Here is the score for my new musical composition, Mumbo Jumbo Maracas, a trio for Wiimote MIDI controller playing a custom MainStage patch, keytar, and maracas. I will be playing the Wiimote, with Arturo Vidich on keytar and Eric Mika on maracas. We will be playing the world premiere of the piece as part of the ITP NIME show on December 15. Details coming soon!
I got really good feedback about my NIME project in class tonight that will help me develop my Mumbo Jumbo Maracas piece. In thinking about how I want everything to fit together, I am strongly leaning towards making my performance an ensemble piece. I definitely want to keep both the maracas and the gibberish speech samples in the composition. I’m thinking that I will play the Wiimote which will be triggering the mumbo jumbo language samples, while another musician will play the maracas. A third musician will be playing a melodic instrument. I still need to sort out the details, but that is where I stand as of tonight. My next steps are scoring out the composition, learning more about OSC and PD.
On the way home, a lullaby-like melody and lyrics came into my head while I was in the subway. Here are the words. I think they will help guide me in what I want to say with the Mumbo Jumbo Maracas project.
I forgot my native language
I forgot my mother tongue
I forgot the tales you’ve told me
I forgot the songs you’ve sung
This week for NIME, I worked on getting a Wiimote to talk to my Mac using Darwiin Remote. The Bluetooth pairing process is a little tricky, but after multiple attempts it worked. Next steps: figure out the software side of things. I need to map the values the Wiimote is sending to my computer to different musical notes. I will be researching OSCulator or JunXion as potential means of converting the Wiimote readings into musical expressions.
“Inspirational Actions”: Think about a performance you have witnessed that made a indelible mark in your life, a performance you would aspire to give, a tool/system you would aspire to perform – and bring a short audio and/or video clip of it to share with the class. This can be something you have already done, but we encourage you to look to the work of other artists/musicians/performers for inspiration.
The name of my NIME instrument, Mumbo Jumbo Maracas, just came to me one day. I wanted an instrument that would allow me to make wild flailing gestures and a thick texture of noise. For my performance, I want to combine elements of primitive shamanistic ritual with good silly fun, sort of post-colonial re-appropriation of mid-century exotica. I find maracas fun and festive (as this Señor Coconut track demonstrates), and as user interfaces, the simplicity of how they work is intuitive and they become in a way instant noise-making appendages in the hands of their player.
I created a 1 minute audio sketch in Logic that approximates what I want my final project to sound like.
While we are on the topic of maraca-related inspiration, here are a few YouTube clips I like.
As for the mumbo jumbo ritualistic performance part of my NIME project, I admit, I am totally ripping off Terence Koh.
“Inspirational Sounds”: Think about the music you would aspire to make – and bring a short audio clip of it to share with the class. This can be something you have already done, but we encourage you to look to the work of other artists/musicians/performers for inspiration.
For my inspirational sounds, I decided to share some Steve Reich music. This clip includes parts of “4 Organs” and “My Name Is” from a 1970 performance at the Berkeley Museum. I am attracted to the strong rhythmic pulse of Reich’s music and the mesmerizing use of repetition and slowly evolving patterns. For my own NIME instrument, I want to do something involving maracas (like in “4 Organs”) as well as incorporate some form of sampled human voices (like in “My Name Is”).
I am starting to get a clearer idea of the instrument that I want to build. I am calling my project Mumbo Jumbo Maracas. I would like to mount accelerometers on a pair of maracas. In performance, I would play the maracas as purely acoustic instruments, while the sensors would be used to trigger various looped vocal samples (the “mumbo jumbo” part.