Brendon Bussy

How We Made Noise at Out The Box

Posted in Design, Events, Invention, Music, Soundtracks, Theatre, Workshops by Brendon Bussy on September 15, 2011

Noise was prevalent at last week’s Out the Box festival, and I made some of it.

I created original music and sound design using a table lamp amongst things, for Ubom! Theater’s Door and sound design for Kim Kerfoot’s hilariously dark Guillotine – part of Iqonga, Handspring Puppet Company’s experimental platform at the festival.

And I also found ample opportunity to test drive one of my new instruments, a perishable harp made from a 5 litre bottle and bamboo rod. Nicknamed ‘the Stick Insect’ I played it at the festival launch and garnered some favourable astonished responses (“What’s That?”). Then I used it as part of a performance workshop which Jori Snell and I ran called ‘Land of the Underneath‘.  Here’s a dramatic picture:

Playing the Stick Insect

And here’s a close up:

Stick Insect - up close

It has three principle strings and a very long, very slack bass string which main function is to make its (sardine can) bridge buzz and rattle, something like a sitar’s bridge, but not nearly as refined. The new innovation however is the crank, you can see it behind me, made from a small milk bottle. I turn it and its chopstick stylus rubs against the screw top lid of the main resonator making a very satisfying and loud creaking noise.

Land of the Underneath will be running soon as a full length production in October, but I’ll post more later.

I also ran another workshop for a small but amply enthusiastic group.  How To Create Noise Makers with Personality was a full day workshop during which we made a variety of harps resulting in much wilful deconstruction of yoghurt and bottled water containers. There was also a lot of playing, something which really gladdens my heart as workshops often have too much making and very little testing and jamming.

Here’s a great pic of Marko playing his cuervo harp. In the background primo fan of junk instruments, Tammy is jamming out on another of Marko’s harps.

Marko & Tammy jamming (pic Toni Olivier)

So all in all a noisy festival.

And finally a few kudo’s to self – after attending the awards ceremony, I realised that this is the second year that a production I’ve worked on has been nominated for a festival award. Last year I created an interactive staircase for Kai Losgott’s Alive And Dying (nominated Best Newcomer) and this year I created a soundtrack for Ubom! Theatre’s Door  nominated for Best Visual Theatre (directed by Jori Snell, who also won the category for her remarkable solo performance Inua).
Not nominations for my sound work directly, but I’m happy to steal a small part of the glory.

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  1. […] a look here and here to get an idea of the kinds of things we make at Noisemakers […]


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