Electronic Mirror

Electronic Mirror

1. Travel report: Imaginary Tour of Australia, May 2013
I was supposed to go on tour in Australia with Dans les arbres today. Unfortunately, at the last minute I got ill and couldn't travel. I can work, but I can’t travel by plane. The rest of the band did as planned, they went on tour. Of course. I am very glad they did. 

So what to do? I have been looking forward to this tour a lot. To see Australia, but most importantly to play. And to play a short solo set in Sydney. I need to do something else, so I am planning an imaginary tour with Imaginary Dans les arbres in Imaginary Australia. The Imaginary Dans les arbres comprise short samples of previous recordings of the real Dans les arbres. Dans les arbres-in-a-box. Dans les arbres-music box.

Of course, the tour follows the same itinerary as the tour I was supposed to do:
31st May: Imaginary Melbourne 
1st June:  Imaginary Melbourne 
3rd June: Imaginary Sydney - solo set                   
4th June: Imaginary Sydney
6th June: Imaginary Perth

Just a few minor differences from the original tour plan: 
no audience (except the ones listening online afterwards) 
no band (at least not in the traditional sense)
no staff, no light engineer, no sound engineer
no press 

The tour will take place in Imaginary Australia – which could be anywhere, basically. My office, perhaps? One of the rehearsing rooms at the Academy? In my garden?  

Dans les arbres in real Australia is Dans les arbres without me. At least this time. I would love to hear the music. I am very curious to hear what they do when I am not there. After all, what we do is really based on collectivity. And for this tour the collective will be (radically) different. Observing them without me could explain a lot about me as a musician, and my part of the ensemble. Or? Taking away the salt in the porridge does not necessarily give you a clearer picture of the salt itself. It just gives you a poor porridge. I am sure the others will change what has to be changed in order to make interesting music (porridge). So it will be a very different Dans les arbres, I assume. Not just Dans les arbres, minus me.  

But I am confident that MY Dans les arbres tour in Imaginary Australia (Oslo) will be interesting too. And perhaps this tour, the Imaginary Australia Tour, will give me a clearer picture of myself as a musician and myself as part of the collective that is Dans les arbres. Perhaps even more than if I took part in the real Australia tour.


2. What is a Dans les arbres-music box?
For this imaginary tour I edited recordings by Dans les arbres, created isolated musical events, arranged them to be triggered by a midi foot pedal. Here is a short excerpt from the imaginary tour: 


3. Music box --> ‘Electronic Mirror’
After the imaginary tour I continued to develop this band-in-a-box-concept into an electronic setup that allows me to face a sonic and ‘electronic mirror’ in front of the band. Or inside. During the project I have strived at achieving a higher degree of flexibility when treating the pre-recorded material. Alone, the ‘electronic mirror’ can sound like this:  (00:09).

The ‘electronic mirror’ is an attempt to expand Dans les arbres' palette, without forcing a radical change in our communication. The MAX MSP tool I use, allows me to, for example, freeze or slow down a clarinet sound, or a bell, and turn it into something almost otherworldly, yet without becoming alien. It allows me to add new type of layers, add a new dimension to our collection of layers.  

I used this electronic setup as part of my instrumentation on Dans les arbres’ concert at my Final Artistic Presentation on 22 April 2015. 


4. Filtered ‘Electronic Mirror’
Towards the end of my project we went to record in the studio with Dans les arbres. I brought the tool and set it up so I could record the ensemble and start treating the sounds immediately. A more directly responsive mirror.

When pitching and slowing down recordings made in a space with a short reverb, also the reverb gets longer and darker. Obviously. Playing back the pitched-down and darkened echo of what we played moments ago in the same room, gave an almost 3-dimensional feeling to the music. Again, almost otherworldly but still not alien. It is like reflections from a filtered mirror. These reflections, in combination with the other electronic instruments used in this recording, adds complexity to the music.  



Sound clips from different stages in the development of this tool can be found in Audio & video documentation.