Benjamin Thigpen residency, Rust concert
In addition to electroacoustic composition, I perform live as an electronic musician, primarily in the context of two duos – Rust, with Jean-François Laporte and Les Frères Bobine, with Stefano Bassanese. For these musical activities I construct my own electroacoustic instruments.
“Les Frères Bobine (Benjamin Thigpen and Stefano Bassanese) use inductors, coils, small metallic objects, amplifiers and computers to generate silent magnetic feedback loops. These “electromagnetic oscillators” are our instruments – at once material and virtual, digital, analog and acoustic. Through continual gestural control, we interact with them and influence them, without seeking total control. They behave like natural process, producing sounds that are fascinating, unpredictable and organic.”
“Rust consists of Jean-François Laporte and Benjamin Thigpen playing newly-invented instruments – acoustic, electronic or electroacoustic. Since 2013, we have been developing our instrumentarium in a new direction. These configurations consist of numerous “prepared” piezoelectric contact microphones which are manipulated manually in conjunction with various vibrating objects and which are also brought into contact with small speakers and “exciters.” The signals produced in this way pass thru the computer where where the sound is further magnified and enriched. What results are complex fields of short-range acoustic feedback, an immersion in the materiality of sound, direct contact with vibrational energy, a sonic experience that is organic, physical, visceral – at times delicate and subtle, a times overpowering and extreme.”
I am currently devoting a three-month artist’s residency at AIRBergen to the development of these two overlapping, intersecting instrumental configurations: soldering, building, exploring, experimenting, researching… It is a fantastic opportunity to systematically and methodically develop these instruments: giving all the time necessary to each element of the chain, moving gradually towards a setup that is ergonomic, portable and musically rich – varied, controllable (at least up to a point!) and fluid. It has become increasingly clear to me that this development will continue for many years, but here in Bergen I am laying a solid foundation for everything to come.
During this residency, the support of BEK has been incredibly helpful! Much of what I am doing would be much more difficult or totally impossible without the open access to the space and use of the tools.
Benjamin Thigpen, nomad, born in the United States, with degrees in English Literature, Comparative Literature and “Esthetics, Technologies and Artistic Creations,” immigrated to Paris at the age of 31. Since then, he has composed at GRM (Paris), at Musiques et Recherches (Belgium), at SCRIME (Bordeaux), at EMS (Stockholm), at the Visby International Centre for Composers (Sweden), at STEIM (Amsterdam), at Djerassi (California), at l’Espace Totem (Montreal), in his bedroom and in the train.
After 6 years at Ircam (Paris) and 7 at the Conservatory of Cuneo (Italy), he currently teaches computer music and (psycho)acoustics at Arts2 (Mons, Belgium), while also working as a free-lance programmer and musician.
He makes music for loudspeakers: electroacoustic works (composed on electromagnitic support); pieces for live computer performance; interactive music for computer and acoustic instrument(s); computer improvisation. His music is concerned with issues of energy, density, complexity, movement, simultaneity and violence, and he often works extensively with space as a primary compositional parameter. He thinks that music does not exist in time but rather creates it, and considers that music is not the art of sound but the art of the transcendence of sound.