Progress Report 2017

2017 tours.

At the end of 2017 we can report delivering live shows across North America – 5 shows in Canada and 10 in the United States. Also shows in Australia – the Sydney Opera House as part of a group show for Vivid, at the Melbourne Art Centre for Supersense, and two shows for Metropolis Touring.

We enjoyed bringing what we now call our ‘traditional show’ to audiences, but realise that this is more about repairing lost time than making progress. There’s no shame in the moment to be a traveling museum, but of course we would like to do better.

For this reason, it is very unlikely that we’ll be taking any tours in 2018, but are open to large bribes etc.

Teleplay.

2018 will mostly be dedicated to developing new presentation system under the work name “Teleplay”. This is envisaged as a system which narrowcasts an 3D animated audiovisual ‘world’ over the net from a performative source to delivery point. Teleplay is a virtual stage on which are placed individual ambisonic sound sources and animation elements. The result can be flattened to be on a screen, seen in VR, or recorded on a virtual surround camera to make VR videos in real time.

Evidences – My previous work “Snowglobe” was part of the long learning process to this result. Another game coded named “Pretzel” is underway to help define some of the artistry. Some ambisonic music produced by the audio system has already been made available.

Current work on Teleplay includes: motion capture (hardware is in testing), MIDI sequencing of visual effects (demos working), virtual camera capture (some issues), audio staging (demos working).

Music releases.

We had some discussion about changing to a subscription service, but no decision was made. It would require that we have a bank of new releases available and so that’s been the priority. Touring is often disruptive of composing, and it’s going to be good to take a break. Here’s some individual status updates.

  • Aversion 2 (rock music simulation) is ready musically, pending improved artwork to go in the cases. We think it needs a bit more work in the presentation.
  • Music Server 3D (ambisonic muzak) is a large project which will be broken up into three stages: Volumes 1&2, 3&4 which are all going on YouTube as real time ambisonic video. Binaural versions will be on Bandcamp free. Volume 5 needs revision. Volume 6 will be a paid item on Bandcamp.
  • Barbara UFO (cinematic soundscapes) will be the last of the Barbara Island series which are only released every four years, now looks like mid/late 2018.
  • Publicist (Tom Ellard pop music) is moving along nicely and should be out early 2018. Seeing as I started it in 2015, well, yeah.

Identity and SVH.

I recently went on YouTube and saw entire Severed Heads albums posted up on there with ads, which really was a grand scale ‘fuck you’. I’ve been really tolerant of ‘fan uploads’ but I’ve had enough. At the time of writing I’ve issued nearly 100 take downs. I’m posting lots of videos on YouTube even though the resultant quality is inferior to Vimeo. People don’t care and I have ceased to care about their opinions.

As well as taking back control of ‘Severed Heads’ I’ve committed to finally making a decision about it. Previous attempts haven’t worked because people are so dedicated to their childhood that they can’t tolerate any hard change. So here’s the deal.

Anything up to the break in 2008 is us wearing our Severed Heads stage costumes. “Arabic Surface” and “Donut” are credited to them as well, but from now on the credit will simply be SVH Sevcom (Sevcom because people argued about it so let it be). If people say Severed Heads that’s fine, but it will not be written on the tin. Sevcom continues to be the label. It’s amusingly like KFC and Kentucky Fried Chicken, but we face a similar problem in wanting to do more than just chicken, and yet having a lot of past from which to escape. It’ll take time, but I think the difference of SVH for the new and Severed Heads for the old might be healthy.

Thanks for listening!

kfc

WE HAD FAIL

Update installed!

UPDATE ON FAIL – MOST FAIL IS SCOOPED UP – CEASE LAMENTING

Update: pulling all the entries back out of the WP database succeeded and so we are now good to go. I’ll have to refind some images. No major drama.

Unfortunately something spinning at a great speed decided to collide with itself and send data into the multiverse. This took down both tomellard.com and sevcom.com for a short while. All of the static pages were back again later that morning Australian time. Unfortunately both the blogs have some structural damage that is more tricky to figure out. The articles are intact in the database – I can see them all. But the published structure is messed up and links don’t work and all that jazz. It’s going to take a bit of time to rebuild this one.

But the scanning goes on!

YouTube can kiss my ass. UPDATE: Who the hell are IODA?

Dear TomEllard,

Your video, Dead Eyes Opened Sydney January 2010, may have content that is owned or licensed by IODA.

No action is required on your part; however, if you’re interested in learning how this affects your video, please visit the Content ID Matches section of your account for more information.

Sincerely,
– The YouTube Team

 

Dear YouTube.

The composer of the music, the recording artist, the maker of the video and the person that posted it ARE OBVIOUSLY THE SAME PERSON.

You idiots.

