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Unforeseen Music:
The Autobiographical Notes
of Jim Horton

written by jim horton in aug 1996


Introduction by John Bischoff
This autobiographical text is by the late composer Jim Horton (1944--1998). It was written in 1996 as documentation of the composer's artistic activities, musical thought and philosophical outlook. The bulk of the entries pertain to roughly a 30-year period, from January 1967 through May 1996.

Horton was a computer music pioneer who was active in the San Francisco Bay Area. His early work with microcomputers, beginning in 1976, was startlingly original. He incorporated ideas from artificial intelligence and radical music theory into his compositions and performances right from the very start. He was the first composer to postulate the idea of using computer networks to make music and created the first network music performance, with artist Rich Gold, in 1977. With John Bischoff and Rich Gold, he co-founded the world's first computer network band, the League of Automatic Music Composers, in 1978. He was also one of the first composers to use a computer to experiment with just intonation. Jim used the computer as an active partner in the musical process rather than an inert tool.

The Horton text not only captures the flavor of Jim's thought but also something of the spirit and vision of the experimental music tradition in the Bay Area. It is hoped that readers will browse the text on-line and comment on the ideas and activities found there. To expand the contents in this manner would be very much in keeping with Jim's working philosophy. Readers will also find a rich source of information and commentary regarding Bay Area experimental music at The History of Experimental Music in Northern California http://tesla.csuhayward.edu/history/, a million-word archive of texts compiled by Jim in the years before his death.

Editor's Note: We have sprinkled "mailto" tags throughout the left side of this text to invite readers to comment on the periods and ideas Horton discusses here. Comments will be collected and moderated by John Bischoff and then uploaded here for others to read.


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I was born on Sept 6 1944 in southeastern Minnesota and grew up in the small towns of Rochester and Austin. My father was an accountant, manager and later vice-president for a chain of dairies. My brother, sisters and myself were the "kid-test taste-crew" for experimental flavors of ice cream. My mother was a nurse and the famous Dr. Benjamin Spock of the Mayo Clinic at Rochester was my baby doctor. I was a data point for his influential "how to raise your baby" book. As a very young child I was an enthusiast for listening to "Whoopy John" and his polka band and was excited to hear over the radio Whoopy John himself announce: "This next tune is for little Jimmy Horton who's birthday is today!" In grade school my poetry was published in the local newspaper.

In high school I wrote songs for a folk music and Buddy Holly style rock band in which I sang and played guitar. For a while we had a regular gig playing Saturday night at a roller-skating rink. I also emergency substituted several times playing banjo with a polka music dance band. They hid me behind the accordion players since I was obviously underage.

I became very involved in shortwave radio listening. I heard live broadcasts of an impassioned Fidel Castro giving ten hour speeches to cheering, excited crowds and was fascinated by exotic music from far away places. But usually I listened more for the electronic sounds than for content. I hardware-hacked my receivers and designed and built many antennas and after much effort I was able to tune in the planet Jupiter! An astronomer had published the frequency in a magazine and described the signal as sounding like ocean surf so I got a record from the library to find out what that was like. I built a radio telescope antenna with a chickenwire reflector and tried to listen to the sun. I also heard the "dawn chorus" by using a long wire fence plugged directly into a hi-fi preamp. (Later I read that this is a dangerous technique.)

I was one of three singers in the tenor section of the church choir led by a very musical nun. It was nothing for us to learn a Palistrina mass or equivalent at a two hour rehearsal on Wednesday evening and sing it for high mass next Sunday. We did it every week; it was only later that I realized how ambitious she was. For several years in college I was a seminarian and we sang Gregorian Chant several times a day. Also at college I did some tape splicing and overdubbing experiments.

I went to grad school to study Logical Positivism with Herbert Feigel at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. I admire Logical Positivism in that it is the only philosophy ever invented that was clearly enough stated to be definitively refuted. A fellow student who was a Fortran programmer and myself experimented with computer generated poetry.

I dropped out of grad school and hitched-hiked to a warmer climate in San Francisco California. For several years I devoted myself to the empirical and philosophical study of psychedelic and mystical states of consciousness.

(Jan 1967-1968) Improvised bamboo flute music in the parks and streets. Very many handmade flutes. Hippy modal music in Haight-Ashbury, various Golden Gate Park be-ins, on Mt. Tam at the end of the world by asteroid crash excitement, on the dance floor at the Avalon Ballroom dancing and playing along with the Grateful Dead, etc.

STP. Stockhousen Records.

(fall 1968) Moved back to Minneapolis.

(1968-1970) Improvised flute music: w/ birds, w/ stuck Ussachevsky record, at several weddings and at anti-war events in Minneapolis Minn. I played on someone's 45 rpm single that made the charts somewhere in Central America.

(1968-early 70s) Flute improv w/ Tom Zahuranec on guitar. I met Tom in Minneapolis in late 1968. He had bought all of the advanced music records listed by Frank Zappa on the cover of one of his records. I also had a small collection of records and we spent many hours listening to and discussing music.

(1969) I and a fellow peace-nik did a live mix of Varese, Stockhausen, stuck-Ussachevsky, and Partch records as a sound track to the silent movie "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" at a benefit for SDS (Students for a Democratic Society).

(1969) Flute music to graphic score of traffic flow dynamics and accel/de- accelerations. I spent dozens of hours sitting at a desk in a room above a busy street listening and attempting to notate the traffic sounds just because they were interesting. Only later did it occur to me to use this manuscript as a musical score.

(1969) "Moon Landing Ritual" in Minneapolis with help from Tom Zahuranec and a commune of hippies. This was a magical ritual protesting nationalist and militaristic imagery surrounding NASA's moon landing events. It was held in a park at night with lots of incense waving, ceremonial burying of stolen military-spec transistors, text declamation, candles, bonfires, nude group ritual circle dancing, drumming and flute playing. We made dozens of handmade posters, each one differently designed for specific locations -- one appealed for a show of solidarity from "Trotskyite Brown Rice Eaters" and a group of older radicals who had been in the Great Strikes of the 1930s showed up and had a fine time. Hundreds of participants, mostly hippies, but a good number of students, ordinary working people and housewives really got into the spirit of this thing! The local tv stations showed up to this colorful, even at times lurid, event with their cameras and lights. Next morning's newspaper article was picked up by the wire services and (I was told) printed in papers around the world.

(1969?) My first electro-acoustic music piece; for amplified and filtered cymbals, flute and dual tape delay. The dual tape system (Riley's time lag accumulator) was explained to me by someone who had seen it in SF. I was influenced by Max Neuhaus' record: "Electronics and Percussion; 5 Realizations."

(early 1970) A professor of botany who heard about the moon ceremony appealed to our commune on the basis of "Flower Power" to help him organize the first "Earth Day" in Minneapolis. We worked hard on this successful project. I played flute between the speakers on the program
and for skits.

(date?) Tom and I went to a Merce Cunningham dance event and talked to the musicians (who were two or three of John Cage, David Tudor, Gordon Mumma or David Behrman-- I can't remember exactly) to ask where someone could study their type of music. The consensus answer was: Mills College in Oakland California with Robert Ashley.

(date?) I read the book "Silence" by John Cage.

(date?) I moved back to California.

(spring 1971 date?) "Guitar Tuning Piece" Wearing work gloves and jacket and a full face fencing mask I tuned up the strings on a guitar until they broke. "Polyphonic Poem" Two small choruses reading a poem back and forth. "Description of an Oncoming Storm" Exhibit of raindrop splattered notebook pages describing just before and the very beginnings of a rainstorm. These pieces were composed and rehearsed within a few days of a concert at a house in Berkeley. I also played flute in a Tom Zahuranec composition at this concert.

(date?) Tom and I rhythmically shook apart a chainlinked fence. It made beautiful sounds as it disintegrated. Tom was a genius at getting extreme music out of anything. Once I saw Tom, on peyote, walk by a radio and it just slightly changed frequency. He noticed it immediately and began moving back and forth exploring the effect and an hour or so later he was running in patterns around the room changing the radio from one station to another.

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(early 1970s) I studied at the Center for Contemporary Music at Mills College in the legendary Bob Ashley era. Although I was unregistered and unofficial I just showed up one day and began to do work that needed done at the studios. My friend Tom Zahuranec had the technician's job and after a while I acquired a set of keys. When I signed myself up for synthesizer studio time there were some objections, and by some I was never fully accepted, but Ashley left my name on the schedule and eventually somehow I got added to the list of graduate students. The concert series were outstanding. Ashley had a highly advanced artistic attitude and I learned a lot. Here is Blue Gene Tyranny's opinion with which I basically agree: "The whole atmosphere of the center was extremely conducive to imagination. The social thing was incredible. People could constantly give information and support. Just the way the center itself was organized, if you can say it was organized, was conducive to a great deal of creativity."

I especially got into the Buchla 100 synthesizer. This machine, the first integrated voltage controlled synthesizer ever built, was inherited by the CCM from the San Francisco Tape Music Center. It embodied concepts from the most avant-guard music of the post-war era. The idea of independent control of the "parameters" of music such as pitch, duration, amplitude, and timbre came from the the total-serialist's extension of Webern's procedures. The novel Sequencer modules could emulate the tape loop experiments carried out at the SFTMC. Also the device was never set up to "synthesize" acoustic instrument sounds or to act as a kind of electric organ--it's design seemed to proclaim the liberation of electronic sound. There is evidence that Don Buchla built this machine "by ear" while in highly sensitive states of consciousness. For instance the noise generator is a three dimensional sculpture of it's components (resisters, capacitors, transistors etc.) that had been bent to exact positions in space to make the unit sound good.

I had one 10 minute lesson from Zahuranec who played a simple patch that he had set up for demonstration purposes. (Tom was the best synthesizer player that I ever heard.) Although he claimed that it was an instrument I began my experiments by processing texts. However I soon adapted Tom's instrument idea and became intrigued by designing patches that would "let the machine play for itself" while I would tune the patch within a steady state pattern and occasionally help it transition to a closely related pattern. I thought of this as "drone music" but it wasn't meant to be calm or meditative --I would hunt for states of the music that I called "Wildness." At that time I believed that this "interactive" approach arose naturally from the system and it's interface of cords and knobs. It seemed to me that the "Electric Music Box" had a distinct "personality" and really wanted to play something interesting. Maybe these effects arose from interactions between instabilities in it's oscillators and nonlinearities in its sub-audio control voltage modules.

My Buchla tapes were lost or stolen due to the facts of living the life of a street person.

(date?) Played flute and Buchla tapes at a wild, out of control Happening in Palo Alto organized by a truly acid-ecstatic recorder player. I overheard one professor type say to another: "You know he used to compose quite nice chamber music." It was great.

(1972 date?) A collaborative piece (I forget the title [decay the age??]) at Mill's concert hall w/ Tom Zahuranec, Jill Kroeson and Roger Kent. It was part of the Music With Roots in the Aether festival organized by Bob Ashley. I read Moog processed texts including a list of all color words in a long work by the blind poet John Milton. Jill played viola and Tom played the Buchla 100. The mix was played through 8 Polyplaner speakers being carried by assistants among the audience. These speakers were turned on and off by mercury switches electrical-taped to Jill's body and arms as she did advanced avant-guard topless dancing -- a fantastic "mythological" sight with all the color-coded wires suspended above her head! Meanwhile Roger was unrolling a very large transparent plastic sheet that extended from above the stage to the back of the hall. Naturally the sheet was dropped covering the audience at the end of the piece. Everyone expected it.

At the Music With Roots in the Aether festival at Mills I also did technical and setup work for Pulsa, an east coast group. They had a homebrew synth that sequenced 32 high intensity airport style strobe lights placed on both sides of the street from the dance building to the concert hall. At night a small plane seemingly confused by the lights made an apparent approach to land. We moved the lights indoors.

(date?) Played bamboo flute and ring-modulated jaw-harp for underground movie soundtracks at Roger Kent's studio at the Reno Hotel in San Francisco.

(1972) Did technical and experimental work on Tom Zahuranec's plant/synthesizer interface circuit for his plant music project which attempted to demonstrate the "Backster Effect" of plant response to emotional stimuli, including telepathic transmissions. I thought the
709 type "pop corn" op-amps were possibly more sensitive to esp than the Geraniums were. We tried hooking the system up to a Venus Fly Trap but unfortunately it died. This was an amazing audience participation piece!

(date?) I suggested to Tom Zahuranec and and he convinced a somewhat skeptical Robert Ashley that we should hook all of the electronic music equipment at the Center for Contemporary Music together and invite music fans to come to Mills and play the system. Announcements were made over KPFA and the CCM studios and hallways were packed with participants. Tom did the mix for the live remote radio broadcast. Roger Kent made tape loops of phone calls which were immediately put on the air. I played Buchla synthesizer when I wasn't trouble shooting. People spontaneously gathered around microphones to chant "Om."

(1973-1974) I read Harry Partch's "Genesis of a Music" and other music theory books and articles at the Music Library at UCB.

(dec 19 1973 date?) Participant in Jan Pusina's performance of John Cage's "Variation 6" at the Exploratorium. Here occurred one of the most musical things I've ever seen and heard: Tony Gnazzo bowing the amplified metal "Chaldni Plates."

    ("I've seen things you people wouldn't believe.
    Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion.
    I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate.
    I heard Tom Zahuranec play music with sleeping, self aware plants.
    I saw Tony Gnazzo bowing the amplified metal Chaldni Plates.
    All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain."
    - Horus Aton, Bladerunner)

(date?) Built various modules for a Stan Lunetta style digital synthesizer. This device involved bringing the i/o pins of integrated circuits directly to a patch panel where every output jack was connected to an indicator light making the parallel data flow visually apparent. Various pulse waveforms were mixed for the audio. I did a concert or demonstration of just intonation playing the "Lunetta Synthesizer." From a Stan Lunetta interview in Ear, Vol. 9, Number 1, Valentines's Issue 1981: SL: rhythmically It's like if you get a series of possibilities, like "What's the common denominator of 5, 12 & 17," and you get 5 and 12 and 17 until they all come together and start over again. In a sense that's what the machine did. Also, if you set your odds correctly, it's going to tend to do something sensible. If you decide what its possibilities are going to be, you don't have just anything happening. You sort of tune its capabilities.

Ear: How are the sounds generated?

SL: It makes pitches through binary relationships. It counts to a number, and when it reaches that number it goes back and counts to that number again, and then it goes back and counts to that number again, and the rate at which it goes back and counts again is the frequency of the pitch.

(date?) Set up an analog computer to simulate objects of various mass falling on all the solar system's (highly idealized) planets. Listeners had to use their imaginations because the oscillator tone went up as the object "fell." Demo'd in the technician's room at CCM.

(early 1974) "Ringing the Koto Like a Bell With a Pen" Played at a concert in Jan Pusina's front yard with the loudspeakers in trees. A player on each side of a toy koto would continuously vary the pressure on a pair of specially tuned adjacent metal strings while rattling a pen between them. When played right and amplified this piece sounded like an alarm bell ringing on and on.

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Playing Music 3

(Aug. 4 1974) Poem describing various imaginary sounds read at the opening of Phil Harmonic's gallery Art-While-You-Wait.

(Oct 19 1974) "Music From Mars" drone music played at Beth Anderson's Martian Art combination art show and concert in Oakland. Done on the Buchla 100 synthesizer.

(fall or winter 1974 date?) Played on Harry Partch's instruments in Palo Alto after a performance of "The Bewitched" by Danlee Mitchell's group. Partch had just died.

(1974 date?) Acquired four and a half panel Tcherepnin synthesizer -- one of the first 20 made. Serge and Rich Gold came up to CCM to find subscribers for their project. Bob Ashley ordered a machine for Mills and I put up money for a customized instrument for myself with extra very low frequency control voltage generators. The Tcherepnin had over 300 patch points, knobs and switches but it was portable and I constantly carried it from one place to another. Its two filters were especially incredible. From an interview of Serge Tcherepnin by Mark Vail in Sept 94 Keyboard magazine: "In the early days, I was really interested to see how much could be done with as little and as elegantly and unusually as possible. At Cal Arts, we developed a kit that consisted of four or five panels of modules which was more than equivalent to a Moog or Buchla system that might have taken up nine square feet of space and cost $15,000. I have always wanted to give as many possibilities of the electronics themselves to people. When I designed a new module, I would say, 'Let's see how many things I can bring out of the electronics for people to use.' It usually ended up as this incredible monster which has a lot of openings [inputs and outputs] and a lot of controls." "I'm proud of the wave-shaping aspects that I did, which originally were inspired a bit by Buchla and a bit by the fuzz box. I discovered many types of changes that you could make very simply and very elegantly to change the sound. I'm also really proud of the overall system concept, which was not to use music as the basis for making choices, but using electronics as the basis."

(1974) Twelve hour mostly automatic ambient electronic music performance at Art-While-You-Wait in Berkeley using Tcherepnin synthesizer, phaser foot pedal and tape delay. Involved long term adjustment and "tuning" for "Wildness" of the patch.
I think this is the concert that I also did "Long Division" a conceptual piece based on McLuhan's ideas about media. The handheld calculator was relatively new - making division easy. Wishing to rescue long division with its long beautiful columns of numbers from the scrap heap of history by turning the method into an art-form, I carried out extensive long divisions in ink on the wall.

(1974-1976) "Tibetan Horn Music" w/ Tom Zahuranec. Jill Kroeson sent five horns and a thigh bone trumpet from Nepal. Tom organized and led the players. Horton's system included a loudspeaker on the floor with a directional microphone several feet away facing it. The horn players would play into the mic, variably attenuating the acoustical feedback path. The Tcherepnin synthesizer was played by Jim to amplify, modulate, and filter the horns, and regulate feedback while adding oscillator drone and sequencer tones to the mix. Performed many times including at Union Square SF on the bill w/ Cellar-M and at a Greenpeace benefit concert that included Cellar-M and a Richard Water's improv group at Mills College.

