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LINE UP 2011

ALEX NOWITZ | ATAU and ADAM | CHIKASHI MIYAMA (ANGRY SPARROW) | DJ SNIFF (STEIM) | Lore Lixenberg & STELARC | LEAFCUTTER JOHN | MOOV | MILANA ZARIC (harp) & HUGO MORALES | MUSIC FOR SLEEPING & WAKING MINDS | PHILIP JECK (TOUCH) | RICHARD CRAIG |  RYAN JORDAN |  SARAH ANGLISS | SIMON KATAN | TIM EXILE (WARP RECORDS) | TRIO SCORDATURA with ANNE LA BERGE & SCOTT McLAUGHLIN | Mothers Against Noise

 

Alex Nowitz uses game controllers to send electronic sounds through space. Incredibly controlled choreography and an accuracy of composition are the hallmarks of Nowitz’s creativity. Nowitz has been an artist in residence at STEIM since 2007 and his piece Minotaur won the ECPNM Prize 2009 (European Conference of Promoters of New Music).  Alex Nowitz is a composer and voice artist, a whistling and singing virtuoso, a tenor and countertenor with incredible extended techniques in his vocabulary. In 2009 he won the 2nd European Competition for Live-Electronic Music Projects of ECPNM. With kind support from MWFK Brandenburg (Germany), EMS Stockholm and STEIM Amsterdam, he premiered the new work “Minotaurus”, for amplified voice and live-electronics with gestural controllers at the final concert of the ISCM (International Society of Promoters of New Music) World New Music Days 2009 in Gothenburg/Sweden. Click here to read more about this.  Since autumn 2007, Alex Nowitz has been invited by STEIM in Amsterdam to develop setups for live electronics as extensions for his vocal performances. Currently, he uses two gestural controllers (Wii-Remote controllers), a computer (MacBookPro) and STEIM-software (LiSa, junXion). In 2010, together with artist Florian Göttke and the staff at STEIM he developed a new setup/instrument which contains of two controllers built from scratch, without using commercial components provided by the game industry. On April 12, 2011 the first public showing of that instrument, called The Shells, took place during the solo show Homo Ludens as being part of the new music series Amuse-Geules at the Radialsystem Berlin.  Alex Nowitz – STEIM projects 2007-2008.

 

Adam & Atau exploit a commonly available consumer electronics device, the Apple iPhone, as an expressive, gestural musical instrument. The device is well known an iconic object of desire in our society of consumption. The iPhone can play music as a commodity, and this is the way most listeners interact with it. Adam & Atau reappropriate the iPhone and its advanced technical capabilities to transform the consumer object into an expressive musical instrument for concert performance.  In a duo, with one in each hand, they create a chamber music, 4-hands iPhone. The accelerometers which typically serve as tilt sensors to rotate photos in fact allow high precision capture of the performer’s free space gestures. The multitouch screen, otherwise used for scrolling and pinch-zooming text, becomes a reconfigurable graphic user interface akin to the JazzMutant Lemur, with programmable faders, buttons, and 2D controllers that control synthesis parameters in real time. All this drives open source Pure Data (PD) patches running out of the free RJDJ iPhone app. A single advanced granular synthesis patch becomes the process by which a battery of sounds from the natural world are stretched, frozen, scattered, and restitched. The fact that all system components – sensor input, signal processing and sound synthesis, and audio output, are embodied in a single device make it very different than the typical controller + laptop model for digital music performance. The encapsulation in a self-contained, manipulable object take the iPhone beyond consumer icon to become a powerful, expressive musical instrument.

