No Input Ensemble

Eliciting the innermost, naturally intimate sounds of electronic circuits, the No Input Ensemble has set out to explore feedback loops in all their glory.

The No Input Ensemble is a group of electronic musicians, formed in December 2013 by students of the IMWI (Institute for Musicology and Music Informatics) at the Karlsruhe University of Music.

About the technique

No Input Music is the native language of electronic expression. The human element returns to the heart of music as the performers react, counteract and interact with their instruments. No Input is a journey in sound and each performer seeks to learn to navigate their way through this complex field of spectromorphologies, while almost constantly being at the brink of losing control of it all.

These instruments are mixers. Normal, preferably cheap, everyday mixers that generally serve to transport, mix and merge incoming streams of sounds together.

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In this context, though, they are left alone with no device feeding their inputs. Instead, they are short circuited, electrically feeding their output signals back into themselves. This creates an internal feedback loop provoking unusual and erratic behaviors, eliciting the innermost, naturally intimate sounds of the electronic circuits.

Each knob or fader now refuses its normal, intended function, instead controlling unforeseen parameters. The gain slider might turn into a pitch control or the filter knob could regulate the granularity of the sound. In many cases though, the timbral changes are usually a complex group of interwoven qualities, making this instrument a true challenge to master. Moreover, no knob or fader maintains its new function. Changing one knob changes the internal state of the entire instrument, requiring the performer to adapt to the constantly shifting behavior. Even the smallest movement can have a huge effect on the outcome. These instruments need to be played with the uttermost delicacy and precision.

The outcome is a wide range of rich, organic sounds of all dynamic ranges, that, if composed skillfully, allow the performer to deliver the virtuosity and passion he or she is willing and able to invest.