Nhoj Elocin

Nhoj Elocin is a collaboration of John Ferguson and Nicole Carroll. This project explores improvisation with lively and semi-autonomous processes using custom software and self-made instruments, often in surround-sound. While tactile interfaces are considered vital, algorithmic complexity provides a catalyst. The aim is to traverse noise aesthetics, contemporary computer music, and the repetitive rhythms of groove-based pop forms.

In September 2017 Nhoj Elocin performed at Elder Hall, Elder Conservatorium of Music, University of Adelaide, as part of the Australasian Computer Music Conference (ACMC). The ACMC concert was in surround with both musicians diffusing sound direct from their instruments. In October 2017 Nhoj Elocin performed (in stereo) at Alchemix Brisbane as part of regular experimental music night OscilloScape. Movies recorded QCGU July 2017.

John performs with Mobile Noise Rig (MNR), this is a handmade instrument built around a Teensy microcontroller and an iPad. MNR features arcade buttons for tactile responsiveness and visual feedback, as well as a bend-sensor equipped hole-punch that underlines the potential of everyday and often-overlooked mechanisms. Bespoke software written in Pure data combines granular sample-mangling with lively approaches to vernacular rhythm and groove. Pseudo-random and generative processes place notions of ‘imagined-agency’ at the foreground. All of the MNR software runs on an iPad via Mobile Music Platform (MobMuPlat). John’s pseudo-anthropomorphic practice raises issues of causality, agency and legibility. MNR foregrounds the question: are we performing the technology or is it performing us?

Nicole performs with the Byzantine controller, which utilizes capacitive touch sensors on a circular grid (modelled after a Byzantine chessboard) that visually mirrors a surround sound configuration. The goal in developing this controller is to help merge the performance aesthetics of acousmatic diffusion with that of hacked electronics. Audio from homemade analog circuits is sent to Max/MSP, where pitch and amplitude tracking in conjunction with chance procedures control processing parameters. Chance procedures are driven by tarot card relationships and numerology as the software “draws” cards during performance. Direct and ambient light actuates a master circuit, ensuring a degree of uncertainty. The agency of the system–the machines in combination with chance procedures–prompts a responsive approach from the performer.

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