 

Chikashi Miyama’s performance consists of four quasi-improvisatory pieces for Seven Eyes and Peacock: self-designed box-shaped sensor-based performance interfaces. These interfaces detect the movement of performer’s hands using several infrared proximity sensors, convert it to digital data, and control parameters of synthesizers running on a laptop based on the captured data. Two pieces of them, Black Vox and Angry Sparrow,were selected by ICMC and NIME in 2009 and 2010. The performance also includes Liquid Flame , a live multi-media performance for Peacock and interactive video. In this piece, an OpenGL-based software developed by the performer generates video images in realtime utilizing physic-based particle engine. The fourth piece is a completely new work to be premiered at BEAM.  Black Vox | Angry Sparrow | Liquid Flame (fixed video version — will be performed live in the festival).  Chikashi Miyama is a composer, video artist, interface designer, and performer. He received his MA (2004) from Kunitachi College of Music, Tokyo, Japan, and Nachdiplom (2007) from Music academy of Basel, Switzerland. He is currently attending the State University of New York at Buffalo for his ph.D, and teaching electronic music as a TA. He has studied under Takayuki Rai, Georg Friedrich Haas, Jacob Ulmann, Erik Oña, and Cort Lippe. His compositions have received a second prize in SEAMUS commission competition (2010/St. Cloud, USA), a special prize in Destellos Competition (2009/Argentina), and a honorable mention in the Residence Prize section of the Bourges Electroacoustic Music Competition (2002/France). In addition, he was selected for SUNY chancellor’s award (2011/USA). His works and papers have been accepted by ICMC ten times, by NIME four times, and selected by various international festivals in 17 countries.

 

dj sniff (Takuro Mizuta Lippit) is a turntable musician working in the field of improvised and experimental music. His music focuses on the live reconstruction and narrativization of the phonographically amplified – the music, the sound, the technology and the past. To achieve this, he uses a unique setup of custom hardware and software along with one turntable and DJ mixer. He hopes he can reflect his influences from Hip-Hop and Free Jazz not stylistically but through an exploration of a distinct instrumental voice and practice. He is also a concert/event curator for electronic music and a researcher of music technology.  While studying Art History and Philosophy in Tokyo, he was active as a DJ in the underground electronic music scene and formed a collective called smashTV productions which organized genre-mixing events such as anti-Gravity and bistro-Smash!. In 2002, he moved to New York to pursue graduate studies in computer music and physical computing at NYU’sITP (Interactive Telecommunications Program). During this period he released a handful of DJ mixes.  Since 2005 he has been involved with STEIM’s (Studio for Electro-Instrumental Music, Amsterdam) R&D lab. From 2007 on, he is STEIM’s Artistic Director, guiding the institution’s creative output and representing it’s activities through performing and lecturing around the world.  In 2010, he released his first solo album “the play-back” through lebanese label Annihaya. During the first half of 2011 his 2nd album based on Evan Parker recordings will be released from Parker’s label Psi. He regularly performs in projects with eRikM, Tatsuhisa Yamamoto, Astro Twin (Ami Yoshida & Utah Kawasaki), Adachi Tomomi, Keir Neuringer, Raed Yassin, Yutaka Makino. In the past he has played with Evan Parker, Otomo Yoshihide, Akira Sakata, David Toop, Martin Tetreault, Michel Waisvisz, DJ L?K?O, Ryu Hankil, John Edwards, Mark Sanders, John Richards, and many others.

 

 

Leafcutter John  Yorkshire come London lad, John Burton has graced the planet with his remarkable contributions to electronic, folk and experimental music since his primary exploring with an old computer he originally bought to write his Art School dissertation in 1998. Since then he’s released 5 critically acclaimed albums which culminated in the release of “The Housebound Spirit” on Planet Mu Records. An Album which combined elements of music-concrete and electro-acoustic music with voice and guitar work more commonly found in folk music.  His forth album “The Forest and the Sea” (Staubgold) became a great success for artist and label alike and was nominated for best album (Quartz award 2007), with it he toured extensively throughout Europe and Australasia performing alongside; Matmos, Nick Cave, Keith Fullerton Whitman, Jarvis Cocker, Yo La Tengo, Grace Jones, Beth Orton, Otomo Yoshihide, Aki Onda, Phillip Jeck, Carsten Nicolai, Tujiko Noriko amongst others.  John is also a full time member of the Mercury Music Award nominated contemporary Jazz band Polar Bear, providing electronics, guitar, and vocals, and with the bands founder Sebastian Rochford John collaborates in the duo project ‘Nails’. John’s other duo project includes one with the accomplished Tabla player Talvin Singh (tabla / voice & electronics / guitar / voice).

