SFCA [isaw+subtropics] in collaboration with ArtCenter/South Florida

“Speaking in Tongues,”John Driscoll, ultrasonic instruments | Photo Credit: © 2014 Sennheiser GmbH

John Driscoll: Speaking In Tongues

FRI JUL 14, 2017 | 9PM

ArtCenter/South Florida
924 Lincoln Road, 201
Miami Beach, FL 33139

Speaking in Tongues (2012-17)
Duration: 20-25 min
Composer: John Driscoll
Performers: John Driscoll, Gustavo Matamoros

Speaking in Tongues is a form of sonic puppetry started in late 2012 as a work-in-progress and as a group work for Composers Inside Electronics.  It utilizes a series of custom-built ultrasonic instruments that can be played in various ways.  These playful instruments function using ultrasonic feedback that is disturbed by small amounts of physical movement. These ultrasonic feedback tones are modulated down into the audio range and released to loudspeakers.

They are controlled in various ways using foil reflectors with: a series of arduino-controlled servo motors under both manual and automated control, LEAP 3D controllers, slow rotation dc motors, blowing on a spring mounted foil and Wii Nunchucks

This work has evolved from an interest in the use of resonance in acoustical spaces from the architectural to the microscopic.  Each instrument has a distinct voice and character due to their design and the unique acoustical properties.  Since 2012, there has been a growing orchestra of ultrasonic instruments as the work moves towards more instruments and performers

Listening Out Loud – John Driscoll | Photo Credit: © Stan Ries

Listening Out Loud (American version) (2016)
Duration: 20 min.
Composer: John Driscoll
Performers: John Driscoll, Gustavo Matamoros, Speaker

Listening Out Loud (American version) – is composed for solo, duet, or trio performances. The work utilizes amplified bowed crosscut saws, live electronics sympathetic to the saws, blown goosenecks, amplified olive pits, and a found text called “the American”. The electronics modulate the pitch and dynamics of the amplified saws.  Occasionally a prior recorded performance is used to introduce another spatial resonance of a previous acoustical space. The work was inspired by Gordon Mumma’s “Schoolwork”

Ebers & Mole (1979)
Duration: 20 min.
Composer/Performer: John Driscoll
Photo Credit: Fabrizio Garghetti

Ebers & Mole was conceived while in residence at Center for Music Experiment in La Jolla in 1977, and was commissioned by Douglas Dunn and Dancers with its premiere in Berlin in 1979

It uses an array of home-built electronics with tuned vibrating rod instruments.  Specially constructed pulse generators created the original signals which were digitally delayed, in varying degrees, and transformed through resonant objects (currently using software based convolutions of the objects)

Four versions exist, a solo version titled Bamboo, Ebers & Mole 1,2,3  for Douglas Dunn and Dancers, Ebers & Mole Interfeed – a version for four CIE performers, and a version for Ars Electronica in 1980 combining Bamboo and Bottom Coasting


Subtropics XXIV is possible with support from City of Miami Beach’s Cultural Affairs Program and Cultural Arts Council; with additional support from Miami-Dade County, Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners; and sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture; and by the Blank Family Foundation. SFCA [] would also like to acknowledge the ongoing support of Sennheiser, leaders in superior sound technology. Acción Cultural Española (AC/E) supports Subtropics XXIV through the Program for the Internationalization of Spanish Culture (PICE).