percussion, harmonium, & feedback system
Through a feedback loop system, Preston Beebe creates a sonic landscape with drums, found objects, harmonium, and transducers. On the surfaces of the instruments rest contact microphones and transducers that when operated in series produce feedback loops. Each of the instruments have a unique acoustic characteristic according to its shape, size, tuning, and material that act as a resonating chamber for the electronic sounds. With multiple feedback loops happening simultaneously in harmony, they are spatialized throughout the setup, weaving and interacting with each other’s sound field.
Feedback is not a random effect, it can be controlled and transformed. As discovered by Ernst Chladni, sound when projected on a plate draws a series of graphical patterns on the surface. In a living feedback loop system, these sound patterns are in constant motion. When a path of the sound pattern is muted, or a new sound is introduced, an instability occurs. Even the most subtle alterations in the sound, timbre, or acoustical properties of the surface can cause a rupture or a harmony to form. Preston sculpts this feedback by placing various objects at specific locations of the drum, by changing the location of the transducers, by adding an additional transducer to the surface while building colorful percussive textures.
The transducers are also used as a vibrotactile mallet by allowing them to vibrate freely on the objects. These sounds are controlled by altering their amplitude or by changing its placement on the object. Amidst the percussion setup lies a harmonium that hums a drone and creates a harmonic beating. Interacting with these resonances created through the bodies of the percussion instruments results in a living feedback loop system that grows upon itself.