Friday December 16thDecember 16th, 2016
Maurizio and Roberto Opalio are brothers who live in Turin but work on their music in their grandmother’s house up in the mountains. They have been doing this for 20 years. They perform as My Cat is an Alien improvising with voice, analogue electronics, feedback, homemade amplified string instruments and the things that happen between them when they play. The trust in their play space is tangible. I was sitting listening last night as they performed, realising I was starting to find the trippy looping conjuring-up a bit much, when fortunately I managed to abandon all pre-judgement and just listen to what was happening. Very quickly, I realised I hadn’t a clue what they were describing, but that to them it was utterly real. They were making something completely unique that had moments of magic. Fabulous. With Le Rêve exposition down the road and ah the Frenchness of Marseille an aperitif to setting up, it turned the evening’s Shark work into an enriching night. Many thanks everyone. Great to meet you too.
Wednesday 14th DecemberDecember 14th, 2016
NH14 // JEUDI 15 DÉCEMBRE
20:30 à Montévidéo,
3, impasse montévidéo, 13006 Marseille , +33 (0)4 91 37 97 35
Love Shark [concert / 1ère partie]
Plongée électroacoustique au milieu des requins-marteaux dans les fonds marins des Galápagos. Une expérience immersive reproduisant musicalement les déplacements de ces animaux ancestraux.
Hope to see you..
Thursday 8th DecemberDecember 8th, 2016
I’ve been invited to make a quadrophonic composition for a space that’s only acessible to air breathing creatures once every 25 years. The inside of St Pancras Lock, being drained as part of the Canal and Rivers Trust annual winter maintenance January 2017. What a great opportunity to revisit the miles and hours of lock material I gathered on The Lock Shift Songs, adventure : although note dear audience, you’ll be invited into the bottom of an empty London lock in February, February 4th 2017 in fact. Mark the date plus waterproofs/thermos? All part of the brilliant Canal Open Days that run throughout the year. FURTHER INFO HERE
Wednesday 7th DecemberDecember 7th, 2016
I hadn’t expected this in Berlin. A flimsy plywood pre-fab, albeit a beautiful one, to play in. Berlin gigs mean stone, concrete, brick, dark, sometimes damp. An industrial space, squat, church, gallery – some kind of grounded history. No this was a surprise and was a blast back to US tours in the late 90’s where I’ve found myself playing in upstairs book stores or cafes with a mono PA. However, it all made super sense as I emptied bike panniers of cables and connected the tiny PA (inc sub, good) to my kit. I had come to make a new performance with the shark synthesizer in stereo and adapting to this unusual space was of course part of the bag. Fortunately it all worked out, even with no sound check, a varied and enthusiastic audience were keen to tell me afterwards. This was good. Since my research for Varèse professorship, I’ve been reinspired to revisit the stage and work live and stereo again. Last night showed this was really worth it.
Location, REH Geyersbach Kopenhagener
Saturday 12th NovemberNovember 12th, 2016
Back on stage playing new 4 channel work, The 4th Floor, live. Interesting to be back in this place where new music making with an audience in a darkened space is once again vital and relevant. I haven’t been here for 10 years and now its leaner and more direct. Noisy and rhythmic. OSC controller under my fingers, Max in the box organising the sound. Me driving and mixing the direction through size and texture and dynamic and audio detail. Audience breathing and listening and feeding it all, thrilled somehow at the end. Interesting again. This direction is worth pursuing. Not just my idea as ever. Photo Kristian Buus.
Sunday 23rd OctoberOctober 23rd, 2016
Friday 7th OctoberOctober 7th, 2016
So the rehearsal with the Swine was good. a – they made musical sense of the piece and b- they didn’t throw up their hands in horror at the seeming stasis I am asking them to deal with. To the contrary. Also being back in Studio 1 at EMS with everyone as kind and supportive as ever and oh yes the microphones, of course makes most things sound fabulous. But. The interesting thing was that as hoped, the addition of the breath, gut and hair of the violin, cello and flute do add a life to the tape part that makes the combination I think an experience worth sinking into. Yes its a 22′ 40″ deep listener that is always changing.
Title : mash one for four.
Premier 8pm. 23.10.2016 Heimathafen, Neukölln, Karl-Marx Strasse 141
Monday 3rd OctoberOctober 3rd, 2016
So this is my temporary studio visiting Berlin. One of the most inspiring places I’ve worked in a while. This could be to do with the light and occasional cobbled street passing van, sea-like outside. I’ve been working on a new composition for a contemporary music ensemble The Peärls before Swïne Experience. They’ve commissioned several of us to work from Hummels’ arrangements of Beethoven’s symphonies for ensembles, and I’ve been given the monumental 1st. BANG.
This symphony contains everything I can’t stand about classical music. Pompous, majestic, conquering, dramatic and harmonically predictable. However, get inside what the young Beethoven was up to and it is brilliant and surprisingly complex. He began writing this when he was 24 and it was premiered when he was 29 in Vienna, April 1st 1800, and he was already going deaf. A bold stride into the new romantic movement overtaking the classical period, it was also his 1st big public statement.
This will be my 1st work with a quartet and its intriguing discovering what it is I want and could do with it. After a few weeks explorations – interesting to get out the violin again – I’ve discovered that the first chords of the first three bars contain all the elements I want to reveal. And I’ve done this by stretching these chords played by John Elliot Gardiner’s orchestra one hundred and twenty eight times. The jewels I found come from the ancient instruments this orchestra uses, tuned at proper pitch, where concert A is in fact around 430Hz.
So I’ve made a tape part from this and have been making scores for the ensemble to play. Of course, I don’t know how they work and play, or their range of extended techniques, so am off to rehearse with them at the superb EMS Stockholm on Wednesday. Looking forward.
Sonic Kayak completion & launch Swansea BaySeptember 12th, 2016
The Sonic Kayaks were successfully completed and launched at the British Science Festival, Swansea, Wales on September 5th 2016. The practical experiences are documented HERE, and the tech details on how to build your own Sonic Kayak(SK) are HERE. What follows below are reflections on the SK as a musical instrument after their launch into the Swansea Bay and two days play with the public.
So, we arrive with all our kit plus backups at the 360º Watersports Centre, Swansea where we are given space and 2 kayaks to transform into the sonic kind. [Check the horns attached for each speaker below. Yes we had agreed to make them – audio questions pt1- on all 4]. Meanwhile it’s also time to make the map score to cover the area the kayaks will be paddled through. This means making strips of zones with enough space between them to give paddlers sample free moments, zones large enough to ensure sounds are triggered but running not too far down the beach as how far can anyone paddle on the sea with winds and tides and lack of experience anyway?
It’s not the sonic bike approach here therefore, where zones can be mapped to street corners and size and content and distances are endlessly reworked before handing over to the public. The reality anyway, of getting out of the coding lab and into the field with a new interactive project is always an effort, but having to dress for the Welsh sea with kayaks and a long beach to cross and ah public health and safety requirements adds to the lack of practical experimentation time. Instead, day 1, we walk up and down the beach at low tide carrying the kit with our new map to check. It works, so strap box and speakers onto the kayaks and we’re off.
There’s also been collective decision making on the audio content which has concluded in the mapped yellow strip for poems/texts, blue for pulses and red for information on effects of climate change in the oceans read by machine voices.(see map above) The second audio source is rising and falling tones which only play when the temperature changes. Dave’s work to fine tune them, to sonify these micro-changes in surface temperature, seems just right as the tones’ play is delightful and only occasional, plus the temperature data (more importantly from other considerations) is being successfully gathered during each trip. (Yes, the paddler also becomes citizen scientist). And the third audio source is a hydrophone (underwater microphone) which is especially interesting in fairly still estuaries/rivers with varied underwater topography and marine life.
Day two and the public arrive. Its grey but mild and calm, the rain has stopped and there’s not a breath of wind. I lengthen the strips of zones – the tide goes out further than we thought on our map – and record Kirsty reading an AGF poem she had by chance sent me the previous day which was somehow beautifully relevant and added further variety to the content. Even though one of our July SK experiments was broadcast on Radio 6 with Cerys Matthews and Dave a few days ago, it’s all still very early days. 32 paddlers go out and return wet but enthusiastic, delighting at how it worked, what they heard and thought.
Day three and oh the reality of electronics on the sea. It’s hot and sunny but the wind is quietly whipping up. We launch our first set of paddlers and in come a couple of waves that simply roll the kayaks and the kit and speakers are totally submerged. Shock. Nothing is lost but this puts an immediate stop to any further kayak outings. We cant risk any rolls with the public. Unperturbed, we regather and spend the rest of the day introducing and discussing the project with our participants, instead doing Sonic Kayak Beach Walking.
This is not an altogether bad thing. It means that visitors can fully comprehend and explore with the system whilst most importantly being able to just listen. At sea, there are many other distractions like not falling in and just being overcome by the magic of it all. A boat that suddenly plays you a poem out at sea?
Demystifying something is not always a good idea but many of our participants are marine biologists so as well as fascinating discussions, we also gather local knowledge such as where the city’s and aquaculture centre’s effluents enter the Bay so where there are significant alterations to the thermocline.