Here’s a silly demo video I did one board lunchtime. Please excuse the bad humour and foolish accent…
So, I make ‘dance music’ for want of a better expression, with an old friend and fellow musical explorer D.J. Rubbish . These go under the monicker Mr Rigsby. We’ve explored various formats and styles but more recently there were vinyl releases in the modern Dub influenced 140BPM ish range with a direct decision to try and have stupidly large baselines. You can decided for yourself if you think we were successful in this endeavor by listening to the soundcloud content below.
Dee Isaacs had secured the funding and completed the massive amount of preperation work on her next project The Quicken Tree and now approached me again as a Live Theatre / Sound Projection consultant really. This was a big project, not only in terms of the size of the cast, made up of local school children and professional actors but also in the amount of area that we had to physically cover during the show as this would be a ‘follow the actors’ Promenade Performance with a musical twist.
Each scene was set in a different location throughout the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh. Radio mics to the rescue, well yes but not without interference brought on my the radio controlled sprinkler systems… A fantastic lesson to learn! In the end we went for multiple ‘sound pods’ for each scene, with their own mixer, playback and small audio effects rig. This approach also allowed us to record the mixer output, allowing the video team to use this audio feed for their side of production.
A wonderful uplifting project. A challenge, cold, wet and very much worth it.
Below was taken from Dee’s website here, but do please read on…
Follow our night on a magical adventure through the Garden. Will he succumb to the dark forces of the Enchantress Error, or can the Fairy Queen save him from himself?
The Quicken Tree was inspired by the second book of Edmund Spenser’s epic romance The Fairie Queen, first published in 1590, and written by Katherine Craik. The performance promenade took place in March 2011 at the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh.
This is the 5th in a series of highly successful shows that have been staged in the Garden and conceived by composer Dee Isaacs. Primary school children form the City of Edinburgh have worked with a team of University music students.
“Each group rehearsed their part separately coming together for intensive rehearsals as part of a team of 100 people who have created this performance. The performance is a real collaboration and sharing of vision and ideas but is is the children and students who have carried forward that vision with enthusiasm and great energy.” – Dee Isaacs
The Quicken Tree!
The Quicken Tree!
Lost are the woods,
Lost are the trees,
Lost are the flowers,
and pleasing melodies.
In one day, all things will pass –
Of mortal life the leaf, the
bud, the flower.
In one day, all things must pass.
But let us go, while weather
serves, and wind.
Here you can listen to my last album release. This one was on the label ‘GridLife’ from Los Angeles which was set up by some mad LA Mexican buddies of mine
This record was an entirely self-funded endeavour using my own and friends’ studios throughout Scotland & England. There are various guest artists who helped but more often than not everything was played, recorded, edited, mashed blah blah blah and strung together by Mr Hay. That sentence sounds like an ego filled mess, I’d rather just think of it as a way of saying it’s amazing what one can achieve on one’s own when you have a little time to focus on your own project.
The Reid Studio
The studio is housed in the basement of the Reid Hall in Edinburgh’s central Bristo Square and has point-to-point cabling from the hall above to the mixing desk/patch bays. It was designed in 2009/2010 by Michael Edwards, Kevin Hay, and several expert postgraduate students and colleagues. Funds of £120k (UKP) were generously provided by the University of Edinburgh College of Humanities and Social Science and the School of Arts, Culture & Environment. A truly amazing Live room to have above you and yes the organ works!
- Mike Cullen, planning committee
- Michael Edwards, project manager
- Owen Green, acoustic design, installation
- Kevin Hay, studio manager, planning committee & installation
- Vangelis Lympouridis, planning committee
- Arnold Meyers, planning committee
- Martin Parker, planning committee
- Jules Rawlinson, planning committee
- Sean Williams, planning committee, installation
Based around the SSL AWS 900+ SE super-analogue mixing desk, our approach in designing the studio was to offer the best in analogue and digital recording and processing for both stereo and 5.1 surround applications. An inclusive view of software environments was key, hence we purchased the usual suspects, ProTools HD, Nuendo, Ableