Machine Machine Touchscreen Instrument

Machine Machine (2013) is a 32″ touchscreen installation that functions as an electronic instrument. Granular synthesis is used to loop “grains” of sound and video at variable lengths and frequencies. These parameters are based on the y-axis of the touch point on the monitor. The x-axis determines the position of the grain within the timeline. The piece was exhibited last month at the Northrup King Building in Minneapolis during Art-a-Whirl and for Visual Storage; the MCAD MFA thesis exhibition.
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David Byrne’s Installation with DKO in Binaural Sound

This is another binaural recording featuring David Byrne’s installation “Playing the Building” at Aria in Minneapolis, this time with the ensemble DKO (Jon Davis on bass clarinet, John Keston on the installation, and Graham O’Brien on percussion).

You can read more about the installation at Aria’s website, but it lends itself perfectly to being documented through binaural recording techniques because the sounds literally come from all around you. There are motors, mallets, and pipes installed on walls, girders, and metal stairs in the historic, gutted, warehouse building, all which are activated from the keyboard of a repurposed, antique, pump organ.

The recording was made with a custom built binaural head microphone. I made the device with a styrofoam mannequin head, a set of silicone ears designed for acupuncture practice, and a pair of Shure MX202 microphones embedded into the ear canals. Once again it is critical that you wear headphones to experience the localized binaural effect, although I just listened on my studio monitors and it sounds very clear and wide, maintaining lots of the spatial qualities.

Binaural Video of David Byrne’s Installation Playing the Building

On November 27, 2012 I made a binaural recording of David Byrne’s installation, Playing the Building (2012), at Aria in Minneapolis. During my session in the space I recorded a solo performance of myself, a duet with me and Jon Davis on bass clarinet, and a trio (DKO) with me, Graham O’Brien on drums and Jon Davis. I used a binaural head to record each performance. I have been interested in building a binaural head for some time, and finally got the parts together including a mannequin head, silicone ears, and overhead microphones capsules. I’ll share more about “Vincent” (the head’s name), and the rest of the recordings soon. For now here’s a video of my solo performance. Remember to listen using headphones in order to hear the binaural spatial effects. You’ll hear the installation surrounding you, a visitor bouncing a tennis ball off to the right, and occasional interjections of people in conversation.

Midnight Playground

Midnight Playground is an interactive, kinetic, installation by Peng Wu, Jack Pavlik, John Keston, and Analaura Juarez. Peng initiated and directed the idea, Jack built the jump rope robot, and Annalaura helped refine the concept and promote the piece. My role was to produce the music and track it to the still images that Peng had selected. I ended up making a one hour video with thirty minutes of the image from the moon followed by a four second transition into another thirty minutes with an image of Mars. To produce the sound I gave Peng a list of audio excerpts that had all been previously posted on AudioCookbook in One Synthesizer Sound Every Day. He picked the two that he thought would work the best and I went back to my original recordings and processed them specifically for the piece by adding some reverb and delay to enhance the spacial properties of the music. The piece will be on display in Gallery 148 at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design through January 29, 2012.

Wired: Installation lets you remix actor’s face and voice

On Wednesday, November 16, 2011, Olivia Solon of wrote an article describing my piece, Voice Lessons. I have to thank for this one. Olivia found the article about my piece there and then emailed me to ask for a brief interview. We conducted the interview over email and the article was published the next day. Read the article by Filip Visnjic on Creative Applications Network. Read the article from Olivia Solon on Wired. Thanks, Filip and Olivia!