Můstek are a duo of sound improvisers, who use piano, analogue synthesisers, laptops and an electronically augmented drum kit, in order to explore real time processing with instrumental performance.
Collaborators Lauren Sarah Hayes and Christos Michalakos fuel their artistic processes through a PhD candidacy in Creative Music Practise, at the University of Edinburgh. And their new work Hypogaeum, which will be performed at Network Music Festival, uses a hi-tech system called the Network Vibrotactile Improvisation System, created by Můstek themselves.
“We developed a network that enables us to receive cues from a conductor laptop throughout the performance, as well as communicate with each other during play”, says Christos.
“This is all done through the medium of touch, via short vibration signals on our arms. We still maintain improvisation, but the suggestions allow us to take the music in directions it might not otherwise have gone”, he says.
“We are also free to ignore them. The communication system tries to solve some of the problems inherent on performing with augmented instruments.”
The experimental duo push boundaries and explore new methods of musical creation, often through bespoke digital processing, which leads to unique instrumental performances.
Lauren explains further, “We’re striving to find intimate and expressive ways to manipulate digital audio. As trained instrumentalists, using the acoustic instruments themselves as the controller seemed like a natural progression as performers.”
At Network Music Festival, Mustek will be giving what they describe as a “club performance”, in comparison to their usual “concert hall-type performances.”
“The networked aspect of the work should have a direct, perceivable impact on the sonic outcome and structural qualities of the improvisation”, adds Lauren.
And what do Můstek think Network Music Festival will provide for the future of laptop music?
“It will be an interesting way to hear and see the wide range of musical possibilities that emerge from the concept of a network. From live coding to performances over distance to our own take on networked augmented instruments”, says Můstek.
Můstek have also just released an album with Newcastle double bassist John Pope, which is available here.
– by Ross Cotton – Freelance Music Journalist – http://domesticcity.posterous.com/