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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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.

Sounding Out: João Orecchia and other notable works

Posted in Art, Design, Electronics, Exhibitions, Invention, Music, Sound by Brendon Bussy on July 10, 2012

A few works which stood out for me at the (still ongoing) Sounding Out exhibition …

João Orecchia’s Small Worlds was a quiet contemplative work . A collaboration with pianist Jill Richards, the work consisted of three simple objects in a darkened room, each emitting a recording of a minimal piano work. Barely audible, it forced me to listen and imagine.

object 1

The darkened setting  reminded me of the slightly musty and intriguing interior of an aging local history museum, and the sound treatment of that process where homeopaths serially dilute a substance until very little of the original agent is left. A filtering where only a memory of the original remains. (more…)

Sounding Out: Ear Shell Enthusiasts at the Exhibition

Posted in Art, Design, Exhibitions, Invention, Music, Sound by Brendon Bussy on July 10, 2012

Well I’m back home in Cape Town from big city, Johannesburg. The Sounding Out opening at the Bag Factory was great with a good turn out.

Some of the Ear Shell enthusiasts at play….

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Ulrich Müller (Interview Part 2) – A Long Tradition of Skeptics and Inventors

Posted in Interview, Music, Sound by Brendon Bussy on December 6, 2011

[This is a continuation of an interview – read part one here.]

Cape and the Eternity: 48nord - Ulrich Müller (e-guit, laptop, devices) & Sigi Rössert (e-bass, laptop, devices) with Patrick Schimanski (drums, voice, laptop, devices) pic Franz Kimmel

Part 2 – A Long Tradition of Skeptics and Inventors
In which Ulrich describes the technological development of his practice as well as the future of music.

BB: I’m most intrigued by the evolution of your performance set up. I find it interesting that set ups ‘settle down’ after much change and experimentation into something which feels like a complete ‘system’ or instrument. Being that this isn’t the first setup you’ve worked with, what would you regard as the elements crucial to a useful setup?

UM: It was constant change over many years that led me to the point at which I now consider my setup as a complex instrument which I constantly develop.

A journey from guitar and back
It all began when I was a rock musician. This meant heavy amplification, a set of nice guitars and a couple of standard stomp boxes such as phaser, flanger, vibrato, wah wah… and a great sound. Then I stepped into this strange world of experimental music which actually brought me far away from playing guitar for a couple of years. (more…)

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A Man and a Man and a Double Bass

Posted in Music, Theatre by Brendon Bussy on December 2, 2011

Last night I had the privilege of being (besides management and co) an audience of one. Not so great for the performers, who deserved much more – John Cartwright (voice) and Leroy Cowie (bass) performing their utterly unique two man, one double bass show at the New Africa Theatre. The programme included ‘The Last Double-bass Player on the Titanic’ (Haresnape/Hardy/Helman/Burle) and TS Eliot’s ‘The Waste Land’.

(My apologies in advance for the following incident report)

A Man and a Man and a Double Bass

Left a narrator
Right a bassist
(known to each other)

Bassist partially hidden by music
(playing not hidden)

Narrator with acutely bent music stand

Scattered music on floor
(played and to be played)

Noises mesh despite

 

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Ulrich Müller (Interview Part 1) – A Wonderful Contradiction

Posted in Interview, Music, Sound by Brendon Bussy on November 29, 2011

Munich based musician and composer Ulrich Müller recently visited Cape Town. I bumped into him last December at an As Is gig – the free improv group I play with. Not heard of him? Well that’s probably because, despite his being well established as a composer of music for dance (with 48nord), his work as a performer inhabits the territory broadly known as ‘Electroacoustic music’, subcategory ‘Free Improvisation’. Which would no doubt make him anonymous for South African and certainly many other audiences – an unfortunate state of affairs.

Well this time here for a holiday with his partner Tanja, we managed to work in some very enjoyable jam time and also time to talk, which led to an interview. Here follows part 1 of the interview (part 2 to be posted shortly)….

Ulrich Müller

Part 1 – A Wonderful Contradiction.
In which Ulrich speaks about his musical interventions in Munich and his performance and composition philosophy. (more…)

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If Walls Could Talk Would They Sing?

Posted in Art, Mandolin, Music, Research, Soundtracks by Brendon Bussy on September 30, 2011

In June this year I was approached by Renée Holleman to collaborate on a soundtrack for her upcoming show ‘A Novel in Parts’ at WhatIfTheWorld’s new premises in Woodstock, Cape Town.

The brief she gave me proved to be a great opportunity to explore Woodstock, the neighbourhood Masha and I had just moved into, as well as a useful challenge for my compositional techniques.

This is the final soundtrack:

Woodstock  is today primarily a Moslem community with a growing immigrant population from other parts of Africa, but up until the 1940’s it was a Jewish neighbourhood of Lithuanian decent. Renee explained that the show would touch on specific and tangential references to this context, especially as the exhibition was to take place in the old Woodstock Salt River Synagogue complex – the Hebrew Community Hall having been converted into the new gallery premises.

A detail from a work on the show ‘A Novel In Parts’

[See more images from the show here.]

She also explained that the soundtrack would need to have a clear link to the current context but also in some way evoke the past – and use sound to achieve this.  The starting point would be the location of the exhibition – the Synagogue complex, which had been de-consecrated in the late 1950’s, and had seen a number of other occupants, including a bicycle repair shop and a furniture manufacturer. (more…)