Arts4All Blog

Electronic Music Festival

Posted April 30th, 2018  |  By A4A.admin

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CSMA would like to thank everyone who made it to the Electronic Music Festival! Thank you for your support in making this a successful and spectacular event! Take a look at the highlights from the three-day festival.

Day 1


Day 1 kicked off with the Pulsefield installation by Brent Townshend, featuring motion sensor technology, interactive video, and music composed by Marcos Saenz of the Polybius Ensemble. Pulsefield is almost like a game, allowing users to choose from multiple interactive modes such as “Navier”, a liquid simulation mode, “Guitar”, which features virtual strings that can be strummed when crossing over it, and “Voronoi”, a triangulation and tessellation effect.


The headliner for Day 1 was the Flashbulb, who was introduced by Mountain View’s own mayor, Leonard M. Siegel. The Flashbulb played a fantastic set featuring intricate drum programming, live instrumentation and looping.


Guests enjoyed an intimate reception with the Flashbulb after the show, while viewing artwork by Yanling He on display in Mohr Gallery.

Day 2

Controller Exhibits

We opened up Day 2 with multiple controller exhibits featuring Rich DDT and Moldover as hosts.

The Oscilloscope Synth was designed by Rich DDT with samples from Jerobeam. It is a reimagined Oscilloscope that displays intricately animated 3D waveforms made entirely from sound.

Daniel Berkman playing the Oscilloscope Synth, video courtesy of Rich DDT

The Voicebox was designed by Rich DDT and John Brian Kirby for an exhibition at the Tech Museum of Innovation. The Voicebox transforms the human dialogue into a musical conversation! The illuminated buttons and trackpads alter the pitch, tone, and character of your voice, while the screen in front of you vibrantly graphs your sounds.

The Blip Blox is a miniature synthesizer for children 3 years old and up! Instead of generic keyboard sounds, the Blipblox uses a proprietary algorithm that synthesizes completely unique waveforms. Its easy to use design makes it appealing and fun for young children, and its professional features make it captivating for all ages!

Moldover’s selfie with Troy Sheets, creator of the Blip Blox, and Kate Sheets

The MiniMasher was created in 2010 by Moldover. It combines three instruments in one transparent surface and provides a visually and musically interactive group experience.

The ConnecTable #2 is Moldover’s standardized, modular, and open-source platform for making jamboxes more quickly, affordably, and awesomely. Say hello to the world’s second ConnecTable, nicknamed “The Launchbox Junior”.

Polybius Ensemble

The opening act for Day 2 was the Polybius Ensemble, the solo project of Marcos Saenz who enlisted Andrew Hedge as support for live shows. Marcos was also the organizer and driving force behind the festival, and played an amazing set featuring live instrumentation, looping, and a surprise collaboration with Daniel Berkman.  Andrew Hedge showed off his superb drumming skills with Marcos’ five-string bass to deliver their drum-and-bass sound. The set also had elements of post rock, orchestra, and jazz-like improvisation.

Daniel Berkman

Daniel Berkman returned to the Tateuchi stage after joining Polybius Ensemble and proceeded to wow the audience with an intriguing set of his innovative compositions. Featuring his 21-string self-built Gravikord electric kora, the Roland Handsonic electronic percussion instrument, and the mysterious Ondomo, a new Japanese instrument that is based on the rare Ondes Martenot, an early electronic instrument first built in 1928. Daniel improvised variations of his pieces in a jazz-like format and won over a new collection of fans in the process.


Bathing brought the EMFest’s second day to a close with an intimate and hypnotic set of pulsating trance-like explorations which mesmerized the late-night audience. Ryan and Emma of Bathing expanded upon the music from their first album and gave the audience a taste of their upcoming release. It was a mesmerizing end to Day 2!

Day 3

Paul Dresher/Joel Davel Duo

Day 3 opened up with a demonstration by Paul Dresher and Joel Davel playing their invented instruments, the 15-foot Quadrachord, the 10-foot Hurdy Grande, and the Buchla Lightning. After their set, the audience was invited onto the stage to try the instruments out themselves and ask questions!

Joel Davel playing the Buchla Lightning—two independent wands emitting infrared signals, using spatial coordinates and gestures as musical controls. Video courtesy of Moldover

John Chowning and Curtis Roads

CSMA was honored to present John Chowning and Curtis Roads to CSMA for an in-depth discussion about their groundbreaking careers and historic compositions. Marcos Saenz from Polybius Ensemble led the discussion, which dove into the discoveries of FM synthesis and granular synthesis, their histories as composers and educators, intriguing relationships with legendary musicians, and the foundations of their personal musical philosophies. It was followed by a performance of Curtis Roads’ latest audio/video exploration, Always, and an interactive digital/vocal performance of John Chowning’s Voices, masterfully sung by renowned soprano Maureen Chowning.

Hurd Ensemble

The festival came to a grand close featuring a groundbreaking performance by Hurd Ensemble. Led by SF composer George Hurd, the ensemble dove into a set of adventurous modern chamber music powered by Hurd’s experimental electronic soundscapes. The Hurd Ensemble premiered a series of new compositions from his Echolocation project, leading our Silicon Valley community into the future of music as CSMA’s Electronic Music Festival weekend comes to a beautiful close.

Tags: eventsmusic-school