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Nicolas Collins: Nic(okay) Collins Cup

Nicolas Collins: Nic(okay) Collins Cup

2023-09-11 11:38:30

The Historical past Of The Nic(okay) Collins Cup

by Nic Collins


I’m not the one experimental music composer named Nicolas Collins, more-or-less: in Britain there lives one Nicholas (with an “h”) Collins, whose identify and musical pursuits are shut sufficient to mine as to trigger some confusion inside our small neighborhood. That is the story of our entanglement.

My first inkling of a problem to the musical exclusivity of my identify got here within the spring of 2001. I had utilized to the ICMC (International Computer Music Conference) in Cuba that 12 months to current a duo efficiency with my long-time collaborator Peter Cusack. I acquired an acceptance, however for a Cello Suite that, to one of the best of my data, I had by no means written. Once I emailed them for clarification I used to be instructed they’d made a mistake and my invitation was rescinded. On the time I put this right down to typical convention programming confusion, exacerbated by some clichéd Latin organizational quirks.

Just a few months later Shawn Decker, a colleague at SAIC, collared me with a query: he had been invited to current an audio installation on the Maxis Festival/Symposium in Sheffield and noticed that I had a paper and performance on this system — in my view, was it value his attending, since his invitation didn’t lengthen to airfare? Hmm, I answered; the paper and live performance title appeared like one thing I might need produced, however I had no recollection of agreeing to take part within the competition (which featured no much less that three Collinses), a lot much less having written the paper.

My curiosity piqued, I did some Google-sleuthing and found that my almost certainly Doppleganger was a British composer 21 years my junior. The biography web page on his web page consisted of a single sentence: “Nick Collins will not be the Editor In Chief of Leonardo Music Journal.” I picked up the gauntlet the place it had been thrown and — following a face-to-face assembly on the 12 Bar Membership (housed in what’s reputed to be London’s oldest pub) — invited him to write down an article for stated journal, which appeared within the 2003 volume.

His paper, his “BBCut” software program software (see the paragraph on “Computational Beat Tracking” here, and the CDR of his music that he kindly despatched me all pointed to an curiosity in computer-assisted DJ-style cross-cutting that was spookily harking back to my very own obsessions after I was about his age, twenty years earlier (see Is She/He Really Going Out With Him/Her/Them, 1982 on my first LP for Beautiful Music, Going Out With Slow Smoke.) The primary ideological distinction between our work was that Nick was firmly dedicated to software program (proudly claiming by no means to have held a soldering iron), whereas though I had been programming private computer systems for music since 1977, I had all the time combined up {hardware} and software program, and — having simply start instructing classes in “Hardware Hacking” at my college — was starting to get a status as a “{hardware} man”.

Just a few years later (2005), in alternate for his LMJ piece, Nick requested me to write down a chapter on “Stay Digital Music” for the Cambridge Companion to Electronic Music he was enhancing with Julio d’Escrivan (who, sarcastically, had attended my first workshop in hardware hacking in Bristol in 2004.)

I assumed that now the debt had been cleared, however in 2007 Nick invited me to hitch him on stage on the NIME conference in New York:

“Would you want to participate in a duet or duel in opposition to/with me? It may very well be billed as actual (you) versus/complementing imaginary (me) and in numerous methods usher in all these entertaining hang-ups about bodily gesture versus code and many others. And it is perhaps enjoyable for a night membership set fairly than any live performance presentation.”

The occasion was billed as a battle of live coding versus live circuit building. Nick took the freedom of contacting the Devon potter Nic Collins, who kindly donated a small vase in a good looking picket presentation field that grew to become the official “Nic(okay) Collins Cup.”

Ballots have been printed at my suggestion — let the Folks determine, I reasoned. We took the stage at Galapagos in Williamsburg at 3AM on June 10 (sound verify earlier within the night pressured my household to postpone my son’s seventeenth birthday by 24 hours.) Nick warned me that he “fought soiled” and was planning to embed video clips by the homosexual porn star Nic Collins. I compensated by utilizing a hammer to assist extract a tape head from an previous boombox, and closed my efficiency with a piezo disc amplifying the sound of a sparkler. You possibly can see an excerpt from the battle on YouTube. Whether or not it was the ability of fireworks over porn, the inadequacy of the video projection that Nick trusted to show his coding, or the home-field benefit, I gained by viewers vote and carried house the Cup to show on my mantle.

Affected by an odd mixture of triumph and guilt, I requested Nick to curate the CD for LMJ 18 (2008), for which he assembled a masterful assortment of labor by youthful artists within the subject of reside coding and “Laptronica.”

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The cup-ness of the competition appeared to demand rematches frequently (just like the America’s Cup, the Ryder Cup, and many others.) On January 16, 2009 we met beneath the auspices of a live performance by the Resonance Radio Orchestra on the Gasworks Gallery in Vauxhall, London, throughout the road from the legendary Oval, house of English cricket.

This was my first cease on a brief European tour. I sincerely hoped that the proximity of the sacred Oval, coupled with basic Queen and Nation sentiments, would encourage Nick to seize the title and free my baggage of the charming however cumbersome Cup. No fireworks this time, only a birthday candle, however as soon as once more I gained by the vote of an viewers that was considerably of a house crowd for me, regardless of the plain variations in our spellings of gaol/jail.

The Cup went again into my suitcase and on to France, alas.

After two sequential defeats I concern the attract of the competitors he first proposed again in 2007 has pale for Nick. Latest match-ups in Mexico Metropolis (website of many a doubtful boxing rematch) and New York have been held as “friendlies”, with the Cup not in competition. I for one am eager to rework the competition right into a group occasion, the place teams of coders face off in opposition to massed {hardware} hackers, fairly than limiting it to Nick vs. Nic. Keep tuned.

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