NIME 06 Concerts

There were lots of concerts at NIME 06, and many interesting things to comment about:

  • Ben Neill played Mutantrumpet a hybrid acoustical and electronic instrument which was very interesting.
  • Circumference cyclesCircumference Cycles by Chris Strollo and Tina Blaine was very captivating. Glass plates suspended by metal wires with amplification and some effects, sounded great!
  • Mari Kimura‘s two pieces (Polytopia and Tricot) were great and showed how well electronics can be used together with an acoustic instrument (violin). Interesting to see that she was recently in Tromsø to work with physicist Dr. Alfred Hanssen on subharmonics research.
  • George Lewis presented a piece for two disklaviers, himself playing trombone and Alexander von Schlippenbach on piano. The two disklaviers were placed on either side of the stage and it was interesting to notice how this changed the focus of attention. George went on stage to start the piece, then left the disklaviers to play for themselves for a while, and after a while the two human musicians came on stage. It was interesting to notice how different it felt with human presense on stage.
  • Sensors_Sonics_Sights: Tanaka gesturesI found the Biosignal Gesture Identification by Atau Tanaka (@Sony Paris) to be most interesting during this performance. He describes this as: A technique for extracting information from user arm gestures that applies pattern recognition to arm muscle biosignals (electromyogram, or EMG), and is able to recognize six basic gestures in real time. The technique analyzes unconstrained free-space movements, and is able make an identification before completion of the gesture. Two electrodes placed on the user’s forearm are used to acquire EMG data. Statistical analysis matches incoming data against a training set. The program outputs a gesture by name to a process allowing control of musical playback.
  • I finally got to see Michel Waisvisz (Steim) play The Hands live. Next to the Meta-instrument, this is one of the few NIME that has been frozen and performed extensively over many years.
  • Tomomi Adachi‘s piece for voice and infrared sensor shirt was an interesting piece and a great performance. I particularly liked how he tucked away both the shirt and the sound in the end.
  • John Richards had a rather bizarre setup, including a plastic hand in a grainer.
  • Miya Masaoka played a piece with sensors hidden in three plants.
  • Saburo Hirano performed with transparent sheets with various symbols on a turntable, doing some kind of tracking of the symbols for sound generation.
  • Mark Applebaum played on the Mouseketier, a nice setup consisting of a bunch of different metal things mounted on three boards with contact microphones attached. As he writes “Not only does it set up in minutes […], its flight case – meeting the airline specifications – was designed first”. Pragmatic approach to instrument design.
  • Bent Leather Band played on various semi-acoustic leather instruments. They look great on pictures and even better in real life.

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    Alexander Refsum Jensenius is a music researcher and research musician living in Oslo, Norway.