All posts by Per Boysen

Musician, speaker, author, consultant. Typically good at balancing a general view at the edge of personal expression.

Unexpected – improvisational live album released!

This album is a live recording of a musical duo improvisation session that took place in Rome on June 5 2009. Fabio Anile plays the Piano and the Synthesizer and Per Boysen plays the Alto Flute and the EWI (Electric Wind Instrument). Both musicians simultaneously play also interactive electronics, particularly utilizing the technique known as Live Looping.

Exceptions are two tracks that were recorded later as a studio based long distance collaboration: Counterpoint (4) where Per plays the Chapman Stick and Bird’s View (7) where Per plays the Electric Guitar while Fabio doubles on Shakers, the Cajun and the Thelevi.

Mixing and Mastering: Per Boysen
Album and track artwork by Fabio Anile.

Unexpected is digitally distributed all over the Internet, but I would advice anyone to check it out at Bandcamp because that’s the only digi music web shop I know of that allows specific artwork for each song of the albums.

Guitar Player Magazine: Editor’s Top Three CDs

Sub City 2064 was among Editor’s Top Three CDs in Guitar Player magazine’s september issue of 2010. It’s a big honor to be mentioned together with icons like Stockhausen, Hassell, Eno, NIN and Pink Floyd!

I made this music because Erdem inspired me in our collaborative duet experiment and also because I’ve always wanted music like this; music that doesn’t restrict itself by a particular “style”, “instrument” or “scene”, music that exists for no other reason than that someone actually loved it enough to make a recording so that other people may enjoy the same experience.

I love my Stick!

After having my new instrument, the Chapman Stick, for five months I finally decided to shot a video of it. What makes the Stick so fun to play is that you can use both hands more or less as “two musicians that jam together”. The playing experience is very open and creative. Quite different compared to most ordinary instruments that force you to train multiple body parts until they become one unified performance machinery. Stick playing rather puts your brain into multi tasking mode and calls for a split vision attitude.

Powerful live sound design options

Another thing I like with the Stick is the powerful live sound design options you get by having two fretboards going out through separate outputs – meaning you can treat them with two different effect chains. I plug those two outputs into a laptop running Mainstage.

CDM covers one of my electronic instrument designs!

Wow, what an honor only to be mentioned by such a great webzine as CDM, Create Digital Music! “Dreams of a Musical Future: Digitópia Winners’ Wondrous Creations”.

As a matter of fact I did use my Steppophononic Looperformer at one track on the recently released duo album Sub City 2064 with Erdem Helvacıoğlu. Here’s a link to a track where I use that electronic design to play both the flute pads and the synth sequence simultaneously.

Musical instrument of three dimensional performance

Note how three musical lines are created at the same time; (1) flute melodies, (2) chords layered by livelooping overdubbed long flute notes and (3) matching arpeggios (instantly snagged flute sample, live sequenced and sent through beat synced filters). All three parts following my harmonic on-the-fly improvisation.

Sharing my vision according to Creative Commons

This version of my Steppohonic Looperformer is like a pilot test. I mocked it up with Plogue Bidule and Expert Sleeper’s Crossfade Loop Synth Effect. Not technically optimal, but musically it worked well enough to be used on this record. I published the functionality design idea under a CC license so if you are a programmer you are allowed to steal the idea to create a plugin or whatever. Here is the link to my presentation.

First reviews of Sub City 2064 is putting our album on this weekends radio playlist called “PIONEERS AND CREATIVE VISIONARIES: MASTER PIECES OF ELECTRONIC MUSIC, TAPE MUSIC & ELECTRO-ACOUSTIC MUSIC & COMPUTER MUSIC“.

