Organic Alchemy (2015) is a two-piece multisensory performance that features fruits and vegetables as musical instruments.
Narrative: Four glittering jungle explorers mischievously emerge from the dense Amazonian vegetation, and gather to perform a musical ritual using vegetables as acoustic instruments. When the ritual concludes, they transform into a vibrant sect of galactic scientists that execute another musical piece, this time using fruits and vegetables in an electric circuit to produce sounds.
The idea of this performance first emerged as an opening act for Alice in Wasteland, an art exhibition about soil and agriculture. As the idea developed, it transformed into a stand-alone piece that has been readapted and performed in a number of venues.
Arana, the first part of the performance, is an acoustic arrangement of the song "Horses of Nizami" by Stephan Micus. The piece includes voice, watermelon and pumpkin drums, lettuce, leek and radish percussion, carrot drumsticks, a rice shaker and carrot flutes. Inspired by the Vienna Vegetable Orchestra, the piece encouraged sound experimentations that helped find the right aural combinations for the arrangement.
Here is a short video showing different sounds made with vegetables:
Don't worry; the food used in Organic Alchemy was eaten during the process of making an instrument or in a post-rehearsal soup. :)
The two following excerpts are from the first performance at Concordia University.
BIO ELECTRO SOUNDS
Bio Electro Sounds is the second part of Organic Alchemy. The piece included an electronic instrument that used oranges, bananas, limes, lemons, grapefruit and mushrooms to trigger sounds.
The instrument was built with two Makey Makeys, a Maschine, a laptop, fruits, vegetables and a good bunch of cables. In October 2015, it was featured on the Makey Makey website! For more details on the process of building the instrument, check out this article: http://blog.makeymakey.com/2015/10/08/organic-matters/.
The musical piece is an original composition that samples pre-recorded sounds and builds up to a complex rhythm. The following video is an excerpt of the first performance at Concordia University, followed by the complete audio track available on Soundcloud.
Students trying out the instrument after the performance.
Photographs from the performance at the Alice in Wasteland exhibition. Click here for more info about Alice.
Bio Electro Sounds has also been set up as an interactive installation at the Société des Arts Technologiques (SAT) in Montreal.