BEAM Festival presents BEAM NIGHT – a special one-off taster event held at Cafe OTO. Following BEAM’s mission, the acts tonight were all featured at BEAM 2011 and all use unusual and/or homemade interfaces to perform.
Atau Tanaka & Adam Parkinson play iPhones as sensitive, handheld controllers. Bruno Zamborlin performs Cafe OTO’s wall – possibly for the first time?! With his invention, Mogees, which read gestural language on any surface, Marco Donnarumma’s Music for Flesh is a visceral sensor performance using his instrument system Xth sense, which has just been named “the world’s most innovative new musical instrument” and awarded First Prize at the Guthman Musical Instrument Competiton in Atlanta. Tom Bugs (maker of Bugbrand synth products) appears in a rare performance using his Modular Synths and also sets up a mini-installation for the night, whilst the beguilingly creative Leafcutter John conjures up soundscapes with his new explorations in light and sound. Check them out below in more depth!
Atau & Adam exploit the Apple iPhone, as an expressive, gestural musical instrument, reappropriate it and its advanced technical capabilities to transform the consumer object into an expressive musical instrument for concert performance. In a duo, with one in each hand, they create a chamber music, 4-hands iPhone. The accelerometers which typically serve as tilt sensors to rotate photos in fact allow high precision capture of the performer’s free space gestures. The multitouch screen, otherwise used for scrolling and pinch-zooming text, becomes a reconfigurable graphic user interface akin to the JazzMutant Lemur, with programmable faders, buttons, and 2D controllers that control synthesis parameters in real time.
Marco Donnarumma’s Music for Flesh II (2011) is a solo sonic piece for augmented muscles sounds, which aims at demonstrating an experimental coupling between unheard sounds of muscle gestures and corresponding sound synthesis played back through loudspeakers. In Music for Flesh II the only musical instrument available to the performer is his own body. Performer’s voluntary muscles contractions produce kinetic energy, an acoustic sound which is captured by the Xth Sense biosensor and deployed as only sonic source. At the same time the biological signal undergoes a feature extraction which provides several control parameters for the real time processing of muscles sounds. The performer uses his body not only as a controller, but, more importantly, also as a truly real musical instrument, he is capable of actually creating music in real time exciting his muscles fibres.
BugBrand (Tom Bugs) brings his self-made BugBrand Modular synthesiser system – an all analogue sonic world, filled with tone and rhythm. For BEAM night, Tom will be performing both on stage and via headphones.
Bruno Zamborlin performs with MOGEES, a contact microphone-based system for the augmentation of sound objects. With this system, the acoustic properties of common daily objects are analysed in real-time and augmented in order to interact with them as musical devices. After working for several years at the IRCAM IMTR team, Bruno is now a joint-PhD interaction researcher between IRCAM (Paris) and the Goldsmiths college (London). His interest focuses on real-time gesture recognition for performing arts and the design of new interfaces for musical expression.
Leafcutter John (Yorkshire come London lad, John Burton) has graced the planet with his remarkable contributions to electronic, folk and experimental music since his primary exploring with an old computer he originally bought to write his Art School dissertation in 1998. Since then he’s released 5 critically acclaimed albums which culminated in the release of “The Housebound Spirit” on Planet Mu Records. An album which combined elements of music-concrete and electro-acoustic music with voice and guitar work more commonly found in folk music. His fourth album “The Forest and the Sea” (Staubgold) became a great success for artist and label alike and was nominated for best album (Quartz award 2007), with it he toured extensively throughout Europe and Australasia performing alongside, Matmos, Nick Cave, Keith Fullerton Whitman, Jarvis Cocker, Yo La Tengo, Grace Jones, Beth Orton, Otomo Yoshihide, Aki Onda, Phillip Jeck, Carsten Nicolai, Tujiko Noriko amongst others. John is also a full time member of the Mercury Music Award nominated contemporary Jazz band Polar Bear, providing electronics, guitar, and vocals, and with the bands founder Sebastian Rochford John collaborates in the duo project ‘Nails’. John’s other duo project includes one with the accomplished Tabla player Talvin Singh (tabla / voice & electronics / guitar / voice).