Jason Lim was one of several students selected to travel with Berklee’s Interdisciplinary Arts Institute Ensemble to Salvador da Bahia, Brazil in July 2014. The trip included an exchange at the Federal University of Bahia (UFBA), where BIAI members collaborated with UFBA students and share their research in interdisciplinary production, modular synthesizer design, and interactive music apps, and culminated in a concert at the 3rd Bahia Biennale at the Goethe-Institut theater. Read more with our student blog posts from Brazil, view photos from the trip, or read the official press releases in English and Portuguese.
The months leading up to the trip to Brazil was a very busy time. I had family from Scotland in town in Boston for my graduation ceremony, I was prototyping future products for Qu-Bit during any spare moment and the 3rd production run of the Nebulæ module was about to begin. I spent about a month from May 22nd in Rancho Cucamonga, CA with Qu-Bit’s other half, Andrew Ikenberry (Berklee Alumni ’13), where we worked 12 hour days soldering modules and writing new firmware.
The dates for Brazil were confirmed while I was staying in California (14th-18th July). My travel plans for the summer months already included a return to Scotland at the end of June until early August, with some travel within the UK and EU loosely sketched out. Now just insert an additional trans-atlantic trip for good measure and you have a Qu-Bit world tour! June consisted of little else than working on code and soldering. We were assembling modules up until 2 hours before we left LAX for Edinburgh, with an hour to back in between. My mind wasn’t quite on Bahia just yet, too many steps to pass first. I cannot recommend flying Air Canada for their post flight support. My Eurorack modular synth and all the latest prototypes got lost for a week after arriving in the UK… Not the most relaxed I have ever been, but once it was finally returned in full working order, I had some time to get to know the random assortment of modules I had opted for in my case. I spent some time reading suggested articles on Smetak and his instruments and finally looked ahead to collaborating in Brazil.
I have worked with/under guidance of Neil Leonard on a multitude of projects. Much of my time in the EPD department was partnered with the Berklee Interdisciplinary Arts Institute (BIAI), where I worked on as many projects and collaborations as were available. Neil pulls together a collective of students who all work at a very high standard and are able to push creative boundaries. Alexia and Dalton most certainly fall under this category. I was very much looking forward to working with them in Bahia. I had worked with Dalton on a previous project which was very high stress with extreme time constraints. Alexia’s work is very highly spoken of around the department by faculty and peers alike. It was definitely looking to be an intense and gratifying few days.
The journey from Edinburgh to Salvador was long! Three flights, connecting at Amsterdam and Sao Paulo, I had no intention of checking any luggage containing anything of importance. I somehow got away with my carry on consisting of my Eurorack modular case, violin and a backpack containing just enough clothing and wires for a few days. The cab ride to the hotel in Salvador was extremely memorable. I got a history lesson of Salvador and a lowdown of where and when to catch the best live music. Very little of this information I retained due to travel exhaustion and being preoccupied by the rapid lane changes, lack of seatbelts, unnecessary speed and thundering rain! I arrived finally after 20+ hours of traveling, ready to sleep and then ready to work!