(fall 1974) "Proletarians From UFO." This multi-mode Tcherepnin synthesizer patch was designed to suggest among other things, traffic flow patterns; using multi-tempos, long envelopes, slow pitch glissandos and filter sweeps. Performed many times including Oct 29 1974 inside Art-While-You-Wait that Doug Hollis had converted into a camera obscura using black plastic sheeting.
Beside sealing up the windows except for an aperture, he built a lightproof ante-chamber for entrance and exit. Once our eyes were dark adapted we watched the inverted and upside-down vehicle and foot traffic on busy Ashby Ave appear from infinity, accelerate, grow huge, and then, deaccelerating, recede to infinity in the opposite direction. Very satisfying.

(date?) Performance at the Hawaii Room in the Richmond Community Center of "Proletarians From UFO" w/ oscilloscope visuals and candle light as part of an East Bay Music School event. The oscilloscope was an advanced Hewlett-Packard machine. A professional electronics engineer in the audience who was an expert user of that specific model jumped up on the stage and began playing it as I and a student played the Tcherepnin synth patch in its "doors opening and closing" mode. We all agreed, that for us, it deepened the meaning of the word "synergy."

(1974) "Sequencer Dance Music" played on the Tcherepnin w/ Jim Nollman on mandolin. I improvised vocals: "free Patty Hearst" chanted in as many ways as I could think of. Performed at "Cat's Paw Palace 24 hour dance marathon with electronic music" organized by Margaret Fisher.

(date?) Experiments with cross patching analog synths. Jim Horton and Jan Pusina.

(1975?) Participated in an electronic music improv group using the Paik-Abe Video synthesizer with video feedback as a graphic score at Sharon Grace's studio in SF. Sharon and Roger Kent played the video. I was tremendously impressed by this experience. It felt like going into and exploring an artificial, psychedelic yet deeply natural space.

From Woody Vasulka's Ars Electronica 1992 catalog: "The basic Paik-Abe is a colorizer unit with seven external video inputs and corresponding gain controls. Each of the seven inputs drive various non-linear processing amplifiers. The amplifier passes low level signals but folds over or inverts the polarity of higher level signals. High brightness components are turned into "negative" video while low brightness components can pass through without change." From Chaos Theory co-inventor Crutchfield's Physica 84 paper "Space-Time Dynamics in Video Feedback": "Video technology moves visual information from here to there, from camera to TV monitor. What happens, though, if a video camera looks at its monitor? The information no longer goes from here to there, but rather round and round the camera-monitor loop. That is video feedback. From this dynamical flow of information some truly startling and beautiful images emerge.

In a very real sense, a video feedback system is a space-time simulator. My intention here is to discuss just what is simulated and I will be implicitly arguing that video feedback is a space-time analog computer. To study the dynamics of this simulator is also to begin to understand a number of other problems in dynamical systems theory, iterative image processing, cellular automata, and biological morphogenesis, for example.

... For the world about us is replete with complexity arising from its intimate interconnectedness. This takes two forms. The first is the recycling of information from one moment to the next, a temporal inter-connectedness. This is feedback. The second is the coupling at a given time between different physical variables. In globally stable systems, this often gives rise to non-linearities. This inter-connectedness lends structure to the chaos of microscopic physical reality that completely transcends descriptions based on our traditional appreciation of dynamical behavior.

Video feedback provides a creative stimulus of behavior that apparently goes beyond the current conceptual framework of dynamical systems. I believe that an appreciation of video feedback is an intermediary step, prerequisite for our comprehending the complex dynamics of life."

(July 4 1975 or 1974) Performance at the U.S. Steel yard in South SF. I played synth with others (including Cellar-M) in the damp hold of a leaky steam powered salvage barge while dancers danced on deck. The electrical voltage kept fluctuating down to 90 volts making the Echo-Plexes do radical doppler style pitch changes. Nick Bertoni, an ex-submariner, gave a very precise and serious lecture about what to do if any of us got electrocuted -- all the electronic musicians listened with full attention. I had gotten off to a bad start by forgetting my bag of patch-chords but I brought my tool kit. I had to strip out the electrical wiring from a steelyard supervisor's shack to make new ones. The yard was fabricating large sections and end caps for the then under construction Alaska pipeline. We played the approximately 15 foot diameter and 5 foot high bowl-shaped end caps with 2X4s and steel rods that were lying about to good effect. We also had a barbecue and all kinds of refreshments. Eventually we were evicted by highly annoyed uniformed guards driving jeeps.

(1975 or 1976 date?) Theme Music for Howard Moscovitz's semi-weekly new music KPFA radio show. w/ Howard Moscovitz. Moog/Tcherepnin processing of characteristic KPFA radio sounds done at Howard's studio.

(date?) Experiment with loudspeaker phase displacement. I bought two columns of Polyplaner speakers from Don Buchla that I put on their sides, one on top of the other and played monophonic music through them for a "wall of sound." I attached slowly revolving cardboard and balsawood blades to a small motor that I placed in front of the speakers. Different components of the sound seemed to move independently around the room.

(1975-1976 date?) Participated in a composers discussion group that included Paul Robinson, Roger Mattox, Alice Rollins, Jan Pusina, John Bischoff, Kathy Morton, Rich Gold, and ?. I played detuned violin in a very nice improv session.

(date?) Review of Halloween performance by Cellar-M at Cat's Paw, in Ear.
A literary encryption.

(date?) Participated in an anarchic music and dance event at a music rehearsal building in Sausalito. I played "Tibetan Horn Music" w/ Tom Zahuranec and a version of "Sequencer Dance Music." This event was interrupted every forty minutes or so in a spectacular manner as a
helicopter would arrive or take off from the heliport right next door!

(1975-1976 date?) Played synth many times w/ Ron Heglin, Paul Kalbach and Tom Zahuranec at Paul Kalbach's studio in Oakland, and several times w/ Ron William's virtual acoustic-space system. Ron had built tiny microphones that he wore in his ears and acted as a roving listener for others in the band and audience. By wearing earphones we could hear from his position and subjective "point of view." He moved little bells and rattles around his head as he went from one place to another. The effect sometimes was of the listener's consciousness instantly being displaced across the room!

(1976) Synthesizer band performance w/ Ron Heglin, Paul Kalbach and Tom Zahuranec at A NIGHT AT THE RENO, SLUM PALACE OF THE ARTS. We were on last at about 3:30 am. The police used fire axes to chop through the wall of the building to gain entrance but became strangely calm and confused when they found no rock and roll but only, to them, utterly baffling, chromatically wandering electronic drone "music."

(date?) Played a tiny, shrill siren at Virginia Quesada's "Wheels" event at the Reno Hotel in SF

(date?) I spent many consecutive hours tuning the international time signal on a shortwave radio at a Nick Bertoni happening at Fort Mason. Towards the end I had learned to play it as an instrument.

(date?) Participated in a monster jam at Tom Marioni's Museum of Conceptual Art in SF. I Played "Tibetan Horn Music" w/ Tom Zahuranec. Here the police had sealed off the street and eventually were able to signal us by flashing a large tripod-mounted spotlight beam through the windows. A non-uniformed officer was telling us something through a bullhorn as a crew with a battering ram attempted to break down the door. With great foresight the unconcerned Marioni had anticipated just such a thing and had the door reinforced with steel plate and multiple heavy crossbars. We waited quietly for a while until the police had something else to do and went away.

(summer 1976) Acquired my first Kim-1 microcomputer board. I taught myself machine language programming using the hexidecimal number system. I demo'd an automatic music piece at the composers discussion group.

(Late 1976?) Consulted on "Aeolian Harp" By Douglas Hollis. Named after Aeolis, the Greek goddess of wind, this wind-activated acoustic sculpture is mounted on the roof of the Exploratorium.

(date?) I did technical work on Douglas Hollis' long wire "Water Piano" installation in Seattle. I performed "Proletarians From UFO" on the Tcherepnin synthesizer in Doug's camera obscura installation at the And/Or Gallery. There was not much traffic in front of the gallery but across the street was a "Doggie Diner" fast food place. I enjoyed spending tens of hours playing ambient music to a dachshund doggie head on a pole slowly turning back and forth projected upside down on the gallery wall. I presented an informal afternoon tape music concert of Bay Aria experimental music for Seattle composers. At Doug's art opening at night I played in the dark camera, the "doors opening and closing" version of the "Proletarians From UFO" patch. I had a glowing green "Chemi-Lume" diver's light-stick up my sleeve that I would palm over the synth to occasionally see what I was doing.

(1976) I sold my Tcherepnin synthesizer because I needed the money.
A mistake.

