I really enjoyed giving an artist talk and performance yesterday. The venue, Casa del Popolo, is a super place, with new and experimental music on every night, and seems very artist orientated. Peter Burton and the staff there are great, and they host the Suoni per il Popolo festival every summer. Highly recommended. Anyway, after the talk and some jigs, I played several of my pieces with improvisation, electronics, motion sensor, pitch detection, Max MSP. I have had a new motion sensor delivered here by x-io technologies, and it has been very reliable, as well as providing new functionality, which I used in the new piece Luas Láimhe, written while in Montréal. Thanks to audience for their feedback, and interesting and thought provoking questions – we covered sean nós drones, existing improvisation in Irish traditional music, feedback in electronics, embracing / improvising around technological inconsistencies, lots of great artists and musicians doing related work, control of silencing the electronics, potential tension between the contemporary and traditional parts of practice. I then spent the evening trawling an extensive record collection and listening to Alice Coltrane and John Cage. A highlight was The Piano Music of Henry Cowell, his 1953 record referencing lots of Irish traditional music in fascinating ways and through really innovative sounds. That was a suggestion from the audience too!
Thanks to everyone who came and contributed, the atmosphere was indicative of the scene as I’ve experienced it here in Montréal – inclusive, interested and warm, with vibrant, diverse artwork going on everywhere. Special thanks to Prof. Eric Lewis and Dr. Sheetal Lodhia at IPLAI for the invitation, and providing me with an inspiring place to work this summer. I also appreciate the support of the Ireland Canada University Foundation and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.