Wednesday, November 13, 2002 at 7:30pm
David Toop and Sarah Peebles: Artist Talk

Composer & Author talks at InterAccess

David Toop is currently writing a new book called "Sound Body", subtitled "Human Music In The Digital World". Sound Body will explore the impact of digital technology on human music making. The book will look at historical ways in which music has embodied ideas about society, or expressed images of the human body, then compare these examples with the mutated models that are emerging through the very recent uses of digital technology. Digitization is beginning to effect dramatic changes in recording, live performance, distribution, even our perception and appreciation of music and sound. All of the humanistic values that we associate with music are under scrutiny, if not threat, along with the less cherished regulations that guard the interests of corporate business. Copyright laws and all the other mechanisms that channel income from distribution systems to creators will have to be rewritten to incorporate the unprecedented challenges posed by digital technology, globalisation and the Internet. "I'm particularly interested in the significance of improvisation. A lot of the new digital composer-performers have become involved with an older generation of improvisers (of which I count myself as one) and there are some interesting implications and consequences. I'm analysing a number of concerts which I have heard or taken part in over the past few years. They are concerts at which technology and improvisation seemed to be going in different directions. Derek Bailey said to me recently that it's easier to talk about the gigs that are failures and I totally agree. This is a great moment in time for bumping into the difficulties that surround performance. On the other hand, what's happening now has been going on for as long as I can remember, so the history is very rich."

Sarah Peebles composes and performs electroacoustic music, and has been ammending and expanding her collection of Max patches -"Dillpatch" - and internal sampling library since acquiring these skills through residencies and workshops at Toronto's InterAccess electronic media arts centre. Peebles integrates sounds gathered from natural habitats and cityscapes in North America and Japan � which she manipulates on the fly via a Macintosh computer with Max/MSP and Unity DS-1 � into improvisations, stereo and multi-channel spacialised compositions, radio works, mixed media performances, and film/video productions. She also draws upon the sustained tones of the shô - the Japanese mouth-organ noted for its unique timbre and tendency to 'throw' sound in unexpected ways - in both sampled and acoustic performance.

The Richmond Audio Box together with ABControl (Third Monk Software) automates the diffusion of eight discreet chanels of sound in space. Peebles' work with ABControl programmer Chris Rolfe at the Banff Centre for the Arts, for a New Adventures in Sound commission, resulted in a new feature of ABControl which allows a performer to generate multiple discreet and stereo spacial movements � such as counter-rotations, crossfades, and quasi-random movements � in real time, as she or he performs and/or records. Peebles uses this spacializing feature together with "Dillpatch" to create soundscapes in which she both generates the audio and spacializes it. She will talk about her working process, the aesthic considerations involved, and will demonstrate these audio and spacializing techniques.

Toop and Peebles first collaborated on "White Powder/The Spiders" for his album, "Hot Pants Idol" (Barooni, 1999), after hearing eachothers' work at the Music from Nature festival at The Kitchen in 1998. "White Powder/The Spiders" has been performed live by Toop (spoken work with tape) at European venues, and received its premier as an 8-chanell spacialized audio work by Peebles on "Sound Travels" in August, 2001 (Gibraltor Point Centre for the Arts, Toronto), commisioned by New Adventures in Sound. This piece, included on Peebles' 1999 limited edition CD-R, "Insect Groove", was broadcast on BBC3's Mixing It "Best Of The Year" programme (Jan. '02), selected by listeners and presenters. Peebles and Toop congregated with Evan Parker in August, 2001, to explore their collective dynamic in Kingson, England. The recording that resulted has been incorporated extensively into Celine Rumalean's "Yesterday is Now", a new documentary exploring Japan's wartime responsibity in Asia and contemporary Japanese society's stuggle with the subject.

"Visionary in it's experimental merging of the primitive with advanced digital technology... a series of incredibly active soundfields... Peebles's collaboration with David Toop from Hot Pants Idol fits effortlessly into this already Ballard-style mix of the wet and the wired: here the shô's resonance bleeds across more static throbs and whispers of interference and generator sounds." �The Wire, March 2001 ("Insect Groove" c74)

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