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(Oct 20 1976) "Euler Music" at the Exploratorium as participant in a Real* Electric Symphony real-time composition. My first computer performance playing the machine as a real-time interactive semi-autonomous musical instrument. Implemented my first real-time interactive scheduler. The program played Leonhard Euler's (1707-1783) theory of just intonation. I would adjust parameters for the minimum and maximum of Euler's "gradus suavitatus" aesthetic measurement on intervals and transitions between intervals. I developed a home-brew automatically playable rhythmic system based on the idea of "the long and the short." The Kim was interfaced to a Lunetta style digital circuit of down counters and flip-flops.
Frank Oppenheimer, founder and director of the Exploratorium and nice guy, was so interested in this system that he was continuously asking questions and leaning over my shoulder to see exactly what I was doing. I had a quart bottle of beer in a paper sack under the table and whenever I would bring it out he would elaborately turn around and stare at the ceiling so he could pretend to his staff, who were there, that he didn't see his rule about no eating or drinking among the exhibits being broken.

(spring of 1977) Played on Harry Partch's instruments twice; after concerts by Danlee Mitchell's group that included "Barstow" at Dominican College in Marin and at the Oakland Museum's Partch show.

(1977) First network music piece by Jim Horton and Rich Gold at Mills College. A version of Euler Music interfaced to Gold's cartoon-language conversational micro-artificial-intelligence.

(date?) "Modulation" Performance and demonstration at the CCM area of the First West Coast Computer Fair. The computer would set up and execute a peculiar chromatic modulation; trying to pass off a 7/5 tritone as a 3/2 fifth. This effect needed a waveform with no even partials (ie. square waves) to (sometimes) work. Played through a rare Fender space warp reverb, the piece tried to and occasionally suggested old-time radio dramatic interlude music. Luckily Phil Loarie's piece "Digital Dronezilla" played through "Tubatrons"--speakers inserted into long blue plexiglass tubes carried the day. Bob Gonsalves demo'd his ultrasonic motion interface. Rich Gold made some enthusiastic claims about his Kim-1 based cartoon-language conversation system and the A.I. pioneer John McCarthy picked up his ears from across the room and began examining it in close detail after which he said "You know; it really IS the world's smallest true artificial intelligence program."

(early 1978) Interviewed Lou Harrison w/ LuAnne Daly. Published as a two part series in Ear Magazine vol. 6 no. 2 March-April 1978 and vol. 6 no. 3 May-June 1978.

(May 1978) Computer music performance at Blind Lemon/New Works. Adapted from LuAnn Daly's Ear article: "The grand opening and celebration is an all-day affair, on Saturday, May 6. From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., more than a dozen sound artists will be performing, making a joyful noise unto everyone. (The musicians, in alphabetical order: Sam Ashley, Ken Beckman, Nick Bertoni, John Bischoff, Jan Bright, Don Cardoza. Also, Paul DeMarinis, Elastic Ensemble, Jim Guzzetta, Jim Horton, Toni Marcus, Jan Pusina, Dragon's Den, Virginia Quesada, and Mimi Shevitz.)

There's something new in Berkeley, and Bay Area lovers of New Music and its whole mixed bag of related arts have reason to celebrate. It's that old bohemian bar Blind Lemon, and it's been taken over by a loosely organized band of experimental musicians and filled with new juice. Now, in the best of the new American tradition, the performance club on 2362 San Pablo Avenue is born-again as "Blind Lemon/New Works." It's a dream come true for instrument builder and music maker Erv Denman. With a very small inheritance, Denman was able to make the down payment on the building, and has done most of the renovation work himself. The dream is to provide the East Bay with a small, intimate place to find New Music, video art, text/sound poetry, live performances, as well of course, with works in that ubiquitous, good-for-everything category "other related arts." Support comes from fellow artists: Chris Aldrich, Jim Guzzetta, Jim Horton, and Ran Sliter make up Blind Lemon/New Work's Board of Directors. The entire venture finds legal shelter under the protective wing of Ubu, Incorporated, a non-profit artists' association which also houses Ear and San Francisco's concert/theater Pangaea."

(1978) Jim Horton and John Bischoff computer network music. On the bill w/ the East Bay New Music Ensemble, at Saint John's Presbyterian Church, Berkeley and at a concert hall in SF. Possibly it was at these concerts my computer played a program that interpreted philosophical diagrams based on justly intoned matrixes found in McClain's book "The Myth of Invariance."

(date?) Lecture/demonstration at the Lawrence Hall of Science Berkeley on micro-computer music by Jim Horton, John Bischoff and Paul DeMarinis. In exchange for a teletype printer for CCM.

(date?) I gave a lecture to David Doty's class at New College on the relationship between artificial memory systems as data structures, diagrams based on justly intoned matrixes, and various historical tunings of the music of the spheres.

(1978-1982) League of Automatic Music Composers.
Mike Rowell in SF Weekly nov 8-14 1995 Machine Dreams excerpt:

    Bischoff adds, "The whole form of computer network music is indigenous to this area. It started here with a group that a number of members of the Hub were in: The League of Automatic Music Composers."

    The League was stirred to life by the advent of microcomputers in the mid 70s, which swept through the local experimental music community. Formally established in 1978, the League is generally considered the very first computer network band. In fact, the group basically had to build their own electronic maze from scratch, since one wasn't readily available that would suit their purposes.

    According to founding League member Jim Horton, who still composes computer-controlled "process" pieces at his Berkeley home, prior to the arrival of these affordable little machines, computer music wasn't so much performed as recorded: Composers would program their pieces on big mainframes and play back the tapes at concerts.

    "When microcomputers came out," says Horton, "the thing that the Mills College crowd did, including myself, was immediately get them into real-time performance by making instruments out of them and playing them live."

    Horton's first computer was something called a KIM-1 -- a dinky machine by today's standards, with 1K of memory -- that he bought sight-unseen through the mail. He began programming it to play music, and when his Mills compatriots saw what he was doing, they naturally had to have computers too. Inspired by the theories of avant-garde composer John Cage and his music circuses in which different compositional pieces interact, the group tried linking them together. Thus the League was born.

    Horton, Bischoff, and Rich Gold formed the League's core; Tim Perkis, David Behrman, and Donald Day were later incorporated into the collective. Much like the later Hub, each member would program his computer to play an autonomous program, but the computers would also take information and cues from each other, the "net" result being three or four computers playing separate-yet-interconnected pieces. All of this was run through a mixer and played for the audience -- "at a goodly volume," of course.

    The group practiced/played regularly; for a time, they were gathering every other Sunday afternoon at Finn Hall, a community center in West Berkeley. League performances would literally take hours to set up and debug, and on a aesthetic level, they were pretty odd.

    "Envision a table full of electronic circuits, little boxes, computers, all kinds of wires and so forth," reminisces Horton. "A typical concert would be us at this table, continually fooling around with electronics, changing parameters on the programs."

    The League was obsessed with the idea of artificial intelligence, so much so that their motto was something to the effect of "We get new group members by building them." At times, the computers did indeed seem to have minds of their own, sounding not unlike a group of musicians playing off each other, be it free improvisation or an almost unified consciousness. Excited by the innovation, the League was spurred then to delve further. That members were essentially performing cutting-edge computer network research was mere incidental by-product.

    "One time this group from NASA-Ames came up to see us," says Horton. "They were designing this network for the space shuttle, and they had heard about what we were doing. They came up to check it out, took some notes, and seemed to enjoy it."

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(June 26-29 1978) David Behrman at 80 Langton St. presented a workshop in "Homemade Instruments using Microcomputer Technology and Software." Adapted from Bob Davis' article in Synapse Jan. 1979: "During part of three other workshop sessions, Behrman arranged for other composers working with microcomputers to present their work. These were Paul DeMarinis, Phil Harmonic and "Real Time Computer Network Music" a trio of microcomputer artists, John Bischoff, Rich Gold, and Jim Horton, who initially developed their programs separately, but later formed an interactive configuration. All three produced a constantly changing exchange that produced hours of
uninterrupted listening, and their piece created a delightful sonic environment to gently move about in, and converse with the musicians about their work."

(July 2 1978) Real Time Computer Network Music. John Bischoff, Jim Horton, Rich Gold at Blind Lemon/New Works. From Horton's program notes:

I All data is structured by an interface and the structure's logic informs the imagination.

II Ancient wisdom is Mathesis, the art of constructing and interpreting philosophical diagrams. Its basic logic is a mathematical theory of music: Just Intonation. The diagram was the interface by which experience could be correlated and imagination brought into conformity with the Cosmos.

III Today a battle of the giants is being waged primarily between A.T.&T. and I.B.M. over the question: "who will control the interface?" to new worlds brought into being by the information explosion.

IV A possible way to subvert monopolistic data formats is to construct and interpret a wide range of A.I. based personalized interfaces with corresponding experimental data structures and ways of imagining the world.

(1978) Article: "Music for an Interactive Network of Microcomputers" by John Bischoff, Rich Gold, and Jim Horton, published in FOUNDATIONS OF COMPUTER MUSIC, edited by Curtis Roads and John Strawn, MIT Press (1985), pp. 588-600 (originally published in COMPUTER MUSIC JOURNAL 2(3):24-29, 1978). Describes concepts, compositions, systems and software of the July 2 concert at BL/NW.

(November 26 1978) Multi interactive computer music with Rich Gold, David Behrman, John Bischoff, Jim Horton at Blind Lemon/New Works. On this concert we started the net and sat down to let it play.

