Monday, 29 August 2011

Bradley Fold Allotments Project

Yesterday I went to Bradley Fold Allotments in Manchester as a visiting artist. The arts project is run by Elizabeth Wewiora, who invited a series of visiting artists to come and create work in reaction to the allotment environment. You can read more about the project on her blog.

I spent the day taking a lot of recordings of a variety of sounds from around the allotments. There was really no shortage, and you could easily spend more than one day recording there, but all good things must come to an end. Possibly my favourite part of the day was donning a bee-keeper's outfit to go and take recordings from inside a bee hive.

Now that all the recording is done, I'm working on a new piece using the sounds I've collected, which will be installed on the site for an open day showing work by the artists who have been to visit. The show is on Sunday 11th September 2011 and is open to the public during the day.

Here are some photos from my visit there.

Hot Hail on a Swan Pedalo at FON

Earlier this month, I played a Hot Hail set at the FON Festival in Barrow. I played in a swan pedalo of all things in a lake in Barrow Park! The 'open source' swan pedalo is run by Re-Dock, a group based in Liverpool right across the hall from my studio at Red Wire. Over the two days of the festival, John O'Shea and Dave Lynch broadcast a live radio show to radios stationed around the park, and also streamed live on the internet. My turn came on the Saturday. The swan pedalo makes for some great source sounds, being made of hollow plastic, so I put a contact mic on the pedal mechanism and also got the sound of the water lapping up against the sides. Then I got out my collection of objects and effects and performed a live set, which is quite tricky trapped in a small seat on the water with a life jacket on! Here are some pictures by Re-Dock of the project.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Black Forest Orchestra live at the Woodland Gathering Festival

Here's a recording of a set I played at the Woodland Gathering Festival in July with the Black Forest Orchestra. The group is made up of members from several other experimental music groups, Shaun Blezard from Clutter, Ian Simpson from Noise Research, and Glenn Boulter from Focal Gaol. The Woodland Gathering is a two-day festival run at Fellfoot Wood in the Lake District by Radio Black Forest. The recording was made and broadcast by Phantom Circuit, a programme broadcasting "strange and wonderful sound waves". Go to about 6 minutes in for the Black Forest Orchestra set.

I'll post some photos from the festival here soon, so watch this space...

Monday, 15 August 2011

Oh Oca O

This month I released the first full-length Hot Hail album, Oh Oca O. It's been several months' work of recording, composing and editing, but it's all paid off in the end. The album is available from Probe Records in Liverpool, or from my Bandcamp site, where buy the physical album or download the digital release.

The album is an exploration of perception. Throughout, different aspects of the way we perceive the world are explored and manipulated: from the right-left sidedness of the brain, to notions of continuity and the way our mind perceives objects. Several new stereo techniques are developed and explored, and each track divides the sidedness of the brain's attention in a different way, opening new perceptual experiences.

Another theme of the album is the exploration of both the micro and macro worlds of sound. Everywhere is constant evolution, from the global level right down to microscopic manipulations. There are many layers of fine timbral nuance throughout the album, so for best results listen through headphones. Then you'll make the most of the stereo effects too then.

Reconstructions in Brass

It's been a little while since I updated my blog. Been busy with gigs and projects the past couple of months. I'm still in the middle of it all, but here are a few little updates till I've got more time to write some lengthier posts.

First off is the Noise Club commission from Octopus. For this piece, Reconstructions in Brass, we bent, manipulated and circuit bent a variety of brass instruments for a 2-hour performance in Barrow Park's band stand. It was a lot of fun getting to find new ways of making sound with brass instruments, some relatively straightforward, like a hacked-off trombone with a clarinet mouthpiece, others a bit more complicated, like the circuit bent tenor horn Mike Loftus constructed. Even the geese joined in for the gig... it's amazing how loud they can be!

Hopefully, I'll have an extended video of the event for you all soon, but, in the meantime, here's a short clip to give you a flavour of the day.