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Sonic Environments will run from Sunday 10th July until Monday 11th July
NIME will run from Monday 11th July until Friday 15th July.

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Sunday, July 10 • 12:30 - 13:45
Sonic Environments Lunch Time Concert

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Echolocation Suite - Alice Bennett
Three short pieces for flute and micro-bats (world premiere).

This work uses data collected by Australian environmental scientist, Dr. Lindy Lumsden, in her research of native Australian micro bats. It uses data from bat-detecting devices: ultrasonic recording devices that recognize bat calls and transpose them down to the human hearing range. The data is analysed in the form of a spectrogram, and each species of bat is discerned by the shape and range of the calls. This piece uses the pitch and rhythm of bat calls as source material for the structure of each movement, and also uses the transposed calls throughout. The recordings are triggered at certain frequencies and dynamics of the flute via Max MSP, setting bats flying across the room (in 4 channels). The flute mimics different types of bat calls, triggering and reacting to the recordings and using its inherent flexibility to create a different voice in each register.

I. Victoria Circa 5.' There are 21 species of native bats in Victoria, all with unique calls above human hearing range. Like birds, these calls occur in different frequency levels so that different species of bat may co-exist without disturbing each other. A bat’s call bounces off the objects around it allowing it to ‘see’ at night, creating a beautiful cacophony that no one ever notices.

II. Melbourne Circa 5.' Did you think that bats only live in the bush? 17 of the 21 species of bats in Victoria can be found in metropolitan Melbourne, roosting in the hollows of our 100+-year-old trees. These fascinating creatures go largely unnoticed by all except the odd cat due to their size (most adult micro bats fit into a matchbox), speed, and auditory range (only a few species can be heard by humans, including the White-striped Freetail Bat). These bats are insectivorous and without them we’d be inundated with mosquitos and bugs.

III. Southern Bent-Wing Bat Circa 6.' Very little is known about this curious endangered species other than its secretive breeding place in a cave somewhere in South-West Victoria. These bats can be found all over Victoria, but unlike any other species of bat, they travel hundreds of miles to breed in one place. No one knows how the young bats know where to go, without flying in flocks like birds there’s no way for them to follow each other, so how do they know where to go? This is one of the questions that Dr. Lindy Lumsden hopes to answer in her research.

Along the Eaves - Benjamin O'Brien 
"along the eaves" is part of a series that focuses on my interest in translational procedures and machine listening. It takes its name from the following line in Franz Kafka’s “A Crossbreed [A Sport]” (1931, trans. 1933): “On the moonlight nights its favourite promenade is along the eaves.” To compose the work, I developed custom software written in the programming languages of C and SuperCollider. I used these programs in different ways to process and sequence my source materials, which, in this case, included audio recordings of water, babies, and string instruments. Like other works in the series, I am interested in fabricating sonic regions of coincidence, where my coordinated mix of carefully selected sounds suggests relationships between the sounds and the illusions they foster.

Rainwire - David Burraston
Rainwire encompasses the investigation of rainfall & its application as a medium for artistic, cultural & scientific exchange. The Rainwire project includes development of a prototype Acoustic Rain Gauge using suspended cables (long wire instruments), and subsequently expanded through various collaborations in a range of creative & environmental contexts. Rainwire is an experimental approach at technological appropriation of agricultural based objects for art and science, with particular emphasis on climate change issues and agriculture. This performance will present a live laptop mix of environmental sonification recordings from the newly built Rainwire prototype. Previous work on Rainwire has been conducted on shared instruments, this performance will be an opportunity to present the newly built dedicated Rainwire prototype in public for the first time in Australia. Long-wire instruments are made from spans of fencing wire across the open landscape. Rainwire developed from using contact mic recordings of rainfall ‘playing’ the long wire instruments for my music compositions. This enabled a proof of concept study to the extent that the audio recordings demonstrate a wide variety of temporal & spatial rain event complexity. This suggests that environmental sonification has great potential to measure rainfall accurately, & address recognized shortcomings of existing equipment & approaches in meteorology. Rain induced sounds with long wire instruments have a wide range of unique, audibly recognisable features. All of these sonic features exhibit dynamic volume & tonal characteristics, depending on the rain type & environmental conditions. Aside from the vast array of creative possibilities, the high spatial, temporal, volume & tonal resolution could provide significant advancement to knowledge of rainfall event profiles, intensity & microstructure. The challenge lies in identifying distinctive sound patterns & relating them to particular types of rainfall events. Rainwire is beyond simple sonification of data, it embeds technology & data collection within cultural contexts. With rainfall as catalyst to draw inspiration from, artists, scientists & cultural groups are key to informing science & incite new creative modalities. 

Elephant Talk - Vicki Hallett
The Elephant Listening Project from Cornell University is the basis of Elephant Talk/Elephant Listening Project music performances. They present not only logistical difficulties but musical difficulties. It was 2-3 years of attempting to confirm the possibility of the project with Cornell University. The researchers and contacts of course, were deep in Africa recording the sounds for their research. Threats of poaching are a reality and in one instance, although the researcher reached safety, the elephants weren't so lucky. Cornell University use a variety of technological platforms for their research both recording and processing of these recordings. The music created also uses a variety of technological and compositional methods to both utilise the sounds and to create something that is inspiring, innovative and become a whole listening experience. Through using different format types of sounds, for example: infrasonic sampled so that humans can hear them as well as regular files, the aim is to create relationships between the natural environment of the forest elephants, the other recorded acoustic occurrences while incorporating various instruments to create a conversation between the sonic environment, performer and listener.

NOISA Étude 2 - Juan Carlos Vasquez and Koray Tahiroğlu
"NOISA Étude 2" is a second set of performance instructions created to showcase compelling, evolving and complex soundscapes only possible when operating the NOISA instruments, integrating the system’s autonomous responses as part of a musical piece. The multi-layered sound interaction design is based on radical transformations of acoustic instruments performing works from the classical music repertoire. This second "étude" is based entirely on interaction with spectrum-complementary Phase Vocoders. The system is fed with variations of a fixed musical motif, encouraging the system to recognise elements of the motive and create its own set of different versions emulating a human musical compositional process. Also, the Myo Armband is used in a creative way as an independent element for dynamic control, using raw data extracted from the muscles’ tension. 

Hyvät matkustajat - James Andean 
Hyvat matkustajat (2014) (Finnish for 'Dear Travellers', but also for 'The Good Travellers') began life as a "sonic postcard from Finland", using soundscape field recordings from around the country. This turned out to be only the first stop on its journey, however. The original material was later further developed as material for sonic exploration and spectral transformations, with the external spaces of the original version taking a sharp digital turn inwards, to chart internal spectral landscapes, together with the soundmarks and soundscapes of its first incarnation. Everything in Hyvat matkustajat is made from the original field recordings which first gave birth to the piece.

avatar for Benjamin O'Brien

Benjamin O'Brien

Laboratoire Musique et Informatique de Marseille
American composer, researcher, and performer living in Marseille, France.

Sunday July 10, 2016 12:30 - 13:45
Basil Jones Orchestral Hall 1.82 Queensland Conservatorium

Attendees (17)