Feedback Cell is the experimental luthiary and performance project of Chris Kiefer and Alice Eldridge. Feedback cellos are hacked acoustic cellos, custom fitted with built-in speakers and on-body transducers, analogue and digital processing; the classical cello is transformed into a self-resonating feedback system. The feedback cello is thoroughly lively; playing is a process of negotiating dynamic resonant forces rather than actuating and controlling more or less passive strings of its classical ancestor. Sonically, the cellos conjure a new soundscape, arising from collision of their hybrid components: dulcet, resonant drones, palpably compressed overtones and spectral over-driven screams of digitally-transformed, physically-filtered Larsen tones.
Feedback Cell began with a conversation between Alice and instrument designer Halldor Ulfarsson, asking whether the feedback techniques which characterise his instrument, the Halldorophone, could be applied to acoustic cellos. The answer was “Let’s try”. In close collaboration with Halldor, the instruments were built in the summer on 2016, fitting speakers, transducers and pickups to two standard cellos for a workshop as part of International Conference of Live Interfaces, 2016. Since 2016, Alice and Chris have been exploring and developing these instruments through iterative upgrades and frequent performances both as a duo and with other artists. They have made regular invited appearances at key formal and informal computer music, improvised and experimental music events around Europe including: xCoAx Bergamo, Italy, 2016; Fete QuaQua, London, 2016; Brighton Alternative Jazz Festival, 2016; Mengi, Reykjavik, 2017; Loop Berlin 2017; EarZoom Festival, Ljubljana, 2017; ICLI Porto, 2018; Fort Process, UK, 2016 and 2018; The Seen Brighton and London, 2018.