Beautiful Cyborg

Beautiful Cyborg - Motoko - 5 minutes, stereo mix © 2000

Background

Beautiful Cyborg 1 was first developed for the Melbourne International Film Festival in 2000. Conceptually devised by Philip Brophy, it features 6 portraits of famous anime characters compiled and edited by Cassandra Tytler. To these portraits, Philip Brophy, François Tetaz & Darrin Verhagen co-composed music which was then performed live to the projected portraits.

The music is also accompanied by sound design by Philip Brophy working from sound effects he recorded with Jennifer Sochackyj. The music and sound design are presented in 4-channel surround and played directly through the amplifier & speaker set-up at the cinema theatre.

Credits

Composition, production & live mix - Philip Brophy, François Tetaz & Darrin Verhagen
Sound effects recording - Philip Brophy & Jennifer Sochackyj
Editing - Cassandra Tytler
CD mix & mastering - François Tetaz
Special thanks: Brett Woodward - MIFF; Sarah Finney - Kino Cinema; Paul Weigard - Madman Entertainment

2002

CD in Dolby Surround released on Sound Punch records
Kino Cinema, Melbourne

2001

Melbourne International Film Festival, Melbourne

Overview

Beautiful Cyborg 1 celebrates the visual themes typical of hard SF and cyberpunk anime in which Japan excels: sensuous metals; delicate super-conductors; contemplative gears; penile foreheads; delicious motor mechanics; dimensional speed; transfigured space; sculptured visages. To this is added a heady mix of musical motifs, textural sheets, pulsating rhythms and unearthly sounds which float throughout the auditorium in a hovering, shimmering, soaring and bombastic quadraphonic soundfield playback.

More than a techno-fest with a pretty rush of images of aliens, cyborgs, robots, androids, re-designed humans and hi-tech mechanica, Beautiful Cyborg 1 goes to the core of Japanese audiovision to uncover what Philip has noted is "the psycho-acoustic world turned inside-out" (Neon Genesis Evangelion: The Tyranny of the English Voice in Anime Real Time No.32, 1999). The newly imagined and realized music of Beautiful Cyborg 1 floats asynchronously, following the emotional compaction and contradiction which typifies the post-human psyche in Japanese anime. Listen to the erotic synapses firing in their bodies. Hear their engorged metallica hum and breathe. Loose yourself in the gorgeously inside-out world of anime.

Technical

Editing

Beautiful Cyborg 1 features 6 portraits of the following characters:

1. Elaine from Genocyber
2. Alita from Battle Angel Alita
3. Angel from Angel Cop
4. Rei from Neon Genesis Evangelion
5. Priss from Bubble Gum Crash
6. Mokoto from Ghost In The Shell

Score production & performance

Beautiful Cyborg 1 was developed through a series of exchanges between Philip Brophy, François Tetaz & Darrin Verhagen. The original concept involved a modular matrix, where each would compose either a baseline, a chord sequence or a melody for 2 tracks, then pass it on to someone else. This way eventually 6 pieces would organically evolve, each fused as a tri-voice composition.

The approach was adapted slightly due to logistics in rehearsals, yet generating similar outcomes: each track contains co-authored components. It was stipulated that there would be no composing to screen, and that rather the attempt would be to dramatically evoke or infer a psychological state of portraiture with each completed composition. The original animations to be featured were watched prior to composing, but without clearly attaching any one piece to any one character.

The near-completed tracks were then matched to the edited portraits. After this, rehearsals continued timed to the finished edits. Sound design was constructed and completed at this stage.

The 4-channel mixing for Beautiful Cyborg 1 involved Philip Brophy generating discrete 4-track sound from his ASR10 sampler; François Tetaz used an Ensoniq keyboard and a Korg drum machine and sent them through effects units for live spatialization during the performance; and Darrin Verhagen did similar FX spatialization using CDs, Reaktor on laptop, and shortwave radio. The resulting live performance allows for a detached, asynchronous and overall floating accompaniment to the edited images.