Last November, Mason Brown and Ian Cone unveiled the first installment of Synaesthesia, an ambitious guitar-focused symphony led not by a conductor or composer but by an automated system of lights and color-coded fretboards. By all accounts, the initial event was a success, packing out Eyedrum's cramped loft space with a lineup of guitarists (including surprise guests from all walks of Atlanta's various musical scenes) operating in an expansive but interlocked array of chordal progressions. Now preparing for the series' second installment, Brown took a few moments to reflect on the outcome of the first Synaesthesia, his plans for the upcoming edition, and hopes for future installments.
Did the first Synaesthesia go as planned? Were there any surprises?
I suppose the biggest surprise was that everything went as planned. No technical malfunctions or wanky solos or anything! I was also surprised at how quickly the players adapted to the system of playing to the colors.
Did performing in a larger space change anything when planning this one, other than allowing for more players to participate?
We're going to have five groups this time, so the larger room will provide more space for us to spread out and really take advantage of the quintaphonic surround sound. And the room is fairly reverberous so it should sound huge and enveloping. The guitars really have room to expand and mesh together into one cohesive force.
What plans do you have for the second round (that you're willing to reveal)?
This second round we are going to attempt to do a short interactive/demonstrative piece before the performance of Synaesthesia II. We will provide a system for some early audience members to determine a sequence of notes that will then be performed in hopes of illustrating the color/tone relationships we have decided upon.
Are you already planning future Synaesthesias?
We haven't started planning any specific dates for future performances yet, though we would like to figure out how to take the concept on the road. We also may try some smaller scale performances with instruments other than guitars in the nearer future.
Synaesthesia II:Performed by the Color-Tone Drone Band, with Currency and Duet for Theremin and Lapsteel. $10. Sat. June 14. 9 p.m. The Goat Farm, 1200 Foster St.
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