A great event in a great space and I almost didn't go. As we approached, ambient music wafted from Goodson Yard. From the door we could see the long line of laptopers beneath giant screens.
It was free, it was odd, it was at the Goat Farm, a performance of student works by the Georgia Tech Laptop Orchestra (GTLork) & New Music Ensemble.
On Thursday I was eating at the Varsity next to a man and his teenage sons. Turns out it's music photographer Jim 'JT' Gilbert from upper New York state visiting Georgia Tech where his 18 year old has been accepted. They'd been told to eat the at the "V" while they were in Atlanta - good choice.
Y'all know me: We chatted it up and bonded over french fries. They'd spent a long day at Tech and were heading back to the hotel before driving home to New York on Friday.
So I asked if they wanted to go to the Goat Farm to hear the Georgia Tech Laptop Orchestra. They said yeah and we headed out.
My wife said, "They actually went with YOU? Didn't they know how strange you are?"
They didn't exactly go with me, they followed in their car. What were they thinking as we turned into the dark Goat Farm drive and parked in the grass?
It was odd and wonderful, thirty+ musicians and a few hundred fans in Goodson Yard.
It was dark, there were three giant screens, there were a few traditional instruments. I had no idea what would happen next.
Title: “Fusiform” Members: Chris Howe, Raja Raman, Ziwen Fan, Xinquan Zhou Description: A performance controlled by facial expressions, wherein laptop performers affect the acoustic musicians signal with various effects via web cam control.
This trio played over ambient music and it was wonderful.
Title: “Impossible Mission” Members: JUAN MARTINEZ-NIETO, Shuo Liu, IMANKALYAN MUKHERJEE, Cian O’Brien Description: A piece written for Trumpet, Tenor Saxophone, Euphonium, 3 laptop musicians and 3 puzzle solvers. The music tells a story of solving a jig-saw puzzle that eventually unfolds the score for the musicians to play.
Weird and wonderful and I almost didn't go. Thanks to JT and sons.
I don't know if the Georgia Tech Center for Music Technology has a mailing list, so we'll need to check their event calendar.
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