Brendon Bussy

A New Adventure – Hearing with Touch

Posted in Sound, Theatre, Workshops by Brendon Bussy on June 30, 2012

The ‘new adventure’ in this blog title refers to the excitement I felt and encountered during a sound workshop I recently ran for deaf theater makers.

Sometime back, somewhat inspired by the deaf musician Evelyn Glennie,  I approached Jayne Batzofin from the theater group FTH:K with the idea of creating a soundtrack for a deaf audience. In the process of discussion she invited me to run a workshop for the group’s deaf trainees.

Well the workshop ran well. Very well. One of those really amazing paradigm shifting moments in life where you realise that things are not as you thought they were!

The workshop in pictures:

We each take a turn having our heads buzzed whilst wearing the hard hat – trust me it feels great!

Playing circular saw blades which have very long and powerful sustain – you can feel the vibration from several centimeters away

(more…)

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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…)

Noisemakers Workshop at Vrygrond

Posted in Invention, Workshops by Brendon Bussy on March 20, 2012

I’m running a Noisemakers Workshops this weekend and early next week as part of Assitej and Theatre Arts Admin Collective’s Family Season.

These particular workshops are aimed at parents with children, and focus on making and using unique and quirky musical instruments made from the stuff we normally throw away.

Have a look here and here to get an idea of the kinds of things we make at Noisemakers workshops.

bucket broom bass montage

A noisemaker

Read on for details… (more…)

How to build a People’s Harp (was Top Secret)

Posted in Design, Invention, New Old Old New by Brendon Bussy on February 10, 2012

In the spirit of freeing the People from the hegenomy of low quality  industrially extruded musical instruments, I’ve decided to fully disclose and publicly release instructions for assembling a People’s Harp.

My invention is vaguely based on a Congolese Kundi harp. The reason I say ‘vaguely’, is that the Kundi normally has at least five strings, whereas mine has one. However my harp is held and played in a similar manner. Some may say that that is where the resemblance ends. However, I can persuasively argue that my harp is in spirit a Kundi harp 🙂 And that despite being made of plastic bottles, it is surprisingly loud and sonorous (posts on how to play the harp will follow).

Let the People walk the streets with a harp in hand, rhythm in heart and happiness in head!

assembled Harp with People

a close up

Sound of People playing a harp:

Here we have the method: (more…)

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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How to make a Wind Harp on a Sunday

Posted in Invention, Recording, Sound, Wind by Brendon Bussy on October 28, 2011

It’s spring here in Cape Town, so the wind is back  (winter wind normally means freezing rain as well!). So recently we headed to the Rondebosch common to play with wind harps amongst the flowering fynbos.

This year I’ve been experimenting with using disposable bottles to make simple plucked harps based on Congolese harps. Recently I discovered that they sound great when played by the wind and listened to whilst being held like  an 80’s radio cassette boom box 🙂

Jessica listening to and jamming on a portable boombox harp

These harps sing with a high pitched and ethereal voice. And if you feel inspired you can add rhythms by plucking as well. (I’ll soon be posting DIY instructions on how to make one of these).

Justin at the helm with (from left), Trevor, Jessica and myself.

We also made a long string harp. Read on for pics, diy instructions and a recording…. (more…)

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…)

Land of the Underneath

Posted in Invention, Mandolin, Music, Soundtracks, Theatre by Brendon Bussy on September 30, 2011

After seeing our performance workshop at Out The Box, Caroline Calburn approached Jori Snell and myself to present a full length version of Land of the Underneath at the Inside Out festival(4-8 Oct in Observatory Cape Town). We agreed and Caroline also offered to help us a little by casting a critical directorial eye  (which turned out to be a real life saver!).

So after many late nights and bumping into tin cans (intentionally and unintentionally), Baba Yaga Theatre and Brendon Bussy are proud to present the new, fully enhanced, deliciously noisy and sensory adventure:

Land of the Underneath!

Suitable for 3 years to 100 🙂

Jori’s crown is played in Land of the Underneath

In ´Land of the Underneath’ a girl wakes up in a land where nothing is as it appears to be. In this land the not quite ordinary Noise Maker plays his instruments made of what we call ‘trash’, but for him they are magical objects. Together they discover a room full of delicious imagination where stories are born through objects and sounds come alive through playful movement. An interactive play inviting children of all ages to join the two characters on a journey of discovery.

Performance details (more…)