ReSiDeNt BlOg

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Language Game Performance Video

Following you'll find the edited version of the Language Game performance. I've also added a video from the rehearsals, which is much more relaxed >>



Monday, March 24, 2008

Language Game

In this first edition of the Language Game, the performer, wearing a custom designed soft sensor suit, puppeteers Lemur's surrounding robotic musical instruments. As the performer begins to experiment with the system’s potential, her dance becomes both action and reaction.

Concept, soft sensor suit and motion-capture to midi interface by Mika Satomi and Hannah Perner-Wilson. Performer, professional ballroom dancer Micaela Schedlbauer. Robotic musical instruments by Lemur, League of Electronic Musical Urban Robots.

from photoshop to photo-ready

Hi folks, this is Jay Alan Zimmerman. I've had a great time during my residency at LEMUR and I've learned so much. My (overly ambitious) goal was to create a "visual symphony" because I'm a composer who has become deaf to most sound.

The first step was to bring some visual order to the LEMUR space and group the robots to create an "orchestra." So I photographed the robots and space and came up with this general layout in photoshop.

Next up was devising the conceptual arc of the piece. One thing the robots lack vs. human players is anticipatory movement, i.e., when a violinist raises her bow you realize a sound is about to occur. So I decided to let the video screens play the role of "conductor" and virtually touch the robots to trigger their sounds. Little did I realize this would require much programming, multiple computers & programs all synced together.

It's been a lot of work, but thanks to the Lemur team, this has become a reality. Now I just have to finish the score by Friday... : )


Monday, February 25, 2008

Residency progress

Hi all. A quick update.

Our piece starting coming together last week. Ellen and I worked out the major pieces at the lemurplex and have been refining our respective parts.

The nice lemurs made me a big ultimate stand for my marimba, which proved important, as Ellen decided to choreograph a large amount of the piece *under* my marimba. I will be playing the xylobot a good amount, and I have been working on figuring out how to make the best use of its unstoppable robotic clangyness. This has included figuring out which notes/bars I thought had the sweetest harmonics, what types of arpeggios seem to work best, and various treatments with body, microphones, and amplification.

We are also using the midi wind chimes to trigger the mod bots, which is ridiculously fun.

I finally got around to getting the musical parts down on paper, and it looks like this:

If you haven't listened to Taylor's Gamelan piece above, DO IT! It was super hot.


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Robo Gam

This is Zemi17 (taylor)
I was a protoresident at LEMUR in January
I worked on adapting some robots they made to play xylophones so that it could play Indonesian Gamelan instruments that I brought back with me after living there for a years.

Check out the composition:

This was recorded by Dok from Amoeba and Peter Priciple at a private session with about 20 people on January 30th at the LEMUR PLEX.

For you Gamelan Heads - the instrumentation was very unorthadox.
The four gamelan instruments were a Balinese Trompong for a Gong Keybar set (Modern Pelog), A balinese Gender tuned Slendro, Balinese Slonding - special 10 key nyong-nyong cinikan with 2 extra keys, and 4 keys of a Central Javanese Mongang with PVC resonators like a Balinese Jublag would have.

This was backed up by LEMUR MODBOTS (shaker, bowls, scrappers, and the circle sheets ones), 2 Balinese Ceng Ceng Kopayak, and 2 big bass drums played by robot arms.


Monday, February 18, 2008

Hello Lemur(s)

Here are some links to a video-recording of my January Lemur piece:

Full-length video on Lemur's website:

Short (excerpted) version on YouTube:

Hello Lief & Eric! To the new composers-in-residence: have a blast -- I did!

Drew Krause

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Happy 25th birthday, MIDI. It's been a long time...

Peter Kirn at Create Digital Music has posted a reader's speculation that this year marks the 25th anniversary of MIDI. I find myself using MIDI more than usual during my LEMUR residency, and it feels like reminiscing with an old friend. Ever since MSP was released, my work has been moving away from the note-y, event-y nature of MIDI messages and toward the constantly flowing river of MSP signals. (OK, technologists will correct me: signal vectors ain't exactly analog, but the paradigms are related.) I even made the piece One Single File Line for soprano saxophone and computer specifically to explore the cybernetic condition of situated-within-a-flow-of-data-mess.

And now I'm having fun screwing my head on backwards at LEMUR to remember my old MIDI tricks. Every "makenote" object connected to a "noteout" in Max reminds me of my earliest interactive work--often quite literally, since I find myself opening old patches to cannibalize them. Good to see you again, MIDI, you haven't changed a bit.

Holland Hopson