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human beings are animals too

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Location: Electrofringe Festival 2001
By Jeremy Yuille

…after September 11, I got to thinking we are out-of-wack as a species. This made me wonder if I could play around with these ideas musically. I’d always wanted to make music with the sound of people having sex, it’s got so many elements of taboo (with the resulting attraction)

What I didn’t want to do was make it obvious or gratuitous titillation in any way. So… I composed and performed this piece, using it as a way to test my newly designed gestural setup consisting of some MAX/MSP patches and a Microsoft USB Game controller. (an oil and water combination if ever I heard of one)

The first performance was at the Footscray Arts Centre nights put on by Anthony Pateras. Needless to say, the laptop crashed and I was forced to explain what I was trying to do to an audience of free jazz enthusiasts while it rebooted. (Warren Burt, your performance technique was – and still is – a great inspiration in these kinds of situations) Essentially, the piece uses two buffers of human voice, one male and one female. The voices edited from recordings of people having sex. These buffers are put through a series of transformations, in real time – things like granulation, really fast brassage/cutup etc… all the usual techniques. These transformations are controlled by the Game Controller, and segments of control data are recorded and set to loop during the performance.

The title came out of the sounds I eventually came up with in my experiments, and that form the basis of the performed piece. It sounds something like the monkey cage at the zoo, at dusk. Slight squeaks and chatters emanate from the stereo field, always moving left to right and up and down… insects flit in and out of the mix, and for a second it could almost sound like… no, that would be silly.

The aim in the performance (for the performer) is to build up the levels of texture, always skating the fine line between intelligibility of the original source, and letting the monkeys out of the cage.

Duration: anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes, but 7 is probably enough.

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Prepared by: Iain Mott
Created: 31 July 2003

Published by The University of Melbourne
Comments, questions, corrections and additions: i.mott@unimelb.edu.au
Prepared by: Acknowledgements
Updated: 18 January 2007

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