Live electronics has been used more and more not only as a tool to chose some new effects or distortions on the instrument, but also a real instrument with its own pallet of programmed changes. Turkish born Erdem Helvacıoğlu and Swedish Per Boysen both have experience in this field. Erdem uses the guitar, the cello guitar and a drum machine as his main instruments for additional filters, programming and electronic processing. Per plays flute and some tenor sax and horns and uses EWI, and his ‘step-o-phonic looperformer’ meta instrument, fretless bass and live electronics. This way improvisations between two artists start from a wide and colorful pallet, where the guitars are not only used as live melodic playing, but also for all sorts of guitar strings reverberations, from fast to slow, sometimes used with overlaps so that there is an orchestral feeling moving and somewhat evolving into space consisting of a near ambient setting of sound-paint and drones, mixed with a few different rhythmic but colorful variations. The strangest sounds come from the cello guitar, which sound like a balloon performance on one occasion (track 5). Overlaps, loops, effects and textures are also used in the mix. The horns are a few times a great extension of an effect in the bass parts. Interesting!stalker trainer Prada Silver Fringe Handbag cole haan pump tortoise
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Sub City 2064 by Erdem Helvacıoğlu & Per Boysen

The instrumental album Sub City 2064 was produced as a long distance collaboration between Turkey and Sweden in the cinematic vibe of a chilly sci-fi horror soundtrack.

<a href="">Radiation Patrol by erdemhelvaciogluandperboysen</a>

Erdem and I first met in Santa Cruz California 2007 where we both performed at the International Live Looping Festival. We became friends as well as fans, exchanged CDs and talked about creating recorded music together. And so we did.

Erdem Helvacıoğlu plays TogaMan GuitarViol, electric guitar and electronics. Per Boysen plays alto flute, tenor saxophone, EWI, electronics, drop-B electric guitar, Stratocaster and fretless electric guitar.

Erdem Helvacıoğlu is one of the most renowned new music composers of his generation in Turkey. His music has ben performed and broadcast all around the world, included in many prestigious festivals and received numerous international electronic music awards including prizes from Luigi Gussolo, Insulae, Electronicae and MUSICA NOVA Electroacoustic Music Competitions. Erdem Helvacioğlu has been called “the genius of unusual sounds” by prestigious German magazine Ragazzi.

Per Boysen’s live concerts focus on instrumental music with an openminded “psychedelic” touch, utilizing live looping and interactive electronics to extend traditional instruments in multi lateral improvisation. He is a Swedish freelance worker in many creative fields, often referred to as a renaissance man. Has toured worldwide as a musician, affiliated with both major record labels, small independent labels and as a self promoting artist. Former studio musician counting one gold selling album. Produced recorded music for CD, surround DVD multimedia, radio and television.

Recorded in Istanbul and Stockholm by Erdem Helvacıoğlu & Per Boysen. Mixed by Per Boysen. Audio mastering by Pieter Snapper at Babajim Instanbul Mastering. Photo and album cover by Danne Eriksson.rod stewart stomach pump Prada Beige Fairy M Bag hobo handbag?
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Improvisation is not free!

The better you become at “improvising” the more you realize there is no such thing as “free improvisation”. Since music is a form of communication the best improvisations are those where the player succeeds in applying gestures that draw on rules known to the listener. Such gestures and rules can be timbre, direction in movement or plain music harmony theory.

I am especially excited by multi lateral improvisation, as I call it when a player improvises many musical parts at the same time – as opposed to simply improvising a melody over a given background. In this performance I use live looping, which means I record phrases I play and then keep changing those recordings while playing an additional part. So there is no “lead” and no “background” part of this improvisation. I do not play melodies and improvise chords to back melody up, nor do I play chords and improvise melodies that fit in. I invent all parts of the music at once. This is not “free improvisation” because in order to sound like some sort of music, although weird, everything has to relate to some common ground. The common ground in this particular performance is parallel transposition of minor chords. In this case using only the tonica, first, second fourth and sixth position transposition diminishes the palette further and creates a musical universe where almost anything can be played and still turn out harmonic.

The looping technique used here is to start out by playing an instrument and recording it as a very long loop. Careful to initially play only notes that will work harmonically even if transposed (thinking not only about actual sound here but also about what scales any given future transposition of the recorded loop may imply). So as lungs go empty of air I close the loop and it starts repeating. Now I use foot pedals to shift speed/pitch of this long loop into different intervals while I play along. Manipulating transposition of the recorded loop is one orchestral element and my live instrument is a second – both elements are parts of the same improvisation. This is a simple technical praxis of what I call multi lateral improvisation. If transposing a musical part in minor you get totally different harmonic scale options for your playing compared to transposing a musical part in major. It can easily become too complex to sound interesting so the challenge is, in my opinion, to find themes and refine them.

