[ STEIM ] Workshop: Dirty Electronics with Chris Carter

STEIM knock at steim.nl
Wed Mar 31 15:59:22 CEST 2010

Dirty Electronics with Chris Carter

Chris Carter from the legendary Throbbing Gristle is teaming-up with Dirty
Electronics led by noise doctor John Richards to perform a piece for a
specially designed DIY electronic instrument. The instrument will feature an
original copper etching artwork designed by Carter that will become part of
a dirty electronics instrument. Random sequences, distortion and noise
coalesce in a unique hand-held instrument the size of a postcard. Social
noise for all!

Dates: May 31 - June 3 from 10:00 - 17:00
Location: STEIM, Achtergracht 19, Amsterdam
Course cost: €150 + €20 for parts
Registration is required for this workshop and can only be done through the
online registration form:
http://www.steim.org/steim/registration.php?id=155. Please register early to
ensure a place. Places are limited to 16.

A 4-day workshop that presents a number of key ideas relating to dirty
electronics through the practical construction of DIY electronic instruments
and large group rehearsal and performance. The Dirty Carter Experimental
Sound Generating Instrument, based on the Skull Etching, uses a dual 4-stage
shift register. Each register is controlled independently. Two oscillators
are used per register: one as a clock, the other as input data that is
cascaded through the four stages. The outputs from the four stages are mixed
together. A fast clock rate produces a crude form of wavetable synthesis,
whilst a slow clock rate creates audible pulses and clicks. The clock speed
and the data input’s frequency are controlled by touch electrodes. By
tilting the instrument, sound from both the 4-stage shift registers can be
mixed together. Glitchy noise, deep drones and percussive peeps!
Participants will also be able to choose between building the petit
coronation, a hybrid electro-acoustic mechanical device that generates
pulses and rhythms; and inter-FACE, an all mouth and face controlled
instrument. The final day of the workshop will involve playing a range of
dirty electronic instruments in groups and with Chris Carter from Throbbing
Gristle, and exploring the possibilities of collective group performance.
All participants will be invited to take part in the Dirty Electronics with
Chris Carter concert that will take place on the last day of the workshop,
in the evening. No knowledge of electronics or previous experience at
building electronic musical devices is needed.

Since 2005, John Richards has been exploring the idea of dirty electronics
through performance, writings and workshops. Dirty electronics refers to an
approach in electronic music that is directly opposed to those found in mass
produced digital culture and includes some of the following characteristics:
designer trash, ugly, cheap, heavy, hand-made, designed to be handled or to
come in contact with the body, ready-mades, hacked, bent, fedback and

The Dirty Electronics Ensemble is a large group that explore these ideas and
whose members are often made-up of workshop participants. The workshop is
central to the Ensemble in that all of the musicians have to build their own
instrument for performance. In 2008, the group performed pieces specially
written for the Ensemble by, amongst others, Japanese noise artists Merzbow,
Howard Skempton (founder member of the Scratch Orchestra), Gabriel Prokofiev
and Nicholas Bullen (ex-Napalm Death and Scorn). These pieces are being
published in a special edition illustrated book in 2009. Workshops and
performances with the Dirty Electronics Ensemble have taken place at the
Bent Festival (Los Angeles), Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre
(London), Zentrum fur Kunst und Medientechnologie (ZKM) (Germany),
Supersonic Festival (Birmingham), Venn Festival (Bristol), Sonic Arts
Network Expo (Plymouth), Phoenix Arts Centre (Leicester), Tokyo University
of the Arts (Japan), University of the Arts (Berlin), Centre for Music
Composition and Performance (CMCP) (Athens), Trinity College of Music
(London), and IRCAM (Paris).


Chris Carter is best known for being a founder member of Throbbing Gristle
and one half of electronic duo Chris & Cosey (aka: Carter Tutti). He began
his career in the late 1960s working for various TV stations (Thames,
Granada and LWT) as a sound engineer on numerous TV shows and documentaries.
He also got involved in designing and presenting light shows and visual
effects for numerous festivals, events and performances, including bands as
diverse as Yes and Hawkwind. This work led to commissions for BBC TV shows,
Colour Me Pop and The Old Grey Whistle Test.

In the mid 1970s, and through his connection with John Lacey, Chris began an
experimental music/sound collaboration with Cosey Fanni Tutti and Genesis
P-Orridge, who at the time were also performing as COUM Transmissions with
Peter Christopherson. The results of this musical collaboration was the
creation of Throbbing Gristle, Industrial Records and the birth of the
‘Industrial Music’ phenomenon. Working as Chris & Cosey during the 1980s,
Chris Carter recorded and collaborated on innumerable releases, most notably
with Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart, Robert Wyatt, Coil, Boyd Rice, Lustmord,
Monte Cazazza and many more. Chris & Cosey have also remixed tracks for
Mortal Loom and Erasure, and work by John Cage. In 1994, Chris moved into
journalism and regularly has technical articles and reviews published in UK
magazine Sound On Sound.

More recent Throbbing Gristle work includes an audio/visual performance at
Tate Modern turbine hall and their three-day ‘public recording session’ at
the ICA London. Chris was also central to the technical realisation of the
TG/Cerith Wyn Evans collaborative audio sculpture A=p=p=a=r=i=t=i=o=n. In
2009, Chris Carter worked extensively with Christiaan Virant (FM3) in
designing and developing the Gristleism handheld loop playback unit for
Industrial Records & TG.


John Richards’ work explores performing with self-made instruments and the
creation of interactive environments. He has worked with many leading
improvisers and musicians in the field of live electronics, and is a founder
member of electro-noise improvisers kREEPA, and the post-punk group Sand
(Soul Jazz Records). Since 2005, he has directed the Dirty Electronics
Ensemble, giving workshops and performances internationally that has
included collaboration with Japanese noise artist Merzbow. He performs
regularly with Nic Bullen as Black Galaxy and kREEPA, as well as releasing
solo material on Bullen’s label monium. In 2007, he released a piece on
Gabriel Prokofiev’s nonclassical label for piano and electronics performed
by GéNIA with re-mixes by Vex’d and Max De Wardener amongst others. Recent
work includes collaboration with Tim Wright as sevenlegspider developing
systems for live performance, installations, and music for Japanese
choreographer Saburo Teshigawara.

He has written numerous articles on hybridity, post-digital theory and dirty
electronics: DIY and bricolage approaches to working with sound. John
Richards completed a doctorate in electroacoustic composition at the
University of York in 2002, and he is currently part of the Music,
Technology and Innovation Research Centre at De Montfort University,



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(studio for electro instrumental music)
(studio voor elektro instrumentale muziek)

Achtergracht 19
1017 WL Amsterdam

tel 00 31 (0) 20 6228690
fax 00 31 (0) 20 6264262

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