Boomkat Product Review:
Ben Carey is a Sydney-based saxophonist, composer and technologist. His practice is profoundly informed and extended by technology, through the creation of audio-visual works, the development of his interactive performance software: _derivations and more recently, his fixation on modular synthesis.
"Ben's work is driven by a fascination with the symbiotic relationships that develop between human and machine in composition and performance. His work has been performed and exhibited at numerous national and international festivals including the Huddersfield Festival of Contemporary Music (UK), the dBâle electronic music festival (Switzerland), the New York City Electronic Music Festival (USA), IRCAM Live @ La Gaité Lyrique (France), the Festival de Mùsica Electroacùstica (Chile), the International Computer Music Conference (Australia) and the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression (USA, UK and Australia).
He is also a serial collaborator, working regularly with artists/ ensembles such as Zubin Kanga, Joshua Hyde, Ollie Bown (Tangents), Sonya Holowell, Kusum Normoyle, Alon Ilsar, Sydney Chamber Opera and others. Ben completed a PhD in interactive musical composition in 2016 and currently teaches and researches in the department of Composition and Music Technology at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, University of Sydney.
‘The three pieces on this record are the result of live interactions with complex and unwieldy networks of electricity, realised on a small eurorack modular synthesiser system in the studio sometime between late 2017 - mid 2018. Over the past few years this instrument has become a core part of my musical practice. For me, working with a modular synthesiser is about experiencing musical composition as an interactive process, where the lines between sound design, composition and improvisation are enticingly hazy.
The first two pieces are edited from longer improvised sessions on the instrument. ‘Peaks’ evolves from a single, restless microtonal line into a sea of metallic resonances and unstable bass snarls. Named after the Danish physicist Søren Absalon Larsen, the second work explores a gestural language based around audio-feedback, the acoustic phenomenon he discovered. Feeding the outputs of filters, oscillators and amplifier circuits back into their inputs, ‘Larsen’ exploits the resultant textural, timbral and rhythmic instability of these chaotic vibrations. Finally, the long-form improvisation ‘Networks Articulated’ drives relentlessly forward through active surface textures to arrive at a monolithic, suspended noise-scape woven from un-synced oscillators, swirling filters and crackling analog noise.’ - Ben Carey.