(1978 ) Two short writings in BREAK GLASS IN CASE OF FIRE The Anthology From The Center For Contemporary Music Edited by Bob Davis with Rich Gold "Two lines are sounded at any moment..."(describes "Euler Music").
"I. Our culture is committed to..."

(late 70s date?) I was so intrigued with the sound of the group Other Music that I volunteered as roadie for one of their Bay Aria seasons in order to listen to their rehearsals and concerts. Learned a lot about Just Intonation. From OTHER MUSIC prime numbers lp: Other Music is a unique ensemble of eleven composer / musicians who perform their original compositions on a set of justly tuned instruments designed and constructed by members of the group.
Founded in 1975 by David B. Doty, Henry S. Rosenthal, and Dale S. Soules, Other Music has evolved a rich and complex music which, while drawing on such varied sources as Balinese and Javanese gamelan, European polyphony, ancient Greek modal theory, African polyrhythms, and the American experimental tradition, is innovative and distinctly contemporary.
The union of these diverse elements is achieved with the aid of Other Music's original tuning system. This versatile scale of fourteen unequal steps per octave contains hundreds of current and historic world music modes, and literally thousands of novel and heretofore unheard scales.

(December 17 1978) Recording session for John Bischoff's Lovely Music EP that includes a selection by The League of Automatic Music Composers (Jim Horton, Rich Gold, David Behrman, John Bischoff.) LOVELY LITTLE RECORDS (VR 101-06), six EPs of music by John Bischoff, Paul DeMarinis, Phil Harmonic, Frankie Mann, Maggi Payne, and "Blue" Gene Tyranny.

(1979-1980) I did various jobs for Ear Magazine.

Ear articles: Electronic/Computer Music News by Jim Horton
EAR probably 1979 on Bob Gonsalves' multi-media projects.
EAR volume 7 No. 3, may-June, 1979a, on John Bischoff's computer music
piece "A momentary tuning of environmental sounds."
EAR, Volume 7, Number 3, July-Aug. 1979b on Martin Bartlett's
"Apogee Motor" black box computer/analog music system
and about the Computer Music Journal.
EAR Vol. 7, No. 5 Sept. - Oct. 1979 on Philip Loarie's digital music.
EAR, Volume 8, Number 1, Jan.-Feb. 1980 on Nick Collin's music.
EAR, Volume 8, Number 2, March-April 1980 on Maggi Payne's electronic music.
EAR Vol. 8 No. 3 1980 on the League of Automatic Music Composers.
EAR, Volume 8, Number 5, Sept. - Oct. 1980 on Paul Kalbach's music.

Perform every other Sunday afternoon from 1 until 5 PM: spring and summer 1979 at the Finnish Hall, 1819 10th Street, Berkeley. John Bischoff, Jim Horton and Tim Perkis.

(July 22 1979) on Arnie Passman's New Music "NO THY BOTTOM LINE" concert series at the Both Up Gallery, 2406 Stuart, Berkeley. Jim Horton and John Bischoff, The League of Automatic Music Composers.

(1979) Unsuccessful experiments on a simulated evolution piece using Fogel et. al.'s book "Artificial Intelligence Through Simulated Evolution."

(June 27 1980) League participation in ANOTHER ROOM PRESENTS: PUBLIC HEARING. Excerpt from article in Another Room: summer, Vol. 2 no. 2. by John Gullak about his experimental music event: On Friday, June 27 1980, the owner of the metal scavenging yard across the street dropped by our offices. This was no casual visit. There was something on his mind and he wanted to speak to me. He made reference to the loud noises which were at that moment resounding off the side of his building and echoing through the block. He mentioned that these noises were coming from our roof. Some explanation was in order. What he said was almost true. Yes, there were what he described as "loud noises" coming from our roof, emanating from a large 3,000 watt public address system installed the night before. But I had to explain this was serious business, not just noise. In reality, what he was listening to were specially prepared sound tapes made by various people and sent to us specifically for broadcast that day. The event, entitled "Public Hearing One," was sponsored by Another Room.
I was surprised he hadn't paid us an earlier visit. We had been broadcasting similar sounds since 6 am that morning. It was now noon. When he found out we were only half way through the program, he didn't appear too happy. Most of the tapes we played blended in with the other sounds in our neighborhood, but some were a little disturbing. They weren't exactly something you'd want to hear when you were trying to give your driver instructions over the phone. Our neighbor had no grounds for complaint though. His business is responsible for much of the industrial din that invades our offices and becomes a way of life here. We feel if we have to live with it, we should be able to make our contribution. If you think some of the local bands are loud, you should hear two tons of scrap metal hit the pavement. It gives you new insights into your audio threshold.

At this concert we played under a 1000 watt quarts lamp. We needed to wear sunglasses. From the program notes:

Their approach to an artificial musical intelligence is broadly based on a cybernetic theory of mental activity. They are attempting to gain practical insight into the musical potential of systems that exemplify Gregory Bateson's six criteria of mental process:

    1) "a mind is an aggregate of interacting parts or components"
    2) "The interaction between parts of mind is triggered by differences"
    3) "Mental processes require collateral energy"
    4) "In mental processes, the effects of difference are to be regarded as transforms (i.e., coded versions) of events which precede them"
    5) "mental processes require circular (or more complex) chains of determination"
    6) "the description and classification of these processes of transformation disclose a hierarchy of logical types immanent in the phenomena"
    --from Bateson's "Mind and Nature: A Necessary Unity"

The musical system can be thought of as three stations each playing its own "sub"-composition which receives and generates information relevant to the real-time improvisation. No one station has an overall score.

    The non-hierarchical structure of the network encourages multiplicity of viewpoints and allows separate parts in the system to function in a variety of musical modes. This means that the moment-to-moment form the music takes is the combined result of the overlapping individual activities of the parts with the coordinating influence of the data exchanged between the computers.

      John Bischoff's station directly generates various noises, glissandi and tones through a Digital to Analog converter. It usually makes its decisions (i.e. play/rest, hold/continue, faster/slower, pitch up/down, etc.) by consulting data that encodes aspects of the states of both TP's and JH's stations. TP's computer calculates this information and JH's program signals the moment when it is accessed.

      In a context outside of Automatic Music, John's program is duplicated and the input supplied by a performer through two keyboards. It is called "Audio Wave."

      Tim Perkis' station can be described as a software implementation of a three dimensional network of virtual machines each of which plays one of nine voices. The state of a machine depends on its past state, the current state of its neighbors and the pitch of the present or last note played by JH's station. The envelope generators can be adjusted so that Tim's program can play in chordal or percussive modes.

    His program is an illustration of how coherent activity can result from the intersection of randomness with cooperative structure.

      Jim Horton's station plays part of Max Meyer's psychological theory of melody. It uses a 29-tone to the octave justly intoned scale. The program contains a group of (if conditions are met)->(make a change) modules that calculate rhythm, tempo, octave, rest and repetition. The conditions are set by the histories of other modules, the number of rests entered by JB's station, the amount of time since the last change, etc. as well as a random factor.

      Jim's station consists of two computers, one of which does these calculations, while the other plays the note or responds to data passed from JB's station by playing a glissando.

    (May 3 1980) League concert at Fort Mason SF on the bill w/ Other Music.
    John Bischoff, Jim Horton and Tim Perkis.

    (date?) League concert at a church(place?) in Berkeley. John Bischoff, Jim Horton and Tim Perkis.

    (Oct 19 1980) 7-9 PM. League participation on John Gullak's ANOTHER ROOM'S PUBLIC HEARING TWO (A.R.P.H.2) ON KPFA 94.1 FM BERK.

    (November 15 1980) New Langton Arts LEAGUE OF AUTOMATIC MUSIC COMPOSERS: JOHN BISCHOFF, JIM HORTON, TIM PERKIS Music concert. From the Catalog:

    "All that is not information, not redundancy, not form and not restraint--is noise, the only possible source of new patterns." -Gregory Bateson.

    The League presents their music not as entertainment but as an example of how nature operates when we perceive it as cooperative, democratic & musical. We have constructed a multi-computer based network of non-hierarchical, interactive, simultaneous processes that are open to information from larger environments. As these processes overlap & interact they generate mutual contexts for sonic motions. Sometimes when the system enters a strong interactive mode, its activities may be heard as if there is a unified mentality improvising or composing. Because the semantics of whether we can ascribe intentional acts to nonliving entities seems to be open, we can choose to consider that we have invented a (partially guided) musical artificial intelligence.

    (Feb 7 1981) League concert at Mills College concert hall. John Bischoff, Don Day, Jim Horton and Tim Perkis.

    (date?) The League interviewed and music played on Steve Key's "Big Sky Music" KPFA radio program. The show also included Phil Loarie and Rich Gold(?).

    (June 1981) New Music America 81 Tuesday, June 9 THE LEAGUE OF AUTOMATIC MUSIC COMPOSERS at Japan Center Theatre. Bischoff, Horton and Perkis.

    (1981) I consulted with Chet Wood, one of Sequential Circuit's chief design engineers on a proposed electronic music instrument standard that became MIDI. I suggested using an opto-isolator to kill all ground-loop problems.

