Sunday, July 08, 2007

The Beige Channel

The Beige Channel

The Beige Channel is New York's Michael Farley. He studied composition at Daemen College, in Amherst, New York and The University of Wisconsin (Madison), and performs and composes music using sounds recorded on a mini disc recorder, as well as sounds from the media environment. He also plays guitar and composes more traditionally, such as music for orchestras.

He has six full length CDs, along with nine online releases and appears on a dozen compilations. He was a featured performer this weekend at free103point9's Wave Farm. The non-profit Transmission Arts organization has been presenting their Performance, Exhibition and Transmission Series since 1997, featuring works by "artists exploring transmission mediums for creative expression (including) investigations in electronic performance and other underserved movements in experimental electronic sound." Some Assembly Required is now heard on free103point9's online radio station, by the way, from 11 to noon, Mondays.

His new CD, Amusant!, will be available very soon and you can read his blog, HERE. Without further ado, here's the SAR Q&A with The Beige Channel!

*Name: The Beige Channel

*Are there any additional names used to describe this project: I have a collection of tracks I did in the early 2000s under the name diOhr, to distinguish work in more of a downtempo, pop style. Those are available at my website. I was planning to release my next cd (AMUSANT!) under the name VINYLUXXE, because the source material is from vinyl lps of the 70’s, and it will be vivacious and frolicsome, in complete antithesis to the Beige Channel style, which tends toward the meditative and bleak. However, I since found out that Vinylux is the name of a rockabilly record label, a Russian house siding business, and a design company that creates objects out of recycled records. So, I came up with another name, “Dorothy,” because she was an icon of cute 70’s style, but it just doesn’t look good on paper, although it is funny when you say it, and most everyone would get the reference. I’m just going to stick with the Beige Channel because why mess with something that has at least a marginal name recognition value.

*Do you use a pseudonym? Most certainly! I prefer fictitious names because they are gender neutral, and indicate neither a group nor an individual, drawing attention to the music rather than the author. Pseudonyms allow you to create a trademark that emphasizes the outcome instead of the origin. “Beige” refers to a shading of variable degree rather than a single strong primary color, and a “channel” is a conduit as opposed to a terminus.

*Members: Just me, although I have collaborated with my daughter. I suppose everyone I have sampled is in some way a member of the project.

*Founding Members: Only myself (Michael Vincent Paul Farley).

*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations: I collect field recordings on mini disc and transfer them to the computer, or play a turntable directly into the computer. Then I use Ableton Live to select fragments and build up compositions from loops, which are manipulated in varying degrees with plugins. So, all of the above, I guess.

*Another genre descriptor: I haven’t come up with anything so witty, but I like words having to do with recycling, reclaiming and re-use applied to my approach.

*Location: Delmar, NY.

*What is your creative/artistic background: Undergraduate and graduate degrees in music theory and composition. I developed an early interest in electronic music from listening to The Beatles and hearing all kinds of wacky stuff on free form college radio in the late ‘60s. I often draw inspiration from fashion and the visual arts, particularly the collagist, Joseph Cornell.

*History: I started writing songs in the style of The Doors around the early ‘70s, later composing works that emulated the piano music of Satie, before doing orchestral music influenced by Takemitsu and Feldman, then eventually finding my own voice in electronic music.

*Born: I was born in Albany, NY, in 1956.

*Motivations: Creating music is satisfying on so many levels. Composing is like trying to simultaneously create and solve your own jigsaw puzzle in sound. The process of searching for and discovering new ways to reorganize sound involves complete absorption. Making music sharpens your listening skills, both to details and to the whole. Listening is a form of attention, so hopefully it is a practice that enhances a similar adeptness in other parts of one’s life. The finished work is a miracle in that you have something new that never existed before.

*Philosophy: I like to deal with disenfranchised sounds, that is, sounds never meant or expected to accumulate significance with repetition or diffusion. By recontextualizing fragments of recuperated audio, I hope to reveal unexpected meanings inherent to the originals. I believe the listener makes the music into art, not the composer. My intention is to present discoveries for individual contemplation, not to express my feelings, nor to symbolically represent ideas that would be better voiced with words.

*How would you like to be remembered: I would like the music to be appreciated as something beautiful made from what was previously disregarded or undervalued.

*Web address:


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