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BlipTalk with little-scale


Hailing from Adelaide, Australia, Sebastian Tomczak aka little-scale has been making exciting chip music and building innovative chip music-related technology for a number of years. His current practice involves making creative use of the things he invents. little-scale’s music has been described as “a highly intellectual approach to chip sounds that is completely engaging and unintimidating to the uninitiated.” He has performed in major cities across Australia to sell out crowds, and has presented papers and posters on chip music at the Australasian Computer Music Conference as well as the International Computer Music Conference. Furthermore, little-scale has presented creative works and technology in Mumbai, Los Angeles and Belfast. Sebastian’s appearance at Blip Festival 2009 is supported by the Helpmann Academy.

Blip: Before you got into making chip music, what type of music or art where you into?

My brain can hardly comprehend of a time “before chip music”, but I liked classical music, electronic music of different kinds – with a strong interest in DIY stuff and minimalism – as well as pop and rock. I’ve also been interested in physical control, and how that relates to the performance of electronic music. For example, I once made this instrument that controls music using the surface of water. I’ve also had a long-standing interest in the affect of sleep deprivation on music composition.

Blip: How did you first become aware of the possibility of chip music?

Mainly through the work done by Paul Slocum (which has continued to be a huge influence on me) as well as the MIDINES, which I stumbled across on ebay. The very idea was a paradigm shift for me.

Blip: How does your background influence your current work?

I build stuff to do with chip music, so I guess my background in DIY electronic music hardware has something to do with this. Musically, I’m not sure how much my background has to do with what I write. In some ways, some of my stuff has a minimalist vein to it I suppose.

Blip: Who are you most excited to see at blip? Why?

i, cactus – it’s been a while since he’s been active in the chip scene, right? I loved his 8BP release; it had this amazing feel to it, very organic and flowing.

Blip: Where do you see your progression as an artist heading? Deeper into chip music, or perhaps something different?

Oh, deeper, for sure. I want to do more collaborations, especially with people from a non-chip background. Lately I’ve been collaborating on this work with Adelaide-based musician and researcher Poppi Doser, and it’s been an interesting and rewarding experience with (what I hope will be) a great outcome.

I also want to do more hardware-related stuff as well, especially in terms orchestration and voicing. There is plenty left to explore on real hardware when it comes to chip music.

little-scale is playing Friday at 10pm with With visuals by Rosa Menkman

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