ROGER THOMAS

Music and sound in words, education and performance

 

The CIRCE Project

CIRCE...

- is Collective Improvisation Recorded with Collaborative Electronics.

Created by contemporary music practitioner Roger Thomas, CIRCE is a performance, a workshop, an open-access recording session, an ambient music installation, a demonstration, a learning opportunity, a methodology, an assemblage of hardware and software and a mobile, real-world, informal creative and social nexus for anyone interested in improvised electronic music.

CIRCE literally reverses the performance conventions of electronic music by inviting voluntary real-time participation from anyone present at a CIRCE event, accommodating all levels of musical ability and technical knowledge (including none).

CIRCE comprises a selection of evolving ambient/drone/noise audio tracks which are manipulated, processed and mixed by the performer in real time, together with a range of hardware and software instruments with accessible interfaces such as touchscreens, touchpads and proximity sensors. These instruments are operated by volunteer participants who add their own improvised sonic elements to the music, contributing as much or as little to it as they wish and changing instruments and joining or leaving the ensemble as they please during the event.

The resulting mix is projected as a real-time performance but is also recorded and made available as a privately downloadable album, with participants being notified of this via e-mail (anonymous contributions are also welcomed). This gives everyone present the chance to be involved in recording an album of improvised electronic music which is then distributed to its creators. At CIRCE's inaugural event the result was a 4-CD length set created by 18 named and several anonymous participants. A short sample extract from the set (although of course no set is typical) can be found at http://db.tt/993fJ3np pf

CIRCE is suitable for many musical occasions, ranging from formal performances to workshops, foyer music and walk-up events. To date, these have included festival workshops and presentations (at Network in Birmingham and NoiseFloor at the University of Staffordshire), informal pre-concert and open day sessions at the Bishopsgate Institute and a six-week workshop course culminating in a recording project with abstract film.

The original Circe ('sir-see, Greek 'kir-kee) was an enchantress who turned the companions of Odysseus into a herd of swine. Happily, this has yet to happen at a CIRCE event. See contact details on Home page if you would like to include CIRCE in your programming.