Interface is a performance group formed by musicians Curtis Bahn and Dan Trueman in 1996. Both Curtis and Dan have extended, surrounded, and obscured their electric stringed instruments with a variety of technologies. Curtis plays a custom 5-string "vertical bass" (like an acoustic bass with no body) fitted with electrical pickups, various sensors and controllers which allow him to "drive" an elaborate computer performance system while playing. Dan plays a 6-string electric violin and an electric bow of his own design: the R-Bow, a normal violin bow covered with motion and pressure sensors that transmit performance information to Dan's computer performance system. Their instruments are dynamic, changing constantly from performance to performance and within performances.
Recently, they have begun to integrate spherical speaker arrays, which radiate sound in all directions, into their performance set-up. Interface has a commitment to free-improvisation and electronic music composition, creating real-time sonic landscapes in performance which combine pre-composed electronic sounds with real-time digital signal processing, synthesis, algorithmic composition, and sampling. The result is improvisational, textural, intimate, noisy at times and, most of all, engaging and fun.
Both Bahn and Trueman received their Ph.D.s in music composition from Princeton University. Bahn is currently professor of computer music performance in the integrated electronic art program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (iEAR studios). Trueman has studied classical violin, jazz and the Norwegian Hardanger Fiddle. He has composed for and worked with ensembles such as the Amernet and Cassatt string quartets, the Paul Dresher ensemble, the Newman-Oltman guitar duo, and guitarist Monica Mugan. Together they have performed with improvisation group 1st Avenue (Chris Brown, Rinde Eckert and composer/improviser Steve Mackey).
In many recent performances, Interface has been joined by video performance artist Nick Fortunato. Nick performs with a live computer video-sampling rig designed as part of his thesis work for the MFA program in the Integrated Electronic Arts Program (iEAR) at RPI.
The performance at Mobius will also feature dancer Tomie Hahn in an interactive dance/electronic music composition entitled Streams, done in collaboration with Curtis Bahn. Hahn is a musician and dancer trained in the Japanese flute (shakuhachi), Japanese traditional dance (Nihon Buyo) and contemporary Japanese performance (Butoh). She is currently professor of Ethnomusicology at Tufts University where her research involves both Asian performance practices and the impact of technology on world performance. In this piece, Hahn wears a small micro-controller/sensor system designed by Bahn which transmits information about the nature of her movements to a computer music system. The interactive computer system allows her to "compose" the form of the music along with her dance, controlling all aspects of the sound dynamically with her gestures. Many of the computer algorithms involve modeling the virtual physics of the sound world - activating them through the force of her gestures.
Interface has performed throughout the Northeast and abroad, recently appearing at the New York Interactive Music Festival sponsored by Columbia University, the International Computer Music Festival in Thessaloniki, Greece, and the Society for Electroacoustic Music in the U.S. festival (SEAMUS). They have given lectures and concerts at major academic institutions including Princeton, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Columbia and have performed in many alternative spaces including the Kitchen in NYC, the Loft in Albany, NY and RRRecords in Lowell, MA.
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