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Sebastian Lexer 's piano+

February 2010

Download a selection of audio excerpts which illustrate Sebastian Lexer's work

Hear the following excerpts illustrating Sebastian Lexer's computer program piano+

1) solo: excerpt from a recording session in December 2008

This session was played shortly after the recordings of the solo CD Dazwischen had been done. In many ways its a reflection on the material.

2) trio: Eddie Prévost (perc), Sebastian Lexer (piano+) & Seymour Wright (sax)
Excerpt from recording of the Interlace concert on the 07.12.2009 at Goldsmiths, London, UK. Despite long standing musical partners, this was the first time they have played as a trio.

3) duo: Grundik Kasyansky (electronics) & Sebastian Lexer (piano+)
A more recent duo project, clearly more on the electronic side of sonic exploration.

4) early experiment: this excerpt is from a session (Feb 2007)
During which the the electronics used as the piano+ were tested with samples

5) early experiment: excerpt from a experimental solo session in 2007 testing/playing piano+

Sebastian Lexer explains more about his invention of the piano+ computer program in his own words below:

The computerised augmentation of the acoustic piano, the piano+, has developed from a combination of conventional and extended playing techniques, prepared piano and electronic real-time modifications of its sounds. Tudor, Cage and Feldman spring to mind from the world of compositions. The interest in free improvisation however, the motivation to work with sounds by exploring their contingent qualities in timbre, dynamic and microstructures, has inspired a different mode of interaction with the technology. An interaction which allows to create a very close relationship between acoustic instrument and electronic modifications. The performance is becoming a journey through the instrumental space of sonic potentialities in which new relationships between performer and technology emerge constituted through the music developed in between the acoustic and the electronic. Retaining fundamentals of pianism in sound draws parallels to a deep admiration of nature in balance with technological potential.

Default interaction with computers is commonly based on velocity-ignorant keys and one point mouse. This can have significant implications on musical structure, as parameters of processes are being adjusted one by one over a period of time. This is most noticeable in the emergence of a particular musical aesthetic found in many electroacoustic improvisations. Often elongated sound transformations and careful placement of pre-planned material into the improvised musical context are not necessarily a result of musical concerns, but a consequence of the available interaction with technology. Some might argue to be creative within given limits, others resort to the use of preset and macro settings or employ additional interfaces to counteract such limitations, and allow for more sophisticated simultaneous control structures.

Another answer is to link as much as possible more directly to an acoustic activity. Using technology to extract information of what one is doing to transform and link it to technological processes: The way of plucking a string has direct relationships to loudness and colour of the resulting acoustic tone; it also can have implications onto an electroacoustic sound modification. Technology can feel more natural.

These technologies find generally there main use for surveillance purposes. Artistic utilisation and especially the public awareness of possible consequences are lacking far behind. The need to stop accepting to be observed comes with the demand to directly experience possible relationships. Unless we are in full awareness of the technological implications of us supplying willingly or unwillingly information of our individual gestures, our movements, activities and life in general, we cannot adapt.

The ongoing concert series INTERLACE is set to explore the more intricate relationships emerging from the use of electronics within improvised musical situations. Over the past 8 years a considerable list of performers have appeared in the series, and have contributed to an amazing collection of recordings available in its archives.

Seymour Wright
Ross Lambert
Jamie Coleman
Ute Kanngiesser
Paul Abbott
Grundik Kasyansky
The Post Quartet
John Lely

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