On the Edge: Improvisation in Music

[edit: looks like they have been removed from dailymotion]

A four part series from 1992 produced and directed by Jeremy Marre and presented by Derek Bailey. It looks at musical improvisation from around the world and across all genres. There is some information about the series at European Free Improvisation pages which I’ve quoted before each clip:

  • 1 – Passing it on
    Douglas Ewart at Haynes School in Chinatown, Chicago; improvisation in Mozart with Robert Levin, piano and the Acadamy of Ancient Music with Christopher Hogwood; John Zorn and Cobra; improvisation in religious and devotional music and communities with: Naji Hakim – organ improvisations in Paris; Gaelic psalm singing on the Scottish Isles of Harris and Lewis; and Indian singing with Pundit Hanuman Misra.
  • 2 – Movements in time
    Tracing the effects of migration on improvising links across continents and the production of new styles from the combinations: qawwali from the Sufis in New Delhi, Northern India; Hindu music of Rajistan with Ram Narayan; early medieval music performed in Andalucia by Symphony (Stevie Wishart, Mark Loopuy, Jim Denley); improvisation in dance with: Mario Maya, flamenco; Indian kathak mime and movement; and Egyptian gypsy music; the mixture of Cuban music and jazz with Eddie Palmieri.
  • 3 – A liberating thing
    Broadcast 16 February 1992, concentrating on jazz based and free improvisation. With Max Roach at the Harlam School of the Arts; Butch Morris conducting (with, among others, Shelley Hirsch); Sang-Won Park and Korean music; Max Eastley’s sound sculptures; Derek Bailey (solo and fleetingly with Phil Wachsmann, Steve Noble and Alex Ward); Steve Noble and Alex Ward duo; Nashville musicians including Buddy Emmons; Eugene Chadbourne.
  • 4 – Nothin premeditated
    Broadcast 23 February 1992, with Jerry Garcia and The Grateful Dead; Buddy Guy; George Lewis and computers (and in quartet with Douglas Ewart and sound and video generation); mbira music from Zimbabwe; music of the Tonga people; concluding with a house party on the Lower East side.
  • Collection of Music Interface Projects

    The following post presents a collection of music interfaces that were originally posted in the theoreticalplayground forums.

    The RGB Player comprises of a rotating surface upon which a user can place coloured objects. A scanner detects these objects and generates sound depending on the distance from the centre of the rotating surface.

    The AudioCube project uses four cubes each referring to a different element of music: drums, bass, lead and strings. The sides of the cubes determines the sound of the element and their relative position on the surface controls the spatial localisation.

    The MusicTable provides the musician with cards that can be arranged on the table surface. The specific arrangement of the cards determines the sounds produced.

    The ScanJam consists of two scanners and a computer. Each scanner represents one bar of music and objects placed on the scanners result in sound depending on the objects colour, shape and vertical placement.

    The synthstick was inspired by the theremin and stylophone. A strip of VHS videotape with some conductive plastic film above it act as a ribbon control and the pitch can be adjusted by making contact at different points along the strip.

    The blockjam interface consists of 25 tangible blocks that can be arranged to create musical sequences. It enables multiple users to play and collaborate. Each block can be controlled using gestural input, click-able input and also have a visual display.

    The sonic banana was developed by Eric Singer. It is a rubber tube with four bend sensors inside. As the tube is twisted and shaped by the performer the data is sent to MaxMSP to create both arpeggiator and harmonica based musical sequences.

    The oroboro is a collaborative musical interface. It is operated by two musicians each using two paddle mechanisms: one is a hand orientation sensor and the other is a ‘haptic mirror’ informing the user what the other musician is doing.

    The ISS cube is a tangible music interface which tracks the position of objects on a tabletop surface. Different types of sounds can be played by combining and positioning the objects in different ways.

    The Continuum offers continuous control in three dimensions for each finger placed on the surface.

    The lemur is a multitouch musical interface developed by Jazz Mutant.

    Paul Hertz developed Orai/Kalos as an interface to control audio and visual events.

    The Circular Optical Object Locator is a collaborative music interface. The position of objects on a rotating platter determine the music that is produced.

    The Jamodrum is a collaborative music interface inspired by drum circles. The musicians are able to create music and also effect visual changes on the tabletop. The tabletop display is often used to present interactive games to encourage collaboration and interaction between the musicians.

    Cubed is a project by Douglas Stanley which is a music interface in the form of a Rubik’s Cube. Each side of the cube uses a different instrument to play notes which are determined by the colours on the face. An online shockwave implementation can be found here.

    The Manual Input Sessions interface generates sound in response to hand gestures.

    Instant City combines a number of fields to create an interactive computer game, musical interface and light sculpture. One or more players are able to create buildings on a table surface using blocks which in addition determines the generated sound output.

    minilogue – hitchhikers choice

    A short version of a stopmotion video for minilogue for their hitchhikers choice track released on crosstown rebels. A longer version of the animation will be available on a forthcoming DVD. The animation was made by Ljudbilden & Piloten

    I/O brush – the world as the palette

    The I/O Brush is a digital paintbrush that is able to detect the colour, texture and movements of objects. The brush is equipped with a small CCD video camera, force sensors and a ring of white LEDs. When the user pushes the brush up against an object the force sensors trigger the LEDs providing the video camera with enough light to make a successful recording for the period the brush is pressed against the object. The hope is that the people using it will develop their own unique ‘digital inks’ which they can use to draw on the canvas. The canvas itself is a backlight touchscreen display which is able to read from the brush and display the recorded video.

    Dan Deacon on NBC

    A short interview with Dan Deacon followed by performance of his track Ohio on NBC.

    Originally I posted this on the forum with a link to the .mov file. The Standard OIl Records site seems to be down, although the link is still active.

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