TONEWHEELS 2010 USA Tour

Posted in Announcement on April 8th, 2010 by admin

DATES

FRI 16 April: Buffalo NY–SoundLab, 110 Pearl Street: TONEWHEELS performance + Affecting Animate Nerve Organs (16 artist multi-media installation) [8pm]

(UPDATE!!!!) SUN18 April: Syracuse NY–Spark Contemporary Art Space: TONEWHEELS performance + Heavy Hymns [8pm]

TUE 20 April: NYC, NY–Electronic Music Foundation, 307 7th avenue ste 1402: “A Brief History of Optical Synthesis” lecture [7pm]

WED 21 April-THU 22 April: NYC, NY–Harvestworks: Soundtransit-The Art of Field Recording workshop [6:30pm each night] SOLD OUT!!!

FRI 23 April: NYC, NY–Bent Festival, Dumbo, 81 Front Street: TONEWHEELS workshop [12pm] performance [8pm]

TUES 27 April: NYC, NY–Electronic Music Foundation, 307 7th avenue ste 1402: Tuned City lecture [7pm]

THU 29 April: Providence, RI–Rhode Island School of Design: TONEWHEELS workshop

FRI 30 April: Providence, RI-AS220: TONEWHEELS performance + Black Pus (1/2 Lightning Bolt), Humanbeast and Shawn Greenlee [9pm]

(UPDATE!!! NEW LOCATION!!!) SAT 1 May: Cambridge, MA: Existence Establishment @ MIT Building N52, 265 Massachusetts Ave: TONEWHEELS performance + Karlheinz, Shawn Greenlee, Animal Steel, Brandon Terzakis, Benjamin Nelson, Bombings [8pm]

FLIERS


DETAILS

TONEWHEELS PERFORMANCE

TONEWHEELS is an experiment in converting graphical imagery to sound, inspired by some of the pioneering 20th Century electronic music inventions. Transparent tonewheels with repeating patterns are spun over light-sensitive electronic circuitry to produce sound and light pulsations and textures. This all-analog set is performed entirely live without the use of computers, using only overhead projectors as light source, performance interface and audience display. In this way, TONEWHEELS aims to open up the “black box” of electronic music and video by exposing the working processes of the performance for the audience to see.

TONEWHEELS WORKSHOP

TONEWHEELS is an experiment in converting graphical imagery to sound, inspired by some of the pioneering 20th Century electronic music inventions such as the ANS Synthesizer (Murzin USSR 1937-57), the Variophone (Sholpo USSR 1930) and the Oramics system (Oram UK 1957). In this workshop, participants will learn to construct their own optoelectronic synthesizer using two different circuits: a simple light-to-sound converter and a variable motor speed controller, as well as how to design and print their own tonewheel patterns using the FLOSS software Inkscape.

“A BRIEF HISTORY OF OPTICAL SYNTHESIS”

The technology of synthesizing sound from light is a curious combination of research from the realms of mathematics, physics, electronics and communications theory which found realization in the industries of motion picture films, electronic music, surveillance technology and finally digital communications.

This lecture will touch on various points in the development of optical sound synthesis in these various contexts, referencing the work of Joseph Fourier, Hermann von Helmholtz, Rudolph Koenig, Arseny Avraamov, Thomas Wilfred, Evgeny Scholpo, Nikolai Voinov, Oskar Fischinger, Boris Yankovsky, Edwin Emil Welte, Evgeny Murzin, Norman McLaren, Lev Theremin, Daphne Oram, Jacques Dudon and Iannis Xenakis, among others.

This lecture is given in the context of the opto-electronic performance TONEWHEELS, by Derek Holzer at the Bent Festival the following Friday.

Soundtransit-The Art of Field Recording

Wednesday & Thursday, April 21 & 22 6:30 – 9:30pm $100
Field recording, or phonography, is the art of recording sounds as they are found “in situ”, rather than those created in a studio or concert hall. There are as many ways of approaching field recording as there are field recordists, with interests ranging from recordings of natural or urban environments to improvised situations or soundwalks to the resonance of solid objects or the Earth’s atmosphere.

The first session of this workshop provides a theoretical introduction to the various microphone techniques and recording strategies used for field recording, as well as special tools which allow phenomenon such as physical motion, electromagnetic waves and light can also be converted into sound. This will be followed by a night-time recording excursion into the city.

The second session consists of a critical listening session of the sounds gathered the night before. Key concepts to be explored include musical and cinematic metaphors of sound, composing the cityscape and communicating senses of place and space through sound.

Participants may wish to upload their finished recordings to the Soundtransit.nl website, where they can be used to plan sonic journeys between hundreds of locations around the world.

While the instructor can provide one shared recorder and microphone, participants should bring their own recording equipment when possible. Derek Holzer can provide a simple pair of binaural microphones for sale at a cost of approx $35. They terminate in a right-angle stereo minijack plug, and use the plugin power from the stereo microphone input of the recorder. Please indicate before the workshop date if you would like to buy a pair, and please check that your recorder provides this plugin power (most with minijack stereo mic inputs do) before requesting them.

“Tuned City – Between sound and space speculation”

“Tuned City – Between sound and space speculation” was an exhibition and conference project taking place from July 01.-05. 2008 in Berlin which proposed a new evaluation of architectural spaces from the perspective of the acoustic. It’s next edition is scheduled to take place during the Cultural Capital summer of 2011 in Tallinn, Estonia.

In this lecture, we will see and hear some of the projects from the Tuned City event by Mark Bain, Raviv Ganchrow, Will Schrimshaw, John Grzinich, James Beckett, Akio Suzuki, Barry Blesser, Randy H.Y. Yau + Scott Arford, Thomas Ankersmit + Antoine Chessex, Bernhard Leitner, CRESSON, Farmers Manual, AGF, Chris Watson + BJ Nilsen, Jacob Kirkegaard, Martin Howse, Ralf Schreiber + Martin Kuentz and Staalplaat Sound System will be discussed, among others, as well as related projects covering the themes of Temporary Architecture for Sound, Buildings as Instruments and Composing the Cityscape. A limited number of catalogs and program guides will also be available.

Thanks!

Huge thanks go to Alexis Bhagat of ((audience)) and Shawn Greenlee of RISD for their monumental efforts to get this thing off the ground! Thanks also to Brendan Byrne of Bent, Joel Chadabe of EMF, Hans Tammen of Harvestworks, Egan Budd of Existence Establishment, Natalia Mount of Red House, Michael Baumann of Soundlab and Sean Donaher of CEPA for actually booking me, and to Gill Arno, Raphael Lyon and Tristan Perich for putting up crash space in NYC.

Now Playing

Carl Gustav JungDreams[book 1910-1952]
Pierre KlossowskiRoberte Ce Soir & The Revocation of the Edict of Nantes[book 1953]

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Interview for Bent Fest, NYC

Posted in Text on March 1st, 2010 by admin

The following is an interview I completed this evening for the Bent Festival in New York City, where I’ve been invited to perform TONEWHEELS and give a workshop over the weekend of 23-25 April 2010.

> *Bent:* /Before you got into electronics, what type of music or art were you into?/

I’ve been involved in electronic, media and net art for the past 10 years, and although I make “electronic music”, I don’t listen to any contemporary dance or pop artists at all. A look through my record collection might turn up electro-acoustic composers from the 1960’s, old African funk 45’s from the 1970s, hair metal from the 1980’s or hardcore from the 1990’s, plus folk music from any number of East European, Middle Eastern or Asian cultures. Just no techno.

Right now, some elements of the noise scene like Daniel Menche or Kevin Drumm remain pretty exciting, as well as more conceptual people like John Wiese or Florian Hecker. On the historical side, composers like Eliane Radigue, Maryanne Amacher, Iannis Xenakis, Bernard Parmegiani and David Tudor have been big inspirations to me. I also listen to shit-load of drone, doom, death and black metal.

It’s good to remind yourself that nothing is really ever new or original, you can find the roots of anything if you look deep enough into the past.

> Bent:* /How did you get into electronics?/

Long ago, in a previous lifetime, I was studying writing in the university. Some things in my life changed dramatically as a result of my first stint living abroad, and when I returned to the States my new path was clear: doing sound, and in a place where there is genuine support for the arts (i.e. Europe)!

Instead of completing my thesis, I attempted to build my first synthesizer from an SN76477 chip, probably liberated from a pinball machine somewhere. It was a failure, and I spent the next several years doing digital audio instead. I finally came back to electronics about four years ago, when I was so sick of laptop “performances” I couldn’t stand it anymore, and soon after began the process of building my own modular synthesizer as well as designing the TONEWHEELS optoelectronic synthesizer.

> Bent:* /Where do you find inspiration for your work?/

The TONEWHEELS project was inspired by some of the pioneering 20th Century electronic music inventions, such as the ANS Synthesizer (Murzin USSR 1937-57), the Variophone (Sholpo USSR 1930) and the Oramics system (Oram UK 1957). With the help of Andrei Smirnov of the Theremin Center in Moscow, I did an incredible amount of research into the history of drawn sound and optical synthesis while I was designing the TONEWHEELS synthesizer. The experiments made with “painted soundtracks” in the Soviet Union during the 1930’s in particular are mind-blowing, and without the work of Mr Smirnov they would be unknown to the rest of the world.

I also spent several days at the Daphne Oram archives at Goldsmiths University in London, reading the letters between her and the engineer who helped her build the Oramics machine. It was fascinating! The same concerns she had, and the same learning process, were the hurdles I had to jump in my own work.

