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 Forum index » Artists » Howard Moscovitz
Mosc Interview
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2004 3:24 am    Post subject: Mosc Interview Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Well, it's up. Not sure if anyone remembers that post, but I interviewed mosc.

Here's it: http://noiseusse.org/interviews.htm?id=2


There's a good deal of interesting stuff there. Chew chew chew.
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seraph
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2004 3:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

congratulations well done
you interviewed the elusive Mosc
thumb up

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Last edited by seraph on Tue Feb 06, 2007 3:15 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2004 3:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

"can I interview you?" and he said "Sure."
or something like that ::)

it's raised a whole more questions though. like what are the specifics of this bell labs 'intrigue'. hmmmm?


btw. it appears that my host server went down temporarily about 10 minutes after I finished. go figure.
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Mohoyoho



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2004 6:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Very good indeed. What a very interesting person Mosc is. What a background he has.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2004 7:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

well conducted interview...
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2004 6:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

HEY! Great! Very Happy
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2004 10:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

That was very cool.
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PostPosted: Wed May 05, 2004 12:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Well yes thank you very mutch. I feel like a little boy now. Razz Embarassed
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 17, 2005 6:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

cool - excellent interview Hail the Master
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 17, 2005 1:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Very interesting interview. I can identify with a lot of Mosc´s statements. I feel very much the same about the state of music, I wouldn´t say it´s been going backwards since the 70´s since that´d mean it should be quite good by now again, I think it´s been going down hill since 70 barring very few and rare exceptions. The introduction of affordable dsp´s did indeed change the field but only in the sense that you now *can* do anything you want to. Very few people actually use this to do anything original but you can.

Instrument design is still more interesting then music, or so I feel.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 05, 2007 10:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I used to belive the same thing (that music is getting worse) then someone on the microsound mailing list made a very good point. Paraphrasing...it's easy to say that music has gotten worse because music from the past has been filtered by history. Anything that didn't stand the test of time is lost in the noise. So from our perspective in the future the music we can see in the past is great but it's only a small slice of everything from the period. It's hard to find the good stuff now because it hasn't been filtered yet. I think that will always be true. Also, there is something in the act of creating that is good regardless of the outcome. It may not be great to listen to but the fact that there is so much interest in creating music and that it's so much easier to do is, I think, healthy. Better that kids are making music than watching tv, right?
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PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2007 12:29 pm    Post subject: Re: Mosc Interview Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

play wrote:
Well, it's up. Not sure if anyone remembers that post, but I interviewed mosc.

Here's it: http://noiseusse.org/interviews.htm?id=2


There's a good deal of interesting stuff there. Chew chew chew.


404 now. Anyone know where this interview ended up, if anywhere?
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PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2007 4:11 pm    Post subject: Re: Mosc Interview Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

chuckles wrote:
404 now. Anyone know where this interview ended up, if anywhere?

Here you go.

Sometimes Wayback Machine is more than just a great idea!

Somebody with the powers, please grab this and put it in the Articles, reviews and editorials section, or perhaps right here in this thread.

DJ
--
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PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2007 12:04 am    Post subject: Re: Mosc Interview Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

DrJustice wrote:
chuckles wrote:
404 now. Anyone know where this interview ended up, if anywhere?

Here you go.

Sometimes Wayback Machine is more than just a great idea!

Somebody with the powers, please grab this and put it in the Articles, reviews and editorials section, or perhaps right here in this thread.

DJ
--


something like this?

Quote:


Howard Moscovitz
Programmer, engineer, musician and trailblazer Howard Moscovitz talks about the evolution of the scene from his viewpoint.


Play: So mosc, in 1968 you began playing the then new Moog Modular synthesizer. In the 1970's you studied Electronic Music at Mills College with Robert Ashley. You worked as a freelance composer for commercials and industrial films, hosted a radio program on experimental music, you worked as an electronics technician for Donald Buchla and got a masters degree in electrical engineering at Berkeley. In 1981 you began a 15 year career at Bell Labs where you participated in the design of some of the first DSP chips. From my view as a relatively recent inductee into electronic music, this kind of career appears almost mythic. What was it like in those early days and how do you feel about them now that the technology has bloomed to the point where almost anyone with a computer can make electronic music?

Howard Moscovitz: When I got into electronic music, it was a fringe thing and very experimental. There were very few recordings available, and very few instruments. Before the Moog Modular synthesizer there was virtually nothing you could buy as an individual to make electronic music. I started with music concrete, naturally recorded sounds manipulated with splicing tape, tape echo, and all kinds of electro-acoustic transformations. I used shortwave radio for much of my source material.

