Resonating Bodies

An acousmatic piece drawing from female voices, analogue synthesizer and kalimba as sound sources. This first version of the piece was premiered in a 46 channel diffusion at the MANTIS Electroacoustic Festival, Manchester 29th-31st October 2010. This version was revisited and remastered in october 2012

The piece was also performed in a “live” version in concert at AUXXX Berlin in September 2012 and played on Tom Lopez’s FOLDOVER web radio show and Susan Frykberg’s Radio New Zealand Electroacoustic programme<a href="">resonating bodies by richard scott</a>

Composition Process and Structure of Resonating Bodies
Although the idea came to me in the shower (something about light and water!) I established the instrumentation for this compsoition when improvising music with a silent film about water made by Yoann Trellu in performances at Dock 11, Berlin, in July 2009. On that occasion I played and transformed kalimba and analogue synthesizer, using JunXion and LiSa software with a camera as a modulation source to manipulate samples of female voices, playing and mixing these elements as a live improvisation.

For this fixed composition version I wanted to revisit exactly that particular combination of sounds and techniques. The resonating bodies in the title refer to the body of the kalimba, to the human body as it exists in the voice and to the resonating body of water, especially in the myriad of ways that it refracts and transforms light.

One technique I have explored here is using Yoann’s film directly as a source of modulation for vocal and percussion samples feeding the output of a digital camera trained on the projection screen into STEIM’s JunXion software. JunXion dynamically analyses the differences in the black/white content of each “frame” and translates these numbers into a stream of midi data which is scaled in various ways and used to trigger the playback of the samples and to modulate their length, start and end points, pitch, direction and filter frequency. I found I could also alter these responses by adjusting the position of the camera and that I could rhythmically mute and resume the system simply by putting my hand in front of the camera. With this method I found I was able to capture variations in the effect of light dancing across a moving body of water – especially the spray thrown up by very agitated water. The very rapid vocal and percussion transformations in the current piece were made using this method.

The piece is continuous, but falls in to the following sections

theme, 0 – 1′ 51”
initiatives, 1′ 51” – 2′ 55”
passage, 2′ 56” – 8′ 03”
variation 1, 8′ 04” -8′ 59”
interludes, 9′ 00” – 11′ 04”
variation 2, 11′ 05” – 12′ 02”
variation 3, (finale) 12′ 03” – 14′ 20”

The sound sources used are alto box kalimba, Rob Hordijk Blippoo Box, Plan B analogue modular synthesizer, Clavia Nord Modular synthesizer, recordings of singers Rebekka Uhlig and Carole Isis and snare drum samples provided by Gustavo Aguilar. The material was transformed using various hardware and software: Eventide H3000 D/SE and Eclipse processors, Cwejman FS1 analogue frequency shifter, Korg Kaoss, SoundToys, Pluggo and Waves plugins and STEIM’s JunXion and LiSa software.

Interests and Objectives
What interests me most here is the particular combination of kalimba, analogue synthesizer and female voice – it has the potential for a certain transparency and lightness, a certain kind of resonance. And and it is this “liquid” feeling of openness and resonance I wanted to expand on rather than sticking too closely to the idea of a “water-piece”. I had two other specific goals in this piece:

1. use rhythm and repetition and thematic elements
2. use of variation and conversation between spatial proximity and distance

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