Viola Yip – Lights, Electronics
Nicola L. Hein – Guitar, Electronics

Transsonic aims to develop new site-specific works that communicate intermedial conceptions of music consisting of site-specific light installations, electric guitar, multichannel live electronics and relays working as oscillators. Transsonic is a duo project of sound artist/ composer and light artist Viola Yip as well as guitarist and sound artist Nicola L. Hein. The project centers around the development of “light as musical material” and questions the ontology of music from this intermedial perspective. In light of the ongoing digital revolution we develop translational potentials of electronic and digital media to develop our working concept of music across different media.

By using guitar pickups that microphone the changes in electricity used to control the flickering of the lights by placing them amongst the electricity carrying cables, introducing the sharp clicking sound of 220 Volts lighting up the lightbulbs of Yip’s lightbulb instrument. These sounds are picked up and transformed by the guitar pickups instantly being sent through the line of guitar effects and live-electronics written in Max/MSP for Hein’s multichannel electronic set up thus sonically fusing both instruments.
Both, the sound of the light bulbs and the electric guitar are, in real time, fed into a machine learning based Max/MSP patch which performs frequency analysis based multi channel audio spatialisation and acts as a musically autonomous agent. The software does, in real time based on mel-frequency and knn analysis, learn the playing and interaction style of guitar and light bulbs and answers/interacts with the learned audio material. On the other hand, a knn-analysis controlled, audio-corpus based synthesis process forms a site of contextual resonance, lets the sound of the light bulbs resonate in myriad grains of guitar sound and vice versa.

The two performers play together in real time, creating a multi-sensorial performance that bridges the digital and analog, as well as the auditive and the visual.

The duo has been commissioned by Hong Kong New Music Ensemble and Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry at the University of Chicago. Furthermore, they have presented at New York University, Infrequent Seams Festival, Internationales Musikinstitut Darmstadt, Sonic Lab in SARC at Queen’s University Belfast, Huddersfield, Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, Klex Festival in Kuala Lumpur, Alte Feuerwache Köln and many other places.