Brendon Bussy

Paarden Eiland Makes Noise (first two events)

Posted in Art, Electronics, Events, Music, Sound by Brendon Bussy on October 27, 2013

Earlier this year Rowan Smith contacted me to say that he and Ingrid Lee would be coming to SA. They had been collaborating on works such as their piano transcription of a smashed guitar and wanted to make something happen experimental sound wise in Cape Town.

The result has so far been two really cool November events comprising chest rattling exercises in feedback, through deep immersion sound bathing. I was fortunate enough to be part of the launch event and happily subjected the audience to a participative Silent Noise performance, a technique I’ve been using in my teaching.

For upcoming events and video and pics see the Paarden Eiland Concerts website.

Image

For the launch event Ingrid created two feedback experiences, one of them by causing multiple snare drums to sympathetically feed off each other. A deep textural experience which made my chest feel as though it were a snare drum itself. Here Ingrid uses a pair of my Earshells to listen to Dean Henning’s feedback installation Frequency Lumens Place.

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Silent Noise via Dum Ka Pa

Posted in Events, Music, Research, Sound, Theatre, Workshops by Brendon Bussy on October 27, 2013

Over the past year and a half I’ve been working full time as a music and art teacher to mostly primary school students and students with special needs . One of the techniques that I’ve developed is a simple hand sign and body percussion system which has come to be known as  Dum Ka Pa (DKP). A system loosely based on the systems used for teaching middle eastern percussion.

The initial intention of the system was to teach rhythm however this system has developed into a broad exploration of the nature of sound, not just auditory (as we hear with our ears), but also tactile (vibration) and kinetic* (the way we move in response to sound).

Over the past year I’ve been doing a great deal of research around sensory perception, especially how we construct our conception of the world via our senses. This process is not entirely objective or straightforward and leads to many interesting questions which end up being very useful grist for my creative mill.

A serious exploration. However my intention has always been to keep it fun for myself and the people I work with. So my method is slowly evolving into a springboard for physical theater with madcap tendencies such as Normal Noise , a performance I work-shopped earlier this year with young deaf performaners, and even experiments with Sign Rap using South African Sign Language (which I am currently learning).

Recently I’ve started using my techniques to create participative experiences with adult audiences – an exploration of sensory perception by turning the body into a kinetic music machine, an energetic and enjoyably absurd activity. Can you hear sound without noise?

During November I had the opportunity of performing as part of the Paarden Eiland Concert series where I performed Silent Noise and the following images give a rough idea of the manner in which the performance unfolds.

*I’ve started experimenting with the term ‘kinetic melody’ – a term borrowed from Oliver Sacks who used it to describe the manner in which people with Tourette syndrome are able to calm tics through engaging with rhythmic activities.

Silent Noise intro: A backdrop of pink noise is played over the sound system to induce a sense of auditory deafness. I 'draw' the texture of the sound by tracing a large circle with a jittery finger in the air.

Silent Noise intro: A backdrop of pink noise is played over the sound system to induce a sense of auditory deafness. I ‘draw’ the texture of the sound by tracing a large circle with a jittery finger in the air. (pic: Kim Gurney)

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Normal Noise without Ears. And Marshmallows.

Posted in Events, Sound, Workshops by Brendon Bussy on February 25, 2013

I was recently approached to run a workshop and develop a performance for this year’s Edge of Wrong festival (a cross-continental festival of exploratory arts and music).

As result I’ve been running a running a series of exploration sessions with four deaf students from Cape Town’s Dominican school for the deaf (Wittebome). And it will all culminate with a performance called Normal Noise this Saturday evening as part of this weekend’s festival events.

essential listening technique: listening with your toes

essential listening technique: listening with your toes

So what have we been doing in the sessions? Basically we’re exploring sensation using everyday objects. With sound as our focus.

But what is sound to someone who does not have fully functioning ears? (more…)

Edge of Wrong: 3 acts, 3 drawings

Posted in Events, Music, Sound by Brendon Bussy on February 24, 2013

I took my sketchbook along to the Edge of Wrong experimental music festival last night.