    (Dec. 1982) Participated in M.U.S.I.C. (Marvelous Unlimited Sounds in Concert) produced and directed by Barbara Golden and Melody Sumner. LEAGUE OF AUTOMATIC MUSIC COMPOSERS "6/7/81" John Bischoff, Jim Horton, Tim Perkis.

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(Sept 25 1982) Roto-League, a combination of The League: Jim Horton, John Bischoff, Tim Perkis & Rotary Club: Sam Ashley, Kenneth Atchley, Ben Azarm, Jay Cloidt, Barbara Golden. My computer instrument was in 31 equal temperament and can be heard on Barbara Golden's "Flaming Toast" on the cd included as part of "Barbara Golden's Greatest Hits, Vol. 1" book/cd package published by Burning Books with Boner Girl Prods. (1995)

    From the press release: "Members of the League of Automatic Music Composers and of the live electronic music group, the Rotary Club, would like to announce a debut performance of their collaborative group the Rota-League.

    This unique group employs a battery of instruments which includes synthesizers, lap steel guitar, computer-controlled electronics, rhythm generator, processed sound effects tapes, and plastic castanets from the Republic of China.

    This performance represents a merger of widely different approaches to New Music performance, and will incorporate high-tech microcomputer technology, a vocalist, random switching techniques inspired by John Cage, and pop music elements."

    Postcard: ROTA-LEAGUE, DEBUT PERFORMANCE. ED MOCK STUDIO. 32 PAGE STREET, SAN FRANCISCO. CALIFORNIA. SATURDAY. SEPTEMBER 25, 1982. 9 P.M. -- $4.00. wine will be served at nominal cost. THE ETERNAL NOW = 1776.


(April 7 1983) Lecture at mills Jim Horton "The Cafe Med: 1972--"

(1983-1986) Various studies and experiments with small A.I. programs mostly on the Commodore 64. Logical specification of indeterminate music scores. Properties of some aesthetic measures. Expressions of creative subjectivity by automatic music systems. Musical application of multiple context pattern learning.

(1986) I was a founding member of the Just Intonation Network. From JIN's webpage: "Just Intonation is not a particular scale, nor is it tied to any particular musical style. It is, rather, a set of principles which can be used to create a virtually infinite variety of intervals, scales, and chords which are applicable to any style of tonal music (or even, if you wish, to atonal styles). Just Intonation is not, however, simply a tool for improving the consonance of existing musics; ultimately, it is a method for understanding and navigating through the boundless reaches of the pitch continuum--a method that transcends the musical practices of any particular culture."

(Spring, 1986) Article: "Jim Horton Hears a Who (le Number Ratio)" 1/1: the Quarterly Journal of the Just Intonation Network. Volume 2, Number 2, Spring, 1986 Excerpt:

    Just Intonation, in both its horizontal and vertical manifestations can also be used in situations where the perception of any kind of scale is very difficult. The League of Automatic Music Composers (John Bischoff, Tim Perkis, and I) devised a kind of free atonality that made heavy use of Just Intonation tools.

    In a typical setup for a league performance, several microcomputers, each automatically generating its own sound, would be configured in a network. Each machine's program would make decisions as to what to play, based on information received from other machines.

    For instance, station B would play a sequence of pitches and glides, based on a complex high-prime number tuning. Station P would track the frequency of that signal, designate it as 1/1, and perform an accompaniment using pitches based on the formula 1/1 * A/B, where A and B are integers between 1 and 16.

    P would tell Station H what pitch P was playing, and also retune a synthesizer circuit used by H. H would then use the received information as input to a just, seven-limit melody and counterpoint generating algorithm. The resulting music would form floating and temporary tonal centers, defined by just intervals.

    In another experimental composition, stations P and H each generated their own sonic patterns (usually in Just Intonation but sometimes in other microtonal tunings), while station B silently listened. When P's and H's lines conjoined in some specified just interval, B would calculate and play a third tone, to make a chord.

    These sporadic interventions had a remarkable tendency to pull the two lines, that were not always well tuned to each other, into a complex but perceptually-unified whole.

    These experiments proved to me that Just Intonation and atonality are not counter indicated but can be combined to create a "well-tuned" atonality.

(mid 80s to early 90s) Participation in The Advanced Listening Club which would meet occasionally to further the practice of advanced listening. Horton, Bischoff, Perkis, Don Day, Pusina and others.

(1986) Cassette compilation "Tellus #14: Just Intonation" included: THE LEAGUE OF AUTOMATIC MUSIC COMPOSERS

(1987) Short article in Larry Polansky's compilation on the "The Future of Music," Leonardo Vol. 20, No. 4, 1987 p.365. (Reprinted in Evos Newsletter #8, Perth, Australia).

(1987) Acquired Atari 1040 computer and tx81z synth module thanks to Don Day.

(1987) "Up-down-v1" First began to use the "Formula" experimental music language thanks to Dave Anderson and Ron Kuivila.

(date?) I attended Dave Anderson's friday afternoon computer music seminars at the computer science dept at UCB.

(Sept. 1987) "JI Music Project" five 90 minute tapes. Thanks to Tim Perkis' TuneUp scale files.

(December 10, 11, 17, 18, 1987) "WORLD BROADCAST PREMIER!" w/ S. Ashley and B. Azarm. Classified ad in Express weekly newspaper, 4th, 11th and 18th of December 1987:
"WORLD BROADCAST PREMIER! Listen to drive-by electronic music. 87.9 on your FM dial. 4:00-8:00pm, December 10, 11, 17, 18. Channing Way between Milvia and M. L. King."
The piece was by Jim Horton, Sam Ashley and Ben Azarm. Horton's computer music system was plugged into a FM transmitter built from a kit by Ashley and Azarm. The antenna was spread on Horton's Channing Way studio floor.
The continuously playing, Forth based, highly interactive, automatic music composition/program was written by Horton and later was modified and augmented for the Cloidt/Key/Horton collaboration "Music for Keyboard and Interactive Computer System 1-6" (Aug 1988). The sixteen hours of music were structured by playing all 100 scales in Tim Perkis' TuneUp scale collection, the files of which were integrated into the Forth program. That's an average of 9 min 36 sec per scale. A log was kept and signed. Besides Jim, Ben and Sam, John Bischoff and Paul DeMarinis also took turns at playing the system. Several cars (including Scot Gresham-Lancaster and possibly the landlady Helen Corbett) drove by with the music blasting away on their radios. Someone walked by with a Boombox and several cars (including Larry Polansky) parked for a while. Neighbors called in with reception reports.

(August 1988) "Music for Keyboard and Interactive Computer System 1-6," by Jay Cloidt, Jim Horton, and Steve Key.
1. Pastoral 7:12, 2. Somber 6:45, 3. Short Take 2:09, 4. Dramatic 6:49, 5. Hearts of Space 11:06, 6. Number Crunch 6:10.
This collaborative composition by Jim Horton, Jay Cloidt, and Steve Key was assembled from recordings of rehearsal/experiments made in August 1988. Steve prepared a keyboard score that he played on a MIDI instrument into an interactive computer program built by Jim Horton. Jay wrote and played from a score that serialized the program's parameters and Jim performed an improvised real-time mix.

(Oct. 26 1988) "Up-down-v?" computer music played over the telephone. I called a party put on by B. Golden and S. Ashley at Rose street in SF where the receiver was placed on a table and people would occasionally pick it up and listen.

(late 80s-early 90s) Investigated the mail-art, cassette and zine based avant underground. W/ Mark Palmer.

(May 23 1990) DUET FOR TWO CONTINENTS at ATA Gallery SF.
I played "Up-down-v17." Produced by Gunter Kreutz.

    Performers/Musicians/Artists: Dave Anderson, John Bischoff, James Carman, Phil Deal, Jim Horton, Gunter Kreutz, Ron Kuivila, Tim Perkis, Frank H. Rothkamm.
    What's happening?: In the first half of the audio/visual performance featuring the individual artists, live music, film, slide projection, etc. at a length of approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour will be given. In the second half of the performance, however, a telecommunication link of two continents via modem/satellite will be made. Images and music will be exchanged between Hannover (Germany) and San Francisco (USA).
    The sound events are transmitted as a stream of MIDI information controlling various musical devices. Sound data production and manipulation originating from either side will allow a musical interaction across the ocean.

(early 1990) "Up-down-v19" simulated echo conceptual process piece.

(April 1990) Recording session w/ AA Bee Removal (S. Ashley and B. Azarm) of what I later called "Bird Removal Music" at Ben Azarm's studio in Emeryville.
Ben was really good at playing perhaps the most difficult instrument in the world; a pre-amp who's output was fed back through a mixer to its inputs. He adjusted the intensity and pitch of the feedback and distortion by playing the volume and tone controls. Sam played feedback and had hardware-hacked a cassette machine for variable playback. He would record some of the music, rewind and play it back so slow that along with my and Ben's down-shifted sounds the cassette's bias tone made a beautiful mid range wavering drone. I played a version of Up-down.

