In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

HYPERPRISM-PPC VERSION 1.2.1 Real-time sound-designingsoftware for the Macintosh. Arboretum Systems, Inc., 915 Cole Street, Suite 387, San Francisco, CA 94117, U.S.A. Phone: (415) 626-4440;Fax: (415) 626-4439; toll-free-line ( U.S.A. only): (800) 7007390 . Web: Reuiaued by Marc Batlie IRCAM, 1 place Igor Stravinsky, F-75004Paris, France.Email : cbam@ircam. fr.. I reviewed the first release of this software for Leonard0 MusicJournal in 1994. Since then, Hyperprism has been hailed as “awonderful invention”by Brian Eno, and the program is in wide use for all kinds of professional musical and audio applications. A major revisionjustifies the present review. When Apple introduced its line of Macintosh computers based on PowerPC processors, it quickly became clear that the number-crunchingpossibilities of these machines allowed for stand-alonesound processing and many DSP (digital-signal processing) chores. The first release of Hyperprism had relied on an audio card to complete this kind of work; with the advent of the PowerPC, audio cards were no longer necessary. In fact, the new kind of processor offered a substantial increase in raw power as compared to the average &inus Punpl inrludm RudolfArnh~iin. 1VilfrPd Arnold, Kasq Rios Asberry, Marr Balliq lioberl Coburn, Mary Cure, Sliawn Deck6 Tim DrurkrqJose I. With Gravikords,Whirliesand Pyrophones Bart Hopkin rescues from obscurity the works of a wide range of musical eccentrics who invent and make their own unique musical devices.The set consists of a book of Hopkin’s short essays on individual artists and a CD featuring tracks by many of those artists. The inventors described here are by turns fascinating , illuminating and comicallyidiosyncratic . While some stand out as true innovators, others appear to be tinkerers with intriguing ideas but questionable artistic merits. Nonetheless, Gravikords,Whirliesand Pyrophones stands alone as a skillfullywritten but lighthearted document of an outer periphery of musical experimentation, with detailed descriptions and photographs of the instruments and descriptions of how they are played. In the book, Hopkin deliberately avoids extensive coverage of electronic instruments and technology. He writes in the introduction that “...electronic instrument manufacturers have (with some notable exceptions) taken an unimaginative approach” to instrument design; and, indeed, the artists in this collection show no shortage of imagination . Writing with obvious enthusiasm, Hopkin relishes the oddities displayed in the book’s pages-among them, instruments that utilize flower pots, inflatable cushions, cloud-chamber bowls, bamboo, plastic children’s toys and fire. Gravikords,Whirliesand Pyrophonesis intriguing in its documentation of how people step outside the traditionally accepted boundaries of musical instrument design and musical composition, finding beauty, humor and even spiritual solace in their creations. In challenging these boundaries, the creators and their instruments also reflect responses to the cultures from which they emerge. Most of the artists are from technologically advanced Western nations , and they often appropriate technology for their own uses, demonstrating that the “misuse”of technology can yield interestingresults. Qubais Reed Ghazala, for example, bases many of his designs on “circuit bending”-essentially , the use of short-circuited audio devices as sound sources. Ghazala’s track on the CD, “Silence the Tongues of Prophecy,” is composed of a series of electronic sounds and voices that sound somewhat like malfunctioning robots engaging in a lively conversation. Although he uses technology, Ghazala rejects the idea that “newer”is necessarily “better.” Other works exhibit a wholesale rejection of electronics in favor of the use of natural materials and processes . Darrell De Vore sees his use of bamboo in his instruments as a connection to a distant ancestral past, while Turkish-born Nazim Ozel has created a stringed instrument from a section of a branch that he cut from a tree. A strong point of this collection is its treatment of the contributions of several influential innovators in the field of musical instrument design. Hopkin includes sections on Leon Theremin, Harry Partch, the Futurist painter/musician Luigi Russolo (author of the essay “TheArt of Noises”) and lesserknown figures such as Sugar Belly (a Jamaican reggae musician who played a bamboo saxophone) and Carleen Hutchins (designer of a reconfigured familyof bowed stringed instruments). By including these forebears, Hopkin creates a historical context for the contemporary work he describes...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1531-4812
Print ISSN
0961-1215
Pages
pp. 98-99
Launched on MUSE
2016-07-06
Open Access
No
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