Networked_Music_Review

Net_Music_Weekly: Miya Masaoka’s LED Kimona

snapshot-2009-10-11-14-00-05.jpgNew York-based composer and multi-media artist Miya Masaoka has developed The LED Kimono Project, an installation-based media and performance piece featuring a kimono fabricated from over a thousand LEDs that have the capacity to respond to musical, visual and physical conditions throughout the course of a performance, or as an installation in a gallery setting. The work has been performed at the San Francisco Electronic Music Festival and at the Japan Society of San Diego. It will be performed at the New York Electronic Art Festival on October 17, 2009; 6:00 – 11:00 p.m. at Roulette, 20 Greene St. @ Canal, New York City. Ikue Mori & LEMUR, Peter Blasser, David Galbraith, and Laetitia Sonami will also perform.

Miya Masaoka has created works for koto, laser interfaces, laptop and video and written scores for ensembles, chamber orchestras and mixed choirs. Her work has been presented in Japan, Canada, Europe, Eastern Europe and she has toured to India six times.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4gAoJs5nDk[/youtube]

From CatSynth’s review of 2009 San Francisco Electronic Music Festival:

“The festival began with a piece by Miya Masaoka (whom Pamela Z jokingly referred to as the “mother of SFEMF” in her introduction). The LED Kimono project not surprisingly featured a kimono with LEDs, worn by dancer Mariko Masaoka-Drew. The dress itself was very pretty and simple, with a large LED array on the right-hand sleeve. Throughout the performance, different patterns were featured on the LEDa, sometimes very subtle with only a few active, and at other times large oscillating rectangular patterns.

The music began with a very traditional koto performance. There some delay, sampling and pitch-shift effects in the background. The koto was mostly struck or plucked, and occasionally bowed. During the section of the performance, there was almost no dance movement. Over time, more electronics came in, initially low, dronaning, and with overtones that sounded vaguely FM or inharmonic, almost like electrical noise.

As more electronic sounds came in, the dancer began to move, very slowly and subtly. Indeed, most of the movement throughout the piece was very subtle and slow, and did not clearly map to the musical material. On the other hand, the LEDs on the dress did match the rhythms and timbral changes. The first came on during and electronic arpeggio that sounded like classic FM synthesis. There were some dramatic swells with the higher FM-like sounds. The music primarily moved between the elements described, with the long drones and then the fast arpeggiation. But the physical movement of the dancer remained slow. As a result, I found myself mostly focused on the LEDs and the dress.

And the end, I stayed to watch the process of Masaoka-Drew being “unplugged” from the dress, and to fully observe the amount of electronics (and wiring) that were required for it to function.”


Oct 13, 2009
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Networked_Music_Review (NMR) is a research blog that focuses on emerging networked musical explorations.

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