(May 1990) "Bird Removal Music" Jim Horton w/ AA Bee Removal (S. Ashley and B. Azarm). A ten minute live performance under the Rotunda dome, next to the pond, outdoors at the Exploratorium with many others on the bill at an event organized by Nick Bertoni. I had designed a tx81z patch that somewhat unexpectedly turned out to effectively mimic the bird kingdom's universal alarm call. After we started to play I glanced up to see the event's director giving the universal emergency time-out signal by jumping up and down and waving her arms over her head and I saw others excitingly point to the sky above the pond. Hundreds of birds had been scared into the air and were wheeling about each together with their flock. For a minute or two it was like a scene from Hitchcock's movie "The Birds." They accused us of being AA Bird Removal.

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(1990) "Rebirth" The computer, empty of suffering (running the language Formula), simulates high-speed attainment of Nirvana by playing the medieval Tibetan Buddhist game "Determination of the Ascension of Stages." Invented by Sakya pandita Kunga Gyaltsen ("whose banner is total joy"), the board shows 104 places of a fantastic cosmic geography. The scale is the justly intoned Other Music scale, borrowed from David Doty.

(October 1990) "Some Pointillism" This series of pieces started off being called "The New Pointillism" and evolved into "Horn Pointillism" to "Still Some Kind of Pointillism" (aka "Some Pointillism") to various versions of "Post-Pointillism" to "I Heard a Thousand Blended Notes." All these related but differently sounding pieces result from different inputs to the same computer program and with different types of signal processing. The program randomly selects notes from Max Meyer's scale of 29 just intoned pitches to the octave, and puts them into a randomly fluctuating buffer. Note-playing
processes running at different tempos pick notes from the buffer and play them. Some pitches persist in the buffer longer than others, resulting in randomly-appearing tonal centers.

(June 1991) The Cactus Needle Project: Sam Ashley, Ben Azarm, Bob Gonsalves and Jim Horton. "61691T2" and "63091T2WJB" are from the Besler Series at the Besler Building in Emeryville played in June 1991. "63091T2WJB" includes John Bischoff as a guest performer. We protest all schemes and plots of the anti-democratic conspiracies from the beginning of the Nazi era to the downing of Pan Am Flight 103 and beyond. We have modularized and processed a great quantity of narrative source material gathered from declassified documents, court transcripts, news stories, history books, investigative journalism, congressional records, printed interviews, rare pamphlets and unpublished manuscripts. The modules are permutated, combined and selected differently for each performance.
In this series we used a 30 minute videotape as a moving graphic score. Our music setup includes a unique feedback-distortion system and several computers running semi-autonomous MIDI generating algorithms that we monitor and direct by occasional intervention.
Down with all CIA-Fascist conspiracies! We unconditionally demand all government out in the open, pure, cleansing sunlight of compassion and good intentions now!

(Memorial Day 1991) The Cactus Needle Project: Music video at the 16th annual Meadow Festival of Music. Somewhere in Northern California.

(July 4 1991) Broadcast on Barbara Golden's KPFA radio show "Crack o' Dawn"
The Cactus Needle Project: a three hour "Independence Day Special"

(1991) Review of Formula computer music language in Leonardo Music Journal, Vol. 1, #1, 1991. Plagiarism prank gone awry.
When asked to review the language Formula I thought it would be interesting to support the questioning of orthodoxy around the concepts of plagiarism and copyright being carried out by the English philosopher Stuart Home, and the composers John Oswald, and the Tape-beatles. I was a subscriber to publications put out by the Iowa organization The Copyright Violation Squad.
I plagiarized from a preprint of Anderson and Kuivila's paper "Formula: A Programming Language for Expressive Computer Music" that eventually appeared in the July 1991 issue of "Computer," (Vol 24, #7, ISSN 0018-9162), published by the IEEE Computer Society. I also copied without quoting from the Formula user's manual. I found the process of assembling the review to be very difficult- much harder than if I had started from scratch. I was only partially successful and had to supply about 20 percent of my own words.
The idea was that once the review was published by Leonardo Music Journal I would write them a letter explaining what I had done and why; then I would make a report on the project and response, if any, to the Copyright Violation Squad -- but terrible events made me hesitate and abandon this plan. While listening to a BBC news broadcast about the mysterious death, possibly by assassination, of the socialist British publisher Mr. Robert Maxwell, I was startled to hear that his rival, the rightwinger Rupert Murdock, had made contentious charges that the Leonardo Journal was a money laundering front for transfering large sums of Communist gold from Moscow to some unknown place in Europe. Because the Maxwell businesses were under fierce political attack and collapsing I became slightly paranoid and thought my plagiarism prank, if revealed then, might possibly harm the magazine so I never sent the follow-up letter. I know this sounds somewhat spineless but that's what happened.

(1991) "Accelerando" is four accelerating lines running at different tempi. The lines ascend or descend a fixed diatonic melodic pattern. Every 90 seconds the pattern is retuned to one of 12 ancient Greek, justly intoned scales. Thanks to Tim Perkis for his TUNE-UP program.

(Oct 4 1991) Broadcast and interview on Barbara Golden's KPFA radio show "Crack o' Dawn." Played: "Accelerando," "Rebirth," "Playing Through the Classical Repertoire: Tchaikowsky Piano Concerto" (excerpt) by Phil Harmonic, "31091T1" by The Cactus Needle Project, untitled from "JI Music Project" tape 3 start of side A, "Bird Removal Music" by Jim Horton w/ AA Bee Removal preceded by the announcement "Warning! if you have birds as pets please turn down your radio!."

(January 1992) "Simulated Winds and Cries" Justly intoned sliding intervals selected by 1/f fractal patterns. This piece, like "I Heard a Thousand Blended Notes" and "Rave Patterns" is among other things a signal processing piece.
I play the processor interactively in real time just as I play the computer program. We find ourselves wandering upon an infinite plain. "In the likeness of the immeasurable inextinction of space, should the immeasurable inextinction of the minds of all beings be understood." --Line 258 of The Perfection of Wisdom in Eight Thousand Lines.

(Jan 21 1992) Before an experimental music session there occurred possibly an historic first in the annals of Artificial Life. Bill Thibault called me up to say the session had to be called off because his computer instrument had been infected by a Bulgarian "Stoned" software virus. This virus stole cycles from the machine slowing everything down while writing a notice on the screen: "This computer is stoned." This might be the first time a session didn't happen not because of the stoned musician but because the musical instrument was too stoned to make it!

(January 1992) The Cactus Needle Project: music video for Jack Ruby's Carousel Club II at Artists Television Access.

(date?) Excerpt of The Cactus Needle Project tape played on John Gullak's KPFA "No Other Radio Network" show.

(April 21 1992) Acquired good Nakamichi cassette tape recorder.

(date?) Tape of dense drone in 31 equal temperament.

(Aug-Sept 1992) "Noisy Artificial Animal-Like Sounds and Noise 1-6" is strung together from late night parameter tweaking experiments carried out in late August and early September 1992. The attentive listener can hear the tape run out at the very end because the last section was recorded after I fell asleep. The computer however, untiringly and autonomously composes and plays music in real-time. Although the term "animal-like" is used in the title, please feel free to supply your own imaginative program.

(August 1992) "Rave Patterns" Bent notes through the echo machine for a trance effect. The echo time is fixed, while the performer varies the tempo and the pitch bend depth, searching for variety and expression. This piece is justly intoned. A 45-minute version of "Rave Patterns" was recorded for Scot Gresham-Lancaster to play at the experimental area of a rave dance party held in early fall 1992 in Oakland, California, but the police shut it down before it fully got started. (Thus is the underground confirmed in its oppositions.)

(Dec. 4 1992) Broadcast and interview on Barbara Golden's KPFA radio show "Crack o' Dawn." Played: "Music for Keyboard and Interactive Computer System 1-6," by Jay Cloidt, Jim Horton, and Steve Key, "Up-down-v17," "Untitled experiment ( Oct. 30 1992)," "Post-Pointillism I and II" ( Nov. 1992), "Simulated Winds and Cries," "Rave Patterns," "61691T2" (excerpt) by The Cactus Needle Project, "Noisy Artificial Animal-Like Sounds and Noise: part 5." "Rebirth."

(December 1992) "I Heard a Thousand Blended Notes"

I heard a thousand blended notes,
While in a grove I sate reclined,
In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts,
Bring sad thoughts to the mind.

To her fair works did Nature link
The human soul that through me ran;
And much it grieved my heart to think
What man has made of man.
--"Lines Written in Early Spring," William Wordsworth 1798

(1992) Cassette compilation "Numbers Racket: The Just Intonation Network Compilation Volume 2" includes first version of "Rebirth."

(November 1992) The Cactus Needle Project: a presentation of "602T2630WJBT2SIMONE616T2324T2" as a work in progress in the Song Lines series at Mills College. From TCNP proposal propaganda letter: "From the start we have embedded the politics of the group into the sound of the music. For one performance piece, known as 602T2630WJBT2SIMONE616T2324T2, we set out to create a single sound in which all components were treated as being exactly equal in importance at all times -- reflecting the anarchy of absolute equality layered equally across time. The result was a dense mix without solos or leads." Ashley, Azarm and Gonsalves toured this piece to the east coast. Performances were presented on the Interpretations series at Merkin hall in New York City, at Wesleyan University and at the Pauline Oliveros Foundation's series in upstate NY (February 1993).

