Monday, July 23, 2007

Artscape/Exotic Hypnotic: Neil Feather

Neil Feather @ Artscape/Exotic Hypnotic, Langsdale Auditorium, July 22, 2007, Baltimore, MD

Amplification is a key part of Neil Feather's inventions. It is through this larger-than-life signal that one can be immersed in the sound of the Nondo as Feather sends vibrations coursing through the steel sheet curved upward by two music wires strung from end-to-end. Using a metal rod placed across the strings, hammering with a mallet or applying a small saw to this instrument a strange sonic universe dominated by metallic matter emerges.

Feather then shifted to another creation involving three fly wheels with motors and magnetic pick-ups attached. The rotation of these wheels creates a steady pulse, with the tempo affected by the rate of rotation (which can be fast enough to create a tone). The presence of multiple wheels spinning at different rates creates any number of polyrhythms that shift in complexity as the wheels spin decelerate.

Feather also strapped on his "guitaint2" and began improvising with all three invented instruments. The creation and design of these instruments plays a huge role in the compositional/improvisational space that this music occupies. One can imagine the beautiful din that a full ensemble of such creations could produce.

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