Ashley Bellouin

Selected Works

After Image in collaboration with Ben Bracken
Glass Armonica
Headspace in collaboration with Ben Bracken
Monochord/Tambura in collaboration with Ben Bracken
Pipes and Glasses in collaboration with Sarah Davachi
Vibraphone/Piano/Guitar/Shruti Box

• After Image (2014) in collaboration with Ben Bracken:

Piece created for John Davis’ project Gravity Spells: Bay Area New Music and Expanded Cinema Art.

This edition consists of 100 hand-silkscreened gatefold LP’s with four silkscreened DVD covers of original film and music, a 50 page booklet of writing and images bound in a hand letterpressed cover. The project was conceived to publicly showcase emerging and established strains of expanded cinema and music collaboration in the San Francisco Bay Area, as well as to create a physical document that captured that energy.

Although commissioned as pairs (Craig Baldwin with Maggi Payne; Paul Clipson with Tashi Wada; Lawrence Jordan with John Davis; Kerry Laitala with Ashley Bellouin & Ben Bracken), the edition is designed so the works can be experienced interchangeably. This encourages a matrix of possibilities, but also emphasizes the element of chance tied directly to live cinema and music performance (dropping the needle on the record and hitting “Play” on the DVD player will always result in a different event).

• Monochord/Tambura (2012) in collaboration with Ben Bracken:

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Hand-made string instruments. 35 strings, 5 feet long, all tuned to the same note. 24 of the strings use a standard bridge while the remaining 11 use a javari bridge. Built at the Paul Dresher Ensemble Artist Residency Center.

• Hummen (2012):

Hummen, an early 15th century word meaning “to buzz, drone,” exploits the acoustic and psychoacoustic phenomena that arise from microtonal tuning variations. Two double reeded harmoniums, each slightly out of tune with itself and with each other, are coupled with two electric guitars, four aluminum rods, and a glass harmonica. The imperfect tunings of the harmoniums produce frequency beating patterns that, through the use of a custom-built max/MSP patch, are isolated and emphasized. As the piece progresses, these selected tones emerge and transform the sound by revealing hidden overtones. The narrow space between closely paired tones is unveiled to create complex structures and rhythms.

The above audio is a recording of a live performance done at Mills College on March 11, 2012, as part of the annual Signal Flow festival.

• Pipes and Glasses (2011) in collaboration with Sarah Davachi:

…audio coming soon…

A duo for hand-built glass harmonica (Ashley Bellouin) and pipe organ (Sarah Davachi). The piece was created specifically for the Mills College Chapel, and utilizes the specific acoustic properties of the space, exploring the psychoacoustic phenomenon of overtone beating patterns that emerge from pitch relationships. A custom-built Max/MSP patch was used for quadraphonic diffusion control and live signal processing on the glass harmonica.

• Glass Armonica (2011):






















A variation on Benjamin Franklin’s invention from 1761. Thirteen glass bowls of different diameters and pitches are threaded onto one pole that is rotated via a hand crank. The performer touches the rims of the spinning bowls with dampened fingers to produce sound.

• Bellows (2011):

For shruti box and live electronics in quadraphonic sound.

The shruti box, an instrument usually used to provide a background drone in Indian classical music, is brought to the forefront here in an attempt to examine and exploit its harmonic complexities. Rather than adding outside elements to the existing sound, this piece strips away and reconfigures harmonic relationships, often inverting the tonal continuum.

• Vibraphone/Piano/Guitar/Shruti Box (2011):

Acoustic piece for bowed vibraphone, bowed piano, ebow on acoustic guitar, and shruti box.

• Headspace (2010) in collaboration with Ben Bracken:

An alternative design to the classic aeolian harp. Strings of various diameters and length are stretched from a suspended wooden hexagonal cylinder, through soundboards and into stakes in the ground. As the wind vibrates the strings, its energy is transferred to the hexagonal cylinder, which acts as an amplifier, and then released into the enclosed air, creating eerie tones that continually transform with the changing wind patterns. The bottom of the suspended structure is open so that listeners may insert their head to privately experience the resultant sounds.


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