Hackoustic’s multi-dimensional Xmas triumph with lula.xyz, Robin the Fog, Tim Yates and Joris Beets, and the next chapter for co-founder and Amoenus artist in residence Tim
One of the beautiful things about Hackoustic events is that they are so brilliantly curated, with performances, projects, instruments, installations and more. You can turn up knowing nothing about anyone appearing, and be captivated and inspired, have some great conversations and try things out.
All this in the environs of its current main events home, the great IKLECTIK Art Lab contemporary art and music space, with its giant video screen, Amoenus 3D Sound System, and courtyard bar.
And so it was with Hackoustic Christmas in December 2022, though several of the artists were already on my radar, lula.xyz and also Tim Yates (co-founder with Vulpestruments’ Tom Fox, of Hackoustic).
The party, which didn’t have any of the standard Christmas things, was more Christmassy in spirit, and human connection, than I could have imagined. Also feeling more special as many people had had to find ingenious routes there due to train strikes.
Tim Yates, Joris Beets
Opening were the magnificent duo of Tim Yates and Joris Beets on experimental instruments and electronics. One being a very expressive wearable harp.
Tim is a sound artist, musician and instrument builder, in residence with Amoenus, the 20 speaker ambisonic sound system currently installed at IKLECTIK and was premiering some of the audience interactive instruments that he’s developing.
Joris is also an experimental improv multi-instrumentalist and innovator, and was playing one of his main inventions – the Delta Harp.
Together they created a beautiful and moving performance, that captivated and flowed, and felt like the spirit of Christmas come to life, but not a sleigh bell in sight.
Robin The Fog - photo Paul Harter
Robin The Fog had invited the audience to ‘come and be part of a terrifyingly spooky choir in Howlaround.. a collaborative ambient / sci-fi / horror composition – using two reel to reel tape machines, a microphone and plenty of audience participation!’
The physical set-up was striking, a giant loop of audio tape winding round stands weaving through the crowd for multiple metres, and going through his machines.
We were invited to sing and to be recorded onto the tape. Starting cautiously, as people always do, the audience gradually swelled and soared in sound, which he then manipulated. The result was haunting tapeology - ghostly but hypnotic drones and hums, a compelling chorus groove.
Headlining was lula.xyz, an ethereal artist in sound and aesthetic, premiering a new performance piece using her voice, her electronic compositions, her physicality and MiMu gloves, gestural MIDI controllers.
The anticipation was huge as no-one knew what was coming from this ever innovative performer. When she started, we experienced music, theatre, movement, audience participation all in one. The piece was breathtakingly beautiful, but also challenging at times, in a thought-provoking way, as she explored family and dementia and loss. Compelling, heart-wrenching, immersive, with technology in service to human connection.
A brilliant conclusion to the night.
We can’t wait for more lula.xyz performances. In the meantime you can catch Lula on film, she has recently starred in the award-winning movie Semret, directed by Caterina Mona
lula.xyz and audience
No Hackoustic event is complete without some exciting installations.
Jonathan Ansell had set up his Air Guitar piece. He’s an electronic artist working with audio, light projections, analogue and digital electronics, and the colourful and rapidly changing ‘Air Guitar’ installation used small mirrors attached to a grid of guitar strings to project lasers onto a 3D screen, creating lissajous figures to illustrate the harmonic relationships between microtonally tuned drones.
Tom Fox and Nick Murray showed The Beating Birch, described as a city and a guardian spirit, and home to a host of wanderers, storytellers and mystics. In appearance a magic tree, miniature world, and interactive instrument, it’s a place of sonic folktelling, using data live-streamed from twitter to generate melodies and violin callings, with melodies are based on the User ID of the person who sent the tweet.
Tom Fox (aka Vulpestruments) is a sound artist focussing on experimental instrument design, sonification of data and interactive installation design. Nick Murray is a writer, composer and producer based in London.
A special mention for the book stall at the party – an exciting selection from the IKLECTIK book and vinyl shop with the best offer of sonic specialities you could imagine. A great place for Xmas (and all year round) shopping.
Tim Yates returns to IKLECTIK on Monday 6th March for his Amoenus Residency Showcase. It’s an interactive installation, performance, and experimental journey, using instruments and technology developed by Tim during his residency with the Amoenus ambisonic sound system.
Tim’s instruments explore the idea od being inside the instrument you’re playing. In combination with harpist Joris Beets it is an experiment in re-imagining the ways we can experience music and performance,
There are three performances, starting at 6.30 pm, 8 pm and 9.30 pm.