Erratica - Toujours et Pres de Moi

I was invited back to work with Erratica this summer to design the sound for their show ‘Toujours et Pres de Moi’ which went up to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2018. The show consists of two actors on stage interacting and setting the stage for two further characters represented in a holographic video. Using a huge reflective screen angled at 45 degrees to the audience, the effect of two miniature characters dancing and interacting with real world objects on a large wooden table is incredibly realistic and somewhat eerie.

It was a particularly interesting challenge for me as a sound designer as much of the design was tied to the video content, but was also spatialised across an eight channel sound system in the theatre. This led to me being able to experiment with lots of shifting of perspectives, drawing the audience close into the world of the projected characters with small speakers installed underneath the table, and expanding back out again into the auditorium with use of rear stage an surround speakers.

Dreamthinkspeak - One Day, Maybe

I was invited by Dreamthinkspeak’s Tristan Sharps to design and install the sound for their large scale site responsive performance as part of Hull 2017 city of culture. The installation spanned four floors of a derelict office building where participants were guided through Kasang headquarters, a fictional company specialising in smart technologies. The sound install comprised over one hundred speakers, bespoke playback devices and custom control software developed in MAX to enable flexible control of audio playback in a truly unique performance scenario.

You can find more information about the project from the link below

For Amusement Purposes Only

Turns out someone had a bonkers idea to turn a pinball table into an interactive performance.  That person was Erratica, a London based arts company used to making music and theatre performances with a heavy interest in technology.  I was brought on board to create a generative music patch, taking trigger inputs from every conceivable flipper, bumper, button, ramp (and the mouth of a four inch talking clown).

In collaboration with Patrick Eakin Young (Erratica artistic director) and Matt Rogers (composer) I built the compositional interface using MAX, that sat between the pinball table and Matt who would be using it to compose an interactive score.  We had a three week residency to begin our researh, partnering with Rambert Dance Company to explore exactly what the pinball machine was capable of,  and how we could take advantage of it as best we could. 

House of Healing - ZU-UK / Barcu Festival Bogota

In October 2016 I was invited as both sound designer and workshop leader to join ZU-UK theatre to create an immersive theatre installation for Barcu Festival in Bogota Columbia.  We were to work with local Columbian artists over two weeks to create a multi media performance, utilising the broad range of skills brought forward by the group which included visual artists, video makers, performers and designers.  

The piece took the concept of 'house of healing' as a starting point which ended up being subverted in a way to make the audience think about their own ideas of healing within the setting of a converted children's home. For the technological side of things we used binaural audio, a VR experience, projection mapping and a silent disco quiz to help lead the audience through the piece.

Modern Conjuring for Amateurs - Leslie Deere

My gesture control system saw it's first public outing this June in the form of 'Modern Conjuring for Amateurs', a performance piece devised by Leslie Deere in collaboration with myself and Tim Murray Browne as part of Whitstable Biennale Festival.  The piece combined Leslie's background in movement and sonic arts, with my software system to create an intimate performance conjuring up sound and projected image through movement and gesture.  I took on the role of technical collaborator, providing the software system that translated her movements into sound modulation throughout the performance.  The piece was supported by Sound and Music and Music Hackspace.


Sound Design and Workshop Leader - Young Roots Anarchy

This spring I embarked on a young people's project with the aim to create a series of theatre performances and installations with three colleges from Hampshire for Winchester Hat Fair Festival.  With Wet Picnic artistic director Matt Feerick, we chose to look at creating binaural sound pieces, combined with live performance to explore our stimulus of the English Civil War in and around the Winchester area.  This technique has become popular in recent years, particularly with the recent Complicite production 'The Encounter' using binaural recording to build and enhance storytelling.

