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The Sounds of Styrofoam
Live performance: 30 Aug 2007 --
Presented by: HectorBenard
Public:
International Computer Music Conference at Holmen Island
Copenhagen -- Denmark
http://www.icmc2007.net/

Hector Bravo-Benard performed Styrotron (2007) live at the ICMC in Copenhagen at the end of August. Styrotron takes styrofoam, a packing material always shipped alongside computer equipment and usually discarded as trash, and reinterprets it as a musical instrument. Different pieces of styrofoam are excited with a violin bow, or rubbed against each other, producing noises and pitched sounds with a rich spectrum that are only partially controllable, and whose behavior is predictable only from a rather general point of view. Using a constructed noise instrument such as this one, without any real history, also makes it possible to eliminate the connotations that are usually associated with traditional musical instruments, in order to be able to focus more freely on the exploration of sound itself. The acoustic sounds produced by the styrofoam are taken as the only sound source, and they also generate most of the control signals used as these sounds get transformed in real time through a processing network implemented in Kyma. The performer controls only the transitional points and some simple processing parameters through the use of a pedal. The large-scale structure of the pieces is clearly defined, but many of the smaller details are left open, as a result of the chaotic nature of the sound source itself.


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