A classic kids’ toy and the typically adult musical subgenre of acid house don’t usually have much in common, but this year I had the opportunity to weave them together using Lego Technic to form hypnotic and hooky sounds in my new kinetic sculpture “Play House”.
AudioGraft is a festival of contemporary experimental music and sound art held each year in Oxford, England. It’s curated by the Sound Art Research Unit (SARU) at Brookes University and co-promoted by an organisation called Oxford Contemporary Music (OCM), which puts on some of the best gigs in town (in my biased opinion). At the end of 2013 OCM put out a call for proposals for pieces that were playful, immersive and engaging for this year’s show. Despite a nagging concern that the schedule was too tight – still working a day job, I would have to have it ready for March – I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to work on such an exciting project, so I worked like crazy on a proposal and a few weeks later received the great news that it was accepted. This story touches on of the process of building the piece, the technical details and what went wrong and right.
For the past few years I have been experimenting with rhythm, including developing a number of Lego musical machines. For years I have been using Lego to prototype ideas, but I had started to use it as a material to put work in context. In particular, my more recent ideas work on getting lost in a youthful creative process whilst riffing off more mature themes, structures and sounds. My proposal was to develop Play House, an automaton that would churn out mesmerising acid house — not the white-gloves-and-whistles sort of acid house, but the more spatial stuff, inspired by artists like Plastikman and Basic Channel. The plan was to play it out loud on speakers and draw the audience in to a room where they could explore the minutiae of the musical and mechanical structures.
This is just a taste- the full post is incredible and deserves a read. Go here for more.