Everyone knows J.S. Bach as a composer, but it turns out he was also a music-technology enthusiast and a sound designer, having spent many hours of his childhood hanging out at the local organ workshop, fascinated with what was the state of the art in sound synthesis technology. Throughout his life, Bach continued to support experimental musical instrument development (like the forte-piano and the bassono grosso) and his experience with the organ (aka additive synthesis), led him to experiment with creating new timbres in his instrumental music through unusual voicings and instrument combinations. In fact it was his technical expertise, as much as his mastery of organ performance, that landed him his first post at the New Church in Arnstadt, where, at age 18, he was hired to both play and maintain the organ there.
In October 1705, the then 20 year-old Bach requested a one-month leave of absence from his post in Arnstadt so he could visit the famed organist/composer Dieterich Buxtehude in Lübeck Germany. Obviously, Bach didn’t have a car, so he ended up walking the 250 miles to Lübeck, where he was so intrigued by what he heard, he stayed for an extra two months. We don’t know exactly what happened to Bach in Lübeck, but we do know the experience had a deep influence on both his music and his ideas for new instrument designs throughout the rest of his career.
On 25-28 September 2014, we invite you to undertake your own music-technology and sound-design pilgrimage to Lübeck for KISS2014. At KISS2014, you can immerse yourself in sound and ideas, surrounded by an international community of sound-technology enthusiasts who share your passion for sound, music, and the future of musical instruments. And, like Bach, you’ll return home refreshed, renewed, and with enough new ideas, contacts, and friendships to keep you motivated and inspired for your entire career.
Whether you’re a Kyma expert, new to Kyma, or are simply curious about what Kyma might be and why it inspires so much enthusiasm among composers, live performers, sound designers for film and games, researchers, and educators, KISS2014 is your opportunity to experience an inspiring four days of ideas, music, and interaction with your fellow music/technology/sound enthusiasts.
Workshops, Talks, and Live Performances on “Organic Sound”
From organs (biological) to organs (musical), this year’s Kyma International Sound Symposium (KISS2014), to be held in Lübeck Germany on 25-28 September 2014, will explore multiple meanings of the phrase “organic sound” through technical talks, live performances, and hands-on workshops. Sound designers, composers, and live performers are invited to participate in a wide range of thought-provoking activities including:
An examination of how to emulate the organic sound of the analog recording studio using Kyma, presented by composer/sound engineer Greg Hunter of Dub Sahara
A special evening of “pipe organs like you’ve never heard them before” in the experimental, virtuosic hands of master organist/composer Franz Danksagmüller and his students
Intensive afternoons in The Collaboratory creating and rehearsing several world premieres including a live sound track for a new film by experimental filmmaker Theo Lipfert performed by faculty and students of the Musikhochschule Lübeck processed through Kyma
A hands-on “plantification” workshop where you’ll learn from Rudi Giot and his graduate engineering students how to control Kyma sounds through the growth of living plants
Events will kick off on Thursday with the unveiling of a major new release of the Kyma software and will culminate on Sunday with an evening of dancing to Kyma beats at club Parkhaus. The full program is online at: http://kiss2014.symbolicsound.com/detailed-program
About the Symposium
Hosted this year by Franz Danksagmüller and the Musikhochschule Lübeck, each morning of KISS2014: “Organic Sound” features technical/philosophical sessions on topics ranging from voice processing, to sonification of organic chemicals and the Internet, to organic growth and decay, to how to build your own performance controller and use it to control Kyma via OSC, to presentations by individual composer/performers detailing how they utilize Kyma in their live performances and installations.
Afternoons are dedicated to interaction and hands-on activities including open rehearsals of collaborations-in-progress in The Collaboratory, a workshop on Conduction ensemble improvisation techniques presented by London Improvisers Orchestra trombonist and Kymaist Robert Jarvis, and the Kyma Open Lab where Kyma experts (Jeffrey Stolet, Cristian Vogel, Bruno Liberda, Scott Miller, Kurt Hebel, Carla Scaletti and others) will be on hand to answer your questions and consult with you on your current projects.
This year’s KISS features more live performances than ever before, with concerts every evening showcasing some of the best work created in Kyma this year, presented in the acoustically perfect MHL Große Saal and the Jakobikirche Lübeck with its three historically important pipe organs, famously decorated with faces on every pipe.
Anyone who lives for sound — whether you are a novice looking to kickstart your career, an expert seeking a fresh jolt of inspiration, or simply someone who is curious about sound and Kyma — you will find in KISS2014 a chance to meet kindred spirits and immerse yourself in sound and ideas for four intense and inspiring days and nights of non-stop discussions, interactions, music and sound design.
