Friday, 10 April 2009

Logos robot orchestra: Jokes

If you can't come to Belgium and see the Robot Orchestra for yourself, click here and scroll down to the little video of Godfried explaining how they work. No, seriously, click on this. If you don't watch any other internet films all month, watch this one. There's nothing like it anywhere else on the planet.

Besides infusoria, Krikri helped to organise two concerts at Logos during the Literaire Lente: the robot orchestra 'Jokes' concert on April 1st and performances by angela rawlings and Isabeella Beumer on April 2nd. I've been thinking all week about whether or not to review them for the blog; since most of you are outside Belgium and don't have any way of comparing my opinions with anything else, I've decided not to. But if anyone who was at the concerts wants to blog or comment about them on here, go for it, I'm all for multiple voices. Send me a mail and I'll publish it.

I still plan to tell you a bit about the concerts though, if for no other reason than Logos' eye- and ear-popping wierdness. There is an <M&M> or mens en machine - human and machine - concert every month in the Logos Tetraeder, with music composed by the in-house composers at Logos as well as outsiders and played by various combinations of humans and electronic/mechanical instruments. Claire and Svend were filming, so at some point I may be able to post snippets of video. In the meantime, you'll have to imagine Scott Joplin's Entertainer played first by one of Moniek Darge's music boxes and then by a boisterous full orchestra (arr. Sebastian Bradt):

Twenty-four well-tempered fire alarms dolefully wailing a Bach chorale (arr. Godfried-Willem Raes). Each set at a different pitch, they crooned and faltered their way through while angela and and I tried to bite back our guffaws...

A "hello angela" composition by Kristof Lauwers, based on recordings by bp nichol. (I never did get that photo of angela, Maja, Claire and myself standing together with our hair up. Roll over bp, Steve & co, we're the Four Ponytails ...)

This is Moniek's piece for electronic violin and robots...

And here is Godfried trying to trigger the robots' infrared sensors with popcorn. Normally he uses the sensors to react to human movement, which means that the robots produce sounds in response to dance, but here the popping corn is making the robots whistle and clatter...

After the interval (with fresh popcorn), French-Belgian poet Vincent Tholomé and Logos composer Yvan Vander Sanden premiered a voice/robot collaboration. Vincent had never worked with the robots before, but it was fantastic. His poems are usually anecdotes or inner monologues in prose, featuring all kinds of quirky characters and usually with a certain degree of improvisation.

Unusually for Logos, the piece also had a light show, with whirling lights on several of the robots accompanying Vincent's tantalizingly slow-paced, looping text and Yvan's spooky soundscape.

As far as I know, none of Vincent's work has been translated into English (time to start shaking your translator thing at it, Helen,) but he has two books in French out from Maelstrom - People and no entry - for anyone who needs an evening full of belly laughs at three euros apiece.

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