Delighted to be nominated for the Scottish New Music Awards 2018 for my composition Barkeval in the electroacoustic/sound art category.
Barkeval is a four movement, fixed media stereo sound composition. The composition was inspired by the geology of the Isle of Rum which features some of the oldest rocks of earth and is the site of a massive ancient volcano. Barkeval is the name of a peak on the site of the volcano. Rooted in acoustic ecology and the culture and landscape of the west coast of Scotland, the composition uses some processed sounds from volcanos (eg lava flow etc). It also features a range of sound recordings of materials evocative of volcano acoustics to give a subterranean feel. Volcanos make a wide range of sounds from flute or voice-like sounds, to drumbeats, gliding, and even the sounds of a jet engine. Volcanic activity can range from slow lava flow, to violent eruptions. A wide range of sound processing and programming techniques were used to deliver the composition which explores the various stages of volcanic eruptions, and the sounds they make. The composition is through-composed to tell the story, and includes some Gaelic spoken word about life in the shadow of a volcano.
I have been exploring subharmonic plugins to add more bass to my composition inspired by volcano acoustics. Eventually settled on Waves Audio LoAIr and Renaissance Bass. Those nice people give discounts to share so here it is below incase anyone can use it.
Busy this summer both playing and writing music. I have been writing a piece inspired by volcano acoustics. I have written about 22 minutes of music with another 3 mins or so to go.
I am pleased with it so far. It includes all I have learned in both the composition and programming training I have had. It utilises programming in a specialist common lisp language called Slippery Chicken, by Michael Edwards as well as programming in Max/MSP and Pure Data. It also includes some violin improvisation and sound design and experimental sound processing and production.
Looking forward to finishing the music and then polishing and post production work.
Many low frequency sounds.
I will be performing this piece at end of August. Exciting. A lot to do before then!
Its been a musical few days. Went to see the wonderful She'koyakh last night - fantastic Klezmer band with fabulous musicians at the Nomad's Tent in Edinburgh. It was very interesting to listen to the violinist's improvisations.
Here's a taste if you haven't heard them
Then today I went to a workshop to play Strathspeys in the Scottish and Donegal style with Amy Geddes and Liz Docherty. The Donegal way of playing is a bit more laid back and simplified and the tunes are known as Highlands.
Computer Desktop Project
I have also been doing further work on the Computer Desktop project. Managed to get it running but had to reinstall it on a Windows machine. My Mac didn't like it. However I have now managed to transform sounds.
There are some useful links in CDP such as this Clouds granulation Max patch
There are many ways for processing sound. I have been checking our Trevor Wishart's free software for Composers at the Composer's Desktop Project.
This is based (for Mac) on the User Interface Soundloom. There are lots of resources for Composers including tutorials, demo sounds, manuals for PC and Mac. The software gives a lot of options for processing, file handling, sample rates etc.
The composition I am embarking on will be mainly sound (with some light instrumentation).
There are lots of other possibilities including using various DAWS and effects, MAX/MSP, or CLM (capable of higher quality sound). If anyone has comments on the pros and cons of all of these for high quality audio it would interesting to hear.
I'm embarking on a new composition project.
The concept of ecology is gaining more traction in relation to study and composition of music. While many composers in the 20th century and earlier have been concerned with the environment, the great challenges we face in relation to climate change and environmental degradation has shone a light on the relationship between ecological systems themselves and music. Composers and other artists have become increasingly interested in, and aware of, the importance of these issues, and express their responses through music and other art forms.
At the same time the scientific community has also been becoming more interested in sound. A newish area of study has been in the field of volcano acoustics where scientists have been studying patterns of sound that volcanos make (most of which are below the level of human hearing) to determine if these can be used as warning signals. Its fascinating to listen to the sounds, processed to bring them into hearing range.
I will be composing a piece of music inspired by this work.
One of my recent Compositions. Experimental Music with spoken word, Inspired by the poetry of James Elroy Flecker.
Delighted to have a new Logo design. Check it out above in black, and below in colour!
Designed by Bold Agency by Corina Hill.
I am busy recording prepared piano. Don't know what that is? Well its preparing the piano to make is sound different. You can insert thing between the strings and get some interesting effects. The piano can sound like percussion, bells and wood. It can be plucked, bowed , struck or played normally.
John Cage was the first to really explore prepared pianos. Check out one of his Sonatas and Interludes below to hear how it can sound. Other composers such as Marco Trevisani and Michael Edwards have since taken this to a new level by adding electronics in the album Apagon.