Tom Fox - pic by Kitmonsters
Hackoustic Creative Director, maker and artist, Tom Fox welcomed us to a newly revamped Iklectik with a giant screen, and a 3D sound system courtesy of Amoenus. He introduced an evening of sound and exploration, with some of his own instruments available to try in the breaks, including one driven by a pendulum.
Craig Scott’s Lobotomy - pic by Kitmonsters
First up live was Craig Scott, a composer, improvising guitarist and sound artist. His work focuses on the tension that exists between human and machine made music, and he had an intricate set up of MIDI controlled acoustic instruments, incorporating solenoids, sensors and drums, for showcasing his recent creation Toy Piano and Drum Duet 1.
He likes to blur the lines between the organic and artificial, and the result was a performance of mesmerising grooves that we dubbed swamp techno!
After each performance the instrument tables were carefully put to one side so people could take a closer look at the tech, and chat to the artists, so we were able to see more of the detail of what he had made
Craig Scott’s Lobotomy’s kit - pic by Kitmonsters
Hannah Kemp-Welch took us on a gripping journey into radio, interweaving her tales of exploration and making, and sounds from around the world that she had recorded.
She’s a sound artist with a socially-engaged practice who produces audio installations, radio broadcasts and online artworks, often with community groups, using voices, field recordings and found sounds.
We were soon immersed in the concept of sferics, and their crackling and popping audio, and as a bonus we were educated in the importance of a certain radio show to national security.
Hannah Kemp-Welch - pic by Kitmonsters
Hannah’s homemade antennas, radio receivers, and induction loops that hear the earth’s natural radio are objects of wonder, with some of them looking like giant totems or sculptures.
She is also a member of feminist radio art group Shortwave Collective, and even offered to send the audience her instructions on how to make radio gear.
If you get a chance to see her speak, snap up a ticket.
Hannah Kemp-Welch’s kit - pic by Kitmonsters
The next presentation was a surprise one. A Hackoustic regular and legendary maker is Howard Batchen who often arrives at Hackoustic with a creation for people to try out. Keeping us all in suspense until the last minute, and wielding a big black bag on stage, this time he pulled out a stringed instrument. It was a guitar created from baking trays, with a custom neck, and bright metallic sound. He said people were welcome to get hands on in the next break.
Howard Batchen - pic by Kitmonsters
The night’s headliners were Ravine/Machine, who presented their unique performance of Ritual projection and sonic illuminations.
With hand-built instruments including a music box and electronics, a Kodak carousel slide projector, and a fluttering of candle-powered rotating projections, Scott Pitkethly aka Cutlasses and Dr Amy Cutler took us on a beautiful and hypnotic audiovisual journey.
Ravine/Machine - pic by Kitmonsters
They describe their work as drawing on Barthes’ concept of shimmering images, and that their constructions build illusive landscapes in the bringing together of sound and vision.
Intense and communal as an experience, the Hackoustic audience emerged refreshed and delighted as if from a holiday.
Scott Pitkethly’s kit - pic by Kitmonsters
A word here about the incredible 3D sound system at Iklectik, created by immersive arts organisation Amoenus. The speakers are designed specifically for spatial audio reproduction using Ambisonics and to bring studio sound quality into public performance spaces. A great match!