MATRIXSYNTH: Sanfrancisco Electronic Music Festival via Brian Comnes

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Sanfrancisco Electronic Music Festival via Brian Comnes

Remember the SFEM? The following are Brian Comnes' notes on the last Friday of the event.

act 1 - Barbara Golden, a big Bay Area name in alternative music came out and read a piece of prose about getting lusty with some now dead poet, allegedly Lenoard Cohen's mentor, and there was a home slide show of her in the 70's with canned bouzuki music - a nice prose spoken word piece, but wierd for the SFEMF is you think about it

Act 2 was Steven Roden, his rig is in the picture I attached and as far as I can tell it is a few guitar delay boxes and some sound sources, harmonicas, slide guitar, and including the wooden peach crate which is apparently rooted in some electronica history , very nicely done piece but it put me to sleep, hardly synth porn..... here is another shot from the sfemf press photos site, hey he's playin a harmonica, not biting his nails.

Act 3 part 1 was a 12 minute set of Risset Tones (Risset tones are based on the work of Roger Shepard in the 1960's and the further developments made later by Jean-Claude Risset, RissetTones is designed to create an acoustical illusion. Perhaps best explained as the aural equivalent of the barber pole, the product of the RissetTones is a gliding tone which seems always to be moving either up or down in pitch while staying in the same general position.) Bottom line is that it was about 9 minutes too long, heck I could have done that with a copy of AudioMulch and 2 mouse clicks, a lot of people were looking at their watched at the 5 minute mark, to top it off I think it was from CD and not genrated live.

Act 3 part 2 piece by Toronto-based James Tenney whose piece which was played back from CD with a live percussion overlay by percussionist William Winant. He showed up with about 80 pieces of kit, including tuned Bundt cake pans, assorted pan lids in addition to a gong, tympani and other more traditional drum stuff but look at that other attched picture and you will see a door bell buzzer (!) in a box that was fileterd by opening and closing the lid, the canned track part seemed to be random synth burps and gee if I had 80 things to bang on I'd like to think I could keep it going, he had some great techniques though with the gong and tympany by rubbing on them with a mic'ed stick of some sort

the best of the evening was before the show .....a multimedia installation at Recombinant Media Labs by Semiconductor....the venue is superb, you are surrrouned by ten 15 foot wide by 8 foot high video screens in a 30X45 foot room and it has 16 channel surround, the video was NASA video and still shots of the sun using the solar energy patterns worked down to audible levels and added harmonics, i.e. the whiter the screen the louder the music, ...its a really cool way to experience solar flares to say the least

also I didn't see it but on Thursday night Brenda Hutchinson was playing this rig"

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