Free range trombone in the Veg Box

Composer/trombonist Robert Jarvis. Photo by Andy Newcombe.

Find out why Sam Bailey, pianist and organizer of the Free Range experimental music and poetry series at the Veg Box in Canterbury, introduces this performance as “Robert Jarvis, improvising trombone, and the most intelligent & unpredictable computer software that improvises that I’ve ever heard!”


If you close your eyes, you’d swear Jarvis is performing with a large ensemble of acoustic and electronic performers; rest assured there’s no one on stage but Robert, his trombone, and Kyma, “fueled,” as Bailey puts it, “by this crazy supercomputer called the Pacarana.”

Opening with orchestral-sounding atmospherics, travelling through rainforests of birds and squealing mammals, proceeding through monochromatic regions of percussive air bursts and the rhythmic tolling of bell-like noises, through rhythmic loops, reflective self-examination, and interludes of music worthy of a TV action drama sound track, evolving into dance-like counterpoint with bubbly sine waves, and building to a dramatic high point at around 28 minutes, Jarvis is a master of pacing, variety, and narrative structure.  That first climax dissolves into growling timbres that morph into wailing whale-song, building to another percussive high point at around 31 minutes, followed by elephantine, broadband timbres that relentlessly build back up only to sublimate into an ethereal sustained section with mandolin-like multipluck synthetic doubling. Centering on D, building tension around a B-flat-E tritone, he launches into a solo cadenza around 42 minutes.  After the frenetic energy and drama, the piece ends slowly and reflectively, followed by seemingly endless applause and clinking of glasses and, last but not least, a lively post-concert discussion.

Your next chance to catch a live performance by Robert Jarvis is later in March when he’ll appear as a special guest of Burning Wood on Saturday 23rd at Creek Creative, Faversham.

IN SICH(T) emerging

On composer Bruno Liberda’s blog, you can actually witness the evolution of a new composition. “IN SICH(T)”, Liberda’s new site-specific piece, in the process of being written for Max Hegele’s memorial chapel in Vienna, includes performers who, in addition to playing their instruments, will be “playing the space”, exploring and transforming the many-seconds long natural reverberation and other acoustic characteristics of the highly reflective dome.

Follow along as Liberda adapts and expands the piece and develops his own notation specific to the space, and be sure to save the date of the premiere performance: April 20 2013.

Zul Zelub: Ultimaton

Ultimaton, an experimental electro-acoustic album featuring prepared piano and Kyma X processing, was released in December 2012 by Jorge Lima Barreto (piano & percussion) and Jonas Runa (Kyma X).

Zul Zelub (zul = luz or light, zelub = Boulez) is described as unrealized musical energy, the unexpressed, the force which does not generate matter, a virtual formulation as in a dream or a cyber journey.

Barreto’s piano performance is an experimentalist improvised flow, unfolding in various concepts and dynamics of time (slowed-down or accelerated, asynchronous and synchronous) creating new sound spaces. Digital musician and composer João Marques Carrilho (aka Jonas Runa) captures, interferes, superimposes timbres, and participates in a real-time musical conversation with the piano.

The duo explores the questions: What lies behind an act of musical creation?  What precedes it?  What enables its actualization in sound?

To Barreto and Runa, musical improvisation is a living force that induces an action and maintains a momentary state of the body.  “Improvisation lives in the unknown, at the mercy of the Creative Energy and Open Form; in it’s aesthetic stance, improvisation is possibility and performance (corporal action) – it is an ephemeral state pointing to the unrealized.”

Ultimaton is available as an immediate download or in a limited edition cardboard double-sleeve wallet that includes photographs and background on the project and its creators. Listen to a preview of the complex, delicate and shimmering textures on where you can also order the full album.

SAE Milan offers free Kyma workshop

Award-winning sound designer Matteo Milani will lead a 2 hour introductory workshop on the Kyma sound design language in the great hall of SAE Milan on Thursday, 21 February at 18:30.  According to the workshop description:

Kyma is an open, real-time-controllable environment for the creation, modification, and combination of new sounds in ways that are totally different from a sequencer or digital audio workstation.  Matteo Milani will conduct you on an exploration of the innumerable possibilities offered by the system with which it’s possible to create your own patches or Sounds.  A Sound can be a simple audio file playback or reverb, but it can also be a complex combination of audio generators and modifiers, synthesis, re-synthesis, sampling recombined in infinite variety, modulating their parameters and entering into a dialog with one another.  By means of the Timeline it’s possible to compose the sound, assembling individual Sounds into larger structures, drawing functions to control the way parameters evolve over time.

Kyma is therefore a language for the generation and transformation of complex sounds with which it is possible to create your own plug-in, virtual synth, performance environment, interactive sound sculptures, each one with its own virtual control surface for the management of parameters in real time by means of the MIDI or OSC protocol.

Workshop instructor Matteo Milani is both a sound designer and an advocate for the sound design profession as a whole.  An active sound designer and recordist for film, advertising and mastering, he also writes for several popular audio magazines, and his blog Unidentified Sound Object has generated an international following.  Milani also composes music and experimental soundscapes for multimedia installations and live events as well as producing and distributing his own sound effects libraries. The workshop will be presented in Italian (Milani can also answer questions afterward in English).

The workshop is free, but spaces are limited.  Please register in advance to reserve your place by sending email to SAE with “Seminario Kyma” in the subject line.  SAE urges you to register as soon as possible as space is limited!

Matteo Milani: sound designer for Genesis Project

What if it were computers who invented humans (and not the other way around?)  In director Alessio Fava’s new film Genesis Project: the real story of creation, it seems an almost plausible and decidedly amusing hypothesis.  Sound designer Matteo Milani put his Kyma sound design workstation to good use generating the ambiences.  Highly entertaining for all computer users (or is it the other way around?), Genesis Project begs the question, “But what if humans develop self-awareness?”  Be sure to check out the Human User Manual on the official Genesis Project site.

Voice as Controller: Music of Andrea Young

Andrea Young will be performing her newest compositions for voice and Kyma at CalArts California Institute of the Arts, 8 pm, February 13, 2013, as part of a presentation of her research into vocal feature extraction and its application to controlling live electronics in Kyma. The concert begins with a work for solo voice that exemplifies the parametic counterpoint singing techniques used to feed the unruly algorithms presented in the following works. Noise and oscillators are controlled by the voice, while contact mics and miniature mics make use of the differentiation between signals as yet another source of sound and musical data control.

The concert will also be streamed live via the ROD Webcast.