Dewanatrons were created in order to make music in real time, suitable for
concert performance, live recording, or to be broadcast over the airwaves.
The special purpose of Dewanatrons, which are modern solid-state analog
instruments, is to grow music live in collaboration with the operators who
guide them. While inherently musical in their impulses, the machines have no
discipline and require governing by judicious overseers. Some instruments
are components, or appliances, which used in tandem with other appliances
becomes part of an electronic chamber group. Other instruments are a
self-contained chamber ensemble in a single housing.
The operators begin a process which develops into a shape beyond their
authorship; the operators become gardeners, watering and pruning,
mulching and composting sound. The music becomes a contrapuntal morass,
twining and climbing, chirping, buzzing, blinking, snapping. The operators
guide the instruments, and the instruments carry the operators and others
through an ever metamorphosing landscape. The Dewanatrons have delighted
young and old, and have been welcome in radio stations, art galleries and
the concert hall.
Brian Dewan used to build furniture for a living and as of late is making
and projecting I-CAN-SEE filmstrips. Two CDs, Brian Dewan Tells The Story
and The Operating Theater feature songs with autoharp and electric zither
accompaniment. He has exhibited drawings and filmstrips at The Brooklyn
Museum, The New Museum, Pierogi gallery, The Armory Show and Modern Art
Oxford. His recent recording of Lewis Carroll's The Hunting Of The Snark
has aired in London and New York.
While studying art, organ and composition at Oberlin College he recorded
electronic music with Putney, Buchla, Arp and Moog synthesizers. He plays
zither and other instruments with The Raymond Scott Orchestrette and
arranged Scott's electronic music for live acoustic septet in collaboration
with accordionist Will Holshouser. In addition to performances of
instrumental music he has also provided live accompaniment to the silent
films of Ladislaw Starewicz, Harry Smith, Ester Shub, Oscar Fischinger, and
rare films from the Mark Newgarden collection. These were screened at
Lincoln Center, Galapogas, Tonic, The Robert Beck Theater and The Iris and
B. Gerald Cantor Auditorium.
Leon Dewan apprenticed to his inventor father since early childhood, helping
him to construct homemade test equipment and numerous electromechanical, solid state and
vacuum tube based radio frequency prototypes. He recorded his first electronic music
in 1980 with a calculator and an electronic quiz game which broadcast
signals to a clock radio tuned between stations. In 1989 he received a
degree in physics at Yale University. He has played guitar and sung in New York
based band The Happiest Guys In The World as well as The Philistines Jr,
Shaumgummi, and Dangerspoon, and has made guest guitar and production
appearances on several Guster recordings. He collaborated with sculptress Kathleen Griffin and
for the Sculpture Center's inaugural In Practice series created an installation involving large hollow spherical
bodies made of hard candy with circuitry inside that caused the candy spheres to self-resonate at various
points along their resonant spectrums. Governed by slow chaos, they harmonized in unpredictable ways,
"singing" to each other in the vaulted cellar of The Sculpture
Center in Queens.
Leon has performed at Rich Forum, the Knitting Factory, and Pierogi2000 Gallery,
among other venues.