Here’s how Chicago-based sound designer and re-recording mixer, Dustin Camilleri (http://www.pulsetrain.net) describes his experience at a previous KISS:
“…The unique thing about Kyma, I find, is that it appeals to such a wide spectrum of people doing such an amazingly diverse set of things, but sharing a common language. The conversations I had were so incredibly inspiring; the performances I saw were just over the top, and the community at large was just some of the nicest most genuine people I’ve ever had the pleasure of spending some time with.”
Composer and Kyma enthusiast, Scott L. Miller, has been awarded a Fulbright Scholar grant to lecture at the Academy of Music and Theatre in Estonia during the 2014-2015 academic year. Professor Miller will lecture on approaches to electroacoustic composition, with an emphasis on real-time electronics and improvisation with Kyma.
Miller’s Every Problem is a Nail, for piano and electronics, premiers on June 7 at the New York City Electronic Music Festival (NYCEMF). The piece will be performed by pianist Keith Kirchoff (who commissioned the work), and was supported in part by the American Composers Forum 2013 McKnight Composer Fellowship Program.
Also on the NYCEMF will be the NYC premier of Miller’s Contents May Differ, performed by bass clarinetist Pat O’Keefe on June 4. O’Keefe commissioned the piece and his recording of the work is to be released on Innova later this year. Both Every Problem is a Nail and Contents May Differ feature the Additive Synthesis Sound that Miller created especially for teaching his students.
The world premiere of Miller’s Electro-organic Ecosystem for pipe organ and Kyma is set for 26 September 2014 as part of the Kyma International Sound Symposium (KISS2014) in Lübeck Germany 25-29 September.
Contemporary Music Review has just released a special issue dedicated to “Agostino Di Scipio: Audible Ecosystems”. Authors include Makis Solomos, Renaud Meric, Laura Zattra, Luc Dobereiner, Pedro Bittencourt, Owen Green and Julia Schroeder.
In an audible ecosystem, one or more agents enter into and interfere with a feedback loop, causing changes in the sound it generates while also adjusting and regulating their own actions based upon the changes. Di Scipio describes it as a double feedback loop, “one electroacoustic, the other ‘cognitive’: agents act in the loop system and the audible consequences direct their further actions”.
In Di Scipio’s contribution to the issue, he analyzes his Modes of Interference No. 3 for three or more guitars, amplifiers, and computer. In that installation, Kyma is used for ring modulation and delays whose parameters are, in turn, recursively controlled by amplitude envelope followers tracking the audio output at various time scales.
By removing the human performers’ homo-erotic stroking of the electric guitar, Di Scipio’s intention was to castrate the technophallic associations of cock rock and, in so doing, come to terms with his own teenage experimentations with the electric guitar and rock music.
What if you could hear your music performed on a 500 year old organ that was once played by J.S. Bach? What if you could invent a new kind of live DJ set with Kyma and live percussion? Or work with an opera singer and a pop singer to develop new ways of transforming the voice in a live performance? What if you could spend several days experimenting with live Kyma-processing of strings, woodwinds, piano, percussion, and other acoustic instruments?
The Collaboratory is a “collaboration laboratory” where you can be part of a team of composers/performers/technologists inventing a new kind of live performance piece, live improvisation, live sound-track-to-picture performance, live DJ set or experimental live interaction involving Kyma and acoustic or electronic performers. The choices are yours, and the possibilities are limitless. Make a proposal and see what happens!
Carla Scaletti was the featured guest artist on the 23 November 2013 Future Music Oregon concert at Beall Concert Hall in Eugene Oregon where the audience performed her compositions: Autocatalysis for Kyma and Live Audience (2010) and …odd kind of sympathy for Kyma and Live Audience (2011). The concert also featured Kyma premieres by composers Colin Salisbury, Nayla Mehdi, and Churan Feng and live performances of Jeffrey Stolet’s Theatre of Spheres for Kyma and Colored Spheres and Lariat Rituals for Kyma and Gametrak.
Following the Saturday concert, Scaletti conducted an all-day Kyma sound design workshop on Sunday and presented lectures on data sonification and the score for QUANTUM, a deconstruction of how Kyma was used in …odd kind of sympathy, and an advanced Kyma sound design lecture on the following Monday and Tuesday.
Kyma users from Arizona, California, New Mexico, Washington, and Oregon joined with Jeffrey Stolet’s graduate and undergraduate students in the workshops, hands-on labs, meal-time discussions, and some of the intense dark roast beverage the Pacific northwest is famous for.
At this year’s Kyma International Sound Symposium —12-15 September 2013 in Brussels, Belgium — composers, sound designers, and performers will be focusing on interfaces for interactive sound design and live performance.