 

Philip Jeck will be giving the final set on Saturday night before the Music for Sleeping sleepover. Prepare to be totally entranced by his overpoweringly epic and transformative soundscapes – an experience not to be missed!  Philip Jeck studied visual art at Dartington College of Arts. He started working with record players and electronics in the early ’80’s and has made soundtracks and toured with many dance and theatre companies as we as well as his solo concert work. His best kown work “Vinyl Requiem” (with Lol Sargent): a performance for 180 ’50’s/’60’s record players won Time Out Performance Award for 1993. He has also over the last few years returned to visual art making installations using from 6 to 80 record players including “Off The Record” for Sonic Boom at The Hayward Gallery, London [2000].  Philip Jeck works with old records and record players salvaged from junk shops turning them to his own purposes. He really does play them as musical instruments, creating an intensely personal language that evolves with each added part of a record. Philip Jeck makes geniunely moving and transfixing music, where we hear the art not the gimmick.  Philip Jeck is published by Touch Music [MCPS]. His work is also released on Touch, one of the most influential independent labels based in the UK [founded 1981/2] and he has contributed pieces from his archives to TouchRadio.

 

Music for Sleeping & Waking Minds is an overnight event on Saturday night that feature performers who alternately sleep and awaken. As the performers cycle through different stages of and sleep and wakefulness, their brainwaves drive the generation of music. This music evolves through changes in states of mind, which are tracked through specially designed brain-computer interfaces that translate physiological data into a nuanced, immersive electro-acoustic composition. Music for Sleeping & Waking Minds is the second in a series of overnight works conceived by Gascia Ouzounian as ‘memory processing rituals’: works that engage the memory within multiple states of consciousness. It is made in collaboration with the Biomuse Trio, and features original interface and interaction design by R. Benjamin Knapp, and interactive audio software design by Eric Lyon.  N.B. This really is an OVERNIGHT SLEEPOVER! Please note: audiences should bring anything that will ensure comfortable sleep (blankets, sleeping bags, pillows, comfortable clothing, etc.) and be in the space 30 minutes prior to the scheduled start time of this performance.  On Sunday morning, there will be a post-show FESTIVAL BREAKFAST where the Biomuse Trio (Eric Lyon, R. Benjamin Knapp, Gascia Ouzounian) will host a workshop on physiological and emotional interfaces in music. There will be an informal discussion session on the previous night’s event, followed by a demonstration of different bio-music interfaces and interaction designs. Sunday Day-Pass participants are also welcome to attend this.

 

 

jamesmaxsandyMothers Against Noise is a collective of electronic music performers and producers originating from Brunel, with a small, but memorable foothold in the London dance music scene. Typically associated with a more experimental angle of bass heavy and funk-break led club music, a wider interest had led three of its founding members – Hurtdeer, Duskky and Myr – to borrow the group’s name for an improvised ambient/ soundscape collaboration. A collaboration that involves a loose structure, three different stylistic approaches, and yet a consistant tone to the piece, this incarnation of Mothers Against Noise, like with its more dance-floor friendly approaches, aims to take its audience somewhere more unusual.  M.A.N. is Max Peake, Sandy Finlayson and James Waterworth.

