15 January, 2008

The thing that started it all...



In 2000 I was lucky enough to find myself in Moscow and in the company of an authority on early electronic musical instruments (you can find his invaluable website here). To be brief, he introduced us to a wonderful chap called Stanislav Kreichi who is the proud keeper of this one-of-a-kind drawn sound synth - the ANS.






Essentially it plays what you draw in an up/down=pitch, left/right=time way. For a more detailed description, have a look at the wiki, a fair chunk of which I wrote. The other image is of a score which I have a recording of somewhere...
I ended up recording quite a bit of material on the ANS, and it completely changed my outlook on how sound could be generated and controlled. Quoting from a paper I presented on Photophonics in June:

It has a killer combination of gesture, microtonality, immediacy, temporal flexibility and sonic beauty, which makes it unique. It can be read in terms of the still and the moving image and seems to come from a culture outside of normal artistic, scientific or industrial production – like a cross between a printing press and a jukebox. I think it entirely appropriate that it was used by the composer Edward Artimiev as the voice of the intelligent ocean in Tarkovski’s Solaris.

Here's a short piece I drew on a return trip in spring 2001...