iPhones and Alvin Lucier - working with Levy Lorenzo

"I first met the members of Quince in 2012 at Issue Project Room in Brooklyn when i was working there as a live-sound engineer. I remember remarking to myself that they were extraordinarily earnest, enthusiastic, and genuinely nice people. We kept in touch over the past few years and had tossed around the idea of me building some new electronics for them and writing a piece. I was extremely pleased when they asked me to apply for a Jerome Fund commission with them. Inside Voice is the fruit of my relationship with Quince, and I look forward to more collaboration with these amazing musicians and people.

This piece is the premiere of a new electronic instrument that I designed called the iLophone. It was designed using Pure Data (Miller Puckette) and MobMuPlat (Daniel Iglesia) software platforms running on iOS. The interface is reminiscent of a simple xylophone, but tilt sensors on the phone itself allow the player to slightly bend pitch up and down by changing the physical position of the phone. Additionally, the player can modulate the sound by using his/her mouth as resonating chamber over the iPhone speaker. Further, the iLophone is intended to be a “chamber instrument” in that it is meant to be played by a group of performers each with the instrument. The slight differences in tilt position produce slight differences in tuning that create Lucier-esque beating interference patterns throughout the acoustic space. For future projects, I imagine an entire concert hall audience downloading the app at the beginning of a concert, and then performing a piece all together utilizing the architecture of the space and the acoustic constructive/deconstructive interference of 100’s of iLophones spread out like a field of crickets.

In my own philosophy on electronic instrument design, I aim to build platforms for music such that different performers and composers can find their own engagement, connection and voice with it - similar to the transparency of existing acoustic instruments. I invite other musicians to take this instrument and make their own music. The iLophone will be released for public download in September 2015. It is my goal to create a new branch in the musical commissioning process, which is that of new instrument design. I hope to engage in commissions where a new instrument would be invented and then used by multiple composers to create vividly different new works using the same musical platform - similar to how different composers would write different pieces for a violin. Issues then of notation and performance practice, etc. are what would be breaking new ground in the virtuosic live performance of electronic music in the concert music tradition. To stay updated on the iLophone release and to see some of the many other instruments that I’ve invented visit www.levylorenzo.com

It has been an amazing experience collaborating with the members of Quince throughout this project. I feel so lucky to engage with individuals with such artistry, open-mindedness and vision. Thank you Quince for giving me this opportunity."

- Levy Lorenzo

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