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Peter Blasser

(Chicago, Illinois, United States)

Peter Blasser, the rollable synthesizer, 2002
The studies that Peter Blasser undertook at the Oberlin College and Conservatory (Ohio, USA) already indicate this artist's singular path: a degree in Electronic Music and Chinese, with minors in Computer Science and Ancient Greek. During his studies, he also taught electronic music and throat singing. In 2001, Blasser undertook an apprenticeship with Don Buchla, the legendary synthesizer maker.

Besides making traditional analog synthesizers and several acoustic instruments, he spent five years working on the notion of "inner surface" in electronic sound production. During this period, he built several large scale electronic instruments that can produce sound on an exposed interior surface; since the circuits are not protected by a protective membrane, the performer intervenes directly on this surface. One of his last instruments, 52 modules integrated into a large canvas roll, is a complex system of patches equipped with connectors that make it possible to produce sounds by directly touching the surface. He is also interested in what he calls "synthesyntheses clothing", that is a "syntheses" of clothing, costume and a character with an electronic instrument integrated inside the clothing. Like the canvas-synthesizer, these wearable synthesizers add a performative touch to the often abstract electronic music scene.

Noteworthy in this series is the admiral's jacket (2003), which is a polyphonic rhythmic machine inspired by the rhythmic machine Steve Reich created in the 80s. On top of generating sound, this instrument/jacket also projects a persona that is generated by the wearer of the jacket.

In January 2003, Peter Blasser toured California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia with the experimental electronic music group, Mister Kilogram. He developed the instruments used during the tour, notably those described above. In the same spirit, in November and December 2003, he was criss-crossing the U.S.A., accompanied by some musicians, to present his new intruments, the shinths, in a series of performances.

Jacques Perron © 2004 FDL