Wednesday 30th March

March 30th, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-04-07 at 17.25.01 A great afternoon with artist Ray Lee exploring the possibilities of sonic walking. ie. draw a local map of GPS zones, add sounds to those zones and take a sonic bike kit V.3 for a walk. Outcome. Delight. Sonic walking obviously slower so more time for GPS to kick in creating a shockingly accurate system of sound & music changing with the spaces that you move through. Passers by fascinated.

#bicrophonic modes expanding therefore. Sonic bikes, sonic kayaks, sonic walking.  Next ?

Monday 28th March

March 28th, 2016

Last week was one of those rocket weeks. Charged with fuel you shoot with a team into unknown spaces. Playing with dancers in the studio space to turning bicycles into instruments in the #bicrophonics Lab and outside in the park. Here above our final experiment where the cyclist can control and actually play the sound. This is the start of some of the work I’ll be pursuing in Berlin with TU students from April to July.  More HERE.

Tuesday 22nd March

March 22nd, 2016

suk_Interaction4Fast cycle back from Sadlers to meet Sukander Kartadinata who has come to work with us at the Bicrophonic Research Institute on developing the sonic bike into more of an instrument. Overall aim is to enable the rider to be able to play the sound from the bike by how they ride. Not just to trigger a different sample in a different way, but to allow for example the rider to cycle through a sound or synthesize it directly by their pedalling. The potential is vast and we have 4 days so we decide to be simple and work step by step. Follow progress on #bicrophonics BLOG

What’s also good is that Sukander and I have known each other since 1995 when he was working on the Hands with Michel Waisvisz and I was making my first experiments with a newly developing LiSa at STEIM, Amsterdam. Since then we’ve been in touch on and off, traveling in Thailand, discussions over the Lappetites ‘Fathers’ in Berlin, but this is the first time we will have actually worked together. We set up the studio. Late night good dinner much discussion. Good week coming.

Monday 21st March

March 21st, 2016

JoeEvano1 Back in the studio with Joe Moran and dancers Kirsty, Jake, Chris, Neil and Sam. Joy of course to be working again with physical bodies moving in space, but this time our explorations are enhanced – challenged – transformed – diverted by the work of sculptor Eva Rothschild who has been working with Joe for the last year or so. See above where the dancers are activating otherwise dead cumbersome rings which at the same time diverts their movements as well as mine as the rings sound great with wooden open clonkings at every push and pull. Eva also brings in strips and pieces of black PVC and painted geometric frames (see RHS) which offset and transform the ways of seeing the dancers and the objects themselves. I record and play, tiny to massive. I’ve worked with all the dancers before either with Joe or Meg and we are more than inspired at the start of this new venture.  We have two further blocks of work over the next weeks before a studio performance in May. Then onto the makings of a show.

Yes. Good to be back playing in an indoor space is a joy. More of this in 2016.

Friday 18th March

March 18th, 2016

returningeast A reflection on music making on water. The sonic kayak as instrument. Did we have expectations? Had we spent time on water?  Yes to both. Our first public experiment at FoAM this week was simple and clear and successful. We paddled around an estuary with sounds changing dependent on where you went, the fundamentals of bicrophonics unfolding. What I had not anticipated though was the sense that much of the music we added from speakers was unnecessary. Invasive even. By the 2nd day I had a clear idea sense that any added audio needed to come from underneath, from within the water. Should the speakers be immersed within the hull? We found they certainly need to be in front of the paddler.  The use of one hydrophone per kayak had been a conclusion, but they would need to be fed through the Raspberry Pi and as well as vastly increasing the cost, could they give us feedback/delay issues?  Any ideas of vibrating the hull for paddler pleasure were binned too as this would be create far too much disturbance for marine life. Remember how the noise of that small engine’s boat could be heard from the far side of the river? Even when with the noise of loud paddling.

No. This project really has body.  And sonic kayaking is something very different. Onwards.

