CISMAT Boulder

BLOrk - Boulder Laptop Orchestra

The emergence of the laptop orchestra in the last several years has given improvisers innovative tools for creating novel musical experiences.   BLOrk integrates technology with improvisers in an ensemble setting providing live interaction between the two.   The ensemble consists of 6 performers each equipped with a laptop, a hemispherical speaker, and a variety of control devices, which can include traditional instruments or voice.    The use of hemispherical speakers projects sound in a way similar to that of an acoustic instrument, creating a unique sonic experience. The ensemble builds on the research of the Princeton Laptop Orchestra (PLOrk) begun by Perry Cook and Dan Trueman in 2005.

BLOrk 2011
For our February concert we premiered new compositions by John Drumheller, Cole Ingraham, John Gunther, and our Artist-in Residence Darwin Grosse. BLOrk teamed up with the CU Jazz Studies department featuring trumpeter Hugh Ragin performing the music of Miles Davis from his electric albums "In a Silent Way" and "Bitches Brew." Special guest Darren Kramer brought his electric trombone and Ableton rack. Visual artists Trace Redell and Beau Burrows provided stunning live digital art. Members of the CU dance department improvised throughout the show.

 

 

BLOrk workshop with the "Tesla" String Quartet and KRONOS 2010
In a recent workshop at CU, the Kronos Quartet works with the graduate string quartet, "Tesla." Composers and musicians work together to explore innovations in technology and devise ways to integrate this into traditional performance contexts.

In a recent workshop at CU, the Kronos Quartet works with the graduate string quartet, "Tesla." Composers and musicians work together to explore innovations in technology and devise ways to integrate this into traditional performance contexts.

BLOrk with special guest Janet Federer 2009

Performing student and faculty compositions, BLOrk and Janet also presented a performance of Maurice Sendak's "Where the Wild Things Are." The concert was broadcast simultaneoulsy on "2nd Life."

BLOrk performed at the 2008 ISIM conference on December 7th featuring new works by CU students and faculty.


John Gunther and John Drumheller playing to Ginsberg's Wild Orphan

Compositions explore the application of traditional sound processing technology as well as the integration of powerful programming languages such as MAX, Jitter and Super Collider.   The Technology is interwoven with composition and improvisation in unique ways.    Additionally, the use of electronic sensors that link the performers body movements to sound are explored.

In 2007, University of Colorado professors John Gunther (woodwind) and John Drumheller (computer) performed "Wild Orphan," utilizing composition, spoken word, improvisation, and real-time sound processing. In 2008 CISMAT began expanding on this model of composition and performance to include a larger ensemble forming the Boulder Laptop Orchestra.

Wild Orphan - for woodwinds, narrator, and computer

 

And the father grieves
in flophouse
complexities of memory
a thousand miles
away, unknowing
of the unexpected
youthful stranger
bumming towards his door.
- Alan Ginsberg

Collaboration with:
John Gunther, bass clarinet, tenor saxophone, flute, and narration. John Drumheller on laptop and Super Collider.

Listen to:
   an excerpt from Wild Orphan (1:42)
   complete performance of Wild Orphan (14:55)