Organoids was inspired by the work of Dr Raphael Levy, a senior lecturer in biochemistry at the University of Liverpool, and microscopy techniques that employ laser beams for scanning biological cells. Lasers have multiple applications in several fields and in music they can be used for amplifying acoustic vibrations, converting sound stimulus to the visual domain. For this, a mirror can be mounted on a tuning fork, which vibrates and reflects the laser beam. The resulting effect is known as Lissajous Figure.
For this composition, a device comprised of three lasers and mirrors placed on small loudspeakers was developed. The device responds to microphone input, assigned to the composition’s trio instrumentation: bass flute, baritone saxophone and violoncello. This instrumentation was chosen due to their similar range aspect, allowing instruments to harmonise at lower frequencies corresponding to the device’s tuning resonance.
Organoids are simplified versions of organs produced in vitro (outside an organism). This title suggests a metaphor for each instrument’s organic nature that is visually shown through the laser system, representing organoids in the process of microscopy imaging.
The Riot Ensemble recorded Organoids and the video was premièred online in July 2021, as part of the PRiSM 8³ project.