Tuesday 27 October 2009

Iain McCurdy

Iain McCurdy is a composer of electroacoustic music based in Belfast. His tape music and instrumental music has been performed throughout the British Isles, across Europe, and in North and South America and Australia.
Recent work has focussed upon the development and nuilding of hardware that will be sewn into the musical design of the composition. Mostly these projects manifest themselves as sound installations which demand interaction from visitors to the piece.


Besides technical management of S.LOW I shall be co-facilitating a workshop and exhibiting a new sound installation.

Below are two examples of my recent work.

Cipher presents visitors with a board with an 8 x 8 grid of holes into which decorative marbles provided can be placed. Setting a marble in a hole initiates a sound idea that will continue for several minutes, gradually decaying, unless the marble is first removed. Setting another marble into another hole on the same vertical or horizontal axis as the first will, as well as triggering a new sound idea associated with that hole, cause some form of sonic transformation upon the first sound idea (if it is still active). The transformation could be a change in tempo or speed, modulation of pitch, a spectral filter, rhythmic reconfiguration, or something else specific to the nature of the original sound. Considering the structure of holes in the interface, any sound idea begun can experience a total of 14 (7 vertical and 7 horizontal) different transformations and in any combination. Bearing in mind that there are 64 basic sound ideas, sonic outcomes based upon placement of the marbles is enormous. Visitors will, as well as enjoying the sonic experience of the piece, hopefully spend some time trying to decode and understand at least some of the mechanisms of the piece. The design of the piece suggests a puzzle or strategy game and in some ways the piece is both a puzzle and a game but there is no solution (or perhaps it could be considered that there are many solutions) and there is no winner. Strategy is advanced only through listening, the visual and physical side of the piece serves only as an impression of the current musical state of the piece.

Pendulum by Iain McCurdy

The movement of a pendulum is tracked by a spiral of 64 sensors. When the pendulum passes above a sensor, a sound unique to that sensor is triggered. As the pendulum tracks to and fro, repeating sequences of notes are revealed, but these motifs are in a constant state of change. As the pendulum slows, the time gap between sound events lengthens (the sounds also become softer). As the range of the pendulum's movement decays, sound events are lost from the sequence but new sound events can also be gained as the circling movement of the pendulum contracts to include sensors closer to the centre of the spiral.
The sounds heard in this incarnation of the Pendulum are of a prepared classical guitar.