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.