Sunday, May 17, 2009

Electronic Arts Night '09

When most people think about electronic music they think about techno or drum’n’bass or maybe the likes of Radiohead and Aphex Twin, and if you know a little better you’d mention Stockhausen and Moog. The advances in technology over the last 60 years have allowed for some wild endeavors in all aspects of art.

I was recently given the opportunity to organize the musical performance section of the Electronic Arts Night (NAE), an expo held on April 15th at the Fine Arts Dept of the University of Puerto Rico. NAE is dedicated to showcasing how technologies have been applied in artistic production in Puerto Rico, from video art to installations and, of course, music.

It was important to establish a coherent line of development between performers while displaying some of the alternative possibilities of electronic music. So, first off was Francisco J. Torres, his electronic improvisation project involves an old turntable playing a broken “sound effects” LP on top of another, processing that signal through a delay pedal. The combination of improvisation in positioning the needle and parameters of the delay allow for the creation of captivating sonic textures. Next came solo projects from members of Polidesto and Vliot, which worked with synthesizer, sequencer and computer usage respectively. I wasn’t able to be there for their entire performances ‘cause I was getting things ready for my own, so I don’t know any specifics on their setups or what their individual aim was with the music. For more info on these projects check out and Last went an ensemble which attempts to integrate the concepts of sonic art, noise and music with the use of a computer, acoustic/electric instruments and effects. That’s it as far as my role as a sort of “curator” of the music section of the NAE, I wanted to show a progressive line from all analog, to all digital, and finally integrate the two mediums.

I’d like to elaborate a bit on the idea behind the final ensemble. As an improvisational four piece (drums, keys, bass, laptop) I think we established an effective dialog between each instrument and transitioned between a standard music structure and “noise”, which could be considered as part of a “new school” use of unorthodox rhythmic, melodic, and harmonic development. It reminds me a lot of a jazz quartet, emphasizing on improvisation, with a rhythm section and a lead voice…kind of. And also, our experience in heavier bands (Joy and I were in Axiom Dummy and Pachy and Danny are in as well as music studies, definitely adds to this ensembles output. The use of the laptop is difficult to pull off because it can easily overwhelm everything else, but I think Joy integrated well and was in tune with Pachy (keys), Danny (drums), and me (bass and synth).

This is just one of the projects of “The A/V Machinists Collective”, check out the video (sadly there’s only video of the quartet), more vids of this and other projects will be posted in the future on our youtube channel.

Thanks to Alejandro @
who runs the NAE, to Ida for lending us the camera, and Themis and Cristian for video recording.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Official A/V Machinist Collective Blog

The A/V Machinist Collective, registered as a non-profit corporation, exists to be used as a platform for artists of various fields to develop and present their work with the freedom to express their maximum level of creativity, without conforming to the current artistic standards in Puerto Rico. The emphasis on using technologies (both analog and digital) and "new media" aims to take artists out of their "comfort zone", inspiring and motivating them for the creation of truly innovative artistic work, without falling into the "technology exhibition" trap.

Each artist will have a space to present their work in both exhibitions/presentations (within and outside of Puerto Rico) and online at our website (which is currently under construction). This includes musicians, visual and plastic artists, writers, photographers, graphic artists, programmers, etc.

We promote collaboration between artists with different strengths and backgrounds for the creation of new projects, as well as local and international exposure of these projects and the people involved in them.