About David Collins

Composition ● Improvisation ● Sound Design

Upcoming Unruly Music

Short post to let everyone know about the Spring Unruly Music concerts to be held at Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, Vogel Hall, 929 N. Water St., Milwaukee, WI 53202.

I will be performing that night, with both MiLO (Milwaukee Laptop Orchestra) and GLIO (Great Lakes Improvising Orchestra, lead by Hal Rammel).

Further details can be found here.

Both groups I’m involved with for this concert have been discussing group dynamics, texture and language (such as Hal’s hand gestures for conducting GLIO) for our improvisations during recent rehearsal, so I’m quite excited about what will all happen in the moment.

Paul Kosidowski wrote a brief pre-performance article for Milwaukee Magazine, which can be found on their website here.  You can see me in the center of the photo, playing my alto saxophone.

I’ll try to get some good audio of the performance to post later.


New video posted on Vimeo

I’ve uploaded a video collaboration I worked on with a friend of mine to my Vimeo page.  It’s an abstract piece that uses water as a theme, and a focal point for source material.  All sounds were created from water-based field recordings, and the video images are all derived from the same theme as well.  Many of the water-based recordings were utilized in Absynth (Native Instruments), in the interest of turning them into instruments; making them performance ready.  Other sounds were processed using Cubase’s built-in DSP options.  Enjoy!

G.L.I.O recordings from Woodland Pattern

Another short post just to share some of the audio that has been recently uploaded to SoundCloud.  The recordings are from the Great Lakes Improvising Orchestra performance at Woodland Pattern, that I wrote about in my last post.  The recordings turned out well and it’s fair to say that everyone really enjoyed performing together.  One of the really enjoyable aspects of this performance, is that not all individuals had previously  performed together, therefor providing an opportunity of finding new ways to integrate one’s voice within the orchestra.

Five pieces were played in total.  All were conducted by Hal Rammel.  Below, I have put links for two of the selections; the remaining can be found here.

Upcoming Performances

I have a couple performances coming up that I wanted to let everyone know about.

The first will be Sunday, December 16th with the Great Lakes Improvising Orchestra at Woodland Patterns, in my very own Riverwest neighborhood (Milwaukee).  It’s an afternoon show, starting at 2pm, for a mere $4.  The ensemble consists of 14 of Milwaukee’s finest composers-who-improvise and improvisers-who-compose, with a very diverse list of instrumentation: voice, winds, strings, guitars, electronics and percussion.

Click here for Woodland Pattern’s website (in case you need the street address)

The second performance will be MiLO: A Very Special Holiday Extravaganza!  The gang has decided to throw our hats into the “holiday ring”, complete with bad Christmas sweaters.  I hope… well, maybe not.  Some Christmas sweaters are pretty scary. [shudder]  The event will take place on Thursday, December 20th at the Sugar Maple in Bayview (Milwaukee).  This one starts at 8pm and goes on till we’ve had enough holiday cheer, beer, and have generally forgotten the rest of the lyrics to “O Tannenbaum”; if we all ever even knew them.

Click here for Sugar Maple’s website

Hopefully I’ll see some of you for one, if not both of the events.  Ciao!

MiLO at Sugar Maple: Samples

So once again, I’ve gone a couple months without a post.  Summer has a tendency to be full of so many going-ons that this site takes a back seat.  Oh well…

The performance at Sugar Maple was a great success and a good time was had by all.  Something a little newer for the group was to break up all the performers into a variety of trio subsets.  This is an evolution of some exercises we would play during rehearsals, where the entrance of a individual’s sound had to be accompanied by at least one other player, as he/she introduced something new to the overall sound.  Sometimes this would occur during the same subset’s exit from the group sound.  It became a way of organizing spontaneous coordination and adding a level of control to the overall density of our performances.  As everyone really enjoyed how it was influencing our rehearsals, we thought we’d take it a step further for the Sugar Maple performance.

Below is a video I captured before my iPhone ran out of storage space, and the remaining trios that we got audio for.  Unfortunately, we were unable to get anything else in it’s entirety.

Last item of note for that night, is a series of photographs taken by Paul M. Mitchell.  The photos can be seen here.



MiLO performance at Sugar Maple

This coming Friday, July 13th, MiLO will be performing at Sugar Maple in Bayview. The show starts at 8pm in the back room. There is no door charge. Check out the link for more information on Sugar Maple’s location, beer menu, and other events and on-goings. I’ll post some audio (and hopefully video) after the performance. See you there!

Laptop Improvisation (C8 and Bi-Filter)

In the last couple months, I’ve been getting some new material together for the purpose of solo laptop performances. I’ve used my laptop many times in a group setting, but never in a stand-alone performance. It’s quite a different approach; switching from a single voice in an ensemble to constructing all voices for a live performance. Setting up instrument layers in the traditional multi-track environment, simply doesn’t accomplish what I’m trying to do. The challenge has been to make my hardware-software set up as flexible as possible, while maintaining a sense of simplicity in the controls. I’m of the opinion that trying to manage an unwieldy amount of parameters during a live performance can take away from what one might be able to create musically with less. That being said, I love complexity of layers, moving in and out of the listening field, enticing our ears with different shapes and colors. This is one of the reasons I enjoy playing with MiLO (Milwaukee Laptop Orchestra) so much.

So begins the balancing act. The stochastic-styled (randomization built around user controlled parameters) Max patches I use, are certainly helpful in this regard. They allow certain layers to essentially run themselves while user input shapes it’s outcome. Most of the time I’ve spent with Max patches, has been for the purpose of constructing meaningful randomization. The sample I have below is based around my use of the C8 Sequencer (Max For Live patch I posted earlier) for creating rhythmic material. A little bit of self-made loops (bass ostinato, pad and aux percussion that uses C8) round out of the sample.

The other little gem here, is the new addition to my sonic arsenal; the illustrious Electro-Harmonix Bi-Filter. The unit was designed by Mike Beigel of Beigel Sound Lab; the designer of the Mu-tron III (Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground” anyone?). This little rack mount unit is already proven to be tons-o-fun. I played around with the routing options inside of Ableton Live, and I think I’m getting closer to what I would use live. Options for setting up the audio output of a single track for either: Sends Only, External channel, or to the Master track, allowed me to use the Bi-Filter in different ways for different voices. Though I would have loved to see separate inputs for each filter section an option, the routing inside Live allowed for variety of usage within an FX unit with only one audio input.

The sample below is a real-time performance. No over dubs, or track editing. Only light compression, normalization and fades were applied post performance.