- Mobile Performance
- Electric Speed
- Schematic as Score
- (Re)purposed Clothes
- Collaborative Spaces
- Device Art
- Digital Dub
- Rise of the VJ
- Sample Culture
You may need: Adobe Flash Player.
In Software for the People, Pauline Oliveros put forward an idea that “It is not enough to just play the right notes at the right time in the right way; one must also have the right consciousness. This places the performer in the role of the explorer of the interior in order to produce, and also being still in order to produce and be active” (191-192). These environments that I build and evoke using sound through a hybrid of improvisation, radio transmission, listening, performance and composition are approached much like one would engage with energy in the practice of Tai Chi or meditation. I know not what the result will be, and am guided by intuition, the affective spaces contained within the sonic material and an alignment of resonant aesthetics. What follows is a brief text that outlines the process of recording of the seminal sound source that Basin/Bassin is built around.
Standing on the sidewalk after a show, my gear packed away in suitcases at my feet, balancing a metal bowl on my head, like a helmet. The rim of the bowl's edge ending just below my earlobe, my frequent collaborator Emilie Mouchous struck the bowl with a mallet. The warm gong-like tones of the ringing frequencies decayed slowly, the vibrations buzzing in close proximity of my ears, plunged me into a meditative state of elation. The ringing tones emitted by objects that sound out when struck are difficult to amplify as the vibrations are best heard when the object is held close to your ear.
I had been using the bowl as a receptacle for water into which I dropped glass beads and seashells and swished them around amplifying their textures with a hydrophone. Bowing the sides of the bowl created elongated sounds and concentric patterns that rippled the water's surface. I started thinking about ways to amplify the bowls' percussive decay. My next solo performance began with the bowl atop my head. I struck the outer surface of the bowl with a yarn tipped xylophone mallet. I placed binaural microphones in my ears so that the amplified sound was analogous to what I could hear inside the bowl. Because my head was in the bowl, I could hear it resonating, but could not hear its amplification clearly.
I tried, repeatedly to compose in the intuition driven improvised manner that I have been employing for the past several years, using field recordings and live manipulation of objects, to create a slowly evolving stream of continuous sound. I was too intent on recreating the ambiance of a live performance of a piece. The absence of urgency, tension and nervous energy that drive live performance resulted in studio recordings that failed to attain the desired result. I tried again - this time in CKUT's live to air broadcast studio. I used the station's live internet stream as a processor for the metal bowl rhythmic resonant section. There is a 10-15 second delay between the terrestrial broadcast signal and the internet stream of the broadcast signal. When you bring the stream up from within the broadcast studio, it functions like a continuous looping effect where the signal sent out continues to cycle the sound being broadcast in real time leading to a gradual layering and repetition of sound. Keeping the volume on the stream at a moderate level, I took the time to build up the resonant ringing of the bowl until it became a continuous fluctuating sound and began to harmonize with it as a natural unintentional reaction. The progression of the piece after the gong-like section during the broadcast did not move towards my intended goal, but gave me a starting point and much of the source material for Basin/Bassin and the different spaces/ambiances that emerge as the piece progresses.