Silver City, Nevada – Ever wonder what your garden vegetables or your house plants sound like? Do they sound different than native Nevada plants like purple sage or globemallow? You can find the answers to these questions during a July 12th experimental music concert that will include the “music of plants”.
Silver City’s summer artist-in-residence, Brian Schorn of Michigan, is a visual artist and also an experimental musician and graphic composer. He’ll join Nevada musician Mylo McCormick for a live concert on the Silver Pavilion Stage in the Silver City town park on Tuesday, July 12 from 10am-noon. Bring a lawn chair and enjoy the free show!
In addition to the plant sounds, McCormick and Schorn will use experimental electronics and looping guitar drones. The concert will be divided into about eight 15-minute improv/compositions with different instrument stations using a computer, electronics, and electro-acoustic devices.
PLANT MUSIC: Schorn, a Michigan-based artist who arrived in Silver City in early June, has captured the biofeedback frequencies of some of the plants in Silver City’s community garden, as well as houseplants in the local resident artist program’s McCormick House for the concert with McCormick.
Schorn has a hand-built Garden Listener module for reading bioelectric impulses from a plant to make sound, and he used this to record a Christmas Cactus in McCormick House that previously belonged to Resident Artist Program benefactor Fred Swanson. More specifically, the Garden Listener is a random control messages generator from biometric signals. It detects conductivity variations on living beings’ surface and transforms them into Musical Instrument Device Interface (MIDI) notes, ranging from C-1 to C8, and (Control Voltage) CV signals (0 – 5V). Conductivity variations are detected by the Probes Input and converted into MIDI notes in real time according to the main menu settings. Each MIDI note exits through the MIDI output, allowing one to take advantage of the sound of either any synthesizer equipped with a MIDI port or any Virtual Studio Technology in one’s Digital Audio Workstation, and gets converted into an analog signal.
Next, using a portable PlantWave device, Schorn recorded vegetables and flowers in Silver City’s community garden. The PlantWave detects slight electrical variations in a plant when electrodes are placed on the leaves or stems. These variations are graphed as a wave, which is translated into pitch messages. The pitch messages are then assigned to various sound sources through a MIDI instrument which, ultimately, we hear as music.
ABOUT BRIAN SCHORN: Brian Schorn is a multi-disciplinary artist who not only has a Master in Fine Arts (MFA) degree in Electronic Music and Recording Media, but three other MFA degrees in fine art photography, graphic design, and creative writing as well. His discography includes compilations categorized as radio art, drone music, field recording, experimental jazz, musique concrete, and text-sound composition. His music has been broadcast on radio stations around the world, and his graphic composition Nebula premiered in London, England with a performance by the Aurora Orchestra. His solo album Text•ures and his collaborative album Body Bits with trombonist Jen Baker, both appear on the Cyclene Records label. He has studied music composition with Pauline Oliveros, Alvin Curran, and Fred Frith; as well as electronic music with Chris Brown and Maggie Payne. While at Mills College where he earned his MFA degree in electronic music and recording media, Schorn performed with jazz legend Cecil Taylor, video music pioneer Steina Vasulka, and psychoacoustic sound artist Maryanne Amacher.
ABOUT MYLO MCCORMICK: Mylo McCormick is a senior at UNR where he has a major in Literature and a minor in Philosophy with an Ethics, Law, and Politics specialization. He’s also a multi-instrumentalist who has been on stage in Northern Nevada since he was 14. Recognized for “Best Entertainment in Rural Nevada” by Nevada Magazine in 2019, he performs with Monique De Haviland’s bands Mo’z Motley Blues and Moxy Ruckus, as well as with the Mylo McCormick Project band, and as a solo performer at venues throughout the region. He can be found onstage most weekends in Reno, Virginia City, Tahoe, Carson City, etc. He’ll be with Moxy Ruckus on the Main Stage in Reno during Street Vibrations this September. McCormick notes that he “tries not to get trapped in” any particular genre of music.
INSTRUMENTS: Below is a kit list of some of the instruments, devices and other equipment that will be used during the unique July 12th concert:
Arturia MicroFreak midi keyboard
Make Noise Tape and Microsound eurorack modules featuring Morphogene
Jolin Lab Tabor DIY eurorack module (built from a kit)
Manifold Research Centre Tetragrid eurorack module
Clatters Garden Listener DIY eurorack module (built from a kit)
PlantWave plant music device
1010 Music Bitbox eurorack module
Bastl Microgranny 2.0 granular sampler
Bastl Kastle 1.5 synthesizer
Bastl Drum synthesizer
Soma Lyra-8 Organismic synthesizer
Soma Ornament-8 Organismic sequencer
Korg NTS-1 DIY synthesizer and effects (built from a kit)
Behringer UB-802 mixer
Bastl Dude mixer
Apple MacBook Pro computer
Audacity Audio Editor software
Bento Japanese Noise Box software instrument
Ongaku Hybrid Organic Machine software instrument
PlantWave iPhone app
Fender supersonic 22 amplifier
Vox AC15 amplifier
29 pedals Euna
Gtown Holygrail overdrive
Tc electronic flashback x4
Electro harmonix big muff germanium 4
Wilson effects funk factory wah
Tc electronic 3rd dimension
Moog Moogerfooger mf-101 envelope filter
Motion sound pro 3 rotary speaker
SPONSORS: The free concert is co-sponsored by the Resident Artist Program in Silver City and Healthy Communities Coalition of Lyon and Storey Counties as part of Healthy Communities annual summer STEM + Arts = STEAM program.
LOCATION: The Silver Pavilion Stage is in the Silver City town park at 385 High Street, Silver City, Nevada 89428. Silver City is located within a National Historic Landmark on the Comstock 3 miles south of Virginia City, 30 miles from Reno and Tahoe, and 11 miles from Carson City.
CONTACT: For more information about the July 12 concert or Healthy Communities’ summer STEAM program, contact Quest Lakes at firstname.lastname@example.org.