Always a boundary-breaking night for exploring, getting hands on with new instruments, and connecting with people, Hackoustic Presents is going from strength to strength.
First up were Alan Jackson and Tom Daley with a minimalist-looking assembly that created mesmerising and haunting sounds, in turn dissonant and harmonic.
They describe it as a multi-phonic sound texture performance using electromechanical acoustic feedback with contact mics, suspended loudspeakers and signal processing, and the Electric Bullroarer. With movements resembling futuristic bell-ringing, it was a compelling piece.
Performance duo The Isn’tses gave a fascinating in depth talk about developing their Fort Processor synth, followed by a demo of it in action. The duo are visual/electronic artist and musician Lisa McKendrick (Listen Lisse) and animator and electronic artist Tim Drage (Cementimental), and created the touch and light controlled synthesiser and audio effect circuit for Fort Process festival 2018 at Newhaven Fort.
The Isn’tses Fort Processor
We saw the progression from early design concepts and artwork through to the PCB layout for manufacturing and then the final product - which is shaped and based on the site plan of Newhaven Fort.
The circuit explores the relationship between architectural space and electric circuitry, and we saw how the tunnels of the fort played a big part in the design and later in The Isn’tses’ on-site performance.
They have made some Fort Processor PCB kits which are for sale here.
Hackoustic’s Tom Fox and Noemi Ducimetiere
Composer and singer Noemi Ducimetiere closed the night with a brilliant performance using her Tinylitzer micro foley-studio. After the lights were dimmed, she took us on a magical audio journey across the world with a tale of explorer Cristoforo Colombo (Christopher Columbus), and used her haunting vocals and tropical sounds to weave the story, that also included some of Colombo’s more horrific exploits.
Tinylitzer micro foley-studio
The Tinylitzer looks modest, but packs a huge punch, and was created during the 36-hour Abbey Road Studios Hackathon under the watchful eye of Hackoustic and Human Instruments (creators of the Haptic Baton). Noemi uses it for both mechanical and tactile foley to great effect - we can’t wait to see her in action again.
Face Beat App
Hackoustic Presents always has plenty going on off stage too, with instruments and apps to try out.
People were lining up to have a go with Jen Haughan and Andrew Hockey’s Face Beat - an app that creates sounds using your facial expressions. The wilder your funny faces the better! This was another project sparked off at the Abbey Road Studios Hackathon.
On the other side of the room was an intriguing vintage sewing machine all wired up. Brendan O’Connor was debut-ing Singer-No-More, an interactive audio sampler. As you turn the handle you play loops of machine sounds which you can modulate using other controls on the sewing machine, and it’s created with an Arduino, multiple sensors and Max/MSP.
This beautiful instrument was also from a Hackathon - Queen Mary’s Cruft Fest 2018.
Howard Batchen’s dulcimer
A freshly-built hammered dulcimer from Howard Batchen was another crowd magnet. Still being tuned up, but available to test, he had made it for his son Milo. It is a beautiful piece of craftsmanship and Howard is a prolific member of the South London Maker Space.