Sunday, July 19, 2009

Robot Gamelan

The League of Electronic Musical Urban Robots presents Karsh Kale and Timeline, GamelaTron and Forward Motion Theater 9 p.m. Tuesday at the Winter Garden of the World Financial Centre in Lower Manhattan. I've written about the LEMUR instruments before. Here you get to see a full robotic Gamelan orchestra.

The gamelan itself might be new to a lot of folks. It's basically singing with a percussion orchestra where the main instruments are made of ranks of metal plates, struck with mallets. Looks like a sort of giant xylophone with metal can lids instead of wood bars. Traditional Indonesian gamelan playing is a community activity, like a handbell choir, where each player is responsible for a very small part of a much larger pattern. It's a highly influential style that seems to connect Heaven and Earth with a stairway of slowly changing sound.

GamelaTron, the robotic gamelan, is ... well I haven't heard it. Nor have I heard the composer/performer Karsh Kale. It would be nice to go and get acquainted with both, but I don't think I will be able. You will have to go for me and let me how it sounds.

The event is free. Visit The Arts at the World Financial Centre for more info.


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