So three drawings in response to three acts…

Paul Opie & Alex Bozas' performance combined drum machine, guitar and bass to create a crunchy and immersive experience

Performance 1: Paul Opie & Alex Bozas’ performance combined nostalgic drum machine, melodic overdriven guitar and rattling bass to create a crunchy and immersive experience

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Shower Songs Relaunches with a Splash

Posted in Events, Mandolin, Music by Brendon Bussy on August 27, 2012

After a protracted break from stage and stardom, Shower Songs, my duo with Masha du Toit will relaunch this weekend at the fabulous Voorkamer festival in Darling, South Africa.

Shower Songs (pic: Niklas Zimmer)

Voorkamer is Afrikaans for ‘front – room’, and the performances literally take place there –  in private homes in a variety of locations from the dorp (town) centre to township locations. A really nice community integrated project which brings high class performances (including ours 🙂 into interesting locations. Read more about the festival here.

Masha and I perform a very eclectic set – everything from pop to folk with some real oddness-es thrown in (blues, ancient song, funk anyone?) – all arranged for just mandolin and voice. Read more about us on Masha’s blog.

Ear Shells at Sounding Out

Posted in Art, Design, Events, Invention, Materials, Research, Sound, Workshops by Brendon Bussy on June 30, 2012

This coming week I’m going up to Johannesburg to take part in an exhibition at the Bag Factory. It opens on Wednesday night(4th July). And I’ll also be running a workshop on the 7th July (details here).

Sounding Out deals with contemporary music and visual art. A rarity on the South African experimental scene, I’m looking forward to this gathering of sound artists and sound thinking people.

When the show’s curator Kim Gurney approached me in March of this year, I considered a number of ideas which I’ve been experimenting with, but each seemed too noisy. An odd thing for a sound artist to say you might wonder? Well my thinking was that any idea worth pursuing would need to take into consideration the possibility of there being a number of  noisy artists in one room.

So I decided to take a silent approach and create something which could be used to listen with – to the works on the show as well as other sounds in the building.

Eventually I came up with a modified hearing instrument, in some ways similar to my Kone Phones, but durable and much more useful.  I’m very happy with the resulting Ear Shells.

Ear Shells

Here’s me sporting the first model I made.

Me with Ear Shells

The listening experience is something like covering your ears with shells, (more…)

Strange Neighbours at House of Joy

Posted in Events, Music by Brendon Bussy on September 19, 2011

Some time back I approached Kolade and Emma, to have a house concert at their home (the House of Joy) in Observatory, Cape Town. They very generously agreed. It went well and since then they’ve hosted at least one such event a month. It’s really grown with some high profile acts and good support. Well this month I’m back, this time supporting Masha in an evening of story telling using voice and sound this coming Sunday 25 September.

Antjie Donder - One of Masha's Strange Neighbours

Masha will dip into her new short story collection “Strange Neighbours”, bringing its menagerie of unexpected Capetonians to life. These include trolls with a taste for pepper spray, mermaids and mysterious roast chicken eating backyard dwellers. Brendon will provide the live soundtrack using his perishable and astoni…shing instrument inventions – Gourmet Harps and other noise makers made from the bits we normally throw away.

There’ll also be tales from other parts of the world, including the beautiful world of Inuit (Eskimo) legend. But beware: these are grown up stories. Dark secrets will be revealed in these stories with and without words.
Here are the details: (more…)

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: (more…)

Konis Phonis Homo Habilis

Posted in Design, Events, Workshops by Brendon Bussy on July 20, 2011

A few happy customers after Saturday’s open day Kone Phone drive.

Happy little injun with Khonephones 🙂

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Open Studio & DIY Konis Phonis Exploratika

Posted in Design, Events, Invention, Workshops by Brendon Bussy on July 13, 2011

This Saturday my studio workshop will be open to anyone interested to see what I’ve been up to.

I’ll show you a few of the musical instruments I’ve made and you’ll also be able to make yourself a personalised set of Kone Phones (Konis Phonis Exploratika).

Or just have a cup of tea and chat 🙂

when:  This Saturday 16 July 2011
time:  10 – 3 (but we’ll probably run later)
place:  12A Chamberlain Road, Woodstock, Cape Town
directions: Drive down Roedebloem Rd and turn right into Chamberlain just after the Woodstock Lounge. It’s the pink house on the left.  Google Map

If you know that you’re coming drop me a line if you have a chance. Or just rock up.

See you 🙂

A satisfied KonePhone - ista