The introduction of Moog Modular synthesizer changed everything. After Walter Carlos' Switched On Bach hit record, everyone had heard of the Moog Synthesizer. The timing was good because at about the same time, relatively affordable 4 track tape recorders became available. I was very fortunate to study music composition with William Hoskins at Jacksonville University in Florida. He had just gotten a new Moog and he allowed me to do all my music composition work in electronic music. Just a few hours with the Moog and I was hooked for life.

In those days, electronic music was almost always experimental; no pop tunes. Most people interested in it were very serious in alternative music and the avant-garde art movements. We were attracted to electronic music because it sounded new; it enabled freedom of musical expression.

As time moved on, more and more manufacturers started making analog synths and there were many technological developments, but basically, the compositional method for me involved the use of a multi-track recorder doing several passes, one voice at a time. When smaller portable instruments showed up, we started a lot of live performances, usually improvs, for small but enthusiastic audiences.

As electronic music and synthesizers became more mainstream in the 70s through the 80s, I became less enthusiastic. The music was very conventional. Rock music started using electronics in the introductions of pieces before the big beat kicked in, totally predictable. The instrument makers were going to the market with keyboards, instruments that played 12 tones per octave. When samplers became big, the most popular use was canned samples of conventional instruments. Kurzweil made a so-called break through synth that was noted not for new and innovative sounds, but for it's ability to reproduce a grand piano. Scheesch, I was into experimental music and it seems that after 1970 the world was going backwards. I wasn't at all interested in some of the emerging electronic music pop music, Jarre, TD, ELP, etc.

I became interested in synthesizer design because there was very little happening in the synthesizer industry that appealed to me. It was more fun to design and build your own instruments than to play some commerical box. It helped a lot to work for Donald Buchla; I learned a great deal from hanging around him. I once asked him to teach me electronics and he said "no", but if I found a circuit on one of his schematics that I couldn't figure out, he'd explain it to me. Also, Stanley Lunetta was making small synths using surplus electronics and I became a follower of his and built several Lunettas. I followed this interest, got educated in electrical engineering and got a job at Bell Labs as an engineer.

At The Labs, I worked with a group of engineers, led by Jim Boddie and Dick Pedersen, working on a new kind of chip, the Digital Signal Processor, DSP. To me this was great; a microprocessor specifically designed to process audio signals; an open architecture limited only by the programming. DSPs are now the core of virtually every commercial synthesizer, not to mention every telecommunication system and virtually every telephone for that matter. It was very exciting to be part of the team that developed the DSP.

In the 1990's, things started changing, helped a lot by the DSP. Innovative new synthesizer designs, like the Clavia Nord Modular and Symbolic Sound's Kyma, both DSP based, provided musicians and sound designers with powerful new tools which were vast and almost limitless. In recent years, general purpose microprocessors used in personal computers have reached levels of performance where DSPs aren't even required. This has put incredible technology in the hands of many people. The great thing is this technology is no longer focused on making great fake pianos and saxophones, but products are available that support advanced processes such as pitch shifting, vocoding, morphing, time augmentation, looping, voice synthesis, and of course, emulation of the great voltage controlled modular synths.

So, I feel great about this. A kid with a laptop and a little software has much greater capability to produce electronic music than the most expensive research facilities had just a few years ago. More exciting to me, is that people are using this to make very interesting and inventive new music.

P: Is it possible for you to describe some of the projects you were part of? What were some of the main goals of Bell Labs at that point, or more specifically, your design team?

H.M.: Well, I had a great time at Bell Labs. Aside from working on the DSP chips, I got into UNIX and software development. I was the manager of a team which worked on design automation, then called silicon compilers. The goal was to write programs that described a chip and the layout files would be made automatically. This was very challenging in the 1980s, but it's mainstream stuff now. Those were fun times; I wrote several computer languages. One of my most interesting jobs was as the technical program manager of the Bell Labs HDTV development project. This was a joint project of AT&T and Zenith. The work involved not only chips for video compression, but for audio as well. There were even chips we were making for radio frequency transmitters and receivers. This was very stimulating technically, but there was incredible politics and intrigue.

P: You have started a wonderful community over at electro-music.com. Can you remember the spark that led to this idea and by what mechanisms it grew so quickly into a meaningful net community? Do you see communities like this leading to a new age in consensus and democracy?

