Saturday, February 13, 2010

Copper Contacts

I attended my third lecture this year in the UdK Sound Studies department. John Richards gave an interesting talk/performance on new modes of performance and interactive environments. John demonstrated several of his own self-made instruments and talked about ideas of new performance techniques and other possibilities. I got to participate in a short performance of a composition, titled I Love You, for Sudophones. Afterwards I was invited to go along for some drinks. I challenged an idea regarding the definition of a musical instrument that John had presented earlier. Simon and John accepted the challenge and within a cloud of high caliber discussion sparked by my comments, I felt I held my own rather well and may have even changed their minds. Jef provided good humor with his impersonations. I got some insight on the Berlin Sound Studies program from Martin Supper, a professor in Sound Studies, and Daisuke Ishida, a Japanese sound artist who is currently studying under the program. Daisuke told me enough to confirm my fears about pursuing a master's degree in a foreign language. I am now considering, more than before, several British programs.


I was invited to attend a Dirty Electronics workshop. We built an electronic instruments that John has named Skull Etchings. They are simple sound circuits on an artistically etched printed circuit board (PCB). It is touch sensitive and very noisy! There are two oscillators, a feedback loop, distortion, and a filter.

After the workshop, some us went for some tapas, drinks, and discussion. Afterwards we went to a very cool bar to continue the discussion. Here, John's friend Hilary, composer and trombone player, met up with us. We got to meet the owner, who is a famous German soap actor. Christian was very excited, because his mother watches the show everyday. We took a photo of the two of them so he could show his mom. I ended up crashing at Christian's place that night as a result of being out rather late and on the opposite side of the city from where I live. He is very much into electronic sound circuits and taught me some interesting things such as how to build pick-up coils. You can find a recording of me playing one of his home-made instruments on the Zauner Elektronik blog.

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