Institutional murmurs and jackhammer pounding, hovering drones and mellifluous waveforms — these are among the expressive sounds that Federico Barabino summons from, in essence, nowhere in this brief live solo recording.
Barabino’s instrument of choice is the no-input mixer, in which a tool associated with neutrality is fed back into itself to yield all manner of wily noises. The mixer is intended as a clear path for numerous signals. They enter and exit according to the various mixing opportunities — volume, panning, effects. When looped back into itself, the mixer causes feedback noise, noise that can take on the qualities of an instrument after considerable trial and error, as slight fluctuations yield room-filling sounds.
Barabino charts the course with a sequence of volume-level variations that focus the ear on each successive sonic approach. In a post at his website, federicobarabino.com.ar, Barabino, who is based in Buenos Aires, Argentina, describes his approach:
No-input mixer works as a tool to use in various situations performative, sound art, audiovisual , installations or mixed. The starting point of these investigations on the console is the redefinition of the object itself. Changing its primary function of being a medium between the sound source and amplification to be a sound generator itself. Sounds radically pure as sinusoids or noise frequencies through feedback internally produced material which can then be re-developed and complexify simply the sum of the sound waves through different effects thereof or digital/analog external.
Connecting the inputs to the outputs by wires, the entire system of knobs becomes itself an instrument, a tool for sound generation, requiring an interpreter aware micromovements within the object itself. The “error” as a point of departure for an exploration is often denied, the natural extension of what we believe can make objects as a whole and a continual search inside and outside margins are concept and essence of this constant work in progress.