and subdominant and how wide those parameters can be extended. It seems to be an idea that has been in the air recently. Warren Burt used in an installation, which you can listen to a bit here 3 11-limit harmonic series fifths apart. Such a structure while embedded in a Partch diamond (harmonic hexads on 1/1, 3/2, and 9/8) seems to stand on its own with it own life. The piece I am working on now for solo vibraphone that I will be playing in Brisbane and in Helenburgh explores these relationships within 7 tone scales much in the way Indonesians will use pentatonic within their 7 tone pelog. I mention some ideas about this here in relation to the idea of tempering to accommodate these three scales.
It appears it a similar idea caught the interest of Steve Grainger who took a classic 7-limit Pentatonic and extended it likewise up and down. This he mailed to me.
I made a mistake right off and assumed it was not a “constant structure”, that is a scale that where each occurrence of a ratio is always subtended by the same number of steps. It is a quality that gives a good melodic flow that otherwise only has harmonic relationships holding it together. Having both is worthwhile to pursue.
But I moved ahead and found 2 solutions right off for 14 tone scales. It is an unusual number to have as a scale and I seem to have come up with quite a few over the years. I am not sure why. These are illustrated and one could pick out of either set of alternatives depending on what one might like.

There is an important feature here though of Grainger’s 9-tone scale that as far as I know has been overlooked. It appears that there is a whole family of pentatonic based on 3 fifths plus 2 notes in between the fourths that will all produce 9 tone constant structures. These tones have to be larger than a 9/8 but smaller than a 32/27, most of your smaller minor thirds.

This scale would have been of interest to Rod Poole and note sure if La Monte Young has toyed with the idea, since it develops in the direction of 3 and 7s. It is in that territory

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Grounds of The Future Embassy of Anaphoria Island

Pictures from Canberra on our recent trip to inspect the final grounds chosen for the future Embassy of Anaphoria Island and witness the hoisting of the flag~

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


C. Forster’s Musical Mathematics which I reviewed in my last post reminded me of how much subharmonic material is in the musical past from places as far removed as Greece to China. While I have been working for quite a few years with various recurrent sequences (of which the Fibonacci series is just one), this exploration has been almost exclusively in the harmonic direction.

Having brought back my Marion Prosynth from the US, I remembered what a good tool it was to try out a tuning as one can use the LFOs to trigger notes in different ways so one can place weights on keys which will bring them up and down at different times. I often will let something like this run for quite some period periodically moving as I pass by or not satisfied with what I am hearing. One of my favorite series is Wilson’s Meta-Meantone though I haven’t used it as much. The CD Beyond the Windows Perhaps among the Podcorn is the big exception. If one seeds it right one can have a triad using the ol’ 27/20 wolf with a third that beat equally giving it a more ‘consonant’ sound. Playing through a few recurrent sequences in their subharmonic version I found that indeed Meta-Meantone had much to offer.

So here is a mere sampling I call Sand, Dust, Relics. That eventually moves into the triad mentioned in its minor version.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Cris Forster's 'Musical Mathematics'

[C.Forster's Bass Marimba-Photo by Will Gullette]

Musical Mathematics by Cris Forster is a rigorous and highly organized book that deals with the construction and tuning of acoustic instruments. In a clear and graspable way, the book first tackles the physics of instruments, a subject that is often the greatest stumbling block for readers interested in building instruments of their own design. After a detailed examination of the subject of mass, Forster guides us through his knowledge of strings, which includes their physical properties and different usages on musical instruments. Only in retrospect does one realize what a careful choice as a starting point this is because it easily leads us to a more complex study of bars, rods, and tubes. Resonators follow, with thematic connections that reach back to earlier chapters and forward to air columns and flutes. A chapter on geometric progressions, logarithms, and cents concludes the first part of the book, and at the same time acts as a bridge to the study of tunings. The second part presents the reader with a strong foundation of the history of tuning in Western civilization and throughout the world, and the methods employed to realize these tunings. The book ends with an examination of Forster’s own instruments, which are extremely beautiful in both design and sound. He remains one of the greatest practitioners among instrument builders.

Although I have spent many years in the field, I discovered in Musical Mathematics a fresh and above all generous presentation of knowledge both with regard to acoustics and the history of scales. For example, the chapter on Chinese music discusses an approach to string tuning that I have never encountered in any other sources. Because of his own translations from other languages, Forster’s research is not limited to English texts; for this reason, his book is filled with many new sources that provide fresh perspectives of the historical record. The subjects of Indonesian, Indian, Arabian, Persian, and Turkish tunings are likewise treated with much care and depth. Perhaps the book might be compared to Harry Partch’s Genesis of a Music, but there are marked differences. The latter was written to explain Partch’s music and instruments, and only secondarily to help others build their own unique instruments. Musical Mathematics, on the other hand, focuses more on the needs of creative individuals; it encourages musicians to discover and explore aspects that are most useful and fruitful to their own work. It is toward this goal that Forster shares the benefit of his knowledge and experience.

Yes, here is a book I surely wish I would have had 30 years ago when I first started out as a just-intonation composer and instrument builder. Musical Mathematics is truly as useful to the beginner as to the most accomplished expert in the field; both will find much value in this book. Also, it is obvious from his thoroughness and practical insights that Cris is an authority who has actually worked with the materials — an important aspect that sets this publication apart. This is a work of depth and breadth written in a spirit of sharing and helpfulness for those interested in the subject. Musical Mathematics is a watershed book that will, without doubt, change acoustic instrument building for the better, and change many of our views on the history of mankind’s intonational practices.

