Poetry Open-Jack

Played ‘no-input’ Kaoss pad in the Poetry Open-Jack last night. After finding that it was too dark to see the screen on the game-boy (running LittleSoundDJ) I worked on using my thumb on the exposed 3.5mm jack to generate noise for the Kaoss pad to use. This technique is something I’ve also been working on during the QUBE impov sessions. One satisfying outcome is that by the end of the improvisation everyone had tuned to the key of the Kaosspad (well, whatever resonance was being produced when maxing out the filter). Must find out what that note is!

BLISS concert

Attended a BLISS network performance held in the Sonic Lab, featuring a live linkup to Göteborg. Along with the usual BLISS freeform improvisation, there were two ‘scored’ improvisation pieces by Alain Renaud and Justin Yang. It was particularly interesting to watch Justin’s piece as we have been using it in the QUBE improv group for a while now. Photos above (courtesy of Christopher Chong) and the full blurb below:

BLISS: Belfast – Goteborg Network Performance
Thursday 13 March 2008,
Sonic Arts Research Centre, Belfast: 8pm (UK Time)
Siren Festivalen Göteborg: 9pm (CET)

A distributed laptop and instrumental performance between SARC’s own BLISS (Belfast Legion for Improvised Sights and Sounds) and Göteborg’s Academy of Music and Drama laptop ensemble, Sweden. This networked performance explores
techniques and strategies for improvised electroacoustic music over the internet. The Legion does not prescribe its sights or sounds; they are the product of digital and contra-digital networks of gates,
tables, switches, speaker objects, cabling and data… The Legion is not a band – we don’t play weddings – but we like playing in the network! This event is a co-production between SARC and the Siren Festivalen för ny music. The performance will include works by Justin Yang and Alain Renaud.
Live Stream: (stream will begin at 8:30 CET)

QUBE concert

Played with QUBE in SARC’s Sonic Lab. My musical setup for this gig was Casiotone MT-100 and Kaoss pad. Among the pieces played were ‘Activities’ by Justin Yang which involved improvisation to a graphic score and also an interpretation of one of Mark Applebaum’s stopwatch scores. Below is also a video of the last QUBE performance (as far as I know this one wasn’t recorded, if anyone else knows otherwise, then please let me know!). Here’s the blurb:

Tuersday 11th March 2008, 5pm Sonic Lab
Admission Free

Led by Steve Davis and Pedro Rebelo, the QUBensemble (QUBe) is a forum for improvisation, conduction and new music involving students and staff within the school. QUBe brings together performers from a variety of artistic backgrounds to develop performances which explore ensemble interaction, audio-visuals, open scores, and free improvisation. The performance will include works by Justin Yang, Mark Applebaum and Steve Davis.

Joan La Barbara

Attended the Joan La Barbara Seminar and the Ne(x)tWorks Trio performance. One of the stand-out pieces in the concert was “Solo for Mbira” written and performed by Miguel Frasconi, in which (perhaps unsurprisingly) he plays a solo on Mbira, creating a slowly evolving rhythmic pattern akin to those of Steve Reich. Here’s the blurb on both events:

Joan La Barbara Seminar: The virtuoso in the electronic age: music composed by and for Joan La Barbara
Wednesday, 5th March 2008, 1.00pm School of Music and Sonic Arts,
Sonic Arts Research Centre

Joan La Barbara, composer, performer, sound artist, has been hailed as “one of the great vocal virtuosas of our time” (San Francisco Examiner). Her multi-layered compositions often utilize her signature extended vocal techniques, garnering her awards including DAAD Artist-in-Residency in Berlin, 7 NEA grants, numerous commissions and most recently a Guggenheim Fellowship in Music Composition. Recent recordings include “ShamanSong” (New World) and “Voice is the Original Instrument” (Lovely Music), hailed as one of The Wire’s 10 best reissues of the year. “73 Poems”, her collaboration with text-artist Kenneth Goldsmith, was included in The American Century Part II: SoundWorks at The Whitney Museum of American Art. “Messa di Voce”, an interactive media performance work in collaboration with Jaap Blonk, Golan Levin and Zachary Lieberman, premiered at ars electronica 2003. La Barbara has created sound scores for film, video and dance and has premiered landmark compositions by Robert Ashley, John Cage, Morton Feldman, Philip Glass, Alvin Lucier, Steve Reich, and Morton Subotnick. She is currently at work on an opera inspired by the life and work of Virginia Woolf.

Ne(x)tworks Trio
Thursday, 6th March 2008, 1.10pm
School of Music and Sonic Arts,
Sonic Arts Research Centre

The Ne(x)tworks Trio (Joan La Barbara, Cornelius Dufallo, and Miguel Frasconi) will perform their own compositions as well as their interpretations of graphic scores by notable American composers. Ne(x)tworks is a collaborative ensemble of musicians creating and interpreting work that features a dynamic relationship between composition and improvisation. In performance and recordings, the group locates pathways into various types of notation systems and interfaces, striving for a meaningful dialogue with the past, present, and future of creative music.

Bjork + Reactable + Lemur

Bjork is using both a Reactable and a Lemur on her new tour, have a look above for a video of her on Jools Holland. The Reactable is a tangible user interface that allows multiple users to interact with a synth/sampler using small perspex blocks, and get visual feedback directly from a projection through the table. The lemur is also a multi-touch interface, although it is a lot more compact and you use your fingers to interact with it.