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February 2010
 
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Sat, Jan. 24th, 2009 11:35 am
The shocking Daito Manabe

You know, we talk about "experimental music", but it's become just another genre term -- few musicians are making actual experiments in the scientific sense. Meet someone who is: artist, designer and programmer Daito Manabe.



When I first saw this video on olamm's blog, I thought Daito was controlling the music with his face. In fact, it's the other way around. He's controlling his face with the music. Via Max/MSP, he's causing different elements in the music to induce involuntary spasms in his facial muscles. With electricity.

There are dozens of similar experiments on his YouTube channel. In this one, for instance, his hands move his face via electric currents. You can also see how much the shocks hurt when the voltage is set too high:



Daito, who's 32, is a part-time lecturer at Tokyo Polytechnic University, in the Media Art department. He studied maths, then DJed for a while, collecting unemployment insurance and bumming around. Since 2004, though, he's really been on a roll. With a group of friends -- Kanta Horio, Motoi Ishibashi and Tomoaki Yanagisawa -- he created the Way Sensing Go Workshop, a kind of inventor's treehouse where they might be playing video games, making their own amusing version of Fischli & Weiss' The Order of Things, or hosting a Placard headphone concert (I've done a couple of these myself):



Daito is starting to get the fame he deserves for this incredible ingenuity; in November he was part of a group show at the Japan Society in New York, examining the crossover between dance and technology. He made the sound part of an installation at the new Ars Electronica Centre. He's appeared on Korean TV. And Hisae had heard of him via a link her brother had mailed, so he's known amongst young Japanese his age.

I'm sure we'll hear more from Daito, as he continues to invent stuff, but it's totally impossible to predict which area it will be in. He's already made things as diverse as a Nintendo Wii remote DJ + VJ application (with Satoshi Horii), an RFID lighting sequencer, and a flight of musical stairs for the Sony Building.

I'll leave you with Daito and two friends mirroring each other's facial gestures:



I'm glad he's doing these experiments, because there's no way I'd dare; I won't even go into the electrified bath at the sento!

13CommentReplyFlag

cap_scaleman
cap_scaleman
cap_scaleman
Sat, Jan. 24th, 2009 02:17 pm (UTC)

This one is also nice.


Daito might as well continue to be unchallanged because it is somewhat closer to science than common music making. But it sure is inspirational!


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Sat, Jan. 24th, 2009 03:41 pm (UTC)

Wow, that's what Kahimi Karie looked like when she was 22, when I first met her! (Minus the wires.)


ReplyThread Parent
cap_scaleman
cap_scaleman
cap_scaleman
Sat, Jan. 24th, 2009 03:44 pm (UTC)

It's a bit poetic. Her smile reduce the noise.


ReplyThread Parent
imomus
imomus
imomus
Sat, Jan. 24th, 2009 03:54 pm (UTC)

This dance piece is also pretty great:



Daito appeared at the Japan Society event in New York with members of Dumb Type, the legendary Kyoto dance-performance troupe active in the 1990s, and this reminds me of Dumb Type at their best. Daito's sound design here even has something of Ryoji Ikeda -- Dumb Type's sound designer -- about it.

I've often wondered "Is there a newer, younger version of Dumb Type in Japan?" Or "Who's the new Toshio Iwai?" And I think that question is answered quite well by today's entry.


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(Anonymous)
Sat, Jan. 24th, 2009 06:19 pm (UTC)

Wonderful stuff, I like these new ways of controlling sound and light. Get yourself a Monome to write your next album with. Ableton Live is just about to support Max/Msp so you could get it to wash the dishes as you dry, so to speak.

http://monome.org/


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loveishappiness
loveishappiness
O.H.
Sat, Jan. 24th, 2009 06:38 pm (UTC)

The best part is when he almost starts laughing.


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electricwitch
electricwitch
For anything, oh! she´ll bust her elastic
Sat, Jan. 24th, 2009 08:40 pm (UTC)

This entry is severely lacking in the loledgy. You'd better edit in something about racism or paedophilia, or your audience will be disappointed.


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joji_poji
joji_poji
Sat, Jan. 24th, 2009 09:16 pm (UTC)
sugoi!!!

thanks for this.


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(Anonymous)
Sun, Jan. 25th, 2009 01:04 am (UTC)
Fuck you troglodytes - leave my countries!

Ha ha. It is okay. I practice my jus sanguis. Thank you Momus for this refreshing eastern wisdoms. It make fun and person strong!


ReplyThread Parent
jessepep
jessepep
Sun, Jan. 25th, 2009 06:20 am (UTC)
i did that!

well, i can't say i connected it to music, but i created my own dance with it. the face is not too unpleasant. it feels terrible on the throat, and don't go there with putting it on your head -> nausea.

I turned it into a bit of a comedy routine and my cousins wanted me to take it to the shops attached across my back and turned up to the maximum, but it was a really hot day to go outside, so i didn't.

if only youtube were around!

thanks again for your blog nick, i'm an avid reader for about 7 years now.


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(Anonymous)
Sun, Jan. 25th, 2009 07:28 pm (UTC)

"I'm glad he's doing these experiments, because there's no way I'd dare; I won't even go into the electrified bath at the sento!"

Electro-acupuncture is usually used below the neck.... I can only imagine what would happen if such strong amperage were used on points that affect the Liver meridian and the mind.... should be more careful with these experiments... work with acupuncturist if going any further in this direction. Until then, this sort of "experiment" only creates body-gags...like overeating sugar for the rush, or consuming the whole bag of crisps for the crunches....ultimately bad for health.


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(Anonymous)
Sun, Jan. 25th, 2009 07:35 pm (UTC)

The only fruitful direction these sound/light artists can really go anymore is one that incorporates medical science and qi-based medicine. (acupuncture, binaural frequency effects, EEG, psychology, etc.)
Sound/Light art degree + qi/med/science degree = effective future goods and landscapes [ real compositions , not just random-effeciency experience-nodes ]


ReplyThread Parent
blogisblog
blogisblog
blogisblog
Tue, Jan. 27th, 2009 02:11 am (UTC)

Those machines are also used as sex toys and come with cock ring and dildo attachments. It makes for lots of fun and various situations. For example you could plug it into your new Wii console and vaginally/anally electrocute Hisae to the rhythm of the game as you play it.

For man sex it can be fun to use it with an old Atari 2600 console and hold the joystick hand in hand with your lovers penis while you electrocute his ass to Space Indvaders.


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