35
years
v2_
 

The Evening of Sadie Plant

Under the theme "Sounds Emergent," this evening by Sadie Plant (GB) includes guests Kaffe Matthews (GB) and Brian Duffy (GB), and a performance by the Modified Toy Orchestra.

The Evening of Sadie Plant

The Evening of Sadie Plant; photo: Jan Sprij

26
 
Feb 2003
 
20:00 to 23:00
location: Pakhuis Las Palmas (Arena), Rotterdam

The theme of The Evening of Sadie Plant.. Sounds Emergent, will be explored, demonstrated, and performed by two guests, Kaffe Matthews and Brian Duffy (GB), two imaginative and exciting sound artists. This will be an evening of technical experiment, musical innovation, and far-reaching conversation - an imaginative investigation of the processes involved in memory, recording, sampling, and chance, and the loops and continuities between bodies and machines, structure and improvisation, the virtual and the actual, and data in both digital and analogue formats. The night will culminate in a performance by Kaffe Matthews, Brian Duffy, and the Modified Toy Orchestra.

 

Nederlands / Dutch text

Het thema van de Avond van Sadie Plant.. Sounds Emergent, wordt uitgediept, gedemonstreerd en ten tonele gevoerd door Kaffe Matthews en Brian Duffy, twee Britse geluidskunstenaars. Het wordt een avond vol fantasierijk onderzoek naar de processen die een rol spelen bij geheugen, opname, samplen en toeval; van de doorlopende samenhang tussen lichaam en machine, tussen structuur en improvisatie, tussen het virtuele en het reële, en tussen data in zowel digitale als analoge vorm. De avond wordt afgesloten met een optreden van Kaffe Matthews, Brian Duffy en het Modified Toy Orchestra.

 

Sounds Emergent

The evening of Sadie Plant by Yvette van Nierop

People can only expect what they already know to be possible, and truth to say, there is a lot we do not know. This leaves a lot of room for the unexpected. For her evening filling program, Sadie Plant invited two sound artists that explore the unexpected, Kaffe Mattews and Brian Duffy. Both of them gave a presentation about their work and the evening closed with a collaborative live performance. Kaffe Mattews works with already existing sounds and energy patterns that she transfers to the digital. Brian Duffy investigates the nature of the object, in particular of electronic toys. Before they came to their current way of working, both of them had to let go of their previous knowledge of music and the instruments they were used to play, in Kaffe's case the violin, in Brian's the piano.

The first presentation was by Kaffe Mattews. She spoke of her previous work and of the process of development she went through since the day she found out how useful a sampler can be. Now she is interested in the material that can be found in the specific energies that come with specific situations. Her instruments are microphones and sensors connected to a midi system (midi = musical instrument digital interface), and a computer where the incoming data is processed. She has made CD's by placing microphones in the desert as well as by hanging microphones on the string of a kite, processing what the weather created. When she does a solo performance, the microphones are placed amidst the public as well as outside of the building where a performance takes place. In this way, the resulting sounds are created by the energies from the environment rather than by her own ideas about how it should sound. In other words, she hands over the better part of the control mainstream musicians have over their music.

Brian Duffy works with second hand toys he finds at rummage sales. Those toys already have a history of being a toy before he puts his hands on them and starts to manipulate their electronic circuits. What he is interested in are the hidden potentials that were not put in there on purpose. By modifying the electronic particles, new sounds and rhythms emerge that were not there beforehand but somehow do come into existence. Part of his presentation was a short course in modifying your own toy. For this he had brought an as yet unmodified children's keyboard. The process is rather easy: screw open the toy, connect a new piece of wiring with an on / off switch on some electronic parts that in the original design should not be connected, close the thing again and see what happens. In this case he already had some idea, simply because he had tried it before on similar toys. When you try something like that without any foreknowledge, do not be surprised if the toy crashes, but every now and then, you might hit a connection that creates a new function for the toy. All you need to try this is a screwdriver, a toy, a soldering iron and some solder. With this technique he has modified a number of toys which, when used together, form his very own toy orchestra.

Before the closing concert of the night, Sadie Plant, Kaffe Mattews, Brian Duffy and the audience participated in a group discussion. During this conversation, the differences in approach between Kaffe and Brian became evident. In her work, tries to bypass herself and let the situation take over. For her the equipment she uses is a tool to bring out the sounds that are already potentially there. Brian Duffy does not consider his toys to just be tools, he simply seems to love them too much for that. He actually treads them as unique technologies that have their own sense of identity and their own hidden potential. For him the wonder lies in the emerging of things that were not there before. Where did those sounds come from? Were they already part of the toy? Were they somehow already been programmed? And if not, is there some kind of hidden archive of potentials the toys suddenly tap into? But he does not hand over the control to the toys as far as Kaffe does to the environment. When he is playing with his toy orchestra he has the control over what toy plays when, even though his control over what exactly it is those toys are doing, is limited.

The evening ended with a unique concert of Kaffe and Brian together, something they had never done before. The result of their two different techniques merging together created a sound work that at times almost seemed to acquire a material presence in the space. No matter how different their approaches, there was no way to distinguish where the work of one stopped and of the other began. The equipment of Kaffe took the sounds Matthew created with his toys and looped them back into the play. There was no keynote, no fixed rhythm and yet the sounds seemed to form a unity. Something seemed to be said in all that sound, but it was said in an audio language that was not meant for humans to understand. At the same time it was very humoristic how the sounds the toys produced flickered between something new and unheard of and those typical toy sounds, meant to please children. It turned the whole concept of working with sound into one big playground for the lucky few who dare to venture into the unknown.

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