Research in search of timbre

A focus on the timbral possibilities of drums and an originating source for drums and rhythm naturally led to a keen interest in African drumming practices. Thus I found myself part of an overland trip, travelling by motorcycle, through Europe, the Middle East and then onto East Africa searching for percussion performance practices not overly explored in jazz and experimental music. 

I heard sounds from Syria and Jordan in Egypt, which then melted together with African rhythms in Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya. A vast array of  timbral techniques from the different regions of each country were found and the field work project quickly morphed into three years of focused study and performance in Khartoum Sudan. Private study included Sudanese percussionist (Mustafa Eisa); Ethiopian percussionist (Misale Legesse); and South Sudanese percussionist (Stephen Affear Ochalla). Performances include Sudanese Fusion Jazz group 'Blue Magic' and Sudanese contemporary music ensemble 'Orchestra Attibr,' led by Sudanese composer Kamal Yousif.

Ethiopian rhythms - coming soon!

Drum Medicine
The Brain in Performance:
York Festival of Ideas, June 15, 2017

March, 2017

Mohammed and I began with listing potential challenges that we may come up against:

  • Sound produced from the brain waves may be uneventful, a drone, which doesn’t add very much to the music performance

  • Every time the headset is plugged in/turned on, it may only create a drone

  • Which computers to use for each device, will the RAM effect the outcome?

  • Can we use the same software and patches for both computers and devices?

  • Do we need internet on both computers for the software to work?

We then set out to solve these issues, or at least be aware of them to know what we had to adjust. Ben and I had already been rehearsing ideas musically, and the narrative (themes) that guided the improvising was somewhat already in place.

3sixty rehearsal one

Videos from Richard Mattka (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dX72OwfcrMg) trialled in the 3Sixty Room proved to be a good possibility for our theme of outer space. Practice with bio sensor “insight” headset was successful with the connection of Mohammed’s patch to Ben’s computer music program, they both had created applications for the data to be used musically. This picture depicts "brain movement" manifested in facial expressions, a question that still needs to be clarified:

- How do we make the connection between brain activity and facial movements?

Ben and I had a simple musical instrument setup, as this session was intended to work the visuals and tech. The next step will be to involve the EPOC bio sensor.