Surface Microphone MkI

I’ve built a stereo surface mic to be used for performance at ‘Hero’s Talk’, my collaboration with guitarist Ranieri Spina as part of the We:Me, You show at Firstsite Colchester.

This mic has two piezo elements with preamps and 5ook pots for left/right volume control. It also has a sleeve which can contain objects on the surface (for our show, we’ll be using HEXBUG Nano)

  

ASSEMBLE

For the last three months visual artist, Will Hurt and I have participated in the Collusion R&D challenge, to create new audio visual work for several Panasonic PT-EX16K projectors, to be projected in various locations around Kings Lynn.

On the weekend of 29th September our work was presented alongside three other teams. Our project, ASSEMBLE, was a three player audio visual sequencer using the architecture of local buildings and sounds collected from those buildings. The sequencer behaved like a game in that each layer of sound could be processed creating either synchronised sounds and rhythmic patterns or something far more abstract.

This concise video describes it in a little more detail:

                   

Music for 200 Leaves

I wrote a short piece to be performed at a Plank session, which can be heard here alongside the score and a photo taken after the performance.

 

Perpetua 2 at ‘Pavilion of the Senses’

I was asked to create some work for the ‘Pavilion of the Senses’; a five-day exhibition held at a stall on Norwich market, curated by Megan Ryder. Each day a different artist made work in response to one of the five senses.

I made Perpetua 2; A very simple perpetual system which uses the random pattern of a PC fan to make sound, sent to a surface transducer attached to a piece of a washing machine. Apart from the guitar, the whole piece is made from junk or repurposed objects. Sound is made when the fan plucks the strings and when the fan motor causes interference by the copper coils on the guitar pick-ups.

This is the first time I’ve had work in such a public place and although it was fantastic to engage with a brand new audience (lots of interest), it was challenging to get a decent recording due to the ambient noise. Also, the battery in my external mic failed hence the poor sound quality in this video.

ROOKS

I am in an evolving duo with percussionist (and excellent printmaker), Taz Stevenson called Rooks.

Taz plays a basic drum kit through a series of contact mics and small solid state amps. I play no-input mixer through a couple of effects.

The project was a formed as result of a visit we made to see the phenomenal roosting of 50000 rooks at Old Buckenham last year.

Sudden Amusements for Noam Chomsky

Sudden Amusements (a duo I am in with trumpet and electronics player, Chris Dowding. My role is live processing of Chris’ trumpet, objects and field recordings) have been asked to contribute a piece for a release in tribute to linguist, philosopher and thinker, Noam Chomsky.

The record (on —- label), yet unamed will be released later this year.

Our piece ‘First Nature’ is an edit of a 45 minute live recording. As well as trumpet, objects and field recording I also used a tape recorder with a previously recorded collage of Chomsky oration which was then processed in my Supercollider system.

 

Green box

I took my JrF contact mics to the mysterious green box (which I later discovered was a BT wiring unit) as I always found the throbbing drones it produced attractive.

I was really delighted by what I picked up, using the various thicknesses of steel on the housing and positions around the cabinet I managed to record some really interesting tones.

To be listened to on decent speakers or headphones, this piece will not work on laptop speakers….

Ears On Objects

In March 2017 I had a three day solo installation at Nunnysard Gallery in Norwich. The show was called ‘Ears On Objects: Sounding the Domestic Environment’.

The installation consisted of three pieces:

‘Perpetua’ (PC fan, inductor coil and three prepared speakers)

‘Lyrebird’ (Hacked greeting card, tin foil baking tray and two fans)

‘Infinite Fugue for Three Fans’ (Three pedestal fans, three prepared inductor coils, mixing desk and monitors)

 

The Tide

The Tide was created for Vacuamoenia’s INNERSCAPE project which focused on typically inaudible or unusually heard sonic environments.

This piece was created using inductor coil pick-ups and contact microphone; two instruments I often use that are able to capture sounds that are usually inaudible to humans.

The body of the texture was created by recording the electronic activity in my router whilst downloading the INNERSCAPE submission application and me completing the online form. I then uploaded the recording to an FTP site and recorded the router once more. I repeated this one more time and then finally recorded my portable recorder whilst it was recording the router. Finally I used a processed recording of a wind turbine and a volume gate to add deep punches when the router sounds peaked.

 

Cymatic water amplifier

I’m making a portable water amplifier to be used as part of a sensory activity for young people with disabilities. Basically it’s just a rehoused 60W amp, mounted horizontally. I’ve not got round to making the acrylic tray that sits nicely in the housing but couldn’t resist trialling it with a plastic box I found.

Put my lovely drone machine through it and the results are pretty satisfying.

 
 

Entropy

Me and my friend Morris recorded a free improv guitar jam, intended as our contribution to the excellent One Month Album project.

 

Lyrebird 1

I’m producing a range of installation pieces for a series called ‘Lyrebird’.

Very simply, the sounds of objects being destroyed or distorted are recorded and played back through the processed object. The objects are attached to a surface transducer, which allow the objects themselves to sing with the sound of their own destruction.

This is an A1 sheet of pale yellow card.

The video showing the recording of the source audio can be seen here.

Patterns and Phases

I made a pair of aeolian harps for the Waveney & Blythe Arts sculpture trail.

They’re situated on the furthest northerly point on the site, on the edge of the scrape just beside the river.

When the wind is blowing in the right direction the harps provide a beautifully subtle stereo drone which compliments the landscape nicely.

Trail runs Friday to Sunday throughout August and the first weekend in September.

Plink Plonk

I’m really happy to announce Plink Plonk; a live series of new collaborations programmed by the Norfolk and Norwich Sonic Arts Collective (of which I am a member).

Plink Plonk is all about celebrating improvised music; providing a platform for local artists and collaborating with ‘stars’ from the improv world to create exciting new work.

Our first show is pretty huge, we’ve got John Butcher (sax) and David Ross (electronics) who will perform solo sets as well as an unplanned collaborative set, housed in the wonderful Tudor courtyard at Anteros.

In September we have a more local focussed event (poster below) followed by another huge show in December featuring Anton Hunter and Alan Wilkinson. Will be raucous!

Plink_Plonk_A6_Flyer_White (1)ppsept1 copy

 

Wet Grass and Webcams

I recently took part in a one-month album challenge (write, produce and release an album of 10 tracks (or 35 minutes in length) in the month of June). These pieces were really offcuts from longer, unfinished bits but I quite like some of it.

Free to download via Bandcamp

A Hidden Spectrum

I have a new monthly show on Future Radio (107.8FM and DAB) called A Hidden Spectrum.

It’s aim is to promote improvised music and to celebrate spontaneity in infrequent musical engagements so I’ll be playing lots of free stuff, lots of collaboration and hopefully get some session/live recordings from visiting improvisers and artists.

10-11pm, every third Sunday of the month.

ahs34webstite

Office Ambience

I recently read an alarming report published by the Environmental Health Trust which led to the banning of Wifi in French nurseries and thought to myself the extent of travelling radio waves and electronic signal through the atmosphere, ignored by us due to the limitations of our senses.

A day or two later, at work, with sun streaming through the window, a colleague turned to me and a said something like ‘it’s so quiet in here today, it’s so peaceful’. It made me think of all the noise around us that we couldn’t hear, so I decided to hook up half a dozen coils to some stuff in our office and record some of the inaudible noise.

I’ve called it The Office Ambience as a take on the Wire’s regular feature (a playlist based on music they have received in a given month). I thought what if, instead of having hours and hours of interesting and (mostly) beautiful music to soundtrack your nine-to-five you had harsh static, electronic pulses and repetitive oscillatory drones. (I’d quite like it).

The beginning and end of the video are live recordings of the sounds going through a small amp, mixed in real time. The bit in the middle was recorded and mixed through Logic.

Balanced Return

I’ve been looking into feedback systems whilst researching for an installation I’m currently making using coil pickups and gongs.

As part of that research I’ve been playing around with guitars and amplification and made this mini-installation using a guitar, amp and paintbrush. The feedback produced is just enough to keep the paintbrush vibrating causing the sound to be constant.

`playing with the tone wheel makes some nice tonal and textural differences too.
 

Abstract Playground

I recently contributed a few sound packs to the Abstract Playground, made by my good friend Will Hurt.

Abstract Playground is a screen based interactive tool, designed for people with learning difficulties, made during Will’s residency at the LEVEL Centre, Rowsley. The project was co-commissioned by D-Lab and the Level Centre.

I made Will a classical and noise/glitch based pack as well as one made from samples of one of my performances for prepared guitar. Here’s a video of the app with prepared guitar pack in action.

Playing & Projecting

I recently produced an event called Playing and Projecting which was part of the Magdalen Street Celebration.

The event consisted of two performances by the groups Arthur and Some Things at two different venues; Gildengate House at OUTPOST Studios in the morning and EPIC Studios in the afternoon. The groups were performing improvised music that was a response to a series of graphic scores created by participants of the Fast Forward project.

Fast Forward is a project run my Musical Keys, Nansa and OPEN for young people on the fringes of disability services. Over the course of four, two hour workshops, led by musician Chris Dowding and artist Annie Brundrit, the 12 participants created nine separate graphic scores all inspired by and using materials from Magdalen Street (brass rubbings, found objects, archival material etc).

I produced the event as well as designing the poster. Cheekily, I managed to contribute to the performance with some subtle electronics (in the first two pieces).

Here are a few the scores with accompanying event poster, and below that a film of four excerpts from the second performance at EPIC Studios.

five seven

fourONEfourTWO

eightone

sixthree

p&pPOSTERweb