Steven Malski Niles
Since 2009
Works in Jersey City, New Jersey United States of America

Over the years as a keyboard player, pianist and singer and audio producer my musical style has been an amalgam of elements of jazz, blues, rhythm and blues, hip - hop, jazz fusion, classical and avant -garde. I have played acoustically and with electronics in all kinds of situations ranging from hotel entertainment to serious jazz concerts and classical opera accompaniment. The goals of my expression have been to entertain of course, but on a more fundamental level, I often find that my music and production products are a liberating force, i.e. they free up energy both in myself and the audience. The movement, the dance, the smiles and gaiety, or the meditative serene contemplation of the music I make produce in the end a relaxed state of mind which has ultimately a healing effect on the audience.
With this as a starting point, I have lately moved to learn new technologies and techniques to further my expression, and that of other artists. For instance, I have begun making and editing videos and using various software to create effects, I have developed electronic props for dancers that give more control to the performer, and I have written music and sound design which gives support and accompaniment to these projects. Again, I always seek to liberate and thus to heal, either the audience and the performer or both. I find my new technologies help me to do that.
For instance, my wireless umbrella (utilizing a hacked Wii remote) enables a dancer to control video and sound with his or her motions. In this way, the dancer is not required to produce or respond to a set of cues by which a second person controls media, but rather the dancer controls the media with a prop. This allows a much greater freedom of expression and range of control of the performer, particularly for improvisation. I envision a whole array of wireless props which can be used to accomplish various real-time functions on stage including lighting control, video control (i.e. spinning, zooming, sequencing, etc.), and spontaneous sound design. I am in preliminary talks for the further development of these products. I hope to move away from using a Wii remote to creating my own electronic components which can be fitted into the props in a more clandestine manner.
For incorporation of this technology into my musical projects, I will be working on motion sensor devices which detect finger motion and translates this into the same kind of control as my umbrella. Midi motion control is also a possibility here. In this case, LEDS on the fingers for instance could trigger notes so one could play an invisible piano. A band is now forming in which I hope to use these technologies. Of course we can put sensors on the drummer’s arms to detect his motion and thereby trigger video or loops. I also hope to use some of the techniques developed by the group Mesa de Voce to produce visualizations of the sax players’ or the singer’s vocalizations. In this way, the audience can “see” the sound produced by the musician, as a cloud emitting form the mouth or the throat of the horn.
In keeping with my goal of liberation of the artist, video effects and projection surfaces can be utilized. One needn’t always use a large screen for projection. Surfaces can vary in size and shapes to help produce different desired effects. For an excerpt from a scene of my stage-play ”The Director”, I have recently created an installation which utilizes both effects and a unique surface projection to produce a heightened theatrical effect. By superimposing simultaneous videos, I was able to produce an effect both ethereal and visually beautiful. A dreamer awakens into a dream while his body lies sleeping on the bed, both visions occurring simultaneously. I projected this onto a rounded surface of gauze - like material, with the dreamer lying in repose at the foot of the screen. We are thus able to “see” into the dreamer’s dream, on a screen that looks dreamlike. The music complimented the scene, and the whole was presented as a loop. Here again, liberation is a key element for both the audience, who are able to go where they’re not supposed to be, and the artist, who is able to take them there with more capabilities than were available prior to our technological advances of the day and aesthetic evolution brought to us by the ideas of New Media.