(early 1993) "For Our Friends the Ancient Krell" aka "Bill and Jim Play Along With the Electro-Acoustic Classics 1-5" was composed by Jim Horton and Bill Thibault. Jim interacts with his FORMULA-based microtonal computer programs while Bill samples from Jim's sounds mixed with the music of the Classic. The sound files are parked in a virtual place where they are triggered when virtually touched by a VR glove. The sounds are played using Bill's specially designed "mudra" finger position input language. One of the classics is played backward and the others are looped.
    1. "has a calm sky survived" Vladamir Ussachevsky "Suite from No Exit"
    1st 1:10 x6 = 7:00.
    2. "he can jog" John Cage "Totem Ancestor" 1:55, simultaneously with 1st
    part of "Perilous Night" 2:15, total length= 4:33 (Horton plays Wendy
    Carlos' "alpha" scale of 15.385 steps per octave).
    3. "my teen jeans" James Tenney "Collage #1 (Blue Suede)" played
    backwards = 3:22.
    4. "dr edge as rave" Edgard Varese "Poem Electronique" 1st 1:34 x4 = 6:18
    (Horton plays in twenty equal temperament).
    5. "sob o endurable brain" Louis and Bebe Barron "Ancient Krell Music" from
    "Forbidden Planet" soundtrack 1:47 x8/3.1416 = 4:33 (Horton plays in
    eleven equal temperament).

(April-May 1993) "Far Away Stations." Amplitude modulation by complex periodic pulse wavetrains directed at midi global volume on the tx81z. An attempt to play radio station interference and shortwave telemetry sounds of the imagination. This started out as late night am radio dx sessions.

(May 23 1993) "Jack Ruby Interview."
"CIA Sponsored and Run," "Mae's Lecture" and "Backwards" were also composed around this same time.

(June 1993) "Jody Ambient With Cypherpunk Noise." A Mix of 1. loop of Jody Diamond singing on Larry Polansky's "AL Het" from "Interactions: New Music for Gamalan" cd, 2. Kenneth Atchley's recording off an AM radio of electromagnetic noise from a Vic 20 running an anagram program, and 3. Jim Horton's computer program making acceleration patterns.

(Aug. 30 1993) "Some Possible Martian Jewel" This kind of sounds like hippy flute music.

(October 1993) The Cactus Needle Project: a performance of "Yjr < From propaganda handout: "In another piece, 'Yjr <, and use a simple kind of live acting." Ashley, Azarm, and Gonsalves toured this piece to Wires in Los Angeles (January 1994) and to the Alternative Museum in NYC (March 1994).

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works of jim horton
written in aug 1996 in progress
copyright 1996 jim horton 1037w
I am still working on these files
backed up 16aug96

Jim Horton's Involvement With
Playing Music 8

(October 1993) I was interviewed by Steve Key and Mic Gendereau.
Two 90 minute tapes.

(Dec. 1 1993) "A Prayer" Recorded by Carter Scholz. One of many tapes solicited by Barb Golden from her friends for her early Christmas Co'D show. Text read over a dense drone in 31 equal temperament. Used as ammunition in a struggle for power over control of the show between Barb and Frank Moore! :

    May the glorious immaculate
    and wondrously mystical Virgin Birth
    of our sacred and glorious Prince of Peace
    the very most holy Little Baby Jesus
    by the glorious and blessed Virgin Mary Mother
    Queen of our cloudy blue little doomed planet
    glorious Earth of universal ignorance
    and abject suffering
    Oh! bring sweet joy to all our hearts!

I performed on Kenneth Atchley's piece for barb's show. I sang in bass chanting style a text selected by Atchley from the Bible over the telephone which Ken recorded by putting a microphone in front of his speaker-phone as he read a story about Christmas at Children's Fairy Land by Lake Merrit in Oakland.

(March 9 1994) "Gorgeous Clothed Flies" by 4D City. Text from W. Blake's epic poem "Milton." Highly processed singing by Horton, noise guitar by Kenneth Atchley and digitally processed video feedback with derived electronic drumbeats and processor control by Bill Thibault. Videotape played at Jerry Hunt Memorial Concert, San Diego, April 94.

"4th of July Music" for July 4th 1994 morning show on KPFA.
One of many tapes solicited by Barb Golden from her friends.
Sam Ashley said of this show that it was hearing all the new music styles in one place all on the same theme: "Oh say can you see ..."

(May 1994) "Rushing" This tape sounded great being played on a boombox at a dinner party.

(1994- ) Participation in an Experienced Composers discussion and music listening group.

(july 1994) "Wondering Through an Artificial Paradise Called the Harry Partch Scale" third version. The computer plays Partch's 43 tone scale. It accidently came out to be 43 min 43 sec long.

(Aug. 4 1994) Broadcast and interview on Barbara Golden's KPFA radio show "Crack o' Dawn." w/ Bill Thibault. A five hour program. Played: "I Heard a Thousand Blended Notes," "For Our Friends the Ancient Krell" aka "Bill and Jim Play Along With the Electro-Acoustic Classics 1-5" by Jim Horton and Bill Thibault, "Some Possible Martian Jewel," "Gorgeous Clothed Flies" by Horton, Thibault and Atchley, "Mae's Lecture," "Jack Ruby Interview," "Backwards," "Jody Ambient With Cypherpunk Noise," "Rushing," "Far Away Stations I, II, III," "Tibetan Horn Improvisation with Feedback" by Tom Zahuranec and Jill Kroesen, "Plant Music" by Tom Zahuranec, "Joy Journey" by Warner Jepson, "Fish and Men" by Lisa "Suckdog" Carver, "Wondering Through an Artificial Paradise Called the Harry Partch Scale," "Bird Removal Music" by Jim Horton w/ AA Bee Removal (w/ warning).

(1994 ?) Jim Horton Cassette Collection.
FROG PEAK MUSIC a composers' collective Box 1052 Lebanon NH 03766
Tape 1 Jim Horton: Solo Music.
Tape 2 The Cactus Needle Project.
Tape 3 Music for Keyboard and Interactive Computer System 1-6. Bill and Jim Play Along With the Electro-Acoustic Classics 1-5. [aka For Our Friends the Ancient Krell]

(fall 1993 - ) History of Experimental Music in Northern California Project
A compilation of texts put into the computer. Over a million words in over 1100 files. In 1991 Mason Jones put out his compilation "Wakened By Silence: San Francisco Area Experimental Music" (two cassettes and a booklet in a box.) I found it interesting that I didn't know any of the artists on these tapes and that none of the many experimental music composers that I knew were included. This led me to study the various circles and scenes and their histories.

From Mason Jone's preface: "I moved to San Francisco in 1988 without knowing anyone, knowing nothing about the music scene here. ...aside from a few groups I knew were here, I was basically starting from scratch. It didn't take very long to start meeting people, though; at the first show I attended in the city, I met people involved in the experimental music scene. Immediately thereafter, I found myself in the middle of a healthy scene, which has definitely grown since then. Three years later, I'm extremely happy to be able to provide this document as an introduction to the San Francisco Bay area's experimental/industrial artists."

(November 3 1994) "Noisy Artificial Animal-Like Sounds and Noise 1-6"
played on Barbara Golden's Crack O'Dawn radio show on KPFA. Show featured Wendy Reid being interviewed and sharing her newest perfectly minimal, perfect music (Barb's description). Also a tape piece by Jan Pusina.

(May 4 1996) Wonderful cd introduction party at John Bischoff's and Vangie King's house!

(May 1996) "Simulated Winds and Cries" ART 1013 cd on Artifact Recordings. Produced by John Bischoff and Larry Polansky. "This music is in the tradition of process music. It is without necessary beginnings, middles, or ends. All the pieces originally functioned as ambient music for my own enjoyment. I wrote computer programs embodying several musical ideas, and played them by adjusting parameters in real time. I call this "cooperative playing with semi-autonomous musical processes." On the following days and weeks I often spent an hour or so exploring the piece's "parameter space" and then let the program play its music for several hours as I read, engaged in conversation, or did other things. After a while this music became attuned to an aspect of my taste as an experimental listener as it was in the early 1990s. Of course there is no reason why these pieces can't be listened to with close attention, as well as heard as experimental background sound. When the programs are running autonomously, slightly beyond my comprehension, playing music I probably wouldn't have thought of left to my own devices, I like to imagine they are precursors to uplifting, slightly alien musical A.I.s of the twenty-first century. Oh, how I hope and wish that contemporary cyberculture will lead to a beautiful utopian compassionate world of Good!"

1. "I Heard a Thousand Blended Notes," 2. "Simulated Winds and Cries," 3. "Some Pointillism," 4. "Rebirth," 5. "Rave Patterns."


Uploaded 29 November 1999.