From the dawn of civilization, musicians could always be counted on as the ones inventing the truly weird technologies to make noise. Here – bang on this. Blow into this. It’ll make some sound; it’ll be noisy; it’ll get everyone’s attention. And so, the art of such designs continues.
New instrument design explorations have gone hand in hand with electronic music research from the moment electronics (and, eventually, digital technology) were capable of real-time performance. But if 3DMIN follows in the footsteps of those programs, it also seeks to intertwine questions about other fields and disciplines. And tonight in Berlin, it continues a series of performance showcases with the LEAP performance space, with artists spanning Europe and America.
3DMIN stands for “Design, Development and Dissemination of New Musical Instruments.” At first blush, it looks like more of the odd new sound interface experiments to which we’re already accustomed. But its scope and reach are broader. Researchers pulled from across disciplines look beyond just the musical object to every aspect around it (two Berlin academies, TU and UdK, are included). They look into history (hello, Teleharmonium), filing instruments by evolutionary adaptation as if collecting prehistoric oceanic fossils. There’s a sort of squeezebox of the future (see below), as part of investigations in design. They’re working with modern choreography (with a wooden apparatus used by dancers). There’s work on spatial sound, and controlled laboratory investigations of embodiment.
LEAP has invited some intriguing guests for the edition happening tonight, Monday.
Portland’s duo MHSR, aka Birch Cooper and Brenna Murphy, make poly-audiovisual light and sound experiments that feel like you’ve stumbled inside circuitry – the analog, circuit-bent equivalent of getting sucked into Tron. There are seashells with switches, grids of lasers, stroboscopic explosions. They assemble, in ritualistic fashion, sculptural assemblages of equipment, with panels that seem as though they were designed by someone at Native Instruments collaborating with an alien – after dropping acid. Surrounded by glowing artifacts, the two perform ceremonies of noise. Watch/look (see also picture, top, courtesy the artists):
Mario de Vega performs a “monologue for taxidermy totem, conductive materials and electronics,” with a rig that looks like this:
Jeff Snyder and Till Bovermann are presenting, as well.
LEAP has shared with CDM full videos of their last edition. Details:
Hans Tammen, known well to New Yorkers (see the long-running Harvestworks space), tears at a guitar and rips through rhythms as he pushes that instrument to its breaking point, in a project that his been his sonic labor for a decade and a half.
Hans Tammen – Endangered Guitar
Hans Tammen started developing his interactive instrument “Endangered Guitar” in the year 2000. It is a combination of sound creation through means of mechanical devices plus custom software programming, then using the guitar as a sound source and controller at the same time. In addition to the complexities of playing an “extended instrument”, the computer challenges the performer by providing ambiguities, uncertainties and variabilities.
The performer has to act on multiple dimensions, a situation that has prompted Roger Dean to coin the term “Hyperimprovisation” for these musical complexities. Hans Tammen will discuss his “Endangered Guitar” practice, and what lessons he learned playing a computerized instrument in hundreds of concerts.
Further, he discusses how his approach to music, rhythm, and improvisation has changed over the last 40 years, and how it has shaped the technology that he uses today
Alberto de Campo’s “Complexity” is somewhat out of his control – by design. He’s built a performance interface that requires him to navigate surprises and unexpected outcomes.
The motto: “Lose control, gain influence.”