antiThesis: InnaGadda Detective

Symposium:


Presentation Title:

  • antiThesis: InnaGadda Detective

Presenter(s):



Abstract:

  • David Simons uses the Theremin, one of the first electronic musical instruments, as a proximity and motion activated sample player. Taking a few steps beyond Leon Theremin’s invention, Simons uses motion and proximity to activate and manipulate audio samples. These samples are sourced from Simons’ own compositions, found objects or homemade instruments, and soundbites from TV, film and recorded media. Simons uses MAX/MSP software to trigger and alter the digital samples. This nonlinear compositional method is a unique and hyper-sensitive interactive design. Two electro-magnetic spheres of possibility are created by the instrument’s antennae.
    David Simons performs his recent compositions for solo Theremin: “Pythia” adds dialogue from Hitchcock’s film Shadow of a Doubt to the heterodyning, difference tones and deep gong samples; “Fujara” is based on the sound of Slovakian overtone fipple flute; “Occupational Therapy” and “You Don’t Know” features samples of jaw harp, drums, aluminum cans, glass bottles and a Donald Rumsfeld speech (2013-14). A webcam will provide live motion tracking to trigger sound and image in “Gamelan in Motion”, from 2013, with Simons playing a virtual gamelan ‘in the air’. In “antiThesis” video projections are manipulated via theremin proximity, along with filmic soundtracks. The speed, size and position of the videos are altered live in a multiple collage of sound and image. “InnaGadda Detective” premiered Oct, 2014 – using just a floor tom and crash cymbal as velocity trigger, Simons attempts to activate each successive note of “the riff” with each stroke of the drum, simultaneously un-pausing one of 6 or more detective stories from the early days of radio plays.
    In these works David Simons is investigating how one medium can be used to control another: sound alters image, light and motion triggers sound; and also demonstrating that a sound from one instrument can trigger a sound from a completely different family of instruments. In “Virtual Percussion Trio”, each player triggers percussion samples and loops while playing extended techniques on their own instrument; this has been performed with theremin, voice and viola premiering at Galapagos in Brooklyn and touring to the Brussels Theremin Convention, Sacred Rhythm Percussion Festival in Bali, and other venues.
    The theme of disruption is developed as we confront the manipulation in real time of video images and audio samples being sped up, slowed down, re-sized, collaged, reversed, interrupted, and certainly re-contextualized. In the case of “InnaGadda Detective”, the narrative detective story is disrupted when the next one takes its place in a round-robin type of 8 part lineal counterpoint; at each disruption the next note of the familiar Inna Gadda da Vida riff is activated, one note at a time. The audience must piece together the notes to form an audio image recognition of the tune.
    “A color changes when a changing sound is heard” (Josef Albers, 1972 via Taussig “Redeeming Indigo”). Our perceptions form a relational link between action and memory, and result in giving meaning to a subjective experience such as musical performance.

    Video: Theremin is Reading my Thoughts

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