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• • • Being a journal by artist and designer John Coulthart, cataloguing interests, obsessions and passing enthusiasms.


 

The Gamelatron

gamelatron.jpg

The Gamelatron at Galapagos Art Space March 2009. Photo by Gisella Sorrentino.

A laptop-controlled gamelan orchestra by Zemi17 aka A. Taylor Kuffner. See it in operation here. (Is it Gamelatron or GamelaTron? Their spellings differ…)

The GamelaTron is the fruit of a collaboration between The League of Electronic Musical Urban Robots (LEMUR) and the composer Zemi17: A. Taylor Kuffner.

Modeled after traditional Balinese and Javanese gamelan orchestras, the GamelaTron is an amalgamation of traditional instruments with a suite of percussive sound makers. MIDI sequences control 117 robotic striking mechanisms that produce intricately woven and rhythmic sound. Performances follow an arc similar to classic Indonesian gatherings, where stories from great epics, such as the Ramayana, are told and settings given in words that are continued in music.

Sounds overly-mechanical to my ears but then that’s probably inevitable given the way the instruments are being controlled. The classic Nonesuch Explorer recordings of Javanese and Balinese gamelan orchestras follow less rigid rhythmic patterns. And being recorded outdoors the Indonesian music is augmented by background atmospheres from birds and insects.

For more variations on the gamelan theme, there’s 23 Skidoo’s Urban Gamelan album (recently reissued) and the many chiming electronic exercises by Paul Schütze.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Paul Schütze online
Metronomes
Cristalophonics: searching for the Cocteau sound
Max Eastley’s musical sculptures
The Reactable
The Ondes Martenot

 


 

Posted in {music}, {technology}.

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2 comments or trackbacks

  1. #1 posted by Masha

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    Do you know the work of Maxime de la Rochefoucauld?

    Its mechanical…and very musical too. Very similar to this piece. He gets speakers to play instruments. He attaches beaters, bows etc to speaker cones. Then he plays inaudable low frequencies through the speakers, so they move (fairly slowly) and cause the beaters and bows to play on small instruments.

    This is a link to his home page http://www.cooptel.qc.ca/~maxime/home.html

    Its not a very user friendly site :) This link is to an explanation of his technique http://www.cooptel.qc.ca/~maxime/pages/technique.html

    And here is an image of one of his musical installations http://www.cooptel.qc.ca/~maxime/images/archives/panoramik.html

  2. #2 posted by John

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    Hi Masha,

    I don’t think I’ve seen any of these before, looks fascinating. And what a great photo!

 


 

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