Mouija, or The Magnetic Ouija, is a performance focusing on odd physical and temporal causalities. At the core of the piece are Thales and Stacco, two instruments based on magnets and developed at IIL.
Mouja is a free wander within the sonic boundaries of this unusual system, and a playful game of AI reconfigurations, where the presence-absence of the dataset‘s sonic spectres is materialised through the unpredictable interactions of the instruments‘ magnetic forces.
With Wolfgang Dorninger
Performance recorded in Linz and broadcasted to radios worlswide, as part of an 8-hours music marathon organised by Francesco Zedde and Eugenia Seriakov.
Check the video here.
Stacco is an instrument I developed at IIL together with Giacomo Lepri. It attracts and repels magnetic spheres and ferromagnetic objects, allowing both to control fine musical details ant to wonder freely into unexpected ferromegnetic sonic realms.
Under the hood, Stacco features four three-axis magnetometers and as many magnetic attractors, it performs embedded synthesis or can forward its readings to a laptop for more demanding tasks.
We are using Stacco as the ideal controller to play with Neural Synthesis models such as RAVE, as it allows to finely control high-dimensional data through simple gestures.
Studies on AI and Space
Dodekaotto Multichannel System,
Tamlab, Bruckner University and Ars Electronica,
A practice-based research on AI navigation and space.
Thanks to the friends at Tamlab (Linz), I was able to practice with the Dodekaotto: a 20+1 speaker system in the form of a dodecahedron.
I explored it with my magnetic scores, working on two musical studies with the aim of observing how the internal representation of the AI models might find a correspondence in the outer world.
End of Empire
End of Empire is an interactive textile installation developed in collaboration with Eva Sajovic for the British Textile Biennial. It is a reflection on themes such as imperialism, community and participation, knowledge and technology. It features four interactive textile colums containing a speaker each, plus four sub woofer son the side rooms.
This work invites the viewers to actively participate in the making of the sounds by stepping inside the colums or touching the soft fabrics. In doing this, the sounds are activated.
Each column controls AI model (RAVE) trained with sounds collected by the community.
Johann Sperger through Time and Bass
Johann Sperger (1750-1812) was a composer and contrabass virtuoso that thoroughly explored the technical and expressive boundaries of the instrument. Sperger worked on his Sonata for Contrabass and Viola (1789) while travelling from Trieste to Venice, as he states in the manuscript.
For this work, we traced his route and recorded the soundscapes we encountered. We used these sounds, as well as our performative gestures, to train and navigate a RAVE model, with the aim of exploring, through a historically-informed approach, the relationship between past and present technologies, virtuosity, compositional methodologies and performative practices.
New England Conservatory,
Magnetic Scores are a novel type of musical scores I developed at the Intelligent Instruments Lab. They combine visual inscriptions with magnetic ones, and can be both read and haptically experienced by the performer through their interaction with other magnets.
Notochord Arcs and Scrambled Signals
Notochord and Scramble are two generative MIDI models of our creation. Notochord has eaten all the MIDI files on the internet, while Scramble digests and regurgitates individual MIDI files and sampled snippets. In this performance we wrangle Notochord and Scramble, struggling to make sense from their infinite capacities for nonsense. Notochord extrudes big slabs of quasi-music which are filtered and refined by Scramble before being re-harmonized by Notochord, ad nauseum. We human operators, with very little control on the system, frantically push buttons and twiddle knobs, as our wayward creations attempt to submerge us with their "eighties" vibes made of of odd, glistening General MIDI sounds.
Presented at NIME Conference,
Mexico City (MEX)
Thales is a composed instrument developed at the Intelligent Instruments Lab, and based on two controllers that interact with each other through permanent magnets. When the performer attempts to join the controllers, these repel each other allowing him to play with the tangible manifestation of their oppðosing magnetic fields, similarly to a drum skin. Each controller contains a riser, held in position by the player's palm. When a magnetic field is encountered the riser activates and pushes on the performer's hand.
Thales uses RAVE, a Neural Synthesis model for real time interaction. The model itsel is trained on the sounds of magnets, hence the "composed" nature of this instrument.
The instrument consists of a microcontroller, a giroscope and accelerometer wirelesslly forwarding data to the computer. The computer runs a series of Neural Synthesis models based on RAVE and trained at IIL.
We developed three batons, each controlling a different model. We then performed with them at Limbó Finissage and invited people from the audience to play with them in order to understand how the would interact with AI though this particular interface.
The results from these observations led to a research on the spatial projection of AI into the physical space.
NICOLA PRIVATO - O_o (2021)
For AI, Disklavier, and human operator,
O_o is both an emoticon that indicates a state of confusion and the name of a small, extinct Hawaiian bird. The recording of the singing from the last of its kind, in the vain attempt of finding a mate, has been processed and multiplied by an AI software.
Similarly to the Creature imagined by Mary Shelley, O_o looks for his own identity in his creator. Who's the creator though, when technology becomes an active, independent agent inside the creative process?