You can see the results of my historical research here:

http://www.umatic.nl/tonewheels_historical.html

> *Bent:* /What is your take on the circuit bending community at large? Where are you in it?/

I’d have to say that I don’t consider myself a “circuit bender” exactly. It’s very rare that I take an existing consumer gadget and try to hack it. My approach tends to be to start with the most basic parts I can understand and work up from there. In the case of the TONEWHEELS project, that part is called a phototransistor, and my first experiment was simply to run 5 volts through it into a mixer channel and start flickering the lights in the room!

This might be where I part company from Reed Ghazala’s “antitheory” approach, which seems to be very popular among benders. For me, the possibilities come not from blindly sticking my fingers in things, but instead from understanding the materials I am working with and their specific properties. That said, I failed every math class I was ever forced to take and still maintain a rather intuitive relationship with those materials, which is hardly the way a “real” engineer might work!

I’ve always maintained that the only thing that separates artists using technology now from the electronic art pioneers of the 1960s and 1970s–such as Steina & Woody Vasulka, Don Buchla, Serge Tcherepnin, Dan Sandin and David Tudor–is the internet. Whereas they had much more limited channels to find the information they needed, we have an almost limitless supply. Which is of course the other half of the problem–trying to get the signal out of the noise.

> *Bent: *Is there anything you want to accomplish while you are in New York?/

Finding a place to stay during the week I’m there is a good start!!!!!

But seriously…I’m negotiating to do a field recording workshop at Harvestworks as well as a couple talks at the Electronic Music Foundation on the history of optoelectronic synthesis and a project related to sound and architecture I’ve been involved in called Tuned City.

Besides that, I’m trying to look up the current locations of some of the old original audio and video synthesizers produced in the 1960’s and 1970’s, so I can see them up close. Every university I’ve been invited to speak at in the US and the UK all seem to have some analog treasure locked up in a closet somewhere!!!!

> Bent:* /Who are you most excited to see at Bent? Why?/

I’m quite excited to meet Eric Archer, from Austin Texas. He is performing as part of Handmade Music Austin. Eric and I have been writing for a year or two now, and his Light2Sound device is totally awesome, a really nice introduction to optical synthesis for beginners. I have a huge amount of respect for Eric and his creations–maybe because I have a suspicion he aced his math classes and actually had an idea what he would do with it later!

Now Playing

daniel higgsdevotional songs of daniel higgs[2009 open mouth cassette]
david tudorthree works for live electronics[1996 lovely]
godfleshmerciless[1994 earache]
jaques dudonlumieres audibles[1996 mondes harmoniques](Thanks to Jonas Olesen, who pointed Dudon’s work out to me when I had overlooked it all this time…)
julian jaynesthe origin of consciousness in the breakdown of the bicameral mind[1976 book] (Thanks to Professor Anthony Moore of the KHM who reminded me of the longest title on my mother’s bookshelf when I was a child…and to my mother for digging it up for my birthday!)
nik raicevicthe sixth ear[1972]
ruth whiteseven trumps from the tarot cards[1969]
steve birchallreality gates: electronic meditations by steve birchall[2006 creel pone cdr]
various artists(andrzej dobwolski, bob cobbing & annae lockwood, daphne oram, eric nordgren, frederick charles judd, henri chopin, jean-luis brau, john mcclure, various junior & senior high school students, vladimir ussachevsky)creelpolation 1 – 7″ singles[2006 creel pone] (Creel Pone, I fucking love you!)
yellow swansbeing there[2010 type]

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Bent Fest NYC

Posted in Announcement on February 12th, 2010 by admin

The 2010 Bent Festival will take place at The Tank April 22-24, 2010…

…and I’m invited. I’ll be performing my TONEWHEELS set as well as giving a workshop to teach people how to build their own opto-electronic synthesizers.

The Bent Festival is an annual art and music festival celebrating DIY electronics, hardware hacking, and circuit bending. Each year we invite artists from across the country and around the globe to perform music with their home-made or circuit bent instruments, teach workshops to adults and children alike, create beautiful art installations and to generally come together, face to face, and showcase the state of the art in DIY electronics and circuit bending culture.

FEATURING ::vtol::, Action Potential:Interact, Adachi Tomomi, Alpha-Bit, Brendan O’Connell, Derek Holzer/TONEWHEELS, Dr. Bleep and Handmade Music Austin, Dr. Rek, Eric Archer, Gannon, homeless of the sea and sky, Iain Sharp, Joe Mariglio + Steven Litt, KBD, LCDD, Paulo R. C. Barros, Philip White, Phillip Stearns, Stefan Jankus, Threep, Travis Thatcher…and others…

I’m in the process of hooking up other workshops, lectures and performances in Buffalo, Syracuse, New York City, Providence and Boston over the dates 14 April – 1 May. Please get in touch if interested or if you can help out (particularly with a room in NYC over 19-28 April!!!) Further dates will be posted here when confirmed.

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