Actor Allison Goodman, shown here controlling Kyma with an Emotiv EPOC neural headset, is one of the performers scheduled to appear at KISS2013 in Brussels September 12-15 2013
Some of the special activities in store for this year include hands-on demonstrations of interfaces for interactive sound and performance, a public dialog on spatialization featuring electronic music pioneers Annette Vande Gorne and Joel Chadabe, a competition pitting teams of sound designers and engineers against the clock to create new performance interfaces, an exclusive preview of new developments in the Kyma sound design language, concerts of new music inspired by the Belgian painter René Magritte, live Kyma electronics spatialized through a 70+ speaker Acousmonium in the Espace Senghor, and an installation in the ISIB foyer where visitors (tracked by a Kinect camera) will create a continuous, collaborative soundscape.
KISS2013: INTER faces will also feature technical sessions on topics ranging from signal processing to interfaces, an ‘Open lab’ where Kyma experts will be available to answer questions, hands-on demos and workshops focusing on innovative user interfaces and controllers, and evenings filled with live musical performances showcasing some of the best work created in Kyma this year, including music controlled by brain interfaces, game controllers, iPads, Continuum fingerboards and drawing tablets; audio signals used as controllers; Foley artists as live performers; live cinema; motion-tracked dancers, and more!
Kyma developers Carla Scaletti and Kurt J. Hebel will be joined by over 30 audio and music professionals from ten countries in presenting the seminars, music, and hands-on demonstrations.
KISS2013 organizers Rudi Giot and Jacques Tichon, along with their students at the Institut Supérieur Industriel de Bruxelles (ISIB), have several special activities planned for KISS2013, including:
Hands-on interfacing sessions
Get up close and personal with hardware and software interfacing tools including Open Interface and Skemmi (the universal Open Sound Control interface builder), Soft Kinetic Cameras, Interface-Z sensor kits, Tobii eye trackers, Reactable on a Microsoft Surface, Raspberry Pi, Dynamixel, Microsoft Kinect, and more!
Modeled on a reality-TV-style creative competition, InterFaceOff pits teams of composers and engineers against the clock, challenging them to create new performance interfaces in just four days!
A Spatial Dialog
KISS2013 attendees will have a unique opportunity to learn about live spatialization performance from Belgian composer Annette Vande Gorne who, in a public dialog with Electric Sound author and composer, Joel Chadabe, will discuss and demonstrate musical spatialization using a 70+ loudspeaker Acousmonium installed in the Espace Senghor.
The Listening Room
Inspired by René Magritte’s painting of the same name, Christian Frisson’s interactive LoopJam composition The Listening Room blurs the line between the individual and the group. Based on collections of sound clips generated in Kyma, LoopJam creates a two-dimensional sound map using timbral similarity as distance. Throughout the conference, visitors (tracked by a Kinect camera) will be interacting with the space in a fluid and playful way, creating a continuous collaborative composition in the foyer of the ISIB.
Concerts featuring performances of live interactive Kyma pieces will be spatialized in real-time by experts from Musique et Recherches utilizing their 70+ speaker Acousmonium.
Who should attend
Anyone who is obsessed with sound – whether a novice looking to kickstart his or her career, an expert seeking fresh inspiration, or someone who’s simply curious about sound, interfaces, or Kyma – will find in KISS2013 a chance to immerse themselves in sound and ideas for four intense and inspiring days and nights.
Here’s how Chicago-based sound designer and re-recording mixer, Dustin Camilleri describes his experience at last year’s KISS:
“…The unique thing about Kyma, I find, is that it appeals to such a wide spectrum of people doing such an amazingly diverse set of things, but sharing a common language. The conversations I had were so incredibly inspiring; the performances I saw were just over the top, and the community at large was just some of the nicest most genuine people I’ve ever had the pleasure of spending some time with. For a conference it was truly amazing.”
Registration and travel
Registration is now open. An early registration discount is in effect until August 1, 2013. Student discounts are also available.
Fascinating papers, lively concerts, entertaining hands-on workshops, and conversations that carried on late into each night made KISS2012, the fourth annual Kyma International Sound Symposium, an inspiring and invigorating experience for all.
The symposium was covered by several local news outlets (click on photos to read the stories):
Hua Sun and Kurt Hebel perform the annual ritual for KISS2012
Can sound define a space? In sound, is there a Point-of-View or culturally-influenced focus of attention? Sound designers, musicians, audio engineers, composers, acousticians and others interested in “sound space” are invited to discuss these and other questions during the third annual Kyma International Sound Symposium (KISS2011), scheduled for 15-18 September 2011 in Porto, Portugal. Inspired by Portugal’s proud history of navigators who set out to explore beyond the known and visible horizon, the theme of this year’s symposium is “Explorando o espaço do som” (“Exploring Sound Space”) and will celebrate the sound designers, composers, and researchers who are exploring beyond the familiar horizons in sound and music.
