Aphex Twin (real name Richard James) was tapped to compose music for the Euopean Culture Congress in Poland a few months ago. His and Jonny Greenwood‘s commissioned works, produced in response to and celebration of Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki, can be found here. Those pieces, though, somehow seem less interesting when you consider what else James did in Poland.
He developed the idea of conducting a 48-piece orchestra and 24-person choir using midi controls, headphones and visual prompts. The ghostly performance, which shifts between James in front of his equipment and shots of those receiving his signals, was captured on video.
The Sep. 10 show took place at Wroclaw, Poland’s Centennial Hall, and featured members of the AUSKO chamber orchestra and the OCTAVA ensemble+. The most interesting thing about the performance is the visual cues. Every now and then you’ll see a colored light appear or re-appear, and the players react accordingly. It’s similar to the graphic notation techniques used by some experimental outfits, but here it’s done to fit the digital age. Even cooler: Aphex and the performers only had one rehearsal to see if the idea would work, and it was in the morning on the day of the concert. You can watch it below. [P4K]