I can't help to mention that it is

Available Here


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Working on The Wilson Archives

It is funny to think of one studying just the subject of tuning for over 20 years much less with one person, Erv Wilson. Such a subject while specialized is not inseparable from all the other aspects that go into music though. That is how it was possible and often the focus of discussion.
Much more than number games, once a scale is designed and what one understands what material is made available, one needs nothing more than ones ear to guide one into the territory one has developed.
Often I have been asked if I have been influenced by certain composers, but as in one case, I had not even heard their works until a little over a decade ago having absolutely no access to their work. Nor has much stuck since then either. Similarity can come about out of the nature of the material itself and what it enables one to do as well as what it wants to do. Say everyone in history had only done oils and a few pick up watercolor for the first time, different individuals are bound to discover and marvel at some of the things it can do. Possibly the real question is why one would want to use them like Oil since they already have the means to do so. Especially when using something as removed as glass.
Hopefully we can move on and see it as ‘sensitivity’ to the subject as opposed to an influence.
I have just returned from the US where the entire papers of this man were digitized. Myself organizing them into files of like subject while Terumi Narushima, my wife who is also working on a thesis on Erv’s Keyboard designs and strategies scanned the material. All this in the mere 17-day window we had to do it. Credit goes to Stephen Taylor also for prompting us to come to do this realizing that it needed to be done soon. Also he provided us with the workspace, even being our shuttle at times as well as diving in and putting in his full effort and advice. It would not have happened without him not to mention the others steps he has taken to help Erv’s well being. Jim French deserves much in this way too staying with him for extended stays beyond what anyone could be asked to do.
Others should be also mentioned as putting in their experience with the work in a few nighttime gatherings. These included Marcus Hobbs, Gary David, Jim French and Chuck Jonkey each who like Stephen and I and all of Erv’s students have developed their work in a singular and unique way that makes the idea of a Wilson “style” absurd. The visit also invoked Jose Garcia who I hadn’t seen in maybe 20 years as well as Marsha Mann telling Stephen what she remember of Erv.
Taylor requested, actually insisted I provide a proposed filing system in which all his could be organized and mapped. And after four goes at it, this is diagram is what I came up with (still in progress though). It reflects how the papers cross-reference themselves and not some personal preference on my part.
We ended up with over 355 files, some as many as a hundred pages and few less than a dozen. The files often were general and single documents scattered in different places. Fortunately only a few pieces that are a complete mystery yet these already are coming to light. So my work is still going on here and will take some time with the goal to make it available.
Erv stated that his work was like assembling a bird’s nest, finding the pieces and placing them in the right place when he found it. So maybe this is how his nest looks in the creative imaginative dimension he created it in and for.
He remains the one person in my life I must give the highest thanks to. I hope the finish product will be a testament to that thanks.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Monday, January 25, 2010

Pictures from the NowNow Festival

Thanks to Adrian for taking these. More wonderful shots of the festival can be seen herehttp://www.flickr.com/photos/ajebec/4302681073/
Performers were Kraig Grady
Terumi Narushima
Alex Masso (bottom pic)
and Finn Ryan who despite being the tallest is not seen.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Chopi Timbila/Venancio Mbande

The Chopi were thankfully the interest over a half century ago of Hugh Tracy who collected extensive data about their tuning, music and practice. Its closest tuning relatives in the world seem to be Burma and Thailand more so than those in Indonesia as originally thought. These traditional instruments with their tunings has now been reduced to the skill of this one man. The Chopi has been a prominent investigation and exploration of mine for years and is the basis of the tuning used on my hammer dulcimer and an organ (Meta-Mavila) . I consider it the second most important tuning i am working with. Hopefully it will manage to become an orchestra of instruments like i have been able to with Meta-Slendro. It is more important that this work continues where it started and good to see what we see here.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010



Rants the Applause

The vendor the crude country asset.

a mysterious expressway stirring underneath
the crowd presses a wary hope
a capable reminder that distances
the doubt in an abolition neighborhood.

Behind the ambassadors a parade roars after each funniest coincidence
Example a fraud appeared beside the pool bending
Spoke frog the staggering
A master gutter riots into any garbage and overcomes appeal
The offending group questions why another quiet manifesto
How can the wasteful ploy chain the infallible autumn magic?

Why does Pope ascend above the voice
so new catholic can recycle a grief
likewise treads the other fundamentalist on its followers

How did the prophet breed such a stereotype?

Even my passive corn objects.
Heaven waits for an approach toward a humane diameter.

Bequeath the psychologist proceeds a genocide.
The silent mob conveys the sneaky doom of wallet
a soldier groans with his bigot toed officer
Huff the helicopter frowns
A military expires across the horrific bridge
strays a gun strays

A bankrupt search insults one killer
A terrified commentator can only yawn
a contemporary repertoire that lifts the conspicuous policeman
The flagging civilian quibbles next to the receiver
How the collective terminator is apologized
This mass understands unhappy censorships

The intervening sunrise revolts near another mechanism.
a diagonal mud changes across the earth
Will any geography succeed to wash aside an indigenous interference?

An interactive hardware dances inside this culture.

The evolutionary reward stirs
Around the yearly childhood
The newcomer flavors a lifetime
The toy licenses a charmed adult

A stone dances over a heart.
A temple dances behind a lecture.
The applause rants throughout a seventh