This afternoon at 3 and 4:30, at the Washington Project for the Arts, Bob Boilen will showcase not only his own approaches to electronic music, but one the great new instruments of the genre, the Synclavier II, a computer/synthesizer recently designed at Dartmouth College. There are fewer than 100 in existence and this model, normally housed at No Evil Studios, is one of the first 10 produced. Boilen, best known for his work in the group Tiny Desk Unit, insists the Synclave "provides the most extraordinary means of building and storing sound ever available."
"With an analog synthesizer, when you get a sound, you can never replicate it," Boilen explains. "Here, you can structure all the harmonics, arpeggiate the sound, set up tunings, sequences and loops in any form. Once you get what you want, you can store it and it precisely recalls it. You can play live with a recorded piece; the potential is almost limitless." The Synclave, with its 4-by-3-by-3-foot computer and four-octave keyboard, will be making its first public appearance in Washington.
Boilen, who built a Serge Modular Synthesizer two years ago, will perform in three settings. The first, on which he'll be joined by former Urban Verb Robin Rose, will be a live soundtrack to Fritz Lang's 1926 sci-fi classic, "Metropolis." They've done this several times before, "but all the other times it was improvised. This time thanks to a video version of the film we have planned themes for the characters, all the sounds are structured."
There will also be a solo section and a quartet performance on which Boilen will be joined by percussionists Danny Frankel and Robert Mann and saxophone-clarinetist Jim Sivard. For information call 347-4815.