“Chomsky Hash” for improvisation, electric guitar, and live electronics

Seth A Davis

Music Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression

  • Year: 2023
  • Article Number: 29
  • PDF link

Abstract:

“Chomsky Hash” is a piece for improvisation, electric guitar, and live electronics. The piece utilizes traditional guitar effects processing with a variety of unconventional effects for the instrument, along with a surround panner setup for quadraphonic sound. The laptop and electronic elements also act as improvising agent, with a variety of chance operations that allow the computer to make decisions for itself in performance. The title is a reference to the famous debate between Noam Chomsky and Michel Foucault. Famously, Foucault asked to be paid in a large amount of hash for his participation in the debate. Friends would say that on special occasions Foucault would break out “that Chomsky Hash”. The relevance of this debate to the piece is the elements I’m working with and transforming. The electric guitar itself has a long history in American popular music and has a lot of specific cultural connotations that could seem traditional even though at times it’s been a counter cultural symbol. With the use of DAW’s such as Ableton Live or Max/MSP, the electric guitar can be further altered and expanded upon. Noam Chomsky is considered a radical and countercultural figure in American politics, but within the debate with Michel Foucault comes off as traditional and conservative compared to Foucault’s Dionysian and hedonistic character traits. The debate itself is an interesting synthesis of the two thinkers' ideas. The main driving factors of the piece are improvisation, timbral transformation, live electronics processing, and spatialization. Since 2019, I’ve been working on bringing together my instrumental background as a guitarist and improviser with my interest in electronic music. This piece is a part of a series of pieces for electric guitar & live electronics.

Citation:

Seth A Davis. 2023. “Chomsky Hash” for improvisation, electric guitar, and live electronics. Music Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression. DOI:

BibTeX Entry:

  @article{nime23-music-29,
 abstract = {“Chomsky Hash” is a piece for improvisation, electric guitar, and live electronics. The piece utilizes traditional guitar effects processing with a variety of unconventional effects for the instrument, along with a surround panner setup for quadraphonic sound. The laptop and electronic elements also act as improvising agent, with a variety of chance operations that allow the computer to make decisions for itself in performance. The title is a reference to the famous debate between Noam Chomsky and Michel Foucault. Famously, Foucault asked to be paid in a large amount of hash for his participation in the debate. Friends would say that on special occasions Foucault would break out “that Chomsky Hash”. The relevance of this debate to the piece is the elements I’m working with and transforming. The electric guitar itself has a long history in American popular music and has a lot of specific cultural connotations that could seem traditional even though at times it’s been a counter cultural symbol. With the use of DAW’s such as Ableton Live or Max/MSP, the electric guitar can be further altered and expanded upon. Noam Chomsky is considered a radical and countercultural figure in American politics, but within the debate with Michel Foucault comes off as traditional and conservative compared to Foucault’s Dionysian and hedonistic character traits. The debate itself is an interesting synthesis of the two thinkers' ideas. The main driving factors of the piece are improvisation, timbral transformation, live electronics processing, and spatialization. Since 2019, I’ve been working on bringing together my instrumental background as a guitarist and improviser with my interest in electronic music. This piece is a part of a series of pieces for electric guitar \& live electronics.},
 articleno = {29},
 author = {Seth A Davis},
 booktitle = {Music Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression},
 editor = {Rob Hamilton},
 month = {May},
 note = {Online Presentation},
 title = {“Chomsky Hash” for improvisation, electric guitar, and live electronics},
 url = {https://www.nime2023.org/program/online-in-person-concerts},
 year = {2023}
}