Wednesday 16th March

March 16th, 2016

sonickayakingprepWe’re inspired from yesterday’s action and deem to get on the water with 2 kayaks including a sub woofer. Hull vibrations? Today we also have a touring kayak which gives access to the inside of its hull through a watertight cover. The sonic bike box and sub therefore can go inside and we strap the pair of minirigs on top. pd_kayakpatch

Dave and I also sit down with the code and reflect on yesterday’s discoveries. The role of the map has completely altered. Having come from the essentially urban nature of sonic cycling, where the cyclist’s route is determined by streets and compositions can reflect/counterpoint changing social and physical architectures, the reality on water is very different. The paddler is affected by tides and currents and other river users, which follow daily patterns with a sense of continuous flow, but the history and meaning and sensation of space has little comparison. And of course we’re on water. Continuing yesterday’s thoughts, we look at Dave’s Pd patches and think about the map as a set of instructions across the water rather than a series of sounds triggered to play in different zones.  This Pd patch enables different synthesis of sounds in different zones.  Considering yesterday’s idea that each kayak would be equipped with a hydrophone,  we could also add in instructions that would fade out other sounds in a new zone, use double stranded data streams such as turbidity to control filters, also with zones where nothing sounded at all.sonickayaking2

Tuesday 15th March – pm

March 15th, 2016

sonickayaking1 So we spend the morning on or listening to the water and return to the lab for afternoon discussions, coding, sensor and sonification action. Sonic Kayaking is fun. And so different to sonic cycling.

  1. There is no defined route. The kayaker has a relatively open space.
  2. The sensation of being on water has little resemblance to being on a bike on a road in a city or field.
  3. Synthetically made sound or music seems superfluous, even destructive to the experience of being on water.

We discuss how we can use any gathered sensor data. Live, direct listening to water, it was agreed, is an essential ingredient. So a simple, direct and maybe literal use of data to create any additional audio layer or punctuation could be used to start with. For example, we found that there was a rise of 1˚C across the estuary which could be translated into a rise in pitch?

What data is changing fast enough in these waters to use and more importantly, what data would be useful for sonic kayakers to gather ? Turbidity was proposed as it is also a product of tides as well as run off from fields with huge consequences. We even considered the idea of the sonic kayak being part of a much larger scientific project with its role being one of gathering turbidity data. This data could be mapped and stored online so that potenital paddlers could see where needed mapping next.


Tuesday 15th March – am

March 15th, 2016

sonickayakhacklabbegins The variety of skills and knowledge amongst the people gathered is inspiring as here we have immediate access to resources that can respond rather than internet trawled figures or opinions. Amber Griffiths, FoAM gets the ball rolling, the sonic kayak concept is introduced, the sonic bike history told and the researchers gathered propose ideas for action. We can move fast. Whilst Dave waterproofs the bike kit onto the kayaks, I set up hydrophones for listening on the jetty. Most people haven’t listened to underwater sound before and it’s delightful.waterproofingkitlisteningunderwater

Monday 14th March

March 14th, 2016

headingwest1Heading west with marine researcher Dr Kirsty Kemp for our Sonic Kayak open hacklab with FoAM Kernow. Excellent to be finally getting going on this. Sonic cycling is not so appealing in Kernow (Cornwall) as it’s pretty hilly, so when Dave Griffiths(sonic bike coder) and I had talked of the possibility of sonic riding in Cornwall where he is based, he came back with the sonic kayak idea. In a nutshell, lets waterproof up the sonic bike system and put it on water. Many months and discussions later and here we are. Except now the project has considerably evolved.

The Sonic Kayak will be a musical instrument with which to investigate nature. The kayaks will be rigged with underwater environmental sensors to generate live music from the marine world, providing the paddler with an extra dimension of senses with which to explore the underwater climate whilst also enabling citizens to gather important climate/environmental data.

Ambitious. On arrival we go straight to collect donated kayaks and plan tomorrow’s lab further. There will be 12 of us, with 7 being marine scientists. We also have the use of a professional temperature sensor as well as several of our own. Dave has made Pd patches that will be linked to different zones he has mapped out on the water. The FoAM lab sits right on the Penryn estuary at Falmouth. The weather forecast is good.


Saturday 12th March

March 12th, 2016

sonicbiketoKayakboxno2So here we have a sonic bike kit box v.3 with the new power convertor built and installed into this IP65 box which is pretty waterproof when its lid is screwed in place. Raspberry Pi2 top left, GPS receiver bottom right, lipo battery packed in underneath. It can be screwed onto the frame of a bike or strapped across a kayak. We’ve made it now so that it can be tested with the Sonic Kayak hacklab with FoAM Kernow next week and come to Berlin with me in April. minirig speakers sit in the frame made for sonic trike. Not sure that this will be accurate fit for kayak or whether a frame will be necessary. Also the minirigs will need to be waterproofed (wrapped in plastic at this stage..). however, its a solid piece of kit to work with plus it functions. Shocking though how long this small convertor took to build then pack in the box inc necessary holes for cables and on/off switch. 8 hours. And that was continuous labour.