aleatoric ensemble

AAE_onBENCHan aleatoric ensemble 2015
hacked USB turntables, 9v batteries, dc motor controllers, laser cut plywood, various tins, balls and boxes, rubber bands, santalum acuminatum seeds, marbles, string, bric-a-brac
dimensions variable

I’ve been making experimental music with sound derived from everyday things for decades. In 1981, I was given John Cage’s then recently published book Empty Words because of my predilection for musicality over music. Recently, I read Kay Larson’s 2011 biography of Cage, that traces the influence of Zen Buddhism on his life and work. So, for me John Cage has been a constant but absent inspiration and sensei – a lifelong guide.

I’ve long been experimenting with musicality arising from a coalescence of chance, autonomy, simplicity, chaotic systems (in the mathematical sense of ‘chaos theory’), use of non-instruments, acoustic sound and open-endedness.
an aleatoric ensemble represents a breakthrough (for me) in these endeavours. It comprises an open-ended number of similar units, based on a small USB turntable modified with the installation of a DC Motor Controller to allow for variable speed RPM (revolutions per minute).

Lasercut plywood discs on each turntable are used to assemble combinations of trays, boxes and tins with various balls, spherical quandong seeds, marbles, discs, cylinders and other small objects inside. Set in motion, the constructions turn, objects move, balls roll, surfaces are struck, generating a strangely captivating, repetitive but always slightly variant musicality.

Multiple turntables with various combinations of prepared objects are set in motion simultaneously to create complex soundscapes. Each instrument/device can be played by slight variations in RPM, and the addition or subtraction of pingpong balls, bottle caps, tape dispenser cores, quandong seeds, marbles, superballs, etc.

The ensemble is devised for both performance and installation contexts. I want the audience to experience the sounds made by the system in real space and time, preferably over an extended duration.

aleatoric ensemble at ORT Festival, SNO, Marrickville 5-7 May2017
Composer and festival organiser Kraig Grady invited me to perform the aleatoric ensemble on the opening night of the ORT Festival, staged at SNO Contemporary Art Projects in Marrickville Sydney.

aleatoric ensemble at Cementa17, Kandos NSW 08 April 2017
I was invited to perform the aleatoric ensemble at the Sound Night of the biennial Cementa artists festival in Kandos.

aleatoric ensemble at Verge Gallery, University of Sydney, 21 May 2016
The video below documents a performance of the aleatoric ensemble at Verge Gallery, University of Sydney on 21 May 2016, as part of the progressive ‘double vision’ experimental music program presented by Del Lumanta.