travis weller
composer / performer

April 14, 2009

Sound in Time

Filed under: new music co-op — travis @ 8:29 am

Thanks to all who came out to the concert this past Saturday. It was a great show!

There was a nice review from the Statesman.

April 11, 2009

Listening for lines of silence

Filed under: new music co-op — travis @ 4:49 am

As part of NMC’s upcoming performance we are setting up an early version of Alvin Lucier’s Still and Moving Lines of Silence in Families of Hyperbolas featuring unattended snare drums placed carefully within the room according to the crests and troughs of resonance of sine waves from two loudspeakers.

The process of setting up this piece is quite mysterious, and requires much trial and error. Charles Curtis, our guest artist, has pulled it off many times — but insists that each time is quite different as each room is a new landscape with unique constructive and destructive interference patterns resulting from different arrangements of walls, speakers, and the delicate adjustments of the snare assembly in the drums, etc.

The process goes something like this: first, you turn on the sine waves. Then you silently listen to the invsible waves of interference moving past you — a ghostly presence almost like the air pressure of the room is greater on one side of your head than the other. Then the wave front slowly moves around behind your head and continues past you. These areas of pressure excite the snares of each drum and they resonate quietly as the wave fronts navigate the room. If you manage to move the drums into ideal locations, the successive vibrations of the drums betray the route of the invisible waves as they move.

April 9, 2009

Vespers rehearsal

Filed under: new music co-op — travis @ 6:14 pm

Rehearsing vespers…

Rehearsing for Saturday…

Filed under: new music co-op — travis @ 12:39 pm

We’ve been hard at work getting ready for the upcoming concert at Ceremony Hall. Since the pieces we are playing are very sensitive to the space they are performed in, we have been camped out at the hall trying out various speaker/instrument placements and exploring the space to find the optimum arrangement. Here is a photo of Charles Curtis playing his cello against an 82 hertz sine wave:

April 4, 2009


Filed under: new music co-op,Uncategorized — travis @ 10:48 am

In 1969 Alvin Lucier wrote a piece called “Vespers.” Part of the inspiration of the piece came from a chance encounter with a product being marketed for the blind. The product was called the “Sondol” and is a small hand-held echo-location device. It sends a directional “click” (using a pulse wave oscillator). A person using the device can perceive things about the room they are in using the echo that bounces off objects in the room. For whatever reason, the product never caught on and almost no sondols exist today. Lucier, in writing the score, gives instructions on what to do if no sondols are available. NMC, never settling for the easy way out, decided to design and build a close approximation of the sondol for our upcoming performance on April 11th.


Bill Meadows, Bill Bridges, Josh Ronsen, Holland Hopson (advice from afar) and myself all contributed to the effort. It took many hours of design refinement, but we ended up with a set of very effective instruments to realize the piece.

Finished set of 6 sondols:

April 2, 2009

NMC Presents: Sound in Time – The Music of composer Alvin Lucier, with special guest appearance by acclaimed cellist Charles Curtis (San Diego, CA)

Filed under: announcement,new music co-op,performance — travis @ 10:48 am

NMC is excited to present a full program of adventurous new music by influential minimalist composer Alvin Lucier. The co-op will be joined by virtuoso cellist Charles Curtis, a longtime colleague of Lucier and expert in his wonderfully innovative work. Through Lucier’s music, our audience will experience the physicality of sound while sine waves are frozen in time and performers use custom made electronic echo-location devices to reveal the unique sonic personality of the hall. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to hear the strange and beautiful music of this ground-breaking experimental composer.

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