Adelaiden groove



(from the group spacialization - Ircam, 16 November 2004)

Technical devices: the specializatior, la Timee, the WFS, the space additive synthesizer (SAS), listening on interactive headphones (B.IN.A.U.R.)..

Composers: Pierre Boulez, Pascale Criton, Cecile Le Prado, Francois Nicolas, Emmanuel Nunes, Valerio Sinnicandro, Philippe Schoeller.

: + spacialization/localization, diffusion/radiation, abstract/actual, integration: place in a piece/piece in a place, ground/body, exterior/interior, front/intimate..

..'a sampler capture the sound within its space, a synthesizer inscribe a sound within a space..'

t, space - m, movement






Poster for the gig


Making sound for theater show

Theatre Guild
Experiments in science and time
The final production for the 2007
season of the University of Adelaide
Theatre Guild promises to be its
most fascinating play of the year.
An Experiment with an Air Pump
by British playwright Shelagh
Stephenson is a highly intelligent,
engaging and witty exploration of
science, ethics, family and the role
of women over the ages.
Set in the same house over two
time periods – 1799 and 1999 – An
Experiment with an Air Pump plays
with the audience’s expectations
as easily as it mixes the shifts
between time.
Stephenson’s award-winning
work was inspired by the 1768
painting by Joseph Wright of Derby,
An Experiment on a Bird in the Air
Pump, which depicted a scientific
subject as though it were a scene of
historical or religious significance.
In its fi rst known production in
Australia, An Experiment with an Air
Pump is directed by Geoff Brittain,
designed by Ole Wiebkin, and stars
Ben Brooker, Cheryl Douglas, Amy
Hutchinson, Chris Leech, Aldo
Longobardi, Sharon Malujlo and
Alison Sharber, who play dual roles
across the two time periods.
“There’s a link between 1999 and
1799, not just in the science or in
the depiction of women’s roles,
but also in the plot. The different
time periods come together very
well and are equally fascinating to
watch,” said assistant director
Bill Ramsay.
An important part of the blending
of these two time periods is the
use of music and sound effects,
being created by Music Technology
student Maria Fava. Ms Fava, from
Italy, recently moved to Adelaide, and she is
currently based in the University of
Adelaide’s Electronic Music Unit.
She said Beethoven’s famous
Sonata played a central role in the
music for the production.
“It is played in a classical way for
one time period, and for the other
time period it is remixed with other
elements, including a female voice,”
Ms Fava said. “This gives a match
between the two eras, and also is
a match of technology, science and
humanity. So in the music itself
there is a mirror of the concept of
the show.”
An Experiment with an Air Pump will
play at the Little Theatre (University of
Adelaide Cloisters, off Victoria Drive) at
7.30pm on 13 October, 16-20 October
and 23-27 October.
Tickets are $25/$20 concession and
$15 for current University of Adelaide
students and staff for Tuesdays only,
available from the Theatre Guild
on (08) 8303 5999, online at
or from BASS on 131 246.


Building Instruments

This week we had the chance to meet and listen at the work of Joanne Cannon and Stuart Favilla.
Their research focuses on live-performance, design and construction of new experimental musical instruments as:

The Light Harp

Originally designed to play Indian music through computers and synthesisers sounds, the Light Harp is the second space controlled instrument I ever saw (after Theremin).
32 virtual strings are generated by spotlights and lasers projected on light sensors (resistors) all along its smooth figure.
This instrument provide an incredible amount of possibilities: the strings are transposable over eight octaves and flexibly tunable;
the ancillary controls panel consists of 24 simultaneous channels of scanning analogue to

digital control capable of hundreds of MIDI controller assignments including breath- control, a pitch and modulation joystick, pressure sensitive and position-sensitive
touch strips, foot-control pedals, two large dial controllers that operate concentric to each other and an active electromagnetic proximity controller wand. Moreover the connection with control a mixer based MIDIBox allows for sixteen dials to control up to 760 parameters during performance!

The Serpentine Bassoon and the Contra Monster

These are double-reed instruments inspired on bassoon. Interestingly, the fact that leather is less resonant in comparison to other acoustic materials, facilitates amplification and avoids screeching feedback tones.
Other than their own proper sound, they both presents microphones [pickups], touch sensitive thumb-plates, pressure and movement sensors, which the musician can use to control synthesisers, samplers and effects machines.

Joanne uses the instrument to produce an incredible wide range of sounds; including wild animal cries, soft-detailed plucking sounds, bassoon, horn and oboe timbres, cycling rampaging flangers, distortion tones, melodic shifting delays and echoes and all manner of bizarre oscillations, sirens, mutterings and warbling.

I am fascinated. They sound and look great!
Performance is enriched with gesture and interplay. Analogue and synthetic grave together expanding in a new space...
I really would like to build my own instrument as well! Maybe for the performance in November... I definitely like the idea of space control. I imagine a number of photo resistors implanted on scene's walls. Performer is behind the public and appear on stage only in his shadow, triggering the sounds controls through its movements on the light-sensors.
The public could interact as well as the projected light come from behind.
And the sounds I imagine originate from the resonance of the room with water drops played live on a stable sonoric platform...mmm...let's see how.

Related links:
The Bent Leather Bend
Trossen Robotics
The photosonic Disk of Jaques Dudon
Some sounds from the Basquets Instruments in fiberglass


confused and irregular emanation of life's irregular confusion, never reveals entirely but always contains uncountable surprises.

As well as being one of the earliest composers and the genius of Futurist music, Luigi Russolo (1885-1947) was also an instrument builder, a signatory of the ‘Manifesto of Futurist Painters’, an engraver, a mystic and a scholar of Oriental philosophy. He was one of the most original personalities of Futurism.

Russolo’s noise-intoners was created by the artist to ‘harmoniously and rhythmically intone and regulate’ noises and interacting with the public.
Russolo’s spectacular, experimental sound-making machines – called noise-intoners, and used for concerts and performances – were born out of the ideas first put forward in his manifesto ‘The Art of Noises’ (1913). In this, written as an open letter to the Futurist musician Balilla Pratella, the artist stated that his aim was not the creation of cacophonous sound, but rather a rigorous research into acoustics and harmony – the discipline he was proposing to renew. Russolo wrote to Pratella: ‘Acoustics has little to teach us as it has – up to now – been applied primarily to the study of pure sound, neglecting almost entirely the study of noises.’ Hence the need for a set of instruments conceived to produce explosions, crackles, buzzes and scrapes. During his time in Paris between 1928 and 1930, Russolo expanded the range of applications for his noise-making inventions to include avant-garde cinematography. He played his instrument in The March of the Machines, Electric Nights and Montparnasse.

Russolo at the Russolophone, 1930
Russolo at the Russolophone, 1930, from Alexandre Grenier, Michel Seuphor, A Century of Freedom.
The intonarumori were a family of acoustic noise generators that permitted to create and control in dynamic and pitch several different types of noises.

Drawing of an Intonarumori
Drawing of an Intonarumori.

Each instrument was made of a wooden parallelepiped sound box with a carton or metal speaker on its front side. The performer turned a crank or pressed an electric button to produce the sound whose pitch was controlled by means of a lever on top of the box. The lever could be moved over a scale in tones, semitones and the intermediate gradations within a range of more than an octave.

Internal mechanism of a "Ronzatore - gorgogliatore" intonarumori (ca 1913)
Internal mechanism of a "Ronzatore - gorgogliatore" intonarumori (ca 1913)

Inside the box there were a wooden or metal wheel (whose shape or diameter varied depending on the model) that make a catgut or metal string vibrate. The tension of the string is modified by means of the lever allowing glissandos or specific notes. At one end of the string there is a drumhead that transmits vibrations to the speaker.

Luigi Russolo's "intonarumori" in 1919
Luigi Russolo's "intonarumori" in 1919.

There were 27 varieties of intonarumori with different names according to the sound produced: howling, thunder, crackling, crumpling, exploding, gurgling, buzzing, hissing and so on.


In class we looked at the work of different artists. I was particularly impressed by Mari Kimura and Eric Singer' s LEMUR group. This group has the purpose of creating robotic musical instruments. Even though they quite cybernetic these instruments sound very 'organic' and their shape interact with the environment in a quite 'natural' way. They affect audience and other players both, musically and emotionally, as they actually have a presence, or as Mari saiys "their own life".

Dancing Lemur


John Cage's Imaginary Landscapes (1939).

Oh great John, you enhanced the concept of unpredictability and non intentionality in music composition!
But in Music Tech randomness seams to play the main role so... some considerations on these concepts are coming into my mind.

Intuitively I think about the 'creative act' by excellence: the birth of a new human being.
Unpredictable - in it's essence, hopefully still for some years...
Non Intentional - eventually, as rising in freedom...

but...I wouldn't call mama and dad a random generator!!! > at least not yet.

Well, by heart I say:
"What is unpredictable for us
might not be random in nature,
rather necessary".

Nevertheless randomness sounds something different from unpredictability. Randomness is more an intellectual concept to me...
It is not connected with 'realty', it has its own 'life'... Is it all about imagination? Mmmh...
ok. I'm getting quite mystical, almost artificial.

So, let's go in the Kingdom of Hypothesis:
...when trying to explain a complex process, in science for instance, the hypothesis of randomness on the 'error term' is exactly what allows for forecasts on the others, the explanatory variables... randomness is what provides tools for a partial explanation, a potential understanding. It simplifies, defines limits and strengths of our models opening the way toward reassuring predictions.

Therefore randomness may be.... a constant answer for the unexplainable... a theme... while imagination flies over n.........Far out!

Yeah...Let it be.


Radio hacking

This time the game got serious! Photoresistors and logarithmic potentiometers were deployed for the 'circuit warriors' armed with Star Wars swards in Pitch Bend modulation...
So, what are them?

A potentiometer is a three-terminal resistor with sliding contact in the center. For us it worked as a variable resistor, manually adjustable and sound empowering.

A photoresostor is a particular kind of variable resistor whose resistence decrease with increasing incident light intensity. Technically if the light falling on the device is of high enough frequency, photons absorbed by the semiconductor give bound electrons enough energy to jump into the conduction band. The resulting free electron conduct electricity, thereby lowering resistance.
Aaah that's why the finger..!!
Here a little demonstration:


Piezo pienzo..

During this week Forum we looked more in detail at the features of contact microphones...the so called 'piezos'.

Piezoelectric microphones contain ceramic or quartz crystals linked with a diaphragm or directly exposed to acoustic waves. Stresses in the crystals, resulting from a sound field, generate an output proportional to the acoustic pressure. The frequency response is not very whide of course but many designs incorporate a built-in preamplifier next to the crystal. This reduces the electrical noise and output impedance.

Piezoelectric microphone. AP = acoustic pressure, Uo = output voltage, 1 = diaphragm, 2 = ceramic or quartz crystals, 3 = built-in preamplifier, 4 = case

How funky is the sound of a window glass in a windy day? And the one of the linf running into the branch of a tree, how intense? What about the blood in your veins..?
Mr. Piezo, as most in his family, have a double personality and can act as a microphone as well as a speaker - yeh yeh...
Running the sound through different objects you are physically filtering it and you can explore different characteristics of materials and shapes...
Interestingly, during class, we occurred in a mysterious phenomenon that made us doubt about the fact that Bob Dylan ghost was between us..............?
We were playing one of Bob's song from a CD player into a small amplifier outputting into the piezo. I was holding this piezo near the piano in Studio 5 and Colin holding an other amplifier with a piezo connected near the mixer. The two amplifiers were not connected by any sort of lead but, when we were both touching the piezos, Bob Dylan was actually playing in Colin's ampli!!!
Apparently we occurred in an experience of 'induction'..... in the sense that our skin was the conductor (and our body the antenna) within this magic magnetic field we are all surrounded by....Anyway it was very funny!
So, at the moment the idea is to construct a sort of 'piezo-gong' or even two (eventually to call back 'wireless-Bob'...).
With this, performers will be able to deploy their flesh properties in concertant movements...but how to deal with feedback ??
(I know...I'm obsessed...but I'm aware ok!?).
I've been looking with no luck for row materials... so now thinking about which kind of matter could be good for just expanding the surface... gold is kind of expensive even for Rotary!
More: running the sound through the walls of a room produces a spatialisation phenomenon in which sound varies according to human presence and movement in the acoustic space...always for the same induction, I guess...I'd like to try...but no more pieos at Dick Smith and quite a few are needed (someone used up to 500!).
Finally I found an interesting project called Sotavento :
'Sotavento is an artistic sound abstraction of the passionate and endless relationship between millions of trees and one single, inexorable wind, a wind that we all share. We establish an Internet-based, real-time movement communication between moving trees located in different countries. The trees' "dance" is tracked down by two dual-axis accelerometers, each fixed to the tip of a branch. We use the complex branch movements to generate or to trigger sounds. In this installation a tree is a self-replicant sound maker of its own dance. The audience can perceive the relation between the “dance” of the tree and the music it produces. Even is there is no wind, the tree in Mexico can “ask” (via Internet) for movements to a tree in Italy and generate its sounds with this information. The sounds are to be listened thanks to a set of four speakers installed around the tree.'




That's magic!
...where is your hand...?!


Vienna Vegetable Orchestra

... an other way of 'hacking'?

Victorian Synthesizer

The idea behind the the so called Victorian Synthesizer is to build sound components from a synthesizer as electroacoustic/mechanical devices ** as I understand this device should present the kinds of parts and capabilities traditional synthesizers have (oscillators, filters, amplitude envelopes, modulation) but using techniques known to the Victorians! a 'collision of contemporary concepts with outmoded means' that makes it an 'imagined historical' instrument...
In fact the Victorian Synthesizer is electro-mechanical rather than electronic; manual rather than voltage control is typically applied...accordingly the name comes with the fact that electro-magnetism is an 18th century discovery much celebrated by the Victorians.

To build one what is needed is pulling a part a speaker, get the inside part together with the two cables coming out of it than connect these cables with a battery through some crocodile cables and that's about it! The simple contact of the two cables produces a pulsed kind of creepy sound together with smelly sparkles...
(watch out for too long contacts, as often... they tend to burn away!)

Any sort of surface made by other conductor materials (a metallic sheet for example) can support the connection and give a variety of sonic texture accordingly to the probe gestures... The sounds can be modulated in the pitch by applying pressure on the membrane of the speaker. Also diverse objects like cloves and pins can be used and let percussively rattle on the top of the speaker in order to capture the popping-out movement of it: appearance of the conversion of the electro-magnetic energy into mechanical one. (thanks Mr. Physicists!)

Here a video of an essay with strings:

- Christian Haines, Stephen Whittington 'Music Technology Forum' Lecture presented at the Electronic Music Unit, University of Adelaide, South Australia, 26/07/2007
- Bowers, John. Suborderly ( [Accessed 1/08/2007] .
- "The Victorian Synthesizer". Field Muzick. ( [Accessed 1/08/2007]


Bowers, J. and Archer, P. (2005). Not Hyper, not meta, not cyber but infra-instruments. In Proceedings of New Instruments for Musical Expression 2005 (NIME 05), Vancouver, Canada.

Bowers, J. and Villar, N. (2006). Creating Ad Hoc Instruments with Pin&Play&Perform. In Proceedings of New Instruments for Musical Expression 2006 (NIME 06), Paris, France.

Collins, N. (2006). The Celebrated Jumping Speaker of Bowers County: Twitching Loudspeakers with Batteries. Chapter 5 of Handmade Electronic Music: The Art of Hardware Hacking. New York: Routledge.


First Soundtrack

Script by Ryan Flavel; realized at Logic Films Adelaide



for Piano, Theremin, Jupiter and VCS3.

Air assembly of different cognitive states, simultaneous stimuli for senses in an improvised combination of waves motion.
Recognition is brought by a constant, as often happens, but this time it won't be rhythm or harmonic structure, rather shapes...
The piece played on the piano leads the voice: it is inspired by a choral song by Andrea Kaluse for memory and mercy.
The introducing voice's from Lucy Bigelow Rosen in an interview for the Dutch Philips East Indies Broadcasting station (PHOHI, 1938).
The form rises from an interpretation on circular hands movements together with Jupiter base line projections. Intention is to explore new sounds prescinding from variables control
- as to say: always keep a Synthi in your camping bag and enjoy the journey!

"Thanks Vinny and all EMU department!"

Ref: Lucie Bigelow Rosen


First Music for Animation

Animation by Christina Erdos from Adelaide Uni Digital Media Course


Lucente e vuoto

a bracciate
di sogni concreti.
Lasciarsi cullare
in un'occasione
di movimento temporale.
Vivere il momento
in sync angolare con la distanza:
proiezione della spendida vastita'
di nostro pianeta necessario.

nella realta dell'immaginario
E poi naufragare
sul fragile equilibrio del naturale...


Construction and Deconstruction

This week we've been at the Diploma and Degree Forum. I must admit that I haven't really understood what was all about... Finding a formula for the most appealing song? Commenting many different people's ways of composing?
..Involuntarily, my "translation connections" went for a big nap!

By my side, I'm working always on samples...

and on the serial composition.
I want to record real instruments for it, because I'm definitely interested in learning as much as possible on recording techniques; than I find the "recording act" a necessary balance for such an intellectual exercise.

***Well, the real problem is that I haven't written any serial piece: it sounds ridiculously tonal to be called serial!
I spent quite a while looking for my series: building up conceptual transpositions, trying with calculations, parallelisms, even Cartesian Plan projections (...don't smoke too much!), but as soon as I was playing them, they were empty somehow. So, I resigned to my melodic nature and I believe it's all about "Bitonal-Serialism" (?)
The piece tells the story of BiTON 's inner dialog during a rought promenade......................many many thanks to Felicity (Cello) and Bryan (Vib)!! ***

On line Forums

Some links eventually helpful for musicians "in career":
- earthsound
- payapal
- audagest
(I'll put links later, otherwise I smash my internet quota for the one hundred million time againGrrrrrr(.
Referring to the subject of expansion in digital communication, I would like to talk about an indie webradio based in Toulouse: Radio Ombilikal (part of it is in French but there's some English too). These guys are doing a gorgeous thing in my opinion: broadcasting video-live dj performance or any "any cultural event" generated in private houses or parties often very distant from each other (members are from UK, France, Spain, Siberia etc.).
In fact the main problem they're facing to survive is that French intellectual right authority apparently reward them for all hours of life music but make them pay for all playback hours (and incrisingly with number of web visitors); they're looking for 24h/24 life gigs so, if you're in D&B, Jungle, Breakbeat...go to have a look!
Now I guess is really time to put my mind together. I feel the need to write down my ideas in order stop them sprawling and concentrate on creation.
- Audio main: flashlight kaleidoscope in smooth soundscape
- Audio class: GoodmorningAdelaide: birds on guitar study
- Midi main: music for film (?)
- Midi class: ... squared rhythm horror..!
- Serialism: for piano (or synth)-vibraphone-harp (or cello) and 12 concrete sounds
- Forum presentation: Sound's Phases
- History presentation: Mary Lou Williams
- Life Performance: sound diffusion; I would like to use also some of those interesting objects in Studio 5 (like Theremin or Oscilloscope...) or the room interaction technique, we talked about last forum, done manually, but with harmonica instead of voice or switching instruments with someone, any volunteer?
...mmmh still pretty fuzzy but enthusiast about all this and anyway I'm at "lights and stage" so let me know when your project is done...we'll make a beautiful shape for it!


EMU reportage

This short film rise from an attempt of showing the environment at the Electronic Music Unit of Adelaide University.
The subject for the interviews is really broad but it was fun to ask! the outcome of the video is just a bit naif but still interesting at my eyes...
The music was composted by Vinny in collaboration with me. The matter are live recordings, samples and patches generated in SC.



I admit that some sort of intolerance impulse pervaded me when in response to "So what?" the answer was "A Title", but in fact... "You can't explain anything" , he says.
Randomness might be the only one inner sense of this space.
. .
^ but I still believe it would have been more fun throwing in air pieces of papers !


Gender in Music Technology: the lack of female interest

Well, I guess I’m still a little lost with the class planning... probably fate wanted me to be there.
The incontrovertible evidence supported a funny and vivid discussion, ending up to a maybe banal but non the less effective: “and eventually who cares?”
Ben, Dug, Emy and Jacob analysed the issue extensively throughout statistics, web supporting corporations (almost revolting in my view), anthropologist and musicologist articles.
Comments were waving from one stereotype to another, characterising both shades of feminists revenge and machistic snobbism.
Some points of contrast came out: “how come that the paradigm of the woman taking care of the household feats a pretty organized attitude, but some statistics demonstrate that apparently females prefers soft-mastering stile to hard-complete-control?”.
I wonder if assumptions like "women are physiologically leaded to humanities" can be considered valid in anyhow and I'd also point out strongly the role of historically uneven access to education and present employment condition.
Anyway all these arguments were occurring while the projection of “Hunter” by Bjork dumbstruck the crowd (thanks Jacob!).
The career of another female artist comes to my mind: Laurie Anderson.
One of the central themes in her work is exploring the effects of technology on human interrelationships and communication with a definitely physical approach to computer music.
Here"O Supermen", 1982, the performance that made widely known.

For musical handcrafts freaks, Anderson several electro acoustic devices Anderson invented (I quote “Wikipedia” for their description):
The Tape-bow violin
Created in 1977. It uses recorded magnetic tape in place of the traditional hair in the bow, and a magnetic tape head in the bridge. She can be seen using a later generation of this device in her film, Home of the Brave, during the "Late Show" segment in which she manipulates a sentence recorded by William S. Burroughs.
The Talking stick
The talking stick is a six-foot long, batonlike MIDI controller. It was used in the Moby Dick tour in 1999-2000. She described it in program notes:
The Talking Stick is a new instrument that I designed in collaboration with a team from Interval Research and Bob Bielecki. It is a wireless instrument that can access and replicate any sound. It works on the principle of granular synthesis. This is the technique of breaking sound into tiny segments, called grains, and then playing them back in different ways. The computer rearranges the sound fragments into continuous strings or random clusters which are played back in overlapping sequences to create new textures. The grains are very short, a few hundredths of a second. Granular synthesis can sound smooth or choppy depending on the size of the grain and the rate at which they’re played. The grains are like film frames. If you slow them down enough you begin to hear them separately”.



This Forum session brought me to a memory (probably I'm still pretty homesick): the Novelum Festival in Toulouse, last November, an imaginific cluster of musical works rising from many different collaboration experiences.
In particular I would like to mention the outcome of a "multi-collaboration": between Tierry de Mey, a Belgian composer and film maker, his sister Michèle Anne De Mey, dancer, and Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, choreographer, on the music of Steve Reich.
This collaboration leaded to the production of a film, called Fase, exploring the intuition of movement and bounds, which is undoubtedly the guidance element in Thierry's work.
More than a beautiful movie, I think there was an interesting conception behind: the refuse to view rhythm as a striped combination of intervals within a time grid, instead to consider it more as a system which generates momentums, a game between leaps and falls.
The possibility to fully explore and develop this point was definitely given by the interactions with dance performers.


In addition to what was said, the capacity to "listen from the inside" appears to me the very first stage for collaboration: necessary condition to be able to feel and comprehend the "Soul", of others (human beings, animals or vegetables: alive, dead, not born yet or never meant to be born), instruments and objects.

...for sure they all have one...!


Than, I also thought that the Rooftop Film Festival of Brooklyn, NY, may interest someone here... It is a summer stage in New York open to emerging audio-visual artists from all around the word. Check it out!!

First Time

Just landed-
My eyelids are almost closing but some rugged analogic signals with a groovie bass impro relieve my wearying. I'm listening for the first time to these people... from the "Down Under".