Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Walter Kitundu:Turntable as Instrument

This is from the man's MacArthur fellow page:

"Walter Kitundu is a young sound artist and inventor of original musical instruments that navigate the boundary between live and recorded performance. Inspired by hip-hop, other modern musical forms, and traditional Asian and African instruments, Kitundu’s phonoharps are hybrids of turntables and stringed instruments. ....The turntable’s pickup collects and amplifies any sound transmitted to it, allowing the performer to employ percussion and string resonance as well as digital manipulation, or sampling, of prerecorded material. Many of Kitundu’s artistic pursuits, including ambitious proposals for public installations of his instruments, reflect his ongoing interest in the interaction between technology and the natural world. His elemental phonoharps, for example, draw on natural forces such as wind, waves, light, and the movement of birds to produce unique sound sculptures. "

Oh, by the way: "He has also created instruments for and performed with the Kronos Quartet."

What a Baller.

Anyways, I'm sure you'll all want to know what a phono-instrument sounds like. Check it out: (go about halfway through, where he actually starts playing the strings.) (Some demonstrations.) (Here he's being all inspirational on us. This is a good introduction. Watch it first.)

He's the coolest because his hypothetical ideas are even more outrageous than what he's already done. For example, he's all about this idea of an "elemental" instrument, powered by nature which would be a type of sound installation piece. I've thought of building something like this and just leaving it on campus to see what happens....who's down?

Here's his site:
(Look at the "idea" section)