Dan’s performances have an element of playfulness that is visually represented throughout his setup, which uses a carefully coordinated array of bright primary colours (yellow, pink, green).
This visual aspect enforces the view that a performance should excite multiple senses rather than just the auditory. Simple, colourful and aesthetically pleasing objects are game like in nature and therefore much more engaging for both the audience and performer. This creates a different way of interacting with and exploring the parameters of an instrument and allows the performer to move easily between a wide array of sounds.
Through the use of bright colours and the suggestion of play Dan’s intention is to convey the idea that intricately crafted and delicate sound exploration can come from the most unexpected of places. He hopes to make some of the more inaccessible areas of sonic performance accessible to a wider public.
Dan was inspired to begin making his own instruments and sound devices several years ago from reading Nicholas Collins’s Handmade Electronic Music. One of the main instruments in Dan’s setup – the pink box – is derived from experimenting with circuits from this book.
Another influence on his performed work is the sound artist Felicity Ford, specifically her work the Sonic Tuck Shop. The manifesto says: “The sonic Tuck Shop believes that food sounds tasty, that we should play with it, and that everyday routines of cooking and eating are full of sonic interest.” Felicity Ford, 2010
Ford’s attitude inspired Dan’s approach to how he performs and presents sound.“No matter how banal or everyday the sound, digging a little beneath the surface always reveals something unexpected and of value.” Dan Tapper, 2013
Dan performs using a minimal setup:
- Pink CMOS square wave synthesiser – multiple inputs on the chip allow for an array of expressive and feedback type sounds to be made through changing the resistance of each input – a symbiotic effect where every control changes the parameters of another.
- iPad – Feed, Sunvox
FEED: A simple sound manipulation tool that allows control over playback speed, filtering and looping.
SunVox: A modular interface that has the capability to work with advanced portable FFT and modulation.
Dan’s choice to perform using an iPad is intrinsically linked to his decision to treat sound performance as play, carefully choosing his setup to facilitate and accomplish this. The iPad is a readily available consumer item, which makes a huge variety of sound tools cheaply available. By making the iPad a feature of his performance Dan makes the statement that with a little play and experimentation consumer devices such as the iPad are able to open a window onto advanced sound control and manipulation, available for us all to try.