Music for Turntables, Cylindrical Drawings and Video Tracking System
At the beginning of the performance, blank lengths of paper sufficient to wrap a cylinder (such as a coffee can) are drawn with various marks or gestures, in a manner similar to a piano roll. The paper is affixed to the cylinder, and placed on a standard turntable. A video camera is focused on the cylinder. The camera is connected to a video tracking system which 'sees' the marks and interprets these a musical notes or sounds using a synthesizer or other device. Marks on the Y axis of the cylinder determine pitch, while the X axis determines time. The player can manipulate the speed and direction of the turntable to manipulate the audio/visual loop inherent in the system. A second turntable may be used with vinyl records to mix against the notes. The player may also wish to embellish the sound with effects processing. The player may wish to change to different sheets of paper during the piece. The direction and duration of the piece is indeterminate. The video feed from the tracking system should be projected for the audience to see, as well as any supplementary camera views that may be available.
This piece is from Johnny's early career working at Rensselaer's iEAR studios. Composed and performed in 1996, this is one of the earliest known examples of using video tracking software to create music. The software used at the time was STEIM's Big Eye (shortly after its release) running on a PowerPC 7200 AV. Other gear used: Kurzweil K2000, 2 Technics turntables, Mackie 1202 Audio Mixer, Korg Modular effects pedals, ink pens and of course paper. Video documentation was shot during an MFA performance at Bennington College, VT, mixed live with a WJMX-30 by John J.A. Jannone. (and projected on stage during the performance).