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BEAM is very excited to be collaborating with the Cheltenham Jazz festival 2015, by presenting an exhibition of interactive sound works in the foyer of the Parabola Arts Centre during the Jazz Weekend (Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd May). We’re delighted that three previous BEAM artists, two through our connection with OCM and Oxford Brookes and one who exhibited at the NIME exhibition in 2014, are presenting their latest works.
Movement, technology and music
“What the future of music can and will sound like”: Atau Tanaka, Chair of NIME
The BEAM@NIME USP is summed up by our opportunity to present Laetitia Sonami, the original inventor of the Lady’s Glove, alongside Imogen Heap’s experimentations with her new Mi.Mu gloves. We aim to make the connection between the massive amount of amazing research that happens in wearable-tech-for-music and what artists are creating by playing with this technology.
What is NIME?
NIME brings together musicians, composers and scientists to present their cutting edge research into how music can be created through gesture and movement. With the help of sensors, code and DIY electronics, they are overhauling and rethinking the ways we perform music. NIME2014 (New Interfaces for Musical Expression) is an annual conference that will take place in the UK for the first time, at Goldsmiths, University of London, between 30 June and 4 July.
The BEAM (Brunel Electronic and Analogue Music) Festival was founded at Brunel University in 2011 by NIME Music Chair, Sarah Nicolls, to showcase interactive, physical electronic music. BEAM@NIME is a public programme of concerts and exhibitions, taking place throughout NIME. There are daytime concerts on the Goldsmiths campus, while for club nights BEAM@NIME goes to some of London’s biggest and coolest venues: XOYO, the Amersham Arms and Corsica Studios. For the full gigs schedule, click here.
Artists performing and exhibiting their work as part of BEAM@NIME include Leafcutter John, Kathy Hinde, John Butcher, John Tilbury, Ryan Jordan, Martin Howse, and Alex McLean.
Imogen Heap will exclusively preview her forthcoming live show, where she will perform piano and vocals, using the latest technology she has been working on: the Mi.Mu gloves. The gloves enable live processing to be controlled by hand movements, and her short set of improvisations will explore some of the musical possibilities of this. Imogen will also give a talk on the technology, and give the audience an insight into the thinking behind why and how this new set up is being created.
BEAM@NIME also hosts an exhibition of interactive sound art, with 18 separate installations. Kathy Hinde’s Tipping Point is a delicately industrial provocation about the balance of water in the world whilst outdoors, Kaffe Matthews presents her new, interactive bicycle piece Pedalling Games. Using sensor technology, this bicycle will create music as you pedal – creating an individual soundscape to your journey. These sonified bicycles will be available on Goldsmiths’ College Green each afternoon from 1 to 3 July for people to check out and try.
Why is NIME so important?
Atau Tanaka, Professor of Media Computing at Goldsmiths, said: “NIME coming to London is something to celebrate. We want to open this celebration up to include everyone interested in music because digital technology has become part of our everyday musical experience. We’d like to showcase how cutting edge experimentation and this technology so the general public can play around with this and see exactly what the future of music can and will sound like.”
Sarah Nicolls, Artistic Director at BEAM Festival, said: “What is really special about BEAM@NIME is the opportunity to connect researchers and artists in electronic music, for each to be inspired and stimulated by the other. For the public, it’s a chance to see the latest, literally the most recent technologies, in imaginative, creative applications and ultimately some brilliant music and interactive art.”
Two public days as part of the NIME conference
The conference also includes public lectures on two days. On Wednesday 2 July, the public are invited to an evening keynote speech from Professor Hiroshi Ishii of the MIT Media Lab, and keynote performance by the Lady’s Glove pioneer Laetitia Sonami.
▪ a question and answer panel between Professor Atau Tanaka and Tony Herrington, editor in chief and publisher of the music magazine, The Wire
▪ a panel on gender and music technology
▪ an “unconference”. This will be an informal gathering of artists and thinkers focused on digital technologies, electronic arts and new interfaces for musical expression to share their work in an informal setting
▪ an Open Jack gig
Partners involved in NIME
Goldsmiths are partnering with the Brunel Electronic Music Festival (BEAM) to put on this programme of public concerts and exhibitions. It is supported through public funding from Arts Council England, the PRS for Music Foundation, and the European Research Council (ERC).