 

 

Ryan Jordan: Channelling Interference  | The audio static buzz and noise is momentarily hijacked as stray pirate radio frequencies are channelled and received through human flesh and bone. The squawks of voices and distorted rhythms of music below out as the interference is carried inside the system. Approaching the phosphor coated television screen noticeable patterns begin to form and change with the bodies proximity to the radioactive, electromagnetic device. Upon contact with the screen and the skin electrons shoot from the cathode ray tube sending painful static pulses racing out into the ether, hurtling towards the earth. The body absorbs them willingly channelling them through the circuit.  Oscillations of bioelectrical feedback.  The body is integrated.  Ryan Jordan (born Ipswich, 1983) is a UK based electronic artist working with self made instruments and tools for live interactive performance. His work is focused on movement and the physicality in live electronic performance, noise and underground music, hypnosis and trance states, and D.i.Y culture. He has performed and presented his work internationally in a wide range of venues from art and academic institutions to derelict warehouses and squats. In 2006 he started noise=noise, a sporadic experimental performance event, which has showcased many artists, academics, hackers, dancers, and performers ranging from the internationally acclaimed to the underground lurker. Ryan has collaborated with various people on many performances and projects including Martin Howse, John Bowers, Jonathan Kemp, Z’EV, Julien Ottavi, Geraldine McEwan, Tim Hopkins, and Mick Grierson. He is currently undertaking a PhD at the Music Technology and Innovation Research Centre at De Montfort University, Leicester.

 

Sarah Angliss will give a performance on the Saturday evening of BEAM, after the Music from motion workshop. Characterised by her entrancing other-worldly atmospheres, Sarah will control her robots by playing the theremin, one of the earliest gestural electronic instruments.  A musician and kinetic artist, Sarah Angliss (aka Spacedog) is known for her dreamlike performances incorporating phonographs, theremins, roboticised vent dolls and other curious machines. Sarah regularly performs live and is particularly known for her skills on the theremin and for the automata which she makes to accompany her on stage. Trained in electroacoustics, music and robotics, Sarah takes a keen interest in the psychology of listening, biologically inspired machines and unusual physical interfaces. Her work has explored Lancashire clog dancing as early noise music (with Caroline Radcliffe); musicians’ attitudes to the first drum machines and samplers (the subject of her recent TEDx talk Loving the Machine); the uncanny valley; early notions of recorded sound and radio; and the reputed psychological effects of infrasound.  Her world-renowned collaboration Infrasonic (May 2002) led to a new special effect, in collaboration with Punchdrunk Theatre Company, which debuted in It Felt Like a Kiss, Manchester International Festival June 2009. In July 2011, Radio 4 will be broadcasting her documentary on the use of birds as primordial sound recorders. Sarah has been experimenting with optical flow algorithms – the subject of her BEAM workshop – at the Zoological Society of London.

 

STELARC *Warning: some of the linked pictures are very graphic!*  Stelarc has visually probed and acoustically amplified his body. He has made three films of the inside of his body. Between 1976-1988 he completed 25 body suspension performances with hooks into the skin. He has used medical instruments, prosthetics, robotics, Virtual Reality systems, the Internet and biotechnology to explore alternate, intimate and involuntary interfaces with the body. He has performed with a THIRD HAND, a VIRTUAL ARM, a STOMACH SCULPTURE and EXOSKELETON, a 6-legged walking robot. His PROSTHETIC HEAD is an embodied conversational agent that speaks to the person who interrogates it.  Stelarc has a surgically constructed EAR ON ARM. In 1997 he was appointed Honorary Professor of Art and Robotics at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh. In 2003 he was awarded an Honorary Degree of Laws by Monash University. He received a New Projects grant from the Australia Council in 2010 to develop a micro-robot. Last year he was also awarded the Prix Ars Electronica Hybrid Arts Prize. He is currently Chair in Performance Art, School of Arts, Brunel University London, Uxbridge, UK. He is also Senior Research Fellow and Visiting Artist at the MARCS Auditory Labs at the University of Western Sydney, Australia. Stelarc’s artwork is represented by the SCOTT LIVESEY GALLERIES in Melbourne.  Stelarc in Second Life

