Princeton Laptop Orchestra (PLOrk) founders Perry Cook and Dan Trueman, in pre-concert interviews, explain the philosophy behind their laptop instruments and the on-the-fly computer coding that takes place during performances. PLOrk started as a freshman seminar course at Princeton.
"Most of our students don't know that these things are impossible," says Cook, "and therefore they're not." The PLOrkestra director opening this video is Ge Wang, who received his Ph.D. in computer science from Princeton in 2008. Wang is the founder ofStanford's MoPhO, a mobile phone orchestra. Wang and Cook also are cofounders of Smule, an iPhone applications company specializing in sonic media.
The Princeton Laptop Orchestra (PLOrk) is a newly established ensemble of computer-based musical meta-instruments. Each instrument consists of a laptop, a multi-channel hemispherical speaker, and a variety of control devices (keyboards, graphics tablets, sensors, etc…). The students who make up the ensemble act as performers, researchers, composers, and software developers. The challenges are many: what kinds of sounds can we create? how can we physically control these sounds? how do we compose with these sounds? There are also social questions with musical and technical ramifications: how do we organize a dozen players in this context? with a conductor? via a wireless network?
"The Telephone Game: Oil/Water/Ether," for the Princeton Laptop Orchestra (PLOrk), is an exploration of a real-time collaborative composition local network. All the performers have identical performance/composition programs -- a custom flexible step-sequencer -- that invite play with rhythmic cycles of various lengths and timbres. The real fun starts, however, when the players begin spying on their neighbors, secretly, via the network, and stealing their ideas with the click of the mouse. Unplanned structures begin to emerge, like oil on water, as riffs propagate and evolve, sometimes returning unrecognizable to their creators.
Telephone Game, version 1:
- 5.1 AAC format (20.4mb)
- 5.1 Dolby (48.8mb)
- 5.1 Quicktime (20.4mb)
- 5.1 AIFF (692.2mb)
- Stereo mp3 (20.7mb)
- Stereo AIFF (228.7mb)
Telephone Game, version 2: