Thursday 23rd AprilApril 27th, 2015
Thanks to support of director Lucy Grauman, I am back at MET-X to work VIP Passport song with the STEMAGNIFIQUE choir. 4 verses of lyrics co- written with Mandy McIntosh, the melody a sonification of letters VIP PASSPORT. We go at it with gusto and record a feisty version which will go on the bikes. No time for fine tuning. Not a bad thing as its rawness and variety of voices communicate well the song’s content. Many thanks once more to Samson for cycling and audio fun! You can find the lyrics HERE.
Wednesday 22nd AprilApril 25th, 2015
La Choraline, the 13-18yr old girl choir at the La Monnaie are rehearsing and singing the chorus and backing vocals for VIP PASSPORT song. Engineers hidden away down corridors are recording it and Aldo rehearses them as well as singing one of the opening solos in French during the break. There are some super angels beyond the clouds moments.
Tuesday 21st AprilApril 25th, 2015
Good progress. Pitch is changing depending on direction albeit with GPS latency but its workable. Random playback, however, is not doing the right thing so we go and debug outside. Turns into one of the best collaborative experiences I’ve yet had with a programmer. With plugged in laptop so we can see what the code’s doing, we change numbers walk the bike, fix that bug, walk the bike, fix that bug, walk the bike until everything’s solved and Tom is running for the Eurostar home. I’m now in Brussels with sonic bike soft MkII running reliable. Now to get the music happening. Nice.
Monday 20th AprilApril 20th, 2015
BRI has landed in Q-02, Brussels. Tom and Ludo happy with raspberry pi2 fast installs and Kaffe happy with improved sound quality on these bumpy streets. The 6 x Brussels sonic bikes are ready to go with the kids bikes on the bench for examination early tomorrow. Brussels sunshine is also warm so ‘Finding Song Home‘ completion weeks are off to a good start.
Sunday 19th AprilApril 19th, 2015
A productive week in the BRI lab with an unexpected outcome. The platform for our sonic bike system has, since 2008, been the Beagleboard-XM, upgrading last year to the Beaglebone for Houston bike opera, when the BBoard was no longer available. A straightforward move. The BBone option for current opera FSH in Brussels however has been tricky all along, due largely to the required USB audio interface which produced less than best quality/full stereo as well as occasional audio stutter. Alongside the software developments we’ve been making, its been a tricky one to pin down, but Thursday revealed this was def the weakness. Fortunately, help was at hand in the form of the new Raspberry Pi2, so Tom ported the system, Friday lunchtime we could try it and alleluja! Not only had all audio stuttering disappeared, but the quality and depth of field with which sound was now flying from the bike speakers was superb. Late in the day but what a solution, ie..the Pi is also much more capable of hosting our soft devs. Tomorrow we shift to Brussels for FSH completion and launch on 9th May.
Wednesday 15th AprilApril 15th, 2015
Back in London BRI lab working with different ways of altering pitch of sound from either cycling speed, direction or random. One problem is that we can’t alter the pitch more than one octave up or down and the other is that we’re using GPS as our locator, so apart from delays with response times, there’s of course the ever present variable of getting GPS fixes in the first instance. The final result also has to give the cyclist some sense of understanding what’s happening so it has some meaning and is worth playing with. All a bit arduous but today finally a breakthrough. After many experiments with different sounds, locations, layers and settings, I’ve decided on bike direction as the most useful controller, am working with 3 layers of shortish resonant dong sounds and by dusk am cycling around and around in varying shapes as happy park strollers gasp in amazement with pitching sliding dongs and bongs donging and gliding up and down all around them.
Monday 13th AprilApril 13th, 2015
Millenium Place outside the Transport Museum, Coventry. A curious gathering of architectural boomerangs, buses, and people with all kinds on bikes. In the museum itself, there’s a brilliant collection of the earliest bikes such as boneshakers, penny farthings, the stunning 1900 Rudge Companion and a breast supporting woman’s bike. Yes, out with the BRI recceing the square for a new gaming work here for August festival 2015. New design potential here we come.
Thursday 2nd AprilApril 2nd, 2015
This week back in London BRI lab and the outer boundaries of score map for ‘Finding Song Home’ are defined. Note the turquoise blue freedom trail running down to the south west. This runs beside the canal and takes you fast away from the crush and noise of Brussels city and into quiet and space. Relief. The top north west density of multi-coloured zones are Molenbeek, the central yellow square La Monnaie de la Munt and the lilac and dull routes are the highways defined by Google..