Supernatant Seminars, Robert Tubb and Gordon Charlton,

Thursday 7th of March, 7pm
Troyganic, 138 Kingsland Road, London

The Music Hackspace is proud to invite the Centrifuge and Supernatant Laboratories, for a seminar with two guest speakers, Robert Tubb aka Cursor Miner (Queen Mary, University of London) and Gordon Charlton (aka Beat Frequency) to talk about mathematical approaches to rhythm sequencing and advanced theremin techniques.

Robert Tubb / Cursor Miner (Queen Mary, University of London)
Mathematically Inspired Approaches To Live Rhythm Sequencing

Robert Tubb is a London-based musician and programmer best known as his artist alias “Cursor Miner”, and currently researching towards a Doctorate in DSP at Queen Mary, University of London..
The bulk of midi style sequencing is carried out in a piano-roll type representation. This descends from traditional score which has evolved to suit western classical music. However for modern electronic genres such as dance music, driven by repetitive rhythms, this layout is rather unwieldy. In the case of live improvisatory performance, a piano-roll is pretty much impossible to manage.
This session will explore that the way we approach rhythm sequencing is lacking. We hear audio in the frequency domain, we play musical instruments in the frequency domain (i.e. the notes in a scale are frequencies). Rhythm is an equally cyclical, harmonic phenomenon so why then should we be specifying everything as points in time? The central idea here is that all aspects of music are driven by repetitions in time, not singular points in time. A linear-time based approach: where every note in the piano roll has to be specified by hand, is inferior to the circular-time (aka frequency) based approach, where patterns are constructed by overlaying simple “basis functions” that “add up” in some way to produce satisfying structure.
A new type of sequencer will be presented that ties all these ideas together and uses the concept of a Fourier Transform (which views patterns as the sum of pure sine wave oscillations) to generate meaningful patterns and, perhaps more importantly, transitions between these patterns.

Gordon Charlton / Beat Frequency (Supernatant)
Exotic Theremin Techniques
Gordon is an unrepentant theremin enthusiast, the brains behind the successful Hands Off series of theremin events, which ranges from the world’s largest gathering of thereminists to landmark performances at the Royal Festival Hall as part of the Southbank Centre’s annual Ether festival.
Gordon records and performs under the nom de guerre Beat Frequency as, he explains, “The theremin is more than an electronic instrument, it is a cybernetic instrument both in the science fiction cyborg sense, and also the technical Norbert Wiener sense; the player being, electronically speaking, part of the instrument, and, lacking any tangible reference points, utterly dependant on an audio feedback loop. The beat frequency is at the heart of the theremin. My aim is to rediscover the theremin as an instrument of the third millennium, informed by the physics of the instrument and based on a fundamental understanding of psycho-acoustics rather than applying it to common practice music, which makes as much sense as a didgeridoo in a classical orchestra.”
His visceral sonic excursions are reminiscent of the early days of Industrial Music, and his fluid, evolving soundscapes have been likened to the music of Raymond Scott, the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, Gyorgy Ligeti, Nurse With Wound and Throbbing Gristle. The third Beat Frequency album, The Invisible Horn, was released recently by White Label Music.
Gordon’s sessions will include a demonstration and discussion of the “Beat Frequency” method and the use of effects to process theremin audio as well as an opportunity to have “hands off” experience of playing a theremin.

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