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Music for the Augmented Pipe Organ

Music for the Augmented Pipe Organ follows a year of collaborative development with interface designer Johnty Wang to augment a 74-stop Casavant organ with new digital controls. With a reflexive attention to the organ’s unique embodiment of the harmonic system, the works explore new sonic terrains that emerged through a digital approach to the world’s oldest mechanical synthesizer. Through this process of hybridizing acoustic and digital sonic imaginations, a dialog is created between the vibrant materials and ethereal space of the organ and the techniques of acousmatic, electronic, and post-digital music forms. Site-specific elements such as the church’s architecture and interior acoustics are further incorporated into the work through the use of a controlled feedback system and projection mapping, considering the resonant relationships between the instrument and its surrounding space as a generative element interwoven into the compositions.

Performance: November 23, 2018 at the Pacific Spirit United Church, Vancouver

Supported by the School for Contemporary Arts (SFU) and the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Music, Media, and Technology (CIRMMT)


no tree is untouched by the wind

no tree is untouched by the wind is a sound installation that integrates an artistic practice in kinetic sound sculpture, new media technology, and acoustic instrument making. The installation is comprised of 15 individually suspended bell-like metallophones interfaced with electro-magnetically controlled mallets which can autonomously sound themselves. The work is inspired by R. Murray Schafer’s contemplation of utopian soundscape design strategies and methods of ‘re-tuning’ the world to provoke intimate listening to a location’s ambience and acoustic dynamics. As a site-specific intervention, the distributed nature of the instrument is designed to map onto an existing environment, folding along its contours and exploring its spatial qualities as sculptural elements which frame the relationship between listeners and sound sources. Through this strategy of surround sound diffusion, the experience of each listener is constantly transformed as they move throughout the space, finding relationships held and revealed through each unique acoustic setting.

Supported by Glenfraser Endowment Research Award in Acoustic Communication

Upcoming Installations:

October 4-7, 2018 The World Forum for Acoustic Ecology’s 2018 “The Global Composition” (Darmstadt)

October 12, 2018 SPEKTRUM (Berlin) with Tristan Perich

George Rahi - no tree is untouched by the wind


studies for robotic marimba and disklavier

Developed after a visit with sound artist Trimpin in Seattle, and inspired by the works of Conlon Nancarrow and James Tenney, this work explores the compositional affordances of electro-mechanical instruments, using their extended precision as a mean of pushing perceptual boundaries of time and density. The collection of studies maps an electronic and computational approach directly onto acoustic instruments, conjoining the seemingly historically divergent, yet intertwined relationships between electronic music production and the physical space of musical instruments.

 


pulses // patterns

a sound installation exhibited at the Western Front, Vancouver Canada 

Opening | December 7, 7pm
Exhibit | Dec 8 – Dec 13, 12-5pm
Performance | Dec 14, 8pm

pulses // patterns invites listeners into a spatial experience of a large-scale electro-acoustic instrument. Formed from technology from the pipe organ and electronic organ building traditions, a custom array of rotary speakers and a single pipe-organ rank is interfaced with MIDI and micro-controllers to create a system of interlinked sonic objects. The installation conceives of the room’s space as an unfolding sculpture, as the air is compressed, accelerated, and spun into sound by the mechanics of the instrument, which breathe heavily with layers of pulses that phase and synchronize over the duration of the composition.

Press – BeatRoute Magazine Feature 2017

 


‘Aisatsana’ for Player Piano

Composed by Richard D. James (Aphex Twin), ‘aisatsana’ is a Satie-esque piece for piano which invites stillness and careful listening to one’s surroundings. This mechanical and acoustic reproduction of ‘aisatsana’ uses a 100-year-old player piano to play a custom-made roll of the piece. Set in Hadden Park, the piano is recorded alongside visiting starlings and crows in the canopy above, creating a “live” version of the bird song heard in Aphex Twin’s original version on the 2014 ‘Syro’ album. An homage to Richard’s signature blurring of the acoustic, electronic, and automatic, the meeting of the programmed player piano and the park’s incidental soundscape invites one to reflect on notions of soundscape composition and the tensions between liveness and automation.

