My method of making music is completely borrowed from David Tudor. I worked with Tudor from 1991 until his passing in 1996. Initially I was his Audio Engineer working with him as a part of the music crew of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. As time passed and David Tudor’s health diminished, I found myself in the position of interpreter of his music. The details of that transition is deserving of a dedicated post, but for now let’s just say he’s had an immense influence on how I listen to, perceive, interpret, and perform music.
In the picture above you’ll see David Tudor’s set-up… one of his last. It was probably one of his biggest (that I was involved in, as I’m sure he and cage has some massive set-up going back in the day). This was one of three stations for his work “Soundings: Ocean Diary” which accompanied the Cunningham Dance “Ocean”.
To the right you’ll see the set-up I’m using for a performance in Halifax, NS (January 6, 2017). Comparing the two, you’ll see a mess of cables and a smattering of modular components. Many of the components are old vintage guitar effects that have particular and unique modifying qualities. Both Tudor and my set-up are centered around a passive matrix switcher that allows for a significant number of interconnections between the components. Ultimately the goal is to create a complex path for the audio leading to unpredictable and often unexpected results. Experimentation, improvisation, problem solving and listening are all important states that are critical to making this beast be musical. Over the years I feel like I’ve gained ownership of my set-up. I’ve collected and populated my array with components I’ve found and purchased (or made) and it’s become very personal. I can say with certainty, I would not have started making music this way if it wasn’t for those five incredibly mind blowing years I worked with David Tudor.
I hear-by dub my instrument the “Tudor Table”.
Here’s a short sample of some output from my Tudor Table…