Notes to editors
This is the 14th edition of NIME, and the first time it comes to the UK. NIME has been an annual conference since 2001, starting at Paul Allen’s Experience Music Project in Seattle, and has taken place worldwide every year including at MIT Media Lab Europe in Dublin (2002), Hamamatsu Japan, home of Yamaha musical instruments (2004), IRCAM at the Centre Pompidou in Paris (2006), and New York (2007).
About BEAM Festival
BEAM (Brunel Electronic and Analogue Music) Festival, based at Brunel University, is a high-tech music weekender, a playground of homemade instruments and sonic installations, where you can listen to, watch and learn how to create your own physically living electronic music. BEAM was devised by Artistic Director Sarah Nicolls to explore the potential physicality of electronic music. The focus on electronic music being created LIVE is explored through a programme of performances, demonstrations, installations and workshops. BEAM brings together a global audience of artists, researchers, DiY electronics builders and enthusiasts, from beginners to veterans. http://www.beamfestival.com/
About Brunel University
Brunel is a world-class university based in Uxbridge, West London. Now over 40 years old, our mission has always been to combine academic rigour with the practical, entrepreneurial and imaginative approach pioneered by our namesake Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Music at Brunel University focuses on developing a rounded twenty-first century musicianship and is led by some of the leading figures in European contemporary music.
Founded in 1891, Goldsmiths, University of London is an institution with a rich academic history known for its creative approach. Its 8,000-plus students are based on campus in the heart of south east London’s New Cross community, studying undergraduate, postgraduate, teacher training and return-to-study courses in subjects covering the arts, social sciences, humanities and computing. www.gold.ac.uk
Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2010 and 2015, we will invest £1.9 billion of public money from government and an estimated £1.1 billion from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country. www.artscouncil.org.uk
About PRS for Music Foundation
PRS for Music Foundation is the UK’s leading funder of new music across all genres. Since 2000 PRS for Music Foundation has given more than £19.5 million to over 4,600 new music initiatives by awarding grants and leading partnership programmes that support music sector development. Widely respected as an adventurous and proactive funding body, PRS for Music Foundation supports an exceptional range of new music activity – including the Momentum Music Fund offering career-boosting grants of £5k-£15k, and the International Showcase Fund, a music export scheme run in partnership with UK Trade & Investment, Arts Council England, British Underground and Musicians’ Union, for bands attending showcases overseas. http://www.prsformusicfoundation.com
Set up in 2007 by the EU, the European Research Council (ERC) is the first pan-European funding organisation for frontier research. It aims to stimulate scientific excellence in Europe by encouraging competition for funding between the very best, creative researchers of any nationality and age. The ERC also strives to attract top researchers from anywhere in the world to come to Europe.
From 2007 to 2013 under the seventh EU Research Framework Programme (FP7), the ERC’s budget was €7.5 billion. Under the new Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (2014-2020), Horizon 2020, the ERC has a substantially increased budget of over €13 billion. Since its launch, the ERC has selected over 4,500 researchers for funding. http://erc.europea.eu
Goldsmiths, University of London
Tel: 0207 919 7970
Leafcutter John plays with bike lights and tea lights to create mesmeric and beautiful music through his own unique, homemade interface. Using sensors to transform visual into sonic, Leafcutter John’s compositional sensitivity and intuitive creativity create an intriguing musical landscape. Leafcutter John’s set at XOYO for NIME 2014 was as brilliant as ever: intimate, spontaneously creative and genuinely intriguing.
Kathy Hinde’s beautiful new installation Tipping Point (#tippingpoint by @birdtwitchr) was part of the installations exhibition at NIME2014. A poetic response to the environmental issues relating to water – its displacement, its overuse, rising sea levels and so on – Tipping Point seemed to us a visual presentation of tuning an instrument: the intense buzzes when two notes are almost in unison can be seen in the increased intensity in the flickering lights, that hang over the water-filled tubes, which themselves move slowly up and down as if searching for perfect harmony. The installations exhibition was based in the New Academic Building on the Goldsmiths campus and was open throughout NIME.
BEAM first saw Tipping Point at the Brighton Festival and found it profound, clever and beautiful like the rest of Kathy’s output (we first got to know her through the piano and bird video installation displayed in Oxford’s bus station, the Bird Step Sequencer).