 


a thousand pounds of vibrating metal

a thousand pounds of vibrating metal is an 8 minute electro-acoustic work for 4 subwoofers commissioned by the Canadian Music Centre in Toronto. The work investigates the varying asymmetrical vibration patterns found in individual gongs at a gamelan factory in Bali Indonesia. The piece layers field recordings made at a gamelan factory of 25 gongs and draws from the phase principles of their sounds to generate the structure of the piece in a re-imagined electro-acoustic treatment of these subwoofer-like instruments.


Pulsars

Pulsars is a sound installation that uses mechanical rotary speakers to explore sound, movement, and spatial perception. The work re-configures technologies associated with early 20th century era organ building tradition, when electronics were attempting to synthesize and recreate the acoustics of pipe organs. During this time, radio engineer Donald Leslie invented the ‘Leslie’ rotary speaker to mimic the sonic quality of large, spatially dispersed pipe organs. In this piece I use 4 channel ‘Leslie’ rotary speaker array to sound a 25-minute composition to produce polyrhythmic  pulses and a heightened awareness of the environment’s spatial dynamics. The composite effect for the listener is a morphing and dynamic sense of space choreographed by the re-localizing movement of sound through the air.

Pulsars was featured at Vancouver New Music’s 2016 Mechanical Music Festival.

 

 


Midnight Owl

Midnight Owl is a performance and recording project of minimalistic explorations into experimental and ambient territories. Using cello, organ, electronics, and field recordings, I invite deep and careful listening to the possibilities of sound as a material form to conjure realms of abstract and impressionistic encounters. Performances throughout 2016 were given at the Big Joy Festival, Artswells, and the Field Gathering. 

 


Gamelan Bike Bike

Gamelan Bike Bike found its musical inspiration from Bali, Indonesia and its raw materials from the scrap metal bins of Vancouver. Between 2012 and 2013 I collected over 100 discarded bicycle frames to build the instruments. The colorful metal scraps, configured into a series of metallophones instruments, created a platform for new experimentation with gamelan music on the West Coast. The ensemble has presented performances at the Western Front, the Surrey Art Gallery, the Vancouver Folk Music Festival and released Hi-Ten, a collection of original music with the Indonesia-based art collective and label Insitu Recordings on November 11, 2017, available at http://insiturec.com/hi-ten/

Press – Discorder Magazine Feature 2017


Intonarumori

In 2016, a series of replicas of Luigi Russolo’s Intonarumori instruments were created for the Vancouver Art Gallery exhibit MashUp: The Birth of Modern Culture. I participated in an ensemble which formed to explore the sonic and performative potentials of replicas. The ensemble’s performance explored Russolo’s mechanical sound machines through a re-interpretation of his early written score, using a shared language of improvisational gestures. The ensemble featured Giorgio Magnanensi, Kedrick James, Jules Lavern, Mariah Mennie, and George Rahi.

Intonarumori

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Bass Piano

The Bass Piano is an experimental piano created by Andrew Wedman in 2016 as part of the Western Front’s series 88 Tuned Bongos. Wedman, a musician and piano technician, tuned the piano down a full octave to A220, creating a unique tonal quality comparable to carillon bells and steel drums. Interested in the inharmonic overtones of this experimental piano, pianist and composer Robyn Jacob and I prepared a suite of Colin McPhee’s piano transcriptions for Balinese Gamelan. A performance was held on 3/31/2016 at the Western Front, and was later video documented at the Hadden Park Field house where the piano now resides.

Below is a video of a piece “Gambangan”
Colin Mcphee’s Balinese Ceremonial Music – Piano Transcriptions (1940)
Played by Robyn Jacob and George Rahi on the ‘Bass Piano’.

Recorded at the Hadden Park Fieldhouse, Vancouver on January 5th, 2017.

 


Bicycle Arpeggio

Bicycle Arpeggio is a kinetic musical sculpture created from re-purposed bicycle components. The mechanism’s design mimics that of a cylindrical roll common in early musical automatons such as barrel organs and music boxes. Steel bicycle frame tubing, tuned by length, are placed around the rotating cylinder and act as both the programmable score and the source of sound. The resulting sound is primarily driven by chance operations generated from the interactions of the multiple rotating cylinders, which sound both individually and together, depending on when the riders choose to actuate the striker mechanism. The composite effect is a series of rapid melodic lines which create phase patterns and permutations of the preset phrases.