You have a million people uploading shit they stole from where ever. So instead, you send out a pissy insulting form letter to somebody that contributes their own work. A form letter that offers 4 tiny boxes where I am allowed to reply that hey, I have no idea who IODA is, why they should be able to do this, what it has to do with the fact I am promoting my own goddamn work on your site.

And it’s the SECOND time you’ve done this. You haven’t even dealt with my first dispute yet.

I am going to try walking and calming down, but the temptation is to go somewhere else because hey, you really are the exact opposite of everything worthwhile.

Tom Ellard, a person that makes shit that you monetize.

UPDATE:

Through my own efforts I find that IODA is a US based distributor of my music. They have a non exclusive sub-license, which is kind of like having a franchise in that territory. It doesn’t give them any exclusive rights – certainly they don’t own the synchronization rights of my music, and that’s exactly what YouTube’s automated system can’t understand. It’s twigged a match between the soundtrack of these videos and their licensed material. Being automated it starts a process which is inflexible and stupid to any nuances in the situation.

Somebody at IODA has countered my claim that they don’t own my videos: at least that’s the probable reason why the dispute robot has rejected my disputation. But no one has actually emailed another person to ask, hey is this TomEllard account ‘official’?

It is (as always) up to the artist to start fixing the mess that the companies have created ‘on their behalf’. This begins with human communication; I have started that. It involves pressure; I have damaged the videos on YouTube with an annotation and an audio swap. This may help the companies involved to feel a small amount of monetary and PR displeasure, the only sensation that they can feel. I have provided an alternative venue on Vimeo. I always wanted to do that, so this is as good a time as ever.

As soon as somebody notices that their robots have screwed up, I will be happy to put things back as they were. In the meanwhile they can ‘own’ a web page that explains just how dumb they are.

ADMIN speaks to you

ADMIN here, with some updates.

  • Finally updated Cutline theme to 1.4. and fixed the widget support so we have some custom layout.
  • Thus, recent comments are listed with links to your own WordPress blogs if any.
  • Also a tag cloud so you can see what a moaning old shit tte really is.
  • Removed dead blogroll links and added some updates.

Upcoming changes to www.tomellard.com; we are going to update, removing old TABLEs and chairs. There will be occasional odd moments throughout January.

{www.sevcom.com is not going to upgrade because a thousand whining geriatrics will have heart attacks if anything changes ever.}

Currently not able to update, or read mail.

Well somebody thought the last post wasn’t funny.

Due to a suicide pact between two machines here and something going on in Seattle I currently cannot log in to my sites, nor can I read mail sent to me at sevcom.com

If you really need to contact me please use Ozemail or (if you really have to) UNSW Mail.

Put a penny in the slot and the gas is back on. Hot showers!

Sevcom closes CD shop.

Advert: the Live To Air is happening.

It’s been a ride. Since 1998 sevcom has sold CDs online. We were one of the first – a raggedy thing run on slave labour and Stephen M Jones’ idealism. If ever Stephen or myself were to look at the numbers it would have been shut down years ago. But we did it anyway.

13 years later I’m beaten. Done in. Worn out.

We started when blank CDs reached 11 AUD dollars each. A sale of 12 USD meant we made around 2 dollars after postage. That margin grew and I was able to buy a few more burners and try out some fun stuff like transparent film and metal cases. It paid a bit better than a gig but thank God for my day job. Sometimes I pretended I wasn’t subsidising it. Those damn metal cases…

While CDs got cheaper the postage, paper and ink have steadily increased. In recent years a blank disc was around 50c, but the postage on each disc ended up about $5-6. That was OK while the exchange rate was about 60c US for 1 AUD but as the US started to slip into oblivion people bought less and expected to pay a lot less for it. Europe too has little time for music while staving off economic collapse. The final straw was Homeland Security charging 9 dollars to inspect packages. (USA: Plenty of money for weapons, no money for wages.)

And I don’t have the time any more to make these things. The time it takes to make a batch of discs is not viable as my treadmill of bills and debts get faster.

The number of online stores is cancerous and they are locked in a price war that we cannot beat. So we join. BandCamp is alright; it’s not independence, but that was lost a long time ago. Just join the rest. Move along citizen.

I like CDs. Uncompressed sound and a pretty cover. But we are becoming too poor to own real things. I say again – the 20th century was about creating cheap mass produced goods for all. The theme of the 21st century will be the divide between the physical rich and the virtual poor – bespoke items for the wealthy (vinyl in boxes!) MP3s and ePub books for you. A window for them and a screen saver for you. We fought it, but the law won.

If you want any physical items from me, you had best do it soon. I am not making any more and have a small inventory.

I’d like to thank all the people that put up with my lousy service, slow delivery, bent metal boxes, CAT HAIRS!!!1!! and packages that went missing. We were never Amazon.

