sound installations for metal percussion
For more than 5000 years, metal
percussion instruments have been central to the musical expression of cultures around
the world. Their complex and mysterious sound has inspired the breadth of human
experience, from invoking spiritual contemplation to inciting military
Building on this rich tradition -- and the
work of such 20th Century pioneers as Karlheinz Stockhausen and David Tudor composer Matthew Goodheart combines the
power and complexity of metal percussion with recent developments in computer
and audio technology to offer a series of startling audio installations of
haunting beauty and visceral audience interaction. Each unique, these living audio
experiences can range from a single interactive gong to large multi-instrument
immersive sound environments.
installations, Goodheart, who is known for his sensitivities to the
intricacies of sound in his work as a jazz pianist and microtonal
composer, applies his artistry to the creation of sound and music that
directly connects listener to instrument. It is an experience that speaks to a
primal relationship these instruments seem alive, sounding of their own
accord. It is as much a physical experience as a sonic one.
While the sound is electronic in
origin, what is heard is entirely acoustic, wrought from the unique properties
of these hand-forged instruments. Each installation is a composition,
created from a complex method of analysis, computer manipulation, and
arrangement. Goodheart first maps out each gong or cymbal’s unique harmonic
spectrum and resonant properties. He
then uses a computer to isolate and manipulate individual sonic elements, combining
them with recordings of the instruments, to create new and unusual sounds. These new sounds become the building
blocks of composition, which when fed back to the instrument through a small
transducer (speaker) attached to its surface, result in a surprisingly visceral
acoustic experience. Ultimately, these complex and
subtle compositions sound the original instruments in various physical
configurations, individually designed for a specific space, to create
multi-dimensional works of art that are experienced spatially and physically as
well as aurally
2009, these installations have been featured at the Spark Festival in
Minneapolis, MN; the Axel Obiger Gallery in Berlin;
Skolska28 gallery in Prague; the Garden of Memory Walk-Through Concert and Scenes from a Lingering Garden in
Oakland, CA; the SubZERO Festival in San Jose, CA;
Mills College and the University of California Berkeley.
click on pictures below to see slide show of recent installations
field of gongs
Scenes from a Lingering Garden
early versions of
. . . silence of things secret. . .
This project has been developed in collaboration with the Center for New Music and Audio Technologies at the University of California at Berkeley. The artist's CNMAT blog documents the technical details.
Contributors to this project include John McCallum, Andy Schmeder, Edmund Campion, David Wessel, Jeff Lublow, Garth Powell, and Beau Faw.
In addition installation work, the artist has developed a variety of real-time controllers with which he can perform with these instruments in live concerts. Work is also underway investigating the use of transducers with string instruments.