vibraphone meets Max/MSP 11-7-2004

A return to the Hungry Brain for me after the Phrenology Festival a few weeks ago. This night was devoted to duets, and I was asked to bring one. I did a computer / vibraphone duet with jason adasiewicz. He improvised, I used him as a sound source for improvising, which he could then react to to continue th improvising. The largest challenge a computer based (especially sampling based – synthesis is different) improviser has when playing with “real” instruments, is that the live instruments can switch up what they’re doing so very quickly. Unless you have a good interface set up for using your computer, it tends to be very loop based, and slow changing. I think I had a pretty good interface last night and was pretty active in terms of being able to move from one part to another, but there’s more work to be done. I liked our setup – jason played on the stage and i sat in front, facing the stage so i could hear the mix of the vibraphone and the speakers which were outputting my sound. I was happy with the performance – instruments with clean sounds are best for manipulating, as when you do something to the sound, it actually makes it sound like a completely different thing. And the vibraphone has a great clean sound.

The other duets of the night were kevin davis on cello, electronics & radio with jake elliott on computer – which was good, but short – they did a drone piece, and then were done – james falzone witha drummer from boston, johnathan crawford with steve hess doing a solid drum duet, it made me think more about how i would really like to be in a band with two drummers. a nice night at the brain, but kind of a slow one, not too many folk, but still smoky….

john steve


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