‘Binary Patina’ was the title of a series of two audiovisual live-performances that were staged as facade projections of over 800 square meters in size. For the second installment of ‘Binary Patina’, the at the time unused former Prosecutor’s office of Trier, Germany, was used as the canvas for a dynamic pictorial layer that addressed the threat of global surveillance in the digital age: Audio-visual samples of contemporary discourse, historical data on US drone strikes from the Dronestream API (banned by Apple), excerpts from the Snowden leaks, maps and 3d-renderings of NSA´s Dagger Complex near Frankfurt and GCHQ headquarters in the UK, partially obscured beyond recognition, were synthesized with the music and real-time-generated visuals.
The album ‘Binary Patina’ was released in early 2017 on Acid Elephant Recordings and documents the music side of the project. Only looking at the album tracklist, which credits half of the tracks to individual artists, one can miss the collaborative effort that went into developing the live performances and refining the music for the album. Breakslinger (and his aliases Bokeh and CMYMYK), Myom, Flextronic and vocalist Semuta have already known each other for years. For ‘Binary Patina’ they teamed up with the internationally acclaimed media artist JeongHo Park, who was the creative coder for the project and mainly responsible for the visuals (see ‚Team‚ below).
‘Binary Patina’was shown for the first time on 25.10.2013 as part of the event ‚Ewige Unruhe‘ (Eternal Restlessness) on the facade of Trier University of Applied Sciences´ design faculty at Paulusplatz 4, where design is taught since 1912. ‚‘Binary Patina II’ was staged three times in October 2015 as part of the ‘Design- und Kulturtage Trier’, a collaboration of the Faculty of Design and the City of Trier.
The unique experience of ‘Binary Patina’ I and II stems from a collaborative team effort: The three (in the first installment only two) musicians wrote music, that they played, arranged and modified live with a series of controllers, ranging from typical drum pads and Midi keyboards to contact microphones. The sound and controller data they created was analysed by a software, written by JeongHo Park originally for the project. The complex, based on Open Frameworks, then generated moving images in real-time based on the multiple sound and Midi controller data. Additional live input from a webcam, a Kinect and a LeapMotion controller also manipulated the giant projection. As supporters of the Open Source movement, we provide the ‘Binary Patina II’ code free for everyone to use via Github.
Fitting into Acid Elephant Recordings release history, the first half of the album plays at drum & bass tempos, but mostly in a halftime feel. Label head Breakslinger provides the dubby and junglistic opener ‘Binary’ and Myom lets the breaks roll in ‘Harvester’. More laid back are Flextronics epic ‘Winter in Exile’, his cinematic collaboration with Myom on ‘Module’ and also Breakslingers percussive remix of said track.
The struggle between the digital and the analogue as the central theme of ‘Binary Patina’ also manifests musically. On one end, there is Myom´s ‘Seductress’ with warm pads, pianos and lush vocals by Semuta. On the other, Flextronic provides two stripped back, rhythmically sensible tracks, the acid synth driven ‘Pamopticon’ and the brutal robotic ‘Pocket Watcher’ in collaboration with Myom. In ‘We Put a Chip in it’ and the more experimental ‘Controller’, the two let icy drum machines clash with classical pianos and strings.
Guitars are unusually prominent for an electronic album and provide dreamy melancholy on ‘Sim of You’ by Bokeh, while angry riffs drive a call for resistance in ‘Patina’. On ‘Auto-Kill Dub’ guitar fuzz accompanies a jazzy bassline to a stoic ragga beat over creepy dub effects. The frantic multilayered guitar loops of ‘Trancend’ nod to Reich and Glass, while Semuta´s voice leads through the cinematic arrangement. The album finishes with a ‘Word of Advice’ by Myom, delivered through the soothing vocals of Semuta over a so far unheard fusion of smoky psychedelic wall of sound guitar epicness and massive dubstep beats and bass.
JeongHo Park is responsible for most of the visualizations, for which he created a complex hard- and software system, based on Open Frameworks. As an artist his interest lies in interactive media and has specifically worked on sonification. His works have won several international awards and have been exhibited in Cologne, Karlsruhe, New York and Tokyo.
Myom (Marcus Haberkorn) was a driving force behind ‚Binary Patina‘. He supervised the project, is responsible for its central themes and contributed his unique musical productions. He is a design colleague of JeongHo and has a long creative history with Flextronic and Breakslinger in band projects, running a net label and DJing, a passion he also shares with his soulmate Semuta.
Teimur Henrich alias Breakslinger, Bokeh and CMYCMYK joined the team for the second installment of ‚Binary Patina‘. He is an internationally known drum´n´bass producer with releases on labels such as Basswerk, Offworld or Twisted and runs his own label Acid Elephant Recordings. As a media designer he contributed to the visuals and is responsible for the project´s artwork and documentary videos.
Michael Kreft has released his eclectic, electronic productions internationally under his alias Flextronic and is an experienced and versatile drummer for more than 20 years, currently in the indie bands Kramsky, Herr Berlin and Komputer Komputer. He has also worked in other scenographical projects like the play ‚Superflex‘ at the Trier Theatre.
Semuta is a drum´n´bass DJ for 15 years and has worked as vocalist with producers Breakslinger, Myom and others. She has provided additonal voice for the project and can be heard on three tracks from the album.
Chris was part of the team as visual artist and programmer for the first Binary Patina installment. As a freelance graphic designer and creative developer his interest lies at the intersection of art, technology, design and sound. He is also the developer of Grid Composer, an experimental musical sequencer app for iOS.