Inscribing Instabilities Simon Atkinson and John Richards Presented at EMS, Sweden, February 2007

Simon Atkinson and John Richards (De Montfort University, UK) discuss their recent work together and Atkinson’s new piece for fixed sound played-back over loudspeakers and the Kreepback instrument: a modular feedback network with additional sound generating devices developed by John Richards. The piece raises a number of interesting issues regarding the relationships between live, real-time and non real-time musical decision-making, where the notions of ‘performance’ and ‘composition’ begin and end, and how musicians can work with others in the context of the growing aesthetic trend of performers building their own, idiosyncratic, often highly personal and bricolage-based hybrid technological systems designed for solo work or free improvisation. Some of the challenges composing for the instrument are addressed through developing ‘control’ information from the fixed part, which modulates the feedback network. Ideas concerning the structuring of the piece and its organisation are also discussed, as well as an overview of the Kreepback instrument.