Tuesday, 30 November 2010

'Intensity', by Karlheinz Stockhausen

I've just finished editing the audio of a recording of Intensity, part of Stockhausen's From the Seven Days. It was recorded at a Frakture workshop I led a few months ago. It was Pete Jones, one of the Frakture regulars, who suggested using Intensity for a workshop, since it was based on written instruction, rather than a conventional score. Unfortunately he wasn't able to make it himself.

I thought the idea of visual images would be something interesting to explore in conjunction with Stockhausen's piece, so structured the workshop around this, building up to a performance of the piece itself. The recording was made in the Sandom Room at the Bluecoat.

Reinhard Fuchs: voice, laptop
Myself: piano
Phil Lucking: trumpets
Phil Morton: accidents and treatments
Neil Murphy: flute
Adam Webster: cello

Monday, 29 November 2010

Interface Amnesty 3

Interface Amnesty is an event run by SoundNetwork. It shows off new interfaces that artists have been working to control sound/vision/bubbles/and much more. This was the third Interface Amnesty (Noise Club have been at all three), and was part of the Abandon Normal Devices festival. This time the event was held in Noiselab in Manchester.

It was a double-whammy for me, as I was there not only with Noise Club, but with the Inari Noodle project I had been working on.

For the Noise Club stall, we demonstrated a few of the new instruments we'd been working on. Mike Loftus, always the prolific builder, had modified a cello with brake pedals (see clip below), and was also demonstrating his new electronic instrument he'd built with home-made capacitors. I showed off some of the work I've been doing on controlling feedback with physical objects (more of this to come in future posts).

Inari Noodle is an audiovisual noodle bar project by Japanese artist, Inari Nishiki. My role in the project was quite extensive: writing computer-game-type music to use as the project's theme; creating a media player for the audiovisual clips, and getting them to play when a particular type of noodle was selected; and controlling the noodle dispenser using servos controlled by an Arduino. It was really interesting working on the Arduino - so many possibilities - and I think I'm going to use the knowledge I gained in the process to create a robotics project at some point in the future. More to come, then...

In the meantime, here's a short clip of the moment I got the Arduino controlling its first servo.

Noise Club at the World Museum, Liverpool

The DIY Music Day was a co-production between the World Museum in Liverpool, music producer Ross Dalziel and the PRS for Music Foundation. There were quite a few different groups involved, from a restored vintage fairground organ to members of the band a.P.A.t.T. playing some of the gamelan instruments in the museum's collection.

Noise Club was stationed in the insect house. What a great place for making noise, surrounded by bees and ants and all kinds of crazy stuff! This was part performance, part installation, part exposition. We placed pre-recorded compositions around the floor we were on (my favourite being behind the giant model of a fly, complete with moving head), then demonstrated some of the instruments we'd been working on recently; and, of course, always accompanied by the sounds of insects from around the world.

Listen to a recording of some of the day...

St Luke's all-dayer

To coincide with the Bold St Festival, we at Frakture decided to put on an all-day free improvisation event at St Luke's Church in Liverpool (better known as the Bombed-out-church). I played in four different groups on the day: i:Object, Noise Club, the Frakture Big Band, and the Infinite Monkey Orchestra.

Here's a video compilation of the day...

The Frakass Megaphone Choir

Every couple of months I put on a noise night in Liverpool called Frakass. For the August event, Phil Morton of Frakture and myself formed a megaphone choir. Anyone who turned up with a megaphone could get in free and would get to play in the choir. Just too funny!!!

The Garden of Unearthly Delights

The Garden of Unearthly Delights was an audio-visual-olfactory installation I designed and created for the basement of Wolstenholme Creative Space, Liverpool. It explored the connection between the senses of vision, hearing and smell.

Smell is particularly interesting to me as an artist because it is the oldest of the senses, connected directly to the most primitive part of the brain. This gives smell an enormous power over our emotional state; just a hint of a familiar smell can bring back a memory from childhood in intense detail.

The installation was a tribute to the work of Hieronymus Bosch, whose triptych, The Garden of Earthly Delights, contains one of the most famous depictions of Hell in art history. Here, however, there is no binary opposition between heaven and hell; everything is a matter of degrees, and, while there are poles of attraction, the real stuff of life lies in between, in the gap between birth and death.

Photos by Rob Anthony Adamson

Noise Club at Hazard MMX

Just starting to get round to uploading some documentation of my exploits the past few months. So here's the first bit, Noise Club's project, I Lie in Wait..., at Hazard MMX.

Hazard MMX is a yearly  festival in Manchester run by hÅb and greenroom. The Noise Club project was a playful game of sonic hide and seek. It was performed by myself and Adam Webster. Here's how we described it for the brochure:
Mischievous and playful, a chance discovery and a random event, it could change your life or you could just pass by, unaware. Part installation, part performance this interactive sound work lurks hidden, waiting to take you by surprise. Will you find me? I lie in wait...

After walking round Manchester all day, greatly confusing the happy residents of the city, we went back to greenroom. But we couldn't resist going back out to a nearby tunnel to have a bit of a play... amazing acoustics! Have a look at this short video clip of us...

Thanks to Tamsin Drury for a creating such a fun-filled event!