A mathematician and co-editor of a new book on the Sonic Spaces of Music (Spazi sonori della musica) will discuss the public space defining and defined by the sounds of the Trevi Fountain in Rome;
Kyma practitioners will have opportunities to attend master classes, participate in interactive workshops and consulting sessions, and most importantly, to make connections with and to learn from fellow Kyma practitioners;
The author of a new text for teaching and learning Kyma (published in both English and Chinese) will describe his search for the SumOfSines disco club;
Plus there will be an abundance of technical talks on a wide range of topics including how to use the spectrum of a sound as a sequencer; techniques for data sonification; using sound to help people confront pain; how to create a dynamic sonic ecology; using context-free-grammars to simultaneously generate dance movements and trajectories through abstract timbre space; techniques for spectral modification & morphing; and more.
Evening performances are to include a screening of the very first science fiction film accompanied by a live-improvised electronic sound track generated by Kyma reconstructions of Luigi Russolo’s intonorumori instruments; a portion of an audio documentary on Holocaust survivor Ksenija Drobac; and a live-generated audio/video film about Galileo that uses Kyma to control VJ software via Open Sound Control (OSC). Other live musical performances will create sound spaces controlled by (among other things) dancers, RFID cards held by the audience, iPads, Wacom tablets, video position trackers, Continuum fingerboards, SoftStep pedal-boards, OSC, acoustic instruments, the acoustics of the room itself, and even a sensor-enhanced Teddy Bear!
For more details on the program, please see the preliminary program and join the mailing list to be kept up to date on future enhancements and additions.
Registration is open to all. You can register at any time, but there is a discount for those who register prior to 1 August: you can participate in all 4 days (with lunch included) for €120 (€40 for students). Casa da Musica has strictly enforced occupancy limits, so please register as soon as possible in order to reserve your spot: http://kiss2011.symbolicsound.com/registration
Known as A Cidade Invicta (the unvanquished city), in honor of its citizens’ successful resistance of Napoleon’s attempted invasion, Porto’s history can be traced back at least as far as Roman times, with evidence of even earlier habitation by the Celts, Proto-Celts and even Phoenicians.
The ukulele has its origins in Portugal; Portuguese immigrants brought the cavaquinho, braguinha and the rajão, small guitar-like instruments with them to Hawaii where they were re-invented as the ukulele. Portuguese luthiers Cordoba Guitars and Antonio Pinto Carvalho (in Braga about an hour north of Porto) continue the tradition today. In Porto, you can audition a Portuguese 12-string guitar or a cavaquinho at Toni Das Violas, a music shop in the historic center.
Porto is also the official source of Port wine, a special red wine in which the fermentation process is interrupted by the addition of distilled grape spirits known as aguardente (roughly translated as fire water with teeth), leaving a higher sugar and a higher alcohol content. The resulting fortified wine is then aged in wood barrels prior to bottling.
Visiting Conímbriga, a well-preserved ancient Roman city and attached museum about an hour south of Porto, is practically like traveling to ancient Rome in the Tardis.
Something about Porto seems to inspire artists who work with space. Not only is it the home of Casa da Musica, it’s also the birthplace of two Pritzker-prize-winning architects: Álvaro Siza who designed the central square in Porto, the Faculty of Architecture campus, and the contemporary art museum; and Eduardo Souto Moura whose award-winning work includes Estádio Municipal de Braga, the Burgo Tower in Porto and the Paula Rego Museum in Cascais among others.
What: The Kyma International Sound Symposium (KISS 2011), an annual conclave of current and potential Kyma practitioners who come together to learn, to share, to meet, to discuss, and to enjoy a lively exchange of ideas, sounds, and music! This year’s theme is “Exploring Sound Space”
Presenters: Experts from the fields of music, sound art, sound design, mathematics, philosophy & audio engineering who use Kyma in their work.
Participants: Sound designers, musicians, audio engineers, composers, acousticians and others interested in “sound space” and the Kyma sound design language
When: 15-18 September 2011
Where: Porto, Portugal
Venue: Casa da Musica / Avenida da Boavista, 604-610 / 4149-071 Porto / Portugal
Cost: € 120, students € 40
Organizers: Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto & Symbolic Sound Corporation with support from Casa da Musica & UT Austin|Portugal International Collaboratory for Emerging Technologies
Deadline: 1 August 2011 for early registration discount; registration open through 15 September 2011