International Computer Music Conference 2016 Music Track

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Playing the Sound Space

The piece is an exploration of different collections of sounds, navigating through them with the help of gestural controllers that let the performer reconquer the expressiveness that has been lost in many laptop-based performances. Stroking an XY-pad, scratching contact-mic equipped surfaces, shaking a tablet are all possible gestural interactions that bring back the immediacy of physical action and sonic outcome.

After a dynamic gestural opening, the piece is structured in two parts, passing from the concrete to the abstract. Each part is grounded on a basis of live-mixed field recordings on which the performer superposes and juxtaposes sound corpora played with gestural controllers, giving ample room for virtuoso improvisation.

In the proposed evolution of the piece, we will focus on ways of enriching the timbral potential of sonic input captured via piezo or contact microphones, through latency-free convolution of the piezo signal with grains from the sound corpus. This creates a new way to combine the sonic richness of large sound corpora, accessed via navigation through a timbral descriptor space, with the intuitive gestural interaction with various surfaces, captured by a contact microphone. We use convolution to excite the grains from the corpus via the microphone input, capturing the contact interaction sounds, which allows articulation of the corpus by hitting, scratching, or strumming a surface with various parts of the hands, objects, or mechanical sound generators (notably a music box in the sound example).

The metaphor for composition of the piece is an explorative navigation through the sonic landscape of the sound corpus, where the performer re-combines sound events into new rhythmic and timbral structures, simultaneously proposing novel combinations and evolutions of the source material. Despite the startling nature of some of these sounds, the use of corpus-based concatenative synthesis techniques, where sound segments are laid out in a multi-dimensional space of sound characteristics obtained from automatic audio descriptor analysis, makes it possible to compose smooth evolutions and soothing combinations of timbres, thereby reflecting on the inner qualities of these sounds that are richer than they appear when we just let them float by.


Diemo Schwarz     web site

Diemo Schwarz is based in Paris and poised right in the middle of the golden triangle of artistic creation, creative programming, and scientific research.
As an artist, he composes for dance and performance, video, and installation, and performs music as member of the 30-piece ONCEIM improvisers orchestra, or in duo with musicians such as
Frédéric Blondy, Hans Leeuw, Pierre Alexandre Tremblay, Victoria Johnson.

He performed in 8 european countries, North America, and Asia on a digital musical instrument based on his CataRT open source software with gestural control, bringing back the immediacy of embodied musical interaction to the rich sound worlds of digital sound processing and synthesis.
As creative programmer, Diemo collaborates with artists
Sylvie Fleury, Cécile Babiole, Franck Leibovici, Christian Delecluse, Françoise Tartinville on interactive installations involving live sound generation and processing, or motor control.

His scientific research on music interaction at Ircam, is the basis of his artistic work, and is presented at international conferences and in academic journals and books. Diemo works on sound analysis and synthesis, gestural control of interaction with music, and bringing advanced and fun musical interaction to the general public via installations like the dirty tangible interfaces (DIRTI) and augmented reality (Topophonie mobile).


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