Elly Jessop and VAMP at the Maker Faire from The Amazing Rolo on Vimeo.

Yann Seznec aka The Amazing Rolo brings CDM his coverage of music tech at the Maker Faire in three episodes today.

Continuing the tradition of computer-augmented vocal performance and interactive gloves, Elena “Elly” Jessop shows off her VAMP system at Maker Faire. Elly is a Masters student at the MIT Media Lab’s Opera of the Future research group, headed by Todd Machover. Interestingly, Elly’s background is in conventional theater, including stage and costume design and choreography.


VAMP stands for “Vocal Augmentation and Manipulation Prosthesis.” What’s really nice in this demo is that the results sound like more than just effects – they begin to become real augmentation, setting up a complex relationship between the vocalist and the sounds that come out.

It’ll be great to see your work evolve over time, Elly, as you fuse that experience. (And I know what a challenge can be, as I’m still working on fusions of my own, having likewise come from various non-digital backgrounds… heck, I made my way through puppetry class at Sarah Lawrence, even. It’s a lifetime-scale commitment.)

For more on data gloves and such: composer, computer scientist, and futurist Jaron Lanier did lots of seminal thinking about these ideas leading back to the 80s. And you can find some extraordinary work from “augmented vocalists” like Laetitia Sonami and Pamela Z. Here’s a terrific 2006 interview by Sua Constabile for Cycling ’74 with Laetitia: