- Neil Cooper
- 13 November 2008
University of Edinburgh School of Informatics, Bristo Square, Edinburgh, Sat 15 & Sun 16, Sat 22 Nov
Informatics: it’s the future. This study of ‘the structure, algorithms, behaviour, and interactions of natural and artificial computational systems’ has been around since 1957, when German computer scientist Karl Steinbuch coined the word, ‘Informatik’. Edinburgh University has just built itself a suitably sci-fi-looking School of Informatics, the ideal location for Episode Two of the ninth Dialogues festival, which showcases new, electronically generated music. Following Episode One in May with Norwegian prog improvisors Puma, and last week’s pilot event, a collaboration between Thomas Stronem and Mr McFall’s Chamber’s, Episode Two is spread out over three short concerts and features an array of knob-twiddling eclectica.
‘Informatics is in every aspect of music,’ says Dialogues director Martin Parker, ‘from the way classical music is recorded onto hard drive, to what we’re doing at the other end of the spectrum, turning computers inside out.’
Proceedings begin with Michael Edwards’ ‘Electric Cowboy Cacophony’, a free-wheeling mash-up of laptop, electric guitar, bluegrass banjo and classical piano. Other goodies: German avant-provocateur Christoph Ogiermann’s politically charged ‘Exhautions!’; percussionist Joby Burgess’ Powerplant project presents new works by Graham Fitkin and Gabriel (grand-son of Sergei) Prokofiev. On the first night, a side stage will host four acts curated by Lin Zhang of local live noise promoters, Grind Sight Open Eye.
Nestled at a sideways angle to Scotland’s other left-field music events, since its inception in 1999, Dialogues has retained a peripatetic edge.
‘There’s something about things not getting too big that keeps things interesting,’ says Parker. ‘Dialogues is trying to get people to do things they wouldn’t normally be allowed to. I like it being inconsistent, which may be foolish, but it works for me.’