So what about Back To Borneo?
After building our little theremines, we set up in an large industrial space across the street from the main festival area. This was because originally our concert was supposed to take place outside but the weather was just too chilly and windy for that.
We (Bill, Jacques and I) first quickly went through the program to clear any lingering hitches after which Bill had to instruct the group of folks who had participated in the theremine workshop and who had volunteered to play with us. About a dozen in all, they where organized by whether their theremine produced mostly bass or mostly treble sounds. (because of the 30% error margin in the electronic components all the miniature theremines sounded different, some hardly sounding at all). These where all amplified by cheap desk computer active speakers and ended up being very loud. Bill managed to lower the overall sound somewhat but us Skid’fonia players (me & Jacques) where beginning to worry that our instruments would never be heard above the brouhaha. He also got them to follow a few simple commands, like fade out, make the sound wobble, start, stop, etc…
He also coached Carole, a real theremine player as to what he expected from her.
By then it was late enough that we just had the time to dress up (blue overalls and yellow hardhats) and have a quick coffee before the beginning of the concert.
The three of us first approached the public from the far side of the room playing large tonatems in a very “pseudo spiritual new age” way (long spaced out dongs and bongs…) and encircling the seated crowd, bowing the tonantems over their heads. Then Bill distributed various noise making object to the crowd before taking his place at the conductors stand while Jacques and I dismounted two of the tonatems before taking place behind our Skid’fonias; a workaround to the fact that we didn’t have enough styrofoam with us for all the instrument ::-)
The mini theremine choir came in at that moment and to my big surprise their collective sound level was perfect. It turned out that this was a totally unexpected effect of having the room’s light on as apposed to off, like they where earlier, so there was less amperage on the line (or something like that, not my area of expertise).
Back to Borneo by Bill Holden
semence: Jacques, Steve and Bill enter playing large Tonatems.
sablonnage: the public shakes their “ballonzori”, enter the theremines – dimenuendo + fade out of the “ballonzori”.
floraison: the theremines continue to play, solo by Carole
réveil: diminuendo of the theremines and progresive entrance by the “skid’fonias”, rolls and bends.
résonances: each “skid’fonias” alternatively plays: roll + strike + bend followed by the publics “plastikons” – intensification of the exchanges progressive fade out of the “plastikons”
confrontation: free exchange between the “skid’fonias” – progressive boiling of the theremines + 2nd solo by Carole
all together now: theremine choir is progressivly invaded by the ”wouahs !” from the “mirlitubes” – reintroduction the “plastikons” et des “ballonzori” S et J move to their mobile “skid’fonias”
happy end: B joins in with a “tonatem”, all three join the theremines, “ballonzoris”, “mirlitubes” et “plastikons” – J, S et B continue to play while leaving the scene.
ballonzoris: blown up balloons filled with some rice
mirlitubes: giant kazoos made with cardboard tubes
plastikons: plastic bags
tonatems: see my earlier post Tonatem Time
skid’fonias: see my earlier post TSKZ09
PS: I’ll add pictures if I get some…
Once again I’ll be joining Bill Holden next Saturday. He was asked to participate in the TSKZ09, a small festival for “sonic creations + art & science multimedia”.
One of the reasons I have not had time to blog lately is that I was helping him out in building the necessary home made musical instruments. In this case a few Skid’fonias. These are made with an old cross country ski stretched with 3 or 4 wires (it’s a string instrument), placed on two stands (one at each end of the ski) which permits having a foot pedal attached to the bottom center of the ski so it can be pulled downwards. This relaxes the wires, producing various amusing or not sound effects. You play the instrument by hitting the wires with chopsticks or rubbing them with a home made bow, a piece of wood with strings stretched on it. As with most of Bill’s instruments, Styrofoam is attached to the ski in order to augment it’s sonic power. ;-)
Perhaps eventually I’ll have a picture to post…
Bill will be presenting: Back To Borneo, a musical adventure between the Skid’fonias, Tonatems, a group of Theremine players (there is an afternoon workshop where you can learn to build a Theremine but you need to sign up), and various sound making devices scattered among the audience (like balloons filled with a bit of rice).
Come one, come all!