Moving toward the final sound piece for this project was a case of refining what was already present and intertwining it within the performers’ movements. The bulk of the composition actually changed very little since Week 06, mainly because we needed to continue working with a set structure for the dance.
The resulting interaction was a combination of: performers triggering composed events; performers responding to the composition; and the performers creating the composition themselves.
What I’m showing in the image above is where and when the dancers could control the sound (this is just a section of the Ableton set, not the entire piece). The Scenes (horizontal rows) marked in yellow would not trigger until a predefined movement by the performers was completed. The Clips (individual cells) marked in red could only be triggered by the performers, and only within a certain period of time – marked by the red arrows. This mixture of effect and response seemed to work quite well. When I set out with this project, I didn’t want the technology to be the focus, but instead a supporting element to the performance itself.
A few weeks before completion, I did receive feedback from my Sound Media tutor that he wasn’t making a connection between the dancers and the sound: he was unable to tell what effect the Wii remotes were having on the composition. This was actually some of the best feedback I received on the project. He was the first person to watch the performance, without any knowledge of the technology behind it – if he wasn’t seeing/hearing a connection, then it wasn’t a successful performance.
To try and rectify this, I created the ‘introductory’ sequence. An extended section of the work, which made a clear link between movement, light and sound, right at the beginning of the piece. The idea behind this was, once the connection between the dancers and the sound/vision had been made, it would continue to be assumed by the audience that at least a portion of what they view would also be generated by the performers.
In the end, the sound and movement were quite complimentary of each other. I do like the give and take between the dancers and the music, however, if I have the opportunity to revisit this project, I would like to introduce some more generative and evolving soundscapes. The current focus of single-layer samples connected to movement limits the range of the work.
Unlike the lights, the sound went (mostly) according to plan, and aside from finding more time to master and mix the composition properly, I’m fairly happy with what I’ve achieved this semester.