The Deb Fox Heterophonic Alchemical Tours
Ron Pellegrino, February 13, 2001
The Deb Fox Heterophonic Alchemical Tours is a visual music video project I´ve been working on since the middle of 2000; it will most likely occupy me for many months to come. Like many of my compositions since the late 1960s this is a targeted study to integrate the latest affordable emerging technology in the arts with the spirit of a specific performance artist. Such studies are my favorite vehicles for learning. From an evolving cloud of hardware, software, people, ideas, and technical problems what precipitates is a set of pieces out of which a few might find their way into one or more of my public performance-multimedia events or demo presentations. For me the purpose is less the pieces than the learning process. Often the pieces that make the cut and stay in the rotation longest are those that demonstrate something I hadn't imagined initially.
All images are framegrabs from The Deb Fox Heterophonic Alchemical Tours videotapes.
Deb Fox is a San Francisco multi-instrumentalist performance artist. Her history includes performances with numerous bands in San Francisco, Boston, and Hawaii. In late 2000 after a number of meetings exploring common ground we scheduled a session to record her playing whatever she felt like doing consistent with the ideas of real-time composition and personal stream of consciousness music expression.
Heterophony is a term with roots in the philosophy of Plato. It refers to a freely created form of polyphony that simultaneously employs slightly or more considerably modified versions of the same musical structures (usually melody) by two or more performers. Clearly the idea of heterophony emerged close on the heels of melody when people first started making music together, and that was a long time ago. Especially in the music of the folks heterophony has always remained paramount. In the global music of the 21st century heterophony continues to play a fundamental structural role though often involving more recent (past four or five centuries?) intellectual devices like augmentation, diminution, etc., and at the emerging technological level, massagable windows on all music variables.
Alchemy in the arts can be viewed as a process for transforming what is mined from an experience and adding value and personal color to it by putting it in the company of other experiences and processes (gardeners: think compost heap). It's a method of combining and tuning multidimensional matrices to create new forms often beyond imagination, the ideal environment for exploring, learning, and creating. My current visual music alchemical tool set is an electronic arts synthesizer made up of the combination of the U&I Software products - MetaSynth, MetaTrack, ArtMatic Pro, Videodelic, and Xx.
TheTours are various paths through a set of visual music pieces, at the time of this writing still in compositional process. The individual pieces are being composed to stand alone or to be viewed as modules that can be placed into various sequences (the tours) according to production requirements.
As a composer, especially in my performance-multimedia work on the road, I've collaborated with artists across a broad range of technical proficiency. From my compositional perspective the technical facility of a performing artist always takes second place to the spiritual honesty and transparency of the artist in performance. My collaborative work is targeted at supporting and showcasing the spirit of my collaborator as it manifests through their work. The approach makes for a great learning environment, one that provides opportunities to see through the eyes, hear through the ears, and think through the minds of other artists.
1. Every single note you hear is derived heterophonically in one way or another (thanks to MetaSynth) from the playing of Deb Fox. That's just another way of saying that the spirit of Deb Fox is embedded in the music. Listen for it.
2. Look for Deb Fox's images in the abstract animations. She's everywhere all the time only sometimes a bit difficult to perceive.
Ways to get the best results from this video file:
Also, be sure to view the videos at 180x120 pixels; some browser's will fill your screen automatically; with my video excerpts the results will be awful.
To download each of the video excerpts from The Deb Fox Heterophonic Alchemical Tours click on the following links one at a time (hit your browser's back button to return to this page):
Booking information and comments.
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