 

Tim Exile is a virtuosic genius wizard when it comes to making sounds from anything, creating intense, humorous music and super-high-energy beats by only using the input of his voice. Expect a display of mad cap fast-fingered dexterity, as Tim whips up a storm of melodies and rhythms.  See Tim Exile’s youtube channel here

 

Trio Scordatura: Elisabeth Smalt, viola, voice; Alfrun Schmid, voice, violin; Bob Gilmore, keyboard / with Anne La Berge, flute, computer and Scott McLaughlin, sound: Scott McLaughlin – at least two things (2011)  |  Anne La Berge – away (2008)  |  Christopher Fox – BLANK (2002)  | Anne La Berge – Lumps (2010-11).  Interview with Anne La Berge at bottom of this page.

 

Torque – for harp and pedal-propelled DC motorsThis piece will be performed at regular intervals throughout the festival, during the main installation opening hours: Friday 5-8, Saturday 1-7.  In Torque the harp is explored as a perpetual string resonator. The vibration of the different strings create clouds of overtones constantly changing over time. The harpist regulates the resonance of the instrument and controls the strings to be excited by manipulation of the harp pedal.  Milana Zarić was born in Belgrade. She finished her undergraduate studies in harp performance with distinction before she went to London in the year 2000. She was awarded a scholarship for attending the Postgraduate Advance Diploma Course at Trinity College of Music, where she studied with Imogen Barford and Sioned Williams. She completed the course in 2002, after which another scholarship followed for the Individual Programme of Study course at the same college, where she studied with Gabriella dall’Olio. In the recent years, she has also attended master classes by distinguished international harpists such as Susanna Mildonian, Helga Storck, Fabrice Pierre and Brigitte Sylvestre in Italy, France and England respectively. Milana performs regularly in various chamber ensembles, ranging from duos to nonets. The most recent performances include leader of the harp ensemble at the openning of the International Harp Festival. Milana is the founding member of the Trio Timbre, as well as duo Neo with Marina Nenadović. In the season 2004-2005. Milana was solo harpist of the Opera of Serbian National Theatre in Novi Sad .Since 2005. she holds the position of solo harpist in the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra.  Hugo Morales Murguia (Mexico City, 1979) is a composer and sound artist based in the Netherlands. His current work focuses on the development of alternative instruments for sound oriented composition through the extension of traditional instruments and/or implementations of rudimentary objects. Various technological applications, physical sound processes and unconventional instrumental techniques are usually elements defining his music composition and performance.

 

Moov  Elizabeth Nygard & Colin Riley perform together in Moov; interval sets on Saturday night. LN: ‘MooV is a band which thrives on working at the margins. It blends highly scored material, improvisation, and live electronics into carefully-crafted songs. Taking time to unravel its mysteries, it draws in equal measure on both the avant-garde and on popular culture. It remains at all times intimate, engaging and sophisticated, suggesting the voice of the impassioned individual surrounded by the indifferent chatter of 21st-century life.’  ‘Something extraordinarily strange and beautiful.’ BBC Radio 1  ‘Rasping blues folksong inflections … icy-breath intimacy … real warmth and passion’ Jazzwise  ‘Colin Riley has a restless spirit. His activities in the past few years have resisted categorization’ Guardian

 

Richard Craig: A rare opportunity to take a closer look into sonic capabilities of the lower flutes with electronics. Repertoire to include works by Christopher Fox, extracts of John Croft’s new monodrama for bass flute/contrabass flute and voiceMalédictions d’une furie for and Harald Muenz’s Ariche.  Pre-concert talk with John Croft and Richard Craig. An introduction to the instrumental techniques and the collaborative process involved in developing the new workMalédictions d’une furie for voice and bassflute/contrabass flute with live electronics.  Richard Craig is a truly phenomenal flautist who takes on the hardest repertoire available for the instrument and then commissions more. He is pioneering in his work with John Croft in flute and live electronics and this performance and talk will give a detailed insight into their collaboration.  See Richard Craig & Lore Lixenberg on Saturday 25h June at 3pm

