On June 13, 2015 I collaborated with a team of nine students and nine musicians on a project I directed for Northern Spark, an annual, all-night, art festival In Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota. We titled the project, Instant Composer: Mad-libbed Music and the intent was to engage the audience into instantly writing musical compositions for an ensemble of improvising musicians. Continue reading →
On May 7, 2014 I performed Vocalise Sintetica at the Echofluxx Festival in Prague. The piece is made up of four movements: I. Machines (00:00), II. Liquid (18:43), III. Vocalise (28:55), and, IV. Sintetica (38:41). Each movement is a playlist of five audiovisual objects that are instantly available to be projected and amplified while being granulated in real-time by a performer using a multitouch interface. The performer may loop their gestures applied to the audiovisual objects in order to bring in additional synthesized sound layers that contrast or mimic the audiovisual objects. My performance at Echofluxx was made possible by a grant from the American Composers Forum with funds provided by the Jerome Foundation. Continue reading →
In May, 2014 I performed Duets with the Singing Ringing Tree (SRT) in Northern England. The SRT is a permanent, wind-activated sculpture by London-based architects, Tonkin Liu. For five days I documented dozens of analogue synthesizer improvisations with the SRT using a binaural-head microphone. After returning to Minneapolis I produced and published a series of six of these pieces as video documentation on YouTube. These works, in the words of Peter Kirn from CreateDigitalMusic.com, evoke an “eerie resonance.” The synthesizer accompaniment alternates between contrasting and mimicking the haunting tones of the cold, metal structure. Read on for a series of photos from the project.
NOTE: These are binaural recordings combined with synthesizer accompaniment. Although it sounds great through speakers, circumaural headphones must be used to experience the binaural effect. Continue reading →
This paper explores the idea of mutable, audiovisual scores for improvised musical performances through the description of personal perspectives, practical examples, proposed projects, and research. The author postulates that an audiovisual score can be a useful tool to connect improvising musicians to each other and their audience through the insertion of a mediating audiovisual layer within the work. These systems are used as a primary influential agent for an ensemble of improvisers, providing them with a context for a musical conversation. In contrast to traditional notation and graphic scores, audiovisual scores embrace the chaotic ambiguities of environmental influences giving the music the context of unpredictable everyday events. Presenting an unpredictable audiovisual score parallels the indeterminate improvisation of the ensemble. It activates the last vestige of what remains immutable within traditional forms of notation driven performance inserting it into a mutable layer within the work.
In my thesis you will find detailed, conceptual explanations for many of the projects that I have shared here over the last few years. There are also references to work by many other artists who have provided inspiration to me. If you’re interested please click the link below to view or download the document.
This is an excerpt from a performance by DKO from the MCAD MFA open studio night on December 7, 2012 as discussed in the post Live Binaural Recording of DKO with Oliver Grudem. The document features Oliver Grudem (not shown) who produced the audiovisual score in real-time. The video and sound coming from the LED display and loud speaker below it was broadcast into the performance space as Oliver walked around the Minneapolis Uptown area during a snow storm. The visuals and sound from his walk provided a “score” for us to respond to as we improvised. Oliver was also able to hear our musical reactions to the audiovisual score as he was broadcasting and respond accordingly.
The piece was recorded with my custom built binaural head microphone to capture the sound localization of the performance space. NOTE: It is necessary to wear high quality headphones to experience the binaural effect. The spatial properties of studio monitors are also acceptable but will not produce the same localization of the sound sources. Thanks goes out to Eric Dowell for shooting video of the one hour long performance. I am working on editing a shorter version to briefly summarize the essence of the piece. This 13 minute video is a more in depth snapshot of what the performance entailed.