H.M.: Although I kept on composing music in my personal studio during my engineering days, I wasn't active in the musical community. When I retired from corporate America (maybe I should say, when corporate America self-destructed), I wanted to get into the scene as a composer. I tried to get a job as a music professor at a major university, but they were interested only in people with PHDs. The music scene seemed really fragmented. Academic music was aloof from any other music. The beat (dance, techno etc.) music was separate from ambient. Space music was sort of a separate scene that is very big in Philadelphia it turns out. There were many genres.

I wanted to be part of a music community, something like what used to exist with the Impressionists, the Serialists, The Expressionists, Les Six, Motown and others in music history. These were people who explored new music together, supported each other, and by being part of a community gained strength in their creative endeavors and in their ability to attract an audience.

I started electro-music.com with the goal of building that kind of community on the internet. With today's technology, we can have an international community. We don't need to be collocated to interact. electro-music.com is a place where we learn from each other and expand our horizons. There are people into hardcore noise, synth pop, techno, ambient, space music, soundscapes, dance and even neo-romantic music composed for conventional instruments. There are serious musicians with years of experience and people just starting out. There are gear heads and laptoppers.

This project has changed my life. I've learned more about music in a little over one year than I could have imagined. I've met great people from all over the world. I appreciate music I would have detested before. As we grow, we'll start to attract the attention of an audience. Then, I hope we can use the internet technology to maintain control over the distribution of our music. A rising tide raises all ships, that sort of thing.

Yes, I see other communities forming all over the net. This is great.

P: Let's talk about your music. What were some of your early influences and what led you to become a composer of electronic music?

H.M.: I've kinda already answered that a bit. The most influential electronic music for me was Luciano Berio's Paroles. I also love the music from Forbidden Planet. I love reading what John Cage writes about music, but I don't like to listen to his music. I love the classics, especially Bach and Mozart. I like the philosophy of Schoenberg and the Serialists, and I even like their music. I'm a fan of The Beatles and Bob Dylan. Robert Ashley taught me how to change perspective. I guess I learned more about thinking from him than about music. I dig jazz, especially John Coltrane. I was greatly influenced by Charles Ives, especially the last movement of his 4th Symphony. It has several choruses and orchestras playing in separate times with different conductors. I was very moved by Robert Schuman who wrote: "He who is destined to conceal and render imperceptible the tyranny of the bar in music will, at least apparently, set this art [i.e., music] free..." This phrase, "the tyranny of the bar line", is almost a mantra to me. I find it really hard to relate by big beat music.

P: The structure of performance has become somewhat of a controversial issue since DJ's began to take the spotlight and especially since the advent of the laptop performance. Do you follow any particular ideology of the performer audience relationship? What's a typical Howard Moscovitz performance like and what are some of your favorite performance memories?

H.M.: I guess I do have have some biases in this regard. To perform before an audience is a great privilege. Electronic music is very mysterious to an audience; they don't know what to expect. They don't see familar instruments. They wonder: "What is this music? How long will it last? Is it intended for serious listening or background? Did the performers write this? Is it prerecorded?"

I think it is essential to speak to the audience and explain what it is they are going to hear. I want them to feel comfortable and receptive to the music. I think it helps them to hear my voice and get some idea as to who I am, what I'm about. I tell them, "I love these electronic sounds. I think they are beautiful. I hope you enjoy them too."

A typical performance of mine is 100% improvised. My favorite memory is playing in Trondheim, Norway, in September, 2003. After I played an improv on a borrowed Nord Modular at a concert arranged by Stein Grebstad at the TEK electronic arts center, a couple of very young local musicians came up on stage to jam with me. They had some various noise boxes and modulators - stomp boxes and such. I had never met them before. They were very nervous and asked me "what should we do?". I said something like. "Try to play something that is similar to or contrasts what you hear the other two people playing. If you hear yourself dominating, back off. If you hear a big hole, jump in. Maintain a lot of eye contact with the other two players. Let's just have some fun." We had a blast.

That's pretty much what we do in Xeroid Entity, a trio I'm in with Greg Waltzer and Bill Fox. I enjoy playing with them a great deal. We used to design all of our pieces, with structure, and even themes. Now, we just sit down and start playing.

Making music is really making love.

P: And lastly, a random question: how do you feel about Merzbow?

I hadn't heard of Merzbow before you sent me this question, so I went out and read some about him. I've listened some mp3s on the web, including a concert in Vienna from a few days ago. This is great. My stuff isn't too different from this. I'd love to jam with him. Thanks for turning me on to him.

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PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2007 1:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I haven´t seen Play around recently.. or have I? Shocked
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PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2007 4:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

elektro80 wrote:
I haven´t seen Play around recently.. or have I? Shocked

His last post is dated Thu Mar 01, 2007

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