Networked_Music_Review

Live Stage: The Biomuse Trio [us Brooklyn]

the-biomuse-trio-300×165.jpgThe Biomuse Trio :: Saturday, January 9, 2010, 8:00 p.m. :: Diapason Gallery, 882 Third Avenue, 32/33 Streets, 10th Floor, Brooklyn, NY.

The Biomuse Trio — Ben Knapp, Eric Lyon and Gascia Ouzounian — was founded in 2008 to perform computer chamber music integrating traditional classical performance, laptop processing of sound, and the transduction of bio-signals for the control of musical gesture. The work of the ensemble encompasses hardware design, audio signal processing, bio-signal processing, composition, improvisation, and gesture choreography. The Biomuse Trio consists of Gascia Ouzounian, violin, Ben Knapp, biomuse, and Eric Lyon, computer.

Notes on The Biomuse Trio, by Eric Lyon:

My first work for biomuse, the Biomuse Trio is scored for violin, laptop and Biomuse. This work was developed in close collaboration with biomuse inventor Ben Knapp and violinist Gascia Ouzounian, with frequent rehearsals during the course of composition. We initially explored performance interaction between the three instruments. However the division of labor that emerged soon favored interactions between violin and biomuse. It became clear that the musical gestures of violin and biomuse were simply much more interesting to watch than those on laptop. So the role of the laptop became primarily to capture and edit violin samples, and to manage the progression of the Max patch through each movement. As in my other computer chamber music, the computer sounds are all derived from acoustic sounds captured during performance. The initial violin chord is sampled by the laptop performer and quickly edited. Shortly thereafter, stacks of this chord are triggered using forearm EMG signals. This chord then serves as the source for most of the computer-generated sounds heard during the rest of the movement. An attraction of this approach is that the compositionally fixed harmonic and rhythmic patterns will vary sonically between performances, as differences in the quality of the performed chord and other live-sampled materials propagate through the various DSP processing schemes. Of course this happens naturally in successful acoustic instrumental performances; it does not happen to nearly the same degree in performance with the playback of prepared sound files. While this is attractive, the use of live sampling can introduce new problems: insufficient production value, enhanced flaws of the sound environment, and a critical danger from incorrectly played or (much worse) missed sampled sounds.

Notes on Stem Cells

Stem Cells is digital music for the Biomuse, an instrument that uses on-body measurement of movement and physiological signals for human-computer interaction. Within each section, many options are available to the performer who chooses among the possibilities and performs them with a considerable degree of interpretive freedom. The compositional idea is to start with simple sonic materials and gradually enrich them through iterative DSP.

The biomusician controls the instrument with both movement and emotional states. Optionally, audience reaction can further affect the music using GSR sensors on selected audience members Eric Lyon composed the music to Stem Cells. Ben Knapp developed the performance choreography.

Diapason is supported by NYSCA, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the Phaedrus Foundation, the Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts, The Trust for Mutual Understanding, Kirk Radke, and by generous individuals. Diapason is a 501(c)3 organization.


Jan 7, 2010
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Networked_Music_Review (NMR) is a research blog that focuses on emerging networked musical explorations.

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