Kevin Kissinger -- Electronic Music Midwest Festival

Posted: 9/25/2007 3:40:55 PM

From: Kansas City, Mo.

Joined: 8/23/2005

Three day electronic music festival runs from October 11 thru 13. Features original compositions, sound installations, and lectures by established and up-and-coming electronic composers.

Kevin will play his composition "Three-Legged Race" (premiered at electro-music 2007) as the finale for the program that starts at 8pm Friday, October 12.

For the complete program, map, and information about Electronic Music Midwest, visit the EMM web site:
Posted: 10/15/2007 3:38:01 PM

From: Kansas City, Mo.

Joined: 8/23/2005

The EMM festival was really great. Here are a few notes of interest:

The sound system was all powered monitors -- twelve channels arranged all the way around the concert hall. Ten of the channels were mains and two were subwoofers. They had a huge mixing console. For a given recital, each performer was given input strips based on the the number of channels they needed. I got six strips to accomodate 5.1. Some folks used 7.1. For stereo material they made available an excellent reverb system to add surround ambience to the music. Again, this was optional. They worked closely with each composer.

One of the works on this program was the Vox Novus "60 by 60 Midwest Mix": a collection of 60 one-minute electro-acoustic works played one after the other along with video. 60 by 60 is presented all over the country and I would highly recommend it if it appears in your locale.

The attendees at the EMM festival had impressive credentials -- most of them with graduate degrees in music and composition. Was a lot of fun to hang out with such an accomplished group of composers, musicians, and sound engineers.

The offerings ranged from a John Cage style work (performed on kitchen appliances, etc) to works with state-of-the-art digital technology. My work was the only one that featured a theremin. The only other use of theremin was a short sampled "swoop" in another work.

Music Concrete is alive and well in the academic world. Many works were the result of "found sound" recordings that were then manipulated and processed digitally. The cutting and pasting capabilities of digital audio have really breathed new life into the genre. One work featured a single, recorded bell that the composer pitch-shifted and manipulated into an extraordinary multi-channel surround texture.

Except for my PC laptop, every computer there was an Apple (I presume a Powerbook). Apple, Pro-Tools, and MAX/MSP seem to be the "in" tools in the academic world these days.

Most of the music was prepared in advance -- often they turned down the houselights and we just listened to the work. Other works were for pre-recorded sounds and instruments that included 'cello, trumpet, digeridoo, piano, and voice. All real-time processing was done via MAX/MSP -- in fact, the only live use of an electronic instrument was my theremin work!

Most of the looping work was accomplished with MAX/MSP such that one wasn't really aware of repeating loops, per se. One other work for 'cello had rhythmic loops that required the performer to play in sync with the looped material.

My theremin work recieved a warm reception and people had a plethora of questions afterwards. Many folks had only heard the theremin as a sci-fi effect and were pleasantly surprised to hear how it worked in a looping genre. Ironically, my work may have been one of the more "conservative" ones from a tonal standpoint!

I walked away with many ideas and much inspiration. Look for more layering/morphing and use of spatial effects in my upcoming work :)

[i]-- Kevin[/i]

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