Sunday, January 08, 2006

People doing strange things with electricity

So I went to a event in Soho recently. 3 people spoke about their experiments with elecricity. It was held in a packed gallery, with folding chairs and projector. Maybe 200 people. The first presenter, Luke DuBois, compressed the top Billboard hits of the last 50 years into a 37 minute piece. Sounded like a wind tunnel.

The second and more interesting presenter was Alyce Santoro. She created Fishman's musical dress, as played at the 4-17-04 Phish show in Vegas. Alyce explains how she discovered she could weave cassette tape with a loom and the fabric would make sounds when modified walkman is moved over it. She met Fishman through a friend at a party and he commissioned a musical dress similar to his existing one (the crowd got a kick out of the fact that he plays in a dress). He gave her a box of 300 of his tapes, SunRa, Zappa, old Phish, Hendrix, etc. She was hesitant to use the tapes since they seemed personal. Fishman ended up playing it in front of 19000 fans at the Thomas and Mack Center in Vegas. Now Phish fans follow her around the country and buy pieces of her fabric, she half-joked.

She passed around bits of the same sonic fabric she made the dress from (and available for sale on her website). It felt thick and strong, yet flexible . Comparable to a thick tarp but lighter in weight. The ends of the fabric were frayed and I could see little bits of the cassette tapes it was made from. Alyce played bits of the Vegas show and some home video from the first time he tried the dress on. After fielding several inane questions she concluded . Unfortunately it was too crowded to go up and discuss the dress or the show personally with her (I thought the dress was used to great comical effect but musically it was not too coherent). I left before the final presenter, Mikey Sklar, explained how he installed an RFID chip in his hand.

category: music_