3 perc, hexbugs, sinetones, lights, fog, video
Avant Music Festival
Adrian Knight Music

February 20, 2016
‘Day Trip’ (10h Performance Installation)
Wild Project
New York, NY (US)

Matt Evans, perc
Amy Garapic, perc
Carson Moody, perc

Lighting design, Kryssy Wright
Costume design, Alice Cohen

︎︎︎Detailed Inventory

3 percussionists*
Lighting designer
Sound engineer
3 Fog operators (unless controlled via DMX)

3 floor toms (16-18’) or other low drum (coated heads)
6 Hexbug microrobotic creatures (3 for backup)
3 Stopwatches
6 Speed Drum Keys
Black electrical tape

3 SM57s, SM58s or equivalent microphones
3 Powered PA Speakers (60-20000Hz)
2 Subwoofers (30Hz)
4-Bus Mixer
Graphic EQ Reverb
1 Laptop with Max/MSP
Audio interface with 4 discrete outputs

3 Fog machines (one of which may be a hazer)
3 Clip or work lights Stage lights
1 Laptop for video projection
1 Projector
Large projector screen or white wall

3 masks
3 robes
3 sets of black longsleeved shirts and trousers


Co-commissioned by TIGUE and Avant Media for the 2016 Avant Mu- sic Festival, Occultations combines a number of elements: microrobotic toys (HexBugs) with traditional percussion instruments (floor toms), and an ever-changing counterpoint sinetone drone accompanied by a fog and a light show. The three masked and robed performers emanate from clouds of fog in low light and perform a 45-minute ritual, filling the space with fog until the video projections all but disappear, slowly conjuring it back for the last segment of the performance.

An occultation is defined as “the state of being hidden from view or lost to notice” or “the interruption of the light from a celestial body or of the signals from a spacecraft by the intervention of a celestial body.” To varying degrees, both meanings apply here. I first had the idea of using vibrators on drum heads and cymbals in 2013, and I first used them for the back- drop in Humble Servant. I wanted to extend the use of these vibrators to instruments capable of more complex resonances, and found a perfect vehicle in the standard 16-18” floor tom. Formally, the piece consists of three series or permutations of rhythmic modules in the form of pitch bends, played simultaneously by the three percussionists. Liberated by the automated “rolling” of the vibrators, the performers are encouraged to navigate infinite spectral variations by meticulously detuning and re- tuning the drums. In addition to the performative element, an ever-chang- ing sinetone component, tuned to the drums, pervades the space and creates complex beating patterns against the drum melodies, ‘occulting’ them. Despite the fact that nearly every parameter in the piece is in con- stant flux, heard from a certain ‘distance,’ Occultations may appear to be completely static. Poetically, it is thus also a form of occultation of itself.

(Stills from premiere performance)

︎︎︎Score Excerpts

Copyright © by Adrian Knight 2023.