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The Techno-Collagist Who Turns Lasers and Human Limbs into Instruments

In this new season of Sound Builders, we meet sonic artists who are pushing the audio experience to a whole new level.

Xavier Aaronson

In this new season of Sound Builders, we meet sonic artists who are pushing the audio experience to a whole new level by harnessing sound and technology to create their own instruments. Hosting this time around is singer, artist, and frequent Blood Orange collaborator Samantha Urbani.

In episode one, presented by Harman, we went to Bushwick to meet with Brooklyn-based interactive sound artist Adriano Clemente. He's a DJ, hacker, gamer and music producer, but to sum things up, we've dubbed him a techno-collagist. It's the most accurate description for Adriano, since he uses a multitude of existing technology and custom parts whose official purposes are hardly designed for making music.

We saw this firsthand when Samantha had her arm turned into an analog instrument. With strapping a medical sensor to Samantha's forearm, Adriano was able to turn her muscle contractions into data to perform and compose music through biofeedback.

Adriano went on to explore the relationship between body, sensors, and sound by showing us how a piezo contact microphone can be used to transform any piece of backyard junk into a percussive and melodic instrument. Some people call it physical modeling synthesis, but we call it pretty much amazing.

Adriano's objective is clear: to create a new kinesthetic approach to sound design that totally flips our notion that music is made from a traditional instrument, or from interfacing with your mouse, keyboard and screen.

To learn more about harnessing the power of music, also check out "The Distortion of Sound," a new documentary about the decline of high-fidelity sound.