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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The Physical Nature of Invisible Things: “frequency, lumens, place”

Posted in Art, Exhibitions, Sound by Brendon Bussy on December 31, 2012

Sound Art is a term I feel uncomfortable with. It appears to fit in neatly with the categories ‘visual art’, ‘performance art’, ‘conceptual art’, ‘installation art’. Logical enough? Except that it reinforces the notion that sound is somehow different from those other categories, that it focuses on hearing to the exclusion of other senses such as sight and touch.

During December I visited Dean Henning and Vaughn Sadie’s ‘Frequency, lumens, place’ at the GIPCA Live Art Festival 2012. The installation was a broad spectrum experience – a room filled with objects emitting light, and an invisible yet very physical noise.

frequency lumens, place Henning Sadie, GIPCA Live Art Festival 5/12/12

Vaughn Sadie’s lights are installed in stools. The lights generate a total output equal to that required for a workplace of the size of the installation space.

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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: Tracking Secret Sounds of the City

Posted in Art, Sound, Workshops by Brendon Bussy on July 10, 2012

On Saturday I ran a workshop as part of the ongoing exhibition Sounding Out. The workshop was also inspired by the upcoming World Listening Day.

A nice sized group of enthusiastic sound-ista’s turned up – thank you Bag Factory :).

I introduced the group to a range of simple listening tools such as bottles to use as resonators for listening to vibration. Then we set off to explore the surrounding Fordsburg neighbourhood to search for hidden and unexpected sounds.

tapping a tree branch and listening for vibrations

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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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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…)

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…)