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Zubin Kanga: Cyborg Pianist

Pianist, composer and technologist Zubin Kanga launches his debut solo album with NMC, Cyborg Pianist, in a concert featuring all six newly commissioned works, using new technologies to swirl, melt and morph the sounds of his piano and keyboards. Across these works, Kanga creates distinct and unique sound worlds by blending the piano with immersive electronics, dialoguing with synthesizers, bending pitch with new keyboard instruments, shaping sound in the air using sensor gloves, playing with the audio-visual sonification of brain data, and duetting with AI-generated sounds.

Oliver Leith’s Vicentino, love you – studies for keyboard uses the cutting edge TouchKeys keyboard to create a modern version of Vicentino’s 16th-century microtonal instrument, connecting it to classic synthesizers  to produce intimate choirs of brass-like sounds. Zubin Kanga’s dreamlike Hypnagogia (after Bach) uses a MiMU gloves to sculpt both the piano and synthesizer sounds in the air, in a constantly transforming exploration of the final movement of Bach’s Matthew Passion. Shiva Feshareki’s Whirling Dervishes (album version) combines spectral arpeggios on the piano with immersive turntables-generated electronics that swirl around the audience.

Laurence Osborn’s Counterfeits (Siminică) samples his own voice in a playful set of studies influenced by Romanian folk singing, combining the pitch-sliding capabilities of the TouchKeys keyboard with the piano. Emily Howard’s DEVIANCE envelops the piano in swirls of AI-generated sounds and elaborate computer-generated visuals, all using data from an experiment using EEG brain-scanning equipment to measure listener’s responses to her music. And Laura Bowler’s SHOW(ti)ME contrasts the public persona of the professional musician with their private anxieties and obsessions, in a dramatic and interdisciplinary work combining the speaking pianist with live electronics, MiMU sensor gloves, live video and social media avatars.

All the works were created as part of Zubin Kanga’s 4-year artistic research project, Cyborg Soloists, facilitating collaborations between leading musicians, researchers and industry partners, creating new works that integrate cutting-edge technologies.

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