Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Weds 26th Aug: David Byrne, playing the building

We all love David Byrne...............and I wasn't at all dissapointed when I once saw him on Lafayette looking dapper, dressed in a lemon yellow linen suit and panama hat.............
..........which brings me to the yellow tinted program for his installation at London's Roundhouse...........
If anyone can get to Chalk Farm to visit this I recommend the trip! For it is a trip!
David has turned the entire cavity of the circular structure into a musical instrument. How? What? Without the use of amplification or speakers he has installed various devices to bang, blow and vibrate elements of the structure to produce sound. The metal beams and pipes have been rigged with numerous pumps and hammers to generate the natural resonance created when contact is made............its a mix of bizarre and enchanting soundscapes. The best thing is that it is interactive and the whole idea is for the visitor to tinker with these musical mechanics and play their own tune sitting at an organ. David had inherited an old pump organ that was in no condition to be played for recording so it had been sat in his studio as decoration..............until the concept of this exhibition required a vehicle to generate the notes and he didn't have to look further than his front room.

"I realised that its antique body and keyboard would make the perfect controller for this piece - it would emphasise the Victorian steam-punk technology at work here, as well as the simplicity of this completely mechanical acoustic piece. There are no microphones, no amplification and none of the sounds are synthesised or altered electronically. The organ keyboard basically serves as a series of switches at the back or the organ, which is left open so people can see the workings."
(I have taken this from the programme.............I haven't actually interviewed David myself!..................I wish!)

David goes on to explain that there is too much music used and exploited in every day life as a space mum would agree with that!..........she can't stand piped music in shops! So this exercise is to make us open our ears to appreciate the accidental sounds in life (from machines and nature) and block out the arbitrary shit relentlessly attacking our ears. Go and have a pull on the stoppers and bash on the keyboard to blow away the smog of London's noise pollution............its really good fun!

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