I decided to create my own binaural microphone dummy head for the project which we used to create 3D sound worlds to accompany each performance.  By using binaural recording techniques we explored different ways that text could be delivered to the audience.  This can be particularly effective when recordings are made at various distances from the microphone.  It was particularly effective for Barton Peveril College's group performance which looked at propaganda, where comments could be whispered secretively into the audiences ears

Kinect Body Instruments - Lecture Demonstration at Point Blank Studios

Over the last few years I've been developing an interactive music system, taking movement data from the microsoft Kinect camera to create and modulate sound in real time for performance and sound creation from movement of the body.  I was invited down to Point Blank Music Studios in London to talk at their Ableton User Group Meet Up about how I integrate the system using MAX and Ableton Live .

Artistic Residency - G.A.S Station / ZU-UK

I was luck enough to be invited down to G.A.S. Station for a week in January 2016 as an artistic resident, giving me the space, time and resources to help me explore my own practice.   The space is run by the wonderful ZU-UK theatre, who's notable work includes 'Hotel Madae'.  I took the opportunity to invite down a host of collaborators across the week to help explore how interactive technologies could be used in collaboration across different art forms.

The Iliad - British Museum / Almeida Theatre

I was excited to be asked to support the production team through a dusk til dawn reading of Homer's 'The Iliad'  in the iconic setting of the British Museum. Hosted by Almeida Theatre With a cast of over 50 actors  including Simon Callow, Brian Cox and Mark Gattis reading individual sections of the text from start to finish,  I was responsible for looking after sound throughout the day, fitting microphones and manning the sound desk during the reading.

The Incandescents - Welcome Collection

I was asked to program an audio responsive light system for Subject to Change's theatre installation 'The Incandescents' as part of the 'On Light' exhibition at the iconic Wellcome Collection in London.  I used the software 'VenueMagic' to import audio and create a modulating DMX signal from multiple audio tracks, controlling the voltage sent to a series of incandescent light bulbs to create an instructional workshop experience for the audience.

Motion Control - More Experiments Hacking XBOX Kinect

I've recently had some time to continue developing a system to take data from the Microsoft Kinect camera, to control sound using the human body.  I've created a number of 'body instruments' that use different modulation and trigger techniques for controlling and generating sound in real time.

I've also stated using live looping to build music and soundtracks from scratch using my body and a foot controller to trigger presets and recording. I'm interested in taking this technology into dance and theatre, to create close connections between sound and image in a performance setting.

The Lift - A Promenade Theatre Performance

I joined Wet Picnic Theatre for a week to help them redevelop their outdoor promenade piece 'The Lift'.  Together with collecting, editing and designing the soundtrack, I also needed to create a custom playback system to enable the performers to navigate tracks from both inside and outside of the lift seamlessly.

It was the first time i'd approaching  creating a playback system like this, but ended up using the Sparkfun MP3 trigger board where I could attach individual trigger buttons placed in the lift to trigger the sounds by the performers on the fly.  I used two 15 core data cables soldered on to Dsub connectors to send 12 trigger inputs back to the MP3 board built into a panel on the lift.

We Create - Digital Weekend Festival at Barbican Centre

In March this year the Barbican Guildhall Creative Learning team hosted a weekend of workshops ,installations, performances and interactive games across the Barbican foyer spaces.  The program was to reflect the use of technology as a form of expression, bringing together a number of technological innovators to creating a free, accessible festival for the public.

Artists included Black Country Atelier who led a 3D printing and laser cutting workshop, a walkthrough interactive dance installation designed and choreographed by Darren Johnston and Music Jelly who created a video remix wall controlled through ipads.

I was technical production manager on the project, working with artists from preliminary planning meetings,  through to managing all technical aspects involved in delivering the event.

Finding Frank

The story of Frank started a number of years ago when singer Olivia Bradbury began working as a music therapist in a hospital treating people with mental illness.  She met a man name Frank, someone she felt a strong connection with, and someone she knew she could help.  A few months later, the hospital's funding was cut and she never saw Frank again.

This story was to become the basis of a new play that first opened at the Yard Theatre as part of 'The Generation Game' festival in the spring of 2013.  After a successful first run, the company were invited back for a second series of shows in November.  Here I took the role of producer / composer, working with Olivia to create songs that were to become the basis of the play.

