Music For Shuffle

Sketch #16

First exploration of live performance! I spent the afternoon at Tiny Telephone Studios in San Francisco with an amazing set of session musicians put together for me by the wondrous Magik*Magik Orchestra.

I wrote a few vague sketches using random, animated notation on iPads beforehand (check the parts out here), which everyone then improvised on, playing around with various parameters: timbre, tempo, expression, structure, group interaction and so on. We did about 14 variations in total, I think.

Here’s a video of take 10. I wanted to experiment with attention awareness – the main rule being that whoever I walked over to and pointed the camera at would take the lead.

I could imagine this idea working in some sort of gig environment: instead of being on a stage or whatever, the band could be interspersed throughout a more open-plan space, and the audience could walk around freely, everyone experiencing a slightly different gig depending on how they moved around.

I’ve also talked about mesh-networked busking before – maybe this idea could scale up to street/city level. Imagine taking over several city blocks and creating huge sonic fields of improvised, random music you could just stroll around in, stopping to listen to different little facets of.

I should try getting people involved from different genres too. What if it was all banging techno at some massive warehouse rave? What would Kode9 or Holly Herndon do with it? Hmm.

Anyway. As I say, this was just one of 14 takes – we covered a wide range of stuff, from more accessible, melodic stuff like this, through to freakier, weirder wig-outs, which I’ve yet to dig into. I’ve a heap of juicy material to play around with, so I’ll probably make some software-based protos to help tease out a few more ideas.

Massive, massive thanks to pianist Rob Reich, vibraphonist Andrew Maguire, cellists Hannah Adario-Berry and Crystal Pascucci, Jay Pellici for engineering, and the brilliant Annie Phillips and Minna Choi at Magik*Magik for setting up the session. Big up!