Vicky Choc Special

january 01, 2006.

here's to start the year : ... a compte rendu of the Vicky's Mosquitos Special that we did friday december 9th, as a 'Rotonde de Choc' in the Chambre Noire of the Espace Jemmapes (Paris X).

Ronde de Vicky There were seven of us performing: Arnaud Rivière, Mark Webster, FlexRex, E. Rébus, Cosmo Helectra, FPCM and me.

This was the Special's set-up: we started with a 'tutti' improvisation: all beginning at max volume and density, and then over a period of ten minutes bringing the volume down, and making each one's playing evermore transparent. Following - and without breaks - each in turn did a solo, again of ten minutes, except for FPCM and me, who did a ten minutes (0 OK, 0:1) duo, giving way to a final - once again ten minutes 'tutti' improvisation, but this time (such was the idea) with everyone starting at lowest volume and great transparence, building up to a max of volume and density.

It being a Vicky's Special I of course did propose everyone to do a 'play with Vicky'. I made it clear, though, that this wasn't an obligation ... But, apparently, :-) , I had been pretty convincing, as it turned out that indeed everyone did use Vicky in their performance.
Here some details on these 'Vicky plays', in the order in which they were done that evening:

Ronde de Vicky
Ronde de Vicky
Ronde de Vicky
Ronde de Vicky
Ronde de Vicky
Ronde de Vicky

Mark Webster used Max, Supercollider and Reaktor for granular synthesis, and a resonance patch for playing his Mac laptop's housing with his fingers as an instrument (through the in built microphone). "The idea was simply to play over the reading with occasional filtering and speed variation of the voice. I think that the context spoke for itself in that the text talked a lot about 'music', sound, that sound indeed..."
E. Rébus made a selection of words and phrases from Vicky's recitation that he wanted to use. He recorded these onto a mini-cassette, that he played back on a dictaphone during his performance. During play back, the words and phrases were collected, sound-on-sound, in a short loop made on a modified delay, with random behavior.
Cosmo Helectra built his contribution around a cassette with a recording of Vicky's Mosquitos recitation played back on an Aiwa walkman, using 2 BOSS rhythm boxes (DR 550), a BOSS bass synth pedal (SYB3), a BOSS mixer (KM4), a modified Barbie rhythm box, and a Grundig microphone.
Arnaud Rivière used Vicky's announcement as a kick-off for ten minutes of great & very intense 'metal'-turntablism, and - together with fpcm's spontaneous 'final destruction' of an already broken aluminum stepladder towards the end - the most 'physical' (in the best sense of the term) of the evening's contributions.
FlexRex used four parts of the Vicky file in Ableton Live (5), applying several digital effects (grain delays, phaser, et cetera), in order to transform Vicky's rendering of 'Mosquitos' into a 'high-ish drone' ...
For the 0 ok, 0:1 'set', I used a cassette with a recording of the vocal 'buzz' of stereo01, played my found Bontempi organ and a crackle box. FPCM also used his crackle box, besides juggling with his voice, clarinet and a sax mouthpiece, played through a microphone fed into Garageband for use of some effects; and, in the second half, 'scratching' the Vicky file on a PSP.
OK's part then gave way to a second ten minutes 'tutti' improvisation, which ended the performance.

You can listen to a documentary recording of the complete Vicky Rotonde de Choc (a stereo microphone recording onto MD) as the 18th Raudio Podcast.

Oh Vicky! ...I do think the 'concept' for the evening proved to be a viable one, and I sure will try to do this again somewhere some other time. The relatively 'short slots for many' and the manifold approaches of the players did result in an interesting sound spectrum, that continued to shift over time. For the occasion I made a Flash movie that counted down in seconds from 600 to 0, and which I started at the beginning of each next slot. The idea being that the player would keep an eye on the screen during his performance, and that the next one in line would be able to join in somewhere in the last minute of the previous slot, say. Maybe these dix minutes pile were a weensy bit too strict and too formal. Not only that for some of us (like me and Arnaud) the count down screen happened to be behind our backs :-) , also of course performances may very well have other 'natural endings'. Rébus' contribution was an example, as the random process that was at the core of 'his Vicky' at some point simply stopped ...

Many thanks, of course, to all that participated! Thanks to Pascal for the Rotonde de Choc. And thanks to those that came to watch and listen ... I bet that next time there'll be even more of you ;-)

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[ Link: Vicky's site. Next related SB entries: Vicky's very own Présences :: Fifty/Fifty __ Previous related SB entry: Vicky@ZandOog ]

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