We wanted to use music to communicate the feelings that came along with the conditions held by some of the patients Olivia worked with.  Liv also believed in the strong, transformative power of song that she found in her therapy session.

The play was interspersed with dialogue recorded from sessions with a number of Liv's patients.  Here the piece took on the form of documentary as well as storytelling.  We created individual speakers located in different places around the set to give each person an individual sense of identity.

Discover Dudamel at Barbican Centre - Technical Manager

I've been working for over 6 months as the technical coordinator in the Creative Learning department of the Barbican Centre in London.  I recently had the opportunity to work on a project bringing together over 100 young orchestral players in east London with one of the leading maestros of classical music.  Gustavo Dudamel is the conductor and musical director for the LA Philharmonic and during his residency at the Barbican we took the opportunity to arrange an open rehearsal to gain an insight into his processes, and to create an extraordinary opportunity for the young musicians we work with across London.

I took on the role of technical manager for this project, overseeing and arranging the stage planning, lighting, multitrack recording and sound mixing of the orchestra.

Light Controlled Radio Project

I've always been interested in the relationship between movement and sound, particularly in terms of using the body as a control source for music software.  After scratching the surface of interactive system design when studying at university, I decided to start a new project to expand my skills in both DIY electronics and motion sensor technology.  My aim was to create a system where moving my hand in open space could control sound parameters in different ways.

I first started repairing electronic equipment when working as a technician at Northbook college.  This soon turned into 'hacking', after realising that my soldering skills could be put to more creative uses.  I began by buying an old radio from a flea market, removing the internal amplifier components to make some room, and installed a small 5 watt mono amplifier I purchased from an electronics store.  With a little re-wiring of the headphone jack I was now able to send my own sounds through my radio.

I bought an Arduino micro controller and started to explore different sensors I could connect to it.  Arduino is an open source prototyping platform that has become popular in recent years among hobbyist electronics makers and inventors for it's ease of use interface and simple programming language, along with a strong online community waiting to give you a helping hand at every hurdle you come across.

I started to work with an LDR (light dependant resistor) connected to the Arduino and followed a useful tutorial to help me get started.  I then created a basic circuit using the sensor, creating a continuous stream of data depending on how much light it detected on it's surface.

I then started to think about how I could use this data to interact with my audio software, specifically Ableton Live.  I did some research and found a dedicated Max/MSP patch called Maxuino which enables direct communication with the Arduino board and my Max software.  Next I built my own patch to take the information I received from moving my hand in front of the light resistor, to turn it into useful MIDI information I could send into my favourite DAW to control my instruments and effects!  For all you budding makers out there, here's a video of exactly how I did it.

Fish Tales of Alaska

In August 2012 I was invited to join The Unhidden Collective in a week long creative lab session at the Barbican Centre.  The group contained dancers, singers, a documentary film maker and a visual artist looking to create a multi disciplinary performance piece.  Working as sound designer, collectively we started playing with ideas on what was later to become "The Fish Tales of Alaska", culminating in a three week run at The Yard theatre in Hackney.

It gave me the opportunity to work with the fantastic "Goodbye Leopold", an acapella group from east London that use some unusual techniques such as singing backwards when composing.

When designing the sound for this piece I spent a lot of time sourcing and recording sounds of the sea, bells, weather reports and storms.  I wanted to bring out the ethereal quality, character and personality of the sea; a theme I felt would run strong throughout the piece.

I also took influence from traditional Tlinglit alaskan music, using drum patterns, instrumentation and folk influences to create a simple theme for our fisherman character.  This needed to be delicate and have a human feel while providing a sense of apprehension.  I wanted to portray the slightly disquieting relationship the fisherman feels he has with the sea.

I also wanted to create different ways that the performers on stage could play with sound themselves. I built an interactive radio containing a light sensor and potentiometer so that the character could physically tune in and out of pre recorded radio stations, bringing an extra sense of realism to the performance.  The light sensor was used to create strange effects as our character moved closer or further away from it.

You can hear more extracts of the songs and sounds used in the piece below.