Nick Collins

"Exploded View -

the musical instrument at twilight"

The lecture discussed how the musical instrument has changed in the second half of this century in response to musical, social and technological factors.

"The forms of recorded and performed music have nurtured a breakdown in the hierarchies of musical method: the chain from composer through performer through instrument to audience has been interrupted by recorded media, algorithmic composition, computer-based musical instruments, interactive consumer technology, and non-traditional listening environments. The changes in instrument design can be seen as paradigmatic of the larger issue of the change in the function of music in society. In the course of this lecture I will describe my own work, the work of my colleagues in the field of experimental music and the research done at STEIM, where I am currently Artistic Director." (N.C.)

Concert at 'Kunstraum',
Lüneburg "Hyperkult III", July 16th, 1993:


Lightning Strikes Not Once But Twice
Still Lives
Sound For Picture
I Wish

This is a concert of recent solo music. Lightning Strikes Not Once But Twice and Sound For Picture are from a series of pieces about five senses based on texts by writers who have suffered trauma to their hearing, sight, taste, touch or smell. The melody and rhythm of the spoken words trigger percussive sounds and resonate the strings of a "backwards" electric guitar. The latter instrument, which produces an effect akin to that of shouting into a piano with the dampers raised, is also used to transform birdsong, feedback and swooping oscillators. "Lightning" is about blindness and the restoration of sight, and is based on an AP wire service story found in an Allen Ruppersberg print. "Sound For Picture" incorporates a text by South African poet David Wright, in which he describes the moment in his childhood when he realized that he had lost his hearing, when he separated visual cues from the sounds he associated with them.

In Still Lives and I Wish a modified CD player "scratches" across the disc, isolating and freezing short loops of recorded music. "Still Lives" is about mortality and memory, and uses a text by Vladimir Nabakov and music by Guiseppe Guami. As the CD steps from one "skipping groove" to the next, the lush contrapunctal texture of the canzona is suspended in harmonic blocks, with the insistent rhytmic feel of the loop superimposed. "I Wish" is my cover of a Beach Boys song, written by Brian Wilson.

Nicolas Collins
(Studio for Electro Instrumental Music)
Achtergracht 19
1017 WL Amsterdam
The Netherlands
tel: 020-6228690; fax: 020-6264262

Head of Document

Hyperkult III 'Soundpage'