Sunday Synth Jam: This video captures a live ‘code jam’ by Benoît and the Mandelbrots, Bal des Ardents.
Benoît and the Mandelbrots is a live coding laptop band based in Karlsruhe, formed by members of the IMWI — Instutit für Musikwissenschaft und Musikinformatik at the HfM Karlsruhe.
Bal des Ardents was performed at the Studiokonzert of the University of Music Karlsruhe at the ZKM_Kubus on January the 28th 2011.
The piece is inspired by the 618th anniversary of the Bal des Ardents (“Ball of the Burning Men”): In 1393 King Charles VI of France threw a grand party to celebrate the wedding of one of the queen’s ladies-in-waiting. As a fire breaks out, four of his friends are killed. After this incident the King, who had mental health issues all his life, went irrevocably mad.
The piece starts with the simple development of a ternary rhythm using the dorian scale. Some of these constants were set just before the concert, and through improvisation these concepts are expanded and communicated (changes, breaks) through text and gestures.
The musical process is bound to the developing and coding process which also happens live using SuperCollider. The complexity of the music increases with the complexity of the code.
Some breakpoints were planed to give the piece the form of the treated event. The transition between early music inspired melodies and rhythms to noise reflects the course of this historical event.