Powerplant is a collaboration with percussionist Joby Burgess and sound designer Matthew Fairclough. I make video projections for the live shows, and a number of releases.
The 24 Lies per second tour started in Spring 2010 and includes a major new work (funded by the PRS for Music Foundation) from experimental jazz composer and instrument builder Max de Wardener – inspired by film director Michael Haneke, comprising of a trio of pieces.
It was great fun collorating with Max and it was the third piece, based on Haneke’s traumatic film The Piano Teacher, which was most involving in terms of visuals. Max’s idea was to completely slice up Schubert’s Im Dorfe into short sections and film them being perfromed on different pianos, (using Haneke’s classic ‘above piano’ shot from the film), to create a very fast edited collage shifting between the different pianos. The finished movie (also including a metronome) provided a hectic backdrop to an even more intense drumming part played live by Joby. The result was full-on, and amazing… and totally mirrored the obsessiveness of Haneke’s film.
To counter that, the first movement was a meditation on Haneke’s famous quote about film being “24 Lies per Seconds”. Joby played a customised synth programmed in supercollider from his midi xylosynth. The idea stemmed from asking Joby to attempt to play at 24 beats per second, and the sound was really beautiful and reminiscent of a spinning ‘whirly’ – suggesting the whirling reel of film in a projector. For this piece I decided to step away from making projections, and adapted 3 glass lightbulbs with bright LEDs and controlled the brightness and strobe-pulse of each one in time with the music, alluding to the flicker of a film projector.
The middle piece was for solo glockenspiel, played with the wrong end of the sticks – a childish, but slightly unhinged vibe due to the complexity of the rhythm and was inspired by The White Ribbon, Haneke’s study into the potentially more evil side to children. This was performed with no visuals.