Scramble is a ML software for the real-time generation of music from MIDI combining LSTM Networks and Markov Chains. The NN at the heart of this tool can be trained directly by the user from the GUI, and controls dynamics, note lengths, tempo and rhythm. The MC instead generates pitch patterns feeding into the NN. It is possible to combine together any number of MIDI files, or even to create custom models for unexpected results.
Scramble Live is a complementary tool for Scramble. It runs the models trained on Scramble, but offers higher interactive capabilities such as the real time analysis of the direct input from MIDI instruments.
Emo is a graphic score controlled by an A.I. algorithm for emotion recognition. It was developed for a workshop with oncologic patients organised by "Altre Parole Foundation".
The system analyses text provided by the participants, and evaluates in real time the presence and weight of each of the five basic emotions. It then represents their values as the amplitude of five colored sinusoids.
The participants used the score to represent and play their emotional states within a common narrative.
W.E.I.R.D. is a generative score for piano and tweeter users. A bot downloads and shows all the real-time tweets containing a specific word, which then affects in various ways the score. W.E.I.R.D. is meant for live performances, but these recorded versions have a special value for me, since they were recorded during the Covid pandemic as a way to share the collective experience of music in a period of social isolation.
W.E.I.R.D. stands for Western-Educated-Industrialised-Rich-Democratic, and is the acronym of a representative bias of social sciences.
The composition is loosely serial: the first movement processes in various ways the intervals of c-a-f-b, the second adds d-eb-ab-b, the third complete the dodecaphonic series with db-e-f#-g.
WEIRD 1 Uncertainty
"Uncertainty" is the keyword for the first of the three movements, followed by "Emergency" and "Identity". The choice of the keywords is very much influenced by Zygmunt Bauman's essays, and is an attempt to address some of the main issues of postmodern society.
In "Uncertainty" the tweets trigger at first the creation of the composition, bar by bar. Once most of the bars are out (the last one that never appears), the soloist starts to play, while the tweets move the score back and forth from a finished version to a less rythmically and melodically refined one: The score itself is influenced by uncertainty, which triggers it to action but at the same time prevents it from reaching a defined appearance.
WEIRD 2 Emergency
"Emergency" is the second of three movements. Here the focus is on the number of tweets containing the keyword. Once started, the program analyses the average number of tweets and self calibrate. After two minutes, the fist scene gets triggered. The program counts the tweets received every 20 second, and compares the resulting number to that of the preceding scene. If the number is higher, the color changes and the player moves to the following section, otherwisethe preceding scene is displayed.
WEIRD 3 Identity
"Identity" is the third and final movement. It is longer and more articulated than the first two, and was developed about eight monts after the first lockdown. In this movement the performer has to use a specifically designed looper, which as the score changes keeps juxtaposes the last four musical phrases. It is conceived as a metaphor of the way we develop our own identities, combining chance, the pressure of society around us and the compounding of our choices. Identity counts the tweets being posted, and after fourteen it moves to the next phrase, which the performer has to record by activating the looper and playing. The overall sound is determined by how the different phrases overlap one over the other, which in turn depends on the timing of the tweets and the recording of the loop.
LLM8 | Treatise
With Arazzi Laptop Ensemble
Sampl, Pase platform, Venice (IT)
by Cornelius Cardew (1936-1981).
Performed by Arazzi Laptop Ensemble (P. Zavagna, L. Richelli, G. Klauer, N. Privato, N. Raccanelli, G. Dinello, J. Caneva, G. Sparano, J. Scordato). Pase Platform, Venice.
LLM8 | Peregrinazioni veneziane
For augmented trombone and Alife,
Sampl, Venice (IT)
Spatialized Trombone and Electronics. Improvisation over a Venetian traditional song. Grains of sound are delayed, inverted and spatialized using 16 boids (cellular automata simulating birds).
A flock of simulated birds is controlled with an accelerometer mounted on the trombone. I'm in no way a trombonist, but I find the sound of this insturment particularly effective with electronics. Also, playing this allows me not to fall into patterns I'm used to with guitar.
LLM8 | Grandi navi
Live electronics and trombone
Sampl, Venice (IT)
Improvisation with Alberto Novello, Alessandro Gambato, Mattia Pizzato. Julian Scordato, sound projection. Pase Platform, Venice. trombone processed by Alessandro Gambato.
TOUCH Connected Music Performance
Online artistic residency promoted by Peoplesbureau (UK) during the Covid pandemic, as a way of developing a collective artistic experience in times of social isolation.
As in W.E.I.R.D., the sound events are triggered by real-time tweets containing three words: "touch, free, fear". The order of appearance of the words is based on the occurrence of the tweets and creates ambiguous and sometimes opposed meaning (fear touch, touch fear, free touch, touch free, free fear, fear free..)
This album was recorded in 2019, right before the pandemic. It's the last jazz album on guitar I recorded, to date at least... It features two compositions by myself, "Shapes" and "Whirlwinds". On bass and leading the trio is Lorenzo Miatto. Niccolò Romanin on drums.