Anybody out doing their washing on Sunday may have been as lucky I to catch the Coin Laundry Orchestra in Hoxton this weekend.
It was a installation project of a friend of mine, Gareth Foote, as part of his MA Interactive Media at Goldsmiths.
Hijacking a coin laundry, his team created a live data jam recording and mashing together environmental sounds of the laundrette and vox-pop interviews with various noises, synths and electronic tracks, controlled and remixed by an array of footpads, infrared sensors and home-made electronics.
Speaking to Gareth before and reading his comments after, I really should have made more of a point of telling how impressed I was.
Looking at the span of posts on his blog, the project came around really quickly. Having taken the same BA course at Bournemouth University, we’d never touched any non-digital interactive projects, so it was great to read and see the switches and controls come together in theory and eventually play with them on the day.
Then the actual music was great. I was slightly sceptical at first as to whether the mixing would work, I imagined abrupt stop-starting of incoherent sound bytes – especially if, obviously being outside of their control, the reluctant end users would be only stumbled-upon average laundrette customers and/or people with either no outright musical understanding or intention of creating a cohesive soundtrack. But the overall effect was far from it – very well composed and really effectively arranged for the purpose.
Anyway, here’s nicely put together video of the days efforts:
Definitely have a read of Gareth’s blog, there’s a good bit of detail on the whole set-up here.
Photography by Tim Crook.