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Cory Champion, 'Time/Tone'

5 Mar 2020 to 4 Apr 2020
Opens – Thursday 5 March, 5.30pm (w. refreshments)
'Time/Tone' - a playable modulation matrix for drum kit.
Event type: 
Art, Live event, Music
The Audio Foundation
Sub-basement of Parisian Ties and Belts 4 Poynton Terrace, Auckland CBD 1021


In 2019 Cory Champion was the second recipient of the Toi Pōneke / New Zealand School of Music – Te Kōki sound art residency, during which he developed Time/Tone — a performance/installation work for technologically-augmented drum kit.


Time/Tone is a modulation matrix. The software powering it uses live audio input from individual instruments within the drum set as control parameters for modulation synthesis. By using a combination of microphones and MIDI triggers, audio signal features (such as drum-strike velocity, or drum frequency resonance) are tracked, interpolated, and scaled to user specifications.

The Time/Tone sound-field combine digitally generated output of the modulation engine, in addition to both raw and modulated signals from the acoustic drum set. The augmenting layer of digitally generated audio is comprised of sine- and saw-wave oscillators in combination with the sounds of the drum kit itself. In this way, the project explores drum set augmentation not only at the input and from a performative angle, but also at the level of output, where acoustic and synthesized elements are merged into each other to form a sonic hybrid.

In More Brilliant Than The Sun: Adventures In Sonic Fiction, Kodwo Eshun presents an afro-futurist, ethno-musical notion – the Futurhythmachine – characterised by “2 opposing tendencies, 2 synthetic drives: the Soulful and the Postsoul. But then all music is made of both tendencies running simultaneously at all levels”, making the Futurhythmachine an inherently paradoxical categorisation, bringing within it it’s own internal incongruity.
As a conceptual framework for the modulation systems which comprise Time/Tone, the paradoxical impulse the heart of the Futurhythmachine is embraced: two systems (the acoustic and augmented) are collapsed into a single, seamless techno-musical entity – Time/Tone.


The audience is encouraged to play the instruments; the dominant pitches and velocity are interpreted to control data which is then used to modulate the amplitude and frequency of the oscillators and other signals in the room. As the routing of the modulations and their spatial articulation will change, the audience is encouraged to ‘play through’ different modulation routings to experience the unique temporal and tonal combinations of the acoustic instruments and audio from the loudspeakers.

Listen to AM MODE, an album made using the Time/Tone modulation matrix:


Time/Tone is inspired by, and dedicated to, the teachings and memory of Roger Sellers (1939-2018).


Opens: Thursday 5 March, 5.30pm (w. refreshments from Liberty Breweries) with live performance.
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 12.00pm – 4.00pm
Closes: Saturday 4 April, 4.00pm