Time-Folding V.3.4, Solo Live Electronics

Somehow, I think that the direction toward my solo live electronics set has been built up for last few months. Considering my previous experiences with the electro-acoustic music for conventional instruments, I believe the world that those acoustic instruments and their tradition have brought, the values on themselves, the fact that they ‘still’ shine as they are, with enormous amount of possibilities that they can do, different from the digital sound, the power of acoustics. Again, they are different, and I don’t prefer one among the other. My point is that I’d like to use them both, in my own way.

Those analog synthesisers are the same for me. I simply would like to use them all because they are amazing as they are. So I am currently developing the way to combine those three worlds: analog, digital sounds and acoustic sound together, and I believe that this is not my first attempt, but the one that I was more aware of what I’d like to do with all the instruments.

So here it comes: Time-Folding V.3.4 for Gong, Benjolin, 16step sequencer, 555 timer, 4096 NAND atari junk, and laptop with Supercollider.

The main instrument here is the Gong, ‘Kweng-ga-ri,’ one of the most representative metal instruments in Korea, vividly in use with other percussions, and it creates very un-defined loud noise, as well as a soft resonance. Normally the instrument is played by a person holding vertically with one hand, and use a mallet to hit the surface with the other hand. The hand that is holding the gong is controlling the resonance too using fingers.

I wanted it to have all those qualities, but by playing in a completely different way. What I did is to use a loudspeaker underneath the gong and give a overloaded impulse to the speaker so that the speaker can hit the gong. I use an object to bounce inside too. It is much easier. Since I am using a speaker, I use the feedback too to create some sort of melodic(?) noise, which I love in this system.

Since this instrument carries mostly the rhythmic part, all the rest do some other jobs: like more linear motion, adding some weight into the musical drama. But mostly I wanted the Gong to be the main actor of the drama, and all the others can support this role. Nothing is less important.

One can probably say that I use too much equipments. That might be true so that I can’t carry them all by myself anymore. -I am too small for such music.- However those are very clearly categorised: The gong with speaker+mics for the sound input, The analogue devices are having its own network, and The laptop with Supercollider, controlled by midi controllers, are the effectors: again, acoustic+analog+digital respectively. Those three are very much bound together, especially by the system of Supercollider. The effector sometimes differentiate what to treat -either from the Gong or from the synthesisers. But often the effectors apply to both and create feedback too. Then they are equality treated at the same time. But still it is an ongoing project, and I am enjoying finding a number of possibilities from all of those.

Well, I hope you enjoy watching the video. I’ll see how many version of this Time-folding series will last. I hope it goes further.

Liveset @ HetNutshuis, Test Extra:Tele-li(f/v)e 31/Jan/2014 from Ji Youn Kang on Vimeo.

KANG, solo Live Electronics @ Noodlebar, Rotterdam from Ji Youn Kang on Vimeo.

Time-Folding V.22, Solo Live Electronics

I, as a composer, had been quite skeptical about improvised music until some time ago. I love to listen and experience of course, but I always thought that it should be done after a number of ‘formal music’ performances. In a way I still think that playing ‘formal’ music could help to give insight on the way music flows.

However, the  improvisation itself also needs practices : not only about musical practices, but also trusting your intuition, showing the moments, what you are aiming to throughout what you are playing. So I tried as well.

It’s been just a couple of years that I seriously started making my own solo project, using the instruments that I can play, and still treat them in the way that I do in my own composed music.

Here I’d like to share one recording of those. Recently I performed at Studio Loos in Den Haag, and this recording is made with the same setup. The only difference is that I used the ground noise at the beginning, without touching any devices, I only ‘approach’ toward the device with one hand, while the other hand was touching a different electronic device, connected to the same ground.

I liked the result. There was a big plan behind, but not all the details.

The process:

Benjolin, the chaotic analog sound generator, gives an input signal to the computer system, which was developed in SuperCollider. The signal not only works as the sound input, but also as the control rate, manipulating the buffer that was live-sampled inside the computer endlessly. The performer -me- is constantly choosing the moment for the live sampling, and looping the samples. There are 4 layers doing the same. The 1st layer as more aiming toward the base line, and the 2nd layer receives the first layer as the input. The 3rd layer is directly receiving the Benjolin sound as the input without any treatment, and 4th layer receives the 3rd layer. All the buffer lengths are different.

Those 4 layers are then processed, treated as an instrumental sound. The processings include  -several wave shapings and distortion, -spectrum manipulation, -binaural spatialization. An interesting aspect could be that I used a single output channel as the input channel for the processing. That means when the processing starts, it will also give a feedback to the result itself.

This is how the setup looks like:









And the Recording:

This was performed recently in Seoul, South Korea at the event,  “Unsold Art.”

Hope you enjoy!

Female Effects Spain tour

I’d like to share an awesome picture of my performance from the first Spain tour of Female Effects!


The performance in Cordoba, Spain.
Photo by Erin Mckinney

Female Effects is a project consisting of new pieces for acoustic instruments and electronics, composed by female composers and curated by the harpist/performer Angélica Vázquez.

The musicians involved are: Yamila Ríos, Lula Romero and Maria José Belenguer from Spain, Kate Moore (Australia), Barbara Ellison (Ireland), Marie Guilleray (France), Fani Konstantinidou (Greece), Ji Youn Kang (Korea), Meiyi Lee (Taiwan), Wen Chin (Taiwan) and Marisol Jimenez (Mexico).

We made the second concert as a group, and this happened in Spain at 23~24th of November, 2012.

It was quite cool that all those female composers/performers got together and made a new music performance in combination between Acoustics and Electronics together. We played in two cities: first in Cadiz, and the second in Cordoba. I brought ‘Jing – A traditional Korean gong-like instrument-‘ and I felt good as well that I brought this Korean instrument there. The piece is called ‘Jing’ for Jing and Computer. 

This was also my first trip to Spain so that I wanted to look around too as much as possible, but this tight schedule was quite crazy. We slept almost nothing for two days because we needed to move all the time. The time for the soundcheck takes very long due to the technical needs and the amount of the pieces. But we had lots of fun.

When we perform at Cadiz, it was a part of the contemporary music festival Festival de Música Española de Cádiz. This means that we can expect the kind of audience who is quite interested in listening to the new music. However, the second concert was completely local concert. We played at Iglesia de la Magdalena, in a medium size old church. We were a bit worried if people would like this. One of my friends from Spain commented on my Facebook advertisement of the concert : “You play an electronic music in Cordoba??? ”

This scared me a bit, because we wanted to have some audiences involved. We worked hard to make this happen.

Then wow. There were tons of audiences from Children to Seniors. They really filled the whole church. No one left in the middle of the concert, rather they came closer and closer toward the stage. This made us so excited. People liked it very much and we had a very nice performance.

Of course we didn’t forget to have a party after all. Everyone was quite tired but we had some drinks and even went to a club to celebrate.

Now our organizer Angelica is making the second plan to Spain again. This time in Sevilla, and probably happens in April. I wish all of us to go, but in this moment we are not sure.

It is quite hard to survive as a woman Electronic music composer. There sill are prejudices that woman cannot handle computer and cables, and they would make a pretty music. This female effects throw a rock into that pool. We are very active composers mostly involving electronics to their works, have a new, charming idea on their works,  have knowledge and ability to realize it. So yes. We are female, but we are NOT feminists. We are those kind of people who just do what we’d like to do, and we met together in one field.

Should male involve in this group? Maybe and Maybe not. Not because we hate guys around here, but women composers would need a bit more of  support and more stages and opportunities to perform, and we believe that this group add a small action into that.

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