Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
I have been designing and performing with Intonarumori since being asked to curate and compose a tribute to The Futurist Instrument builder Luigi Russolo on the 100th anniversary of the publishing of his manifesto l'arte dei Rumori (the art of noises). Since 2012 I have been working on different designs and modifications to increase volume, pitch range, tone and playability. According to the small amount of written information Russolo left behind his first machines worked via the friction between a string/wire and a rotating cylinder. The string was attached to a drum head which acted as an amplifying/resonating device. The other end of the string was connected to a lever that controlled the pitch of the sound through tightening the tension. The rotating cylinders connected to a crank that turned the cylinder causing it to rub against the wire. The volume was increased by increasing the rotation of the crank. From this elementary design a vast range of different sounds could be achieved through modification of the construction materials. For instance the string/wire could be made of twine or leather or piano wire and the cylinder could be timber or metal or have indentations in it, all of which altered the sound.
The Intonarumori were the weapons Russolo built to lead the attack on the music of the early 20th century as proscribed in his manifesto L’arte dei rumori. But beyond this aesthetic revolution Russolo’s motives (as always) were spiritual. He believed in the power of noise to affect human emotion and that noise could be spiritualised through mediation. He wrote in detail how an orchestra of Intonarumori could create a trance like atmosphere where the raw noise produced by the machines was manipulated via the cracks and cogs it contained to conjour energy that would further intensify the players performance resulting in the opening of portals to other realms. From here communication with spirits could unfold. Before I was aware of Russolo’s esoteric ideas I was struck by the seeming supernatural sounds of these machines, in fact they have an almost sacred quality which is what led me to in depth research of Russolo and his practice. Below are various videos, images and audio links showing where some of the research has taken me. My Intonarumori have been used as solo instruments, as part of live expanded cinema and soundtrack work, combined with more traditional and modern instruments and most recently as the foundation for a trio that explores and expands upon Russolo’s desire to open portals to other dimensions and communicate with the supernatural.