Acoustic Illusions IV Ben Eyes and Dan Conway
Acoustic Illusions IV is a collaboration between myself and visual artist Dan Conway which was commissioned by the R10 digital arts collective in Leicester. During the lockdown, I spent some time restoring and rediscovering the vintage equipment I have collected in my studio; a collection of Roland, Sequential Circuits and Korg analogue synthesisers, effects and drum machines dating back as far as 1981. The instruments lend themselves to improvisation and sonic exploration. I found a new way of sequencing and arranging them without a computer, instead, using three hardware sequencers connected together and a mixer to improvise arrangements. The resulting improvisations were recorded straight to disk through an analogue signal path. Hardware effects of the time were used and other than a final master, no other digital processing was used. The resulting recordings remind me of ambient and techno music I listened to in the early 1990s as these records were made in a similar way, often with one take straight from the mixer to tape. The recordings have an honesty and earth-bound quality that I enjoy, and during the lockdown, it was great to be transported back to those more naive times and work with my hands as opposed to staring at a screen. Dan Conway took a similar approach to the visuals, using audio to trigger different visual elements from the music and a hands-on live interface that he uses at live concerts to provide visuals for bands such as Bicep and Seafeel. He also used real video feedback, something we have both been experimenting with for various concerts we do. Dan kindly sent me his gear list: Software = VDMX, After Effects, Cinema 4D Hardware = Macbook Pro, Akai mini, webcam. Filmed offscreen to produce feedback which was then reprocessed in VDMX Audio reactive live, driven by Quip soundtrack.