Moon in Scorpio
April 30, 2018 Queensland Conservatorium/Griffith University, Brisbane, AU
@ Nicole Carroll's "Orrery Arcana" debut concert
Hannah and Nicole perform a live improvisation incorporating acoustic flutes, live processing, and electronic instruments. Nicole’s electronic instruments provide textures and spatial movement across the listening space, while Hannah’s flutes explore a dynamic and melodic range to blend and juxtapose the noise textures. Their improvisation is guided by drawing tarot cards prior to the performance. The interpretation of abstract relationships and numerology of the tarot are reflected in the macro and micro structures of the piece. Textures, melodic fragments, rhythm, density, and overall form are derived from their interpretation of the card reading. The performers discuss some elements of the interpretation and how that might be reflected in the performance, while some elements are left unsaid, so as to allow spontaneity.
Hannah disrupts the impressionist references of her instrument by live processing the sound with Ableton Live. With this, and through different placements of the microphone, she can find and exploit the monsters in what is traditionally treated as a ‘beautiful’ melodic instrument. The processing also creates a timbral bridge between Nicole’s electronics and the acoustic flute.
Nicole performs with the Byzantine controller, which utilizes capacitive touch sensors on a circular grid (modelled after a Byzantine chessboard) that visually mirrors a surround sound configuration. The goal in developing this controller is to help merge the performance aesthetics of acousmatic diffusion with that of hacked electronics. Audio from homemade analog circuits is sent to Max/MSP, where pitch and amplitude tracking in conjunction with chance procedures control processing parameters. Chance procedures are driven by tarot card relationships and numerology as the software “draws” cards during performance. Direct and ambient light actuates a master circuit, ensuring a degree of uncertainty. The agency of the system–the machines in combination with chance procedures–prompts a responsive approach from the performer.