What happens when engineers and laptop musicians collaborate, brought together by love for a 16-ton steam engine? Something like Steam Driven, a site-specific music performance at the Brighton Fringe Festival last month. Laptop Jams, the laptop performance collective we’ve covered previously on CDM (see story on European laptop performing), got together with the British Engineerium, a fabulous museum of mechanical antiquities in a restored Victorian pumping station. The electronic artists used sensors and laser gates to translate the mechanical into the digital. Since I couldn’t see the performance, I wonder if the digital music held its own — or whether it was overshadowed by the mechanical marvels behind it. A movie documents the project poetically (good lessons to be learned about documentation here!). What’s fascinating about the Max/MSP patches that make brief cameos running on PCs and Macs is how they mimic the mechanical structures they’re tracking. Via Music Thing.

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