Oh and ‘Jesus’ – the guy that ordered everything and then reversed the credit card as soon as they arrived, fuck you. A big fuck off also to all the MP3 blogs that uploaded my stuff. You talk like revolutionaries, but you are actually the traitors.

Twisted history

ADVERTISEMENT : Apparently we may perform on radio station FBI on the 28th April around 9pm or so AEST. This is not confirmed. If so, they have a live stream on their web site. While I have your attention, can I just clarify that we will NOT PLAY AGAIN AFTER THE DATES ANNOUNCED. Anyone asks me about this I will be cross.

It was good to catch up with an old friend the other night, now with wife and 4 year old son. The man (nameless for reasons you’ll soon understand) is living in the USA deeply embedded in the infrastructure of finance, networks and databases that know more about you than you probably know yourself.

But we were talking about cowboy days, late 80s; the BBS scene, hackers and crackers and the other side. We’d met on Twisted Pair, the BBS that spawned Twister, Twister 2, and all the daughters up to the ill fated Twister 5, the collapse of which led to this one way blog. I don’t think it’ll hurt to tell that Twisted Pair had a secret area, in which select people had their fun. Back then it was all Amiga, and I was a lamer HEX hacker, somebody who searched through the hexadecimal of software looking for combinations of numbers that did some thing useful.

The most useful hack I did was the very first version of Lightwave 3D running in PAL. It was part of the video toaster which was NTSC only and so I guess NewTek thought it pointless making it work in European countries. But they coded it so all I did was find the sections that addressed the display memory, redid the maths, and fired it up until all the bits worked. Like I said, nothing fancy, but much appreciated at the time. If you were around you might have seen a ‘booped’ version. Yes, like:

Actually just now I remember I did the same thing for the first Photon Paint but Deluxe Paint was beyond me. Bloody EA had hard wired it all.

We talked about where people had gone and their conversion to honesty. Most of them I only knew by their screen names. Watching his son playing games on a phone we were worried about what our generation had done – our children are looking through a screen at everything, although I think they will rebel and as teenagers go about smashing computers and shaking real hands. Good for them.

I had to tell him what happened to Twister; a mailing list which was rather good, but eventually a phpBBS which sucked rather badly. I told him there was even a splinter called ‘Exiles’ and he thought that was hilarious. BBS community was dead by then, and the forces that broke it are still getting worse; anonymity, envy, celebrity, “friend” counts and the sale of privacy. It probably has to hit bottom before it bounces back.

Nostalgia is anti-historical, it denies events to make a privileged viewpoint. That night we talked about chiggers the way others talk about vinyl, with just as much surety. Everyone thinks they are recalling something authentic when the exact opposite is true.

Right now, I can’t wait to get away from music. Much more interested in chiggers.

Report: New Videos, Shows, Moved Shop, Re-scanning.

My Lords.

On this, the eve of my return to teaching duties, I shall recount my progress over the last few months. You will know that I have many performances looming, and progress has been made such that you shall perhaps not be displeased and eat me.

Four new videos have been made for the shows in May and they may be inspected by Your Lordships by clicking on the large image on the front of this website. You will perhaps notice that all four are high definition and advance upon on old and smelly videos {that will now only be posted on You Tube by the insistent live-in-the-past curs that snap my heels}. These videos can be used not only in May but later in REDACTED. This is economical.

You may also be pleased that I have completed a high definition version of Walrus Guitars which will première in New York on the 8th of March. Until that time it remains hidden. I have also started upon a remake of Starts With K and a new clip for Ghosts Of Lunches, a live version of Gashing The Old Mae West and a clip for Wonder Of All The World, the music for which has been recreated. All are destined for the performance at the Joan in October.

I must admit however, that the text for this performance remains piecemeal and needs to be brought together into a coherent form a.s.a.p. I have some difficulty collecting my thoughts about music.

You have asked why I have joined so many sharing services and threatened that I would be eaten if I did not find a good use for them and fast. Lords, I will use MediaFire to offer much larger image scans, BandCamp for sales and SoundCloud… OK that was a mistake but look, I’ll work on it.

My Lords, I have moved near all our recordings to BandCamp and have reaped some benefit in that we have met two sales thresholds, allowing us to give away promotional copies. It is very likely now that we will soon no longer sell physical objects (apart from the really cool ones) and this will allow me more time!

Time I will need, Your Highnesses, as my thesis has entered a Twilight Zone, where I know what I need to do next but have some struggle to do it. I need now to make an inventory of all Australian VJs and I am going to. I am.

I will not offend you with excuses, but you should know that my employers are very pleased with my work, so much that they would like me to do much more of it. They found me particularly endearing as a cuddly mascot of the Annual Show, and have put forward that I should run it. At the same time as my concert. And my thesis examination. Lords, I will try my best but I fear the path is fraught with peril.

I also admit I haven’t fixed the sink yet. I did get all the parts.