Composers use similar theoretical rules to create scores, but to me in this moment of time it is more fun to work out techniques that allow you to do it all at once in sound!

Since publishing I have received some questions on what software were used in this performance, so here we go: Mainstage by Apple is the “effect rack”, “mixer” and “patchbay”. Inside Mainstage I am running the AU plugin version of the looper Mobius. As soon as the first loop is recorded Mobius calculates the musical tempo I am playing in and sends out MIDI Clock which Mainstage adapts its tempo to. This makes tempo dependent effects follow my playing/live looping. Maybe I should also mention that the video doesn’t cover the extensive foot work done to simultaneously play Mobius from a Behringer FCB1010 MIDI pedal board. There are almost as many looping commands happening as there are notes played in this performance.

The audio sensitive live graphics are simply the iTunes Visualizer

The Chapman Stick totally rocks!!!

playing the Chapman StickI’m learning a new music instrument here, The Chapman Stick. It’s so fun because on the stick you can play both bass, comping chords and melody lines at the same time. The instrument has twelve strings divided into two groups of six and each group has its own set of electro magnetic pickups and output.

The Stick was invented by musician Emmet Chapman in the late sixties to be used by himself as his “custom instrument”. However, many folks that heard him play also wanted sticks so Emmet started manufacturing in -74. I feel honored having an instrument actually built by the inventor. Thank you, Emmet!

Here’s where you can read more about The Chapman Stick.

Epilogue: Below is a quick video I recorded as a freshman on the Stick. I will soon upload something more exciting, as I’m slowly rewiring brain to improve its skills as the conductor of the “two independent hands” orchestra.

How to sync plugins to Mobius looper in Bidule

Bidule is one of the most configurable plug-in hosts for setting up your own custom effect and live looping laptop rig. In this example we’re using the software looper Mobius. Here’s how you make all your plugins take on the tempo you create by the first loop you make:

Detailed walk-through:

1. Set Mobius to “Sync = Out” (“Configurations / Presets / Synchronization”).

2. Set Mobius to “Plugin Output Devices = IAC Driver IAC Bus 1” (“Configurations/MIDI Device Selection”. The IAC bus only applies if using OS X. If using Windows you have to download and install MIDI Yoke in order to be able to send MIDI through the system, between applications and plug-ins). 3. In Bidule, open the IAC Bus (as “MIDI Device”).

4. In Bidule, toss in a “MIDI Clock To Sync” bidule and cable it to the IAC Bus device.

5. In Bidule, right-click all tempo dependent plug-ins and chose this “MIDI Clock To Sync” bidule under “Sync To”.

I also think it’s cool to set Mobius maximal respectively minimum tempo to a BPM span I like playing in. This prevents ending up with a way to fast tempo if starting out a session by creating an extremely short first loop (for glitchy stuff) or with a boring slow tempo if starting out with a very long first loop.

Link to Mobius.
It’s a free download. On this site there is also a discussion forum, a manual and a scripting documentation.

I have posted similar walk-throughs for hosting Mobius in Mainstage and Logic at my Picture Album Area at the Mobius Forum (requires forum membership registration to keep bad spam out).

And there is more on Bidule:

I would appreciate if people post questions here or at the fora (above), rather than contacting me directly. I have no chance to help everyone individually and if I should try to do that no one else would benefit from it. So please let’s be friends at the fora, share the goodies and spread them to everyone!

Florence Live Looping jam # 1+2+3

This is the first improvised session, from the “Anteprima” of the “First International Live Looping Festival – in Rome”, that took place on the 6th june 2009
This recording was taken in Florence on the 3th june 2009, at the “Anfiteatro dell’Anconella”.

Rick Walker (USA)
Per Boysen (SE)
Fabio Anile (IT)
Sjaak Overgaauw (BE)
Koan Loop Ensemble (IT) (Massimo Liverani, Massimo Fantoni, Claudio Canaccini, Fabio Capanni, Fabrizio Orrigo)