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mHz Plays Tesla Coil – NZ

Milli hertz  – akak mHz (Mo H Zareei) is a sonic artist who’s sounds we’ve played before on Six Pillars to Persia. Born and raised in Iran, he’s now based in New Zealand.  Here he is with Jim W. Murphy performing as part of a New Music New Media annual series in New Zealand, at the Performance Arcade, outside Te Papa museum, Wellington.

And his notes for the performance!

Compositional Material and Ideas
The performance was mainly based on using a Tesla coil as a musical instrument. There were two performers, both on laptop. In order to have the laptop clocks in sync they were connected via a MIDI distributer device. One of the laptops interacted with the coil through the same MIDI distributer.

 The Tesla Coil
The MIDI input data is transcribed to PWM in order to derive the coil. Therefore, the resulting sound resembles the sound of a square-wave, with a different timbre. The focus of the performance was on timbral and rhythmic variations of the coil sound and the melodic material was limited to some static and dense tone clusters.

Digital Sounds
In addition to the coil sound, all the other digitally produced sounds were presented in rhythmic variations that highlighted their timbral characteristics. These sounds were divided into three groups: synthesized percussive sounds, processed digital noise, and highly processed field recordings.

Visual Aspect of the Performance
Live interaction with audio was done via a small flat NanoKONTROL which can make it hard for the audience to conceive the connection between the performance and the resulting sound. However, the visual element of the coil spikes, corresponding to the aural component compensated for this issue and made this connection remarkably tight.