Dirty Electronics report > by Georgios Papadakis

June 4th 2010. Chris Carter and the Dirty Electronics ensemble, led by John Richards, fill STEIM with layers of multi rhythmic beats, glitches and slow, full-bodied drones. Loud and immersive. The sounds coming from a bunch of DIY electronic instruments made during the Dirty Electronics workshop, on the last four days before the concert.

Twelve participants of the workshop make up the ensemble, each with a couple of self-made instruments, assembled under the guidance of John. On the first day we made the Dirty Carter Experimental Sound Generating Instrument, a copper-plated and tilt-sensitive postcard, that the performer controls through conducting different electrodes with their fingers and thumbs and which sounds as a furious bird, from a robot-jungle would sound, if only that creature existed.

Then there was the second instrument, made on days two and three, called Petit Coronation. Variable speed pulses, feedbacks and analog input picked by a contact mic.

This involved slightly more advanced electronics understanding and soldering skills, patiently (!) explained and troubleshot by John.

Each participant’s final petit coronation instrument, looks and sounds differently, depending on the size of the used boxes, their materials and microphone placement.

Days 3 and 4 where the days of rehearsal. It was a very open and creative process as various artistic ideas were discussed, rehearsed and developed. John and Chris detailed their views on the aesthetics of the most interesting themes that came up, while participants were teaming-up for the different pieces of the performance, setting ideas on the form and density development.

Personally the workshop gave me fun and creative time, a network of noisy friends, a better understanding of electronics (not ‘intimidated’ to assemble basic stuff on my own 🙂  and sent me home with two beautiful hand-held instruments, definitely coming up in the set-up of my next performances.

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