“Pulling notes out of thin air was mesmerising”: On the Remote_CTRL Residency, with Rylan Gleave

The Remote_CTRL was a new research and development opportunity, in which five Disabled creatives were invited to spend the summer of 2021 making new work, exploring and expanding their creative practice with the use of MiMU Gloves.

MiMU Gloves are a wearable motion-based musical instrument / controller. As a new and evolving technology, there is massive scope for innovation in how the gloves can be used. In this interview by Anna from the filmpro team, Glasgow-based composer and vocalist, Rylan Gleave, tells us about his experience working with this technology, and the possibilities it opened up.

Rylan Gleave

Hi Rylan. Thanks so much for chatting with us for our artist interview blog series. You’ve been a part of the Remote CTRL Residency, a remote Research and Development residency for Disabled artists and musicians to make new work with MiMu Gloves, supported by filmpro. We’d love to know what you’ve been finding out through the residency?

Hi Anna! Thanks so much for asking me to be involved.

The residency was phenomenal, and I’ve learnt loads of new things about the technology, as well as about developing my own practice in ways I wouldn’t usually think about. We had tech support and introductions, workshops with various artists who use the gloves in their own work, and then 1:1 sessions with those artists to follow up on ideas. The research elements were also great for seeing how each artist moved forwards with the gloves.

What’s been the most exciting thing about working with the MiMu gloves?

For me, being able to develop movement as part of my practice has been fantastic. I’m a composer/vocalist usually — and pulling notes out of thin air was mesmerising, especially as an autistic person who thinks so much in sound. It’s incredibly rewarding to see the efforts put in with the software pay off too!

A MiMU Glove.

In what ways, do different technologies inform the way you make music? 

Typically I use Sibelius software for notating music, and Logic Pro X for electronics. Getting to know Glover and Ableton on this residency allowed me to think in less of a linear way, likely due to the layout, and think more creatively about sound design and structure.

Do you feel your practice has changed or shifted at all through the residency?

Absolutely — my confidence as a performer has grown, and the way I think about using my own voice in my work has become more fluid. Using the gloves as an accompaniment to my practice, and embedding them in both subtle and overt ways, has been a beautiful way of exploring new gestures.

Have you made any connections with the other resident artists at all?

Getting to chat with Nonto (Venus Ex Machina) about voice and glove overlap was lovely! Turns out she knows the area that I’ve just moved to too, and has given me some great recommendations for places to visit.

What’s next for Rylan Gleave?

I’m working with Sound and Music on their New Voices Programme, and The Royal Philharmonic Society on their Composers’ Programme. I’ll be collaborating with artist Benedetta Zanetti too — we were awarded the Craig Armstrong Prize at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland — to create a new multidisciplinary piece involving the Mi.Mu gloves.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Just a huge thanks to all the residency team and artists; it was such a lovely time, and I hope we get to continue working together!

You can read more about the Remote_CTRL Residency here.