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This Guardian Article %EXT% gives a good insight into Brian Duffy and his Modified Toy Orchestra.

The gig reports below are from a few years back, when "MTO" was a solo affair. Now a days, it's typically 6 people, performing well crafted "songs" created from the toys and often with great visuals from filmficciones.

Older Gigs

Gig at the Patrick Kavanagh, 11th April 2003

Preceeded by some wierd DJing, Brian Duffy took the stage looking very mucch the professional showman. Neat and suited. After subdueing the audience, most of whom had no idea what they were in for, Brian introduced the orchestra. A Speak And Spell star type thingie, a couple of keyboards, a "Pink Jazz Drum" machine, a flat board with what looked like a school music room scene on it, and of course the Hula Barbie!

Next was a explaination of sound ("Imagine this line in space is a zero potential...") and a ringing denouncement of the twelve tone scale and our cultural preconceptions of what constitutes music smile

Then, on with the music.... I'm writing this about a week later, but here are my impressions. The music was very varied, from feedback fed through the Play Skool sax to bouncy happy dancey stuff from the music room thingie. For much of the performance, the audience were entranced, straining to see what what going on and standing on chairs whilst Brian held the orchestra members aloft. Brian finished on singing and the Hula Barbie, which was a great hit!

Gig at The MAC, 25th November 2001

Brian Duffy has taken various electronic toys, re-wired them and hooked them up to a sound system. Speak and Spell(R), a toy drum machine, farmyard animal noises and more combine to form a cacophonic but intriguing soundscape.

This was probably the loudest thing I have ever encountered. Half the audience left due to the volume, and the other half blocked their ears. I found it hard to concentrate on the initial Speak and Spell(R) section due to the volume.

Brian's total absorbsion in the creative process combined with the bizare juxtaposition of extreme noise and childrens toys made the performance fascinating.

The main course concluded with smoke emerging from one of the speakers - not due to any stage effect, but soley from the volume! Rapturous applause followed.

The finale was a dancing, musical, barbie doll with a spikey haircut containing wires. Touching the wires and moving the doll's arms changed the music emerging.

Verdict: See it to believe it!

-- Andy Pryke - 25 Nov 2001

Apparently Brian is Circuit Bending:

-- Andy Pryke - 31/1/2001
Topic revision: r4 - 14 Oct 2007, andyp
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