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Akira Takaoka & Keiichi Tanaka - Laser Harmony

posted Jan 30, 2013, 8:37 PM by Ellen Pearlman

Akira Takaoka & Keiichi Tanaka - Laser Harmony

Tucked away in the armpit of an expressway near the Hudson River sits Columbia University’s music department. Recently they held an open house that included a performance by guest composer-in-residence  Akira Takaoka and his lighting wizard Keiichi Tanaka.

Takaoka composes celestial music written in the Java software programming language. Tanaka uses mechanized red, green and blue lasers that shoot their beams into mirrors, that reflect  back into rotating plastic prisms splaying light throughout the room.The duo presented JDubiel, a Java program for algorithmic composition, accompanies by the visualization Ambient Tide 2. The music showcased transformations of tetrachordal and trichordal pc-sets and and explores the entire twelve-tone pitch range. The piece originally premiered in Yokohama, Japan and presented in Venice, Italy (NWEAMO Festival 2008 and 2009), Copenhagen, Denmark (ICMC 2007), New York, USA (2010), and Tokyo, Japan (2011).

Ambient Tide 2

The sense of harmony, space, tempo and elongation is so different in Japanese aesthetic of electronic art. When the Western artists played their pieces they were discordant, jarring, loud and abrasive. The Japanese evoked a sense of wonder, cosmos, and awe.

Pictures are only pale representations of this piece. It has a sonic and visual component that is the as soothing to the brain as standing inside a clean, clear waterfall, or gentle tropical pond. It was awe inspiring immerse, and I never wanted it to end.

Though the projects are only on walls they actually fill the whole space. In that sense they are so immersive they border on a  3D experience.