sononyms: Jazz Cerkno & Cerkno Museum archives sound installation
Jazz Cerkno is one of the most known Jazz festivals in Slovenia. What makes it special is that it is located in a small town called Cerkno outside of cultural centres, and still, it has gained huge success. The fact that big financial institutions do not back it up but rather enthusiastic local people gives the festival a valuable example of how cooperative social involvement can enrich the local and broader community. The multi-media sound installation "sononyms" takes inspiration from this community spirit and tradition by combining the Jazz Cerkno concert archive with sound recordings of old objects from the Cerkno museum. The sound materials of both archives have been analysed and disassembled with different sound techniques, such as spectral, concatenative and granular, and then composed into a new unique sound entity. The whole installation is entirely based on the different MIDI implementations. MIDI handles all the key parts of the installation, such as data sonification, MIDI to DMX light integration, custom sysex led display of data, a multichannel speaker control solution and an advanced MPE integration. It also features some advanced custom software developed by the installation author Andrej Kobal and Boštjan Pirnar. These are the GranuRise granular synth, one of the finalists of the 2020 MIDI Innovation Awards and an advanced MPE polyphonic sequencer seqMPEror.
The 'sononyms' sound installations it is innovative in many ways. The main idea of combining two different sound materials, such as Cerkno's old objects, with a huge archive of Jazz concert recordings is quite unique since it opens an interesting approach to a large amount of data sonification. What makes it special is that this data has been sorted by different parameters such as pitch, loudness, brightness, periodicity and other factors. The main challenge was how to make this large amount of data interesting for real-time interaction between the installation visitors and the live performance. The solution was to use Embodme Erae Touch controller API with the MIDI sysex, which has enabled the led visualisation of the collected and sorted sonic data. Additionally, some unique custom-made Max For Live devices are used in the installation, such as the 2020 MIDI Innovation Awards Finalist - GranuRise. As an example, GranuRise has been used as a short buffer recorder where the old tape material was sampled and then transformed with the spectral part of it and then even played with the MPE option. One of the most innovative option in this scenario is definitely the option to have the spectral part act as a modulator for the FM synth of GranuRise. Another custom-made device is seqMPEror, which can create endless generative polyphonic MPE sequencers. In the installation, seqMPEror has shown how useful and open the device is. Basically, it has gone beyond its original use cases and has been used as an intuitive gestural control of the lights through MIDI and DMX. The concept of gestures used in GranuRise and seqMPEror has also been used in other contexts, such as the multichannel speaker control.