Documentary Film –

I was invited to join and take part in the Dirty Electronics workshop at the Dartington International Summer School . This documentary captures the activities and the essence of the project as we built and performed with a new instrument.

Charge/Discharge (2012) by John Richards [Documentary & Performance] from Andrew Knight-Hill on Vimeo.

Charge/Discharge (2012) by John Richards
(for Dartington International Summer School)

For large ensemble, Faraday ‘Dirty’ Kinetic Generators, rectifier, capacitance smoothing, and oscillator circuits

Charge/Discharge explores how the very essence of an electronic instrument, electricity, can be used to shape and control sound.

Current produced by the Faraday ‘Dirty’ Kinetic Generator is stored in capacitors that act as a pool/reservoir. The more capacitance/the greater the size of the pool/reservoir, the longer the capacitors will take to charge and discharge. An idiosyncrasy of this circuit, and a critical part of the piece, is that, as the capacitors discharge, a glissando and ‘dying away’ of sound occurs. It is left to the discretion of the performers to choose the number and size of capacitors for their instrument.

On direction, each performer frantically shakes their Faraday ‘Dirty’ Kinetic Generator. As the capacitors charge, a chord approximately of the same pitch will eventually sound. Once all the capacitors are fully charged, a cue is given to stop shaking. A continuous sound will be present. The unified single pitch will gradually fragment into downward glissandi and an evolving cluster chord as the capacitors discharge. At different times, each oscillator will eventually cease sounding. The piece ends when the final sounding oscillator is silent.