 

God Over Djinn (for laptop & projector) A computer visual and synthesised sound composition that draws on our intuitive understanding of the physical world, as well as playing with ambiguities between scale and perspective in two-dimensional representation to create seemingly infinitely nested worlds of colliding objects.  “Genie: Oh aren’t you acquainted with recursive acronyms ? I thought everybody knew about them. You see, ‘GOD’ stands for ‘GOD Over Djinn’ – which can be expanded as ‘GOD Over Djinn, Over Djinn’ – and that can, in turn be expanded to ‘ GOD Over Djinn, Over Djinn, Over Djinn’ … ” (Hofstader,79).  Simon Katan (b.1979) is a composer and performer, living and working in East London, whose diverse activities aside from writing traditional scores include interactive installation, performance art, and game design. He studied a BA in music at the Welsh College of Music and Drama (2001), an MMus in composition at Goldsmiths University (2005) and is currently working on his PhD as an Isambard Research Scholar at Brunel University. Simon is also a SAM shortlisted composer whose music has been performed by himself, Brainer, Ensemble Scratch the Surface, Kate Ryder, and others at many festivals including Spitalfields Festival, Borealis Festival, Sound Waves 2010, Sonic Expo 07 and 08 and Sonorities Festival 06. Recent commissions include Spitalfields Festival , Borealis London Launch and the Adopt a Composer Scheme.  Simon has designed and run social and pervasive games for Hide and Seek, Coney, Igfest, and Sony PlayStation at venues such as the Secret Garden Party, The Green Man Festival , Round House, Royal Festival Hall, Barbican, ICA, Battersea Arts Centre and Shunt. He is a committed educationalist, running workshops and teaching composition in schools and other institutions including the Southbank Centre, and was an apprentice animateur for the Spitalfields Festival in 2008.

 

Interview with Anne La Berge by Brunel Music student, Phil Maguire

Anne La BergeAnne La Berge, internationally acclaimed flautist and member of ensembles such as Shackle, is performing at BEAM with Bob Gilmore’s Trio Scordatura. She was kind enough to answer a few questions about her work.

Phil Maguire: To begin, could you give a brief musical background? How did you get into performing contemporary music and using electronics, and what can the uninitiated expect from your performances?

Anne La Berge: I am a classically trained flutist with a strong passion for experiment. In my late high school years I performed music by living composers and found that the more contemporary sound worlds and structures of a handful of twentieth century composers really spoke to me. I was hooked. Using electronics is a more complicated story. A simple explanation is simply that I needed to play as loud as the other guys and amplification didn’t seem to be enough. Thus, using processing on my flute gave me that extra dimension that allowed me to enter into the sonic and dynamic domain of my laptop, electric guitar, drum playing colleagues. A more involved story includes many lovely hours working with composers such as Larry Polansky and Nick Didkovsky in the 1970s as a guinea pig for interactive computer music and algorithmically composed music. I like gadgets too.

The “uninitiated” is a very bold word. My performances often include text and narrative. I offer sound and information as food for intellectual and physical impressions. A newcomer would most likely come away with something to contemplate. That can range from what the score may look like, or how the players can play those extended techniques, to what a ganglion cyst actually is.

PM: What flautists have influenced your playing and development of your technique?

ALB: Frank Bowen, Alexander Murray, Carol Wincenc, John Fonville, Rahsaan Roland Kirk.

PM: Trio Scordatura is a new venture for you. Could you explain the differences between this ensemble and your usual ventures, particularly Shackle?

ALB: Shackle’s music is almost purely electronic and the improvisations are guided by a communication strategy that includes a computer network.

Trio Scordatura uses the fantastic resources of classically trained musicians that can call up and improvise on myriads of styles in an abstract way. I would not say that my collaboration with Trio Scordatura is a new venture. I would say that it is taking part in a way of making music that has been familiar to me for many years. Some of the members of Trio Scordatura are not as active in their careers as improvisers as I am. This is perhaps what you are asking about. In that case, using buttons as controllers and interacting actively with the computer is new for Trio Scordatura. Making a piece where performers get to do those things is a more recent endeavor of mine. I’ve been building controllers for the musicians who perform my works for the last few years. I could just push all the buttons myself but I think we should all have the chance to do it.

PM: Your recent piece, “Lumps”, is a guided improvisation. Outside of the instructions on the score, are there any improvisational techniques or methods that you adhere to in your playing, or do you use such pieces as an environment for experimenting with new techniques or melodic ideas?

ALB: “Lumps” is a musical collaboration using my patch and instructions on how to use it. We all experimented in the rehearsals and we will continue to make subtle changes in each performance. That keeps the piece fresh. The priority in preparing “Lumps” for performance was to use the musical ideas that each player brought to the work while still adhering to the structure of the piece. That is, to build a performance that worked for us, gave us room to grow and still kept to the composition that I had made. I see our process as an environment for a group of musicians to make a work of art together, whatever it takes.

PM: You’re known for your radical extended techniques and custom instruments. Could you outline some of these techniques and how you developed them? Did they lead to your choice in flutes, or vice versa?

ALB: Oh my. I think there are some PhD dissertations floating around out there with those answers regarding my bag of extended techniques. Certainly in the US, Australia and Great Britain.

I imagine the flute as a tube with infinite possibilities and I imagine my body as a set of tubes with even more. Whatever I can come up with that is not too obscene I will use and I will try to find a musical context for. Blowing, sucking, clicking, popping, grunting, singing, grrr, arggg, thrwwww, flffff. And any combination of them at any given time. Close amplification helps.

The flutes I currently play are relatively recent designs. I have been playing on custom designs since the late 1970s and see it somewhat as my responsibility to the flute and the composition worlds to be able to get around on them. They certainly help with the extended techniques. For the most recent flutes I was a consultant for the design and was very glad to be part of that step in the history of flute building.

PM: Many of your pieces and performances employ the use of electronics, particularly Max/MSP. When composing, do you typically develop bespoke patches for individual pieces, or do you use the same patch(es) across many compositions?

ALB: I do most of my audio processing with the obsolete Clavia Nord Modular. For improvisations with colleagues I use the Nord. For some pieces with ensembles I try to use MaxMSP for the processing. For most of the housekeeping for my compositions I use MaxMSP and recently Abelton LIVE has found it’s way into a few works. Most of my works have common subpatches with minor or major revisions. Each piece uses a new programming technique or strategy. Sometimes very subtle. Sometimes major. MaxMSP is handy for sample playback and sample processing (which I try to keep to a minimum). It is also wonderful for organizing material over time. That is, for structuring a piece where certain things need to happen before or after other things and folks need to turn those things on and off or control them in some way. I would say that MaxMSP is our friend and can sometimes replace the written score, the conductor, the piano accompanist, the government.

PM: What do you wish to achieve with your patches, both sonically and artistically?

ALB: I fantasize that my patches would be able to behave better than I do in performance and think up all sorts of deep, interesting and engaging music for us all to interact with. At this point I use MaxMSP and the Nord to enhance and help organize the pieces I make. They also extend my audio setup.

PM: Do you consider yourself to be more a composer or an improvisor? Which do you feel is the most rewarding, and which offers the most opportunity for expanding your musical language?

ALB: Improvisers are instant composers. I compose pieces that often but not always ask the performers to improvise as part of the music making process. Some days I am a composer because I am creating a piece. Some days I am an improviser (an instant composer). Some days I am a flutist performing works of composers. Occasionally I am a poet.

Questions by Phil Maguire and Eleanor Cully.