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Album Review

The music of Interface is original, exciting, and quite confusing. Curtis Bahn and Dan Trueman use string instruments (a five-string electric upright bass and a six-string electric violin) that have been enhanced with numerous sensor devices and a MIDI interface. Accelerometers, movement sensors, and various buttons, including a mouse in the back of the bass fretboard, allow the musicians to send a dizzying number of parameters to computers running Max/MSP software. What you hear rarely has anything to do with string instruments, although a few notes are recognizable, especially in the case of the violin; its major electronic input comes from the bow — speed, pressure — leaving the actual notes untouched. It sounds like off-the-wall electro-acoustic music with a twist of experimental electronica and a large portion of free improvisation. Bahn and Trueman tend to overdo things — the music gets so crowded one can't make much out of it — but at certain moments it really shines (in "Spogo," the title track, and what sounds like a violin solo in "Sedan"). For "Sdoo," the duo is joined by Perry Cook on DigitalDoo, a didgeridoo equipped with a sensor interface. It's all high-tech (the musicians also use spherical speaker arrays to diffuse their sound), but the music and creativity prevail. In the end, ./swank is a satisfying hybrid, more lively (and exhausting) than Bahn's 2000 CD, R!g. ~ François Couture, Rovi

./swank, Interface
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