Sound Media 2 – Week 04

Classwork

We were split into smaller groups for more intimate consultations this week. This was a good opportunity to ask questions specific to our concepts and have something as close to one-on-one teaching as you’re likely to get at uni.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to make the most out of my consultation. Quite literally no-one responded to the (roughly one dozen) emails I sent out, asking for dancers/performers and so my project is still currently just a ‘proof of concept’.

This is actually a really big problem – I need to begin collaborating with performers, because this is where ideas for direction of sound and music will come from. Not to mention having the chance to deal with unforeseen problems, especially around the interaction with sound and visuals.

No Work No Eat, by Blanding Sloan. Thankfully, I'm not faced with the same problems

What I did chat about, was the surround sound abilities of ProTools HD. It’s really the first time I’ve seen surround done as simply as I always imagined it should be: channels are placed visually within the space. This is what Ableton’s little green ball promises, but as yet doesn’t deliver for surround. Once I’ve put together the complete piece, I think all surround work will be done in ProTools HD, before bouncing out individual tracks. These will go into Ableton, where they will be routed to discreet output channels from the soundcard. Sounds too easy to be true…

Research

Still before collaborating with performers, this is where I’m heading with music thus far…

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Each segment of the above loop is created so that it doesn’t match up exactly. This means that whilst I’m not changing or adding a whole lot, it will have a subtle feeling of movement throughout. I’m also planning to use entirely recorded sound, with the exception of the piano synth. There’s a toy accordion and vacuum cleaner hit in the above piece for all the trainspotters out there.

The final work will use a very simple ‘base’ composition, because the movement of the performers will trigger further sounds and effects – I don’t want to have an overwhelming wall of sound on my hands by the end of the piece.

I’ve now given myself a deadline of the concept presentations in Week 06 to come up with a group of performers for this work. There is a lot to be done, and without a definite group to work with, it’s probably more sensible to direct this idea into an interactive installation, rather than a performance. Hopefully, the next few days will see the pieces fall into place.

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