silent percussion project

Jamie E Oliver

Silent percussion project

The “Silent Percussion Project” (SPP) consists in building a set of computer musical instruments that use human gestures to control sounds, composing and performing with them in an attempt to re-incorporate the body in music performance practice. The “SPP” is a response to the question: what kinds of musical instruments does live computer music performance need? To answer this question it researches the aesthetic qualities and language of non-live electronic music, action-perception systems and new media theory to experiment new ways of bridging between gesture and sound. In that sense, the “SPP” looks to address the problem of sound control by introducing new sensing techniques that take advantage of our sensorimotor capabilities. The Silent Drum and MANO instruments analyze shapes made by hands and transform them into multiple streams of continuous data. These streams, or variables, are directly applied to sound control, avoiding the key paradigm. Continuous data is analyzed to extract discrete features of the signals. The variables resulting from analysis are interdependent, that is, changes in one result in changes in the others, creating complex systems that the performer learns by experimentation. The “SPP” requires hybrid profiles, composer-performer-programmers. Instead of searching standardized controllers it builds highly personal instruments. A composition might imply a new instrument and viceversa. Open source software and web documentation is being produced to allow for their construction beyond the original creator. These sound performance pieces consist of a set of concatenated environments, in the sense that they are gestural sound spaces. Each environment presents multidimensional fields of possibilities that can be explored by the performer. Human gestures transform pre-recorded and synthetic sounds, creating a fully embodied live electronic sound world and providing the audience with a large amount of gestural information. The performer controls sound morphologies and transitions through material. The choice of tracking strategy and sound mappings are compositional acts. The Silent Construction pieces are composed instruments.

At the present time, Jaime Oliver (Lima, 1979) works towards a Phd in Computer Music at the University of California, San Diego. He is a researcher in the Center for Research in Computing and the Arts, CRCA. His research explores the use of gesture in live performance of real-time computer music, producing new controllers and compositions and studying the relationship between gesture and electronic sound. Some recognitions include scholarships and grants from the Fulbright Commission, the University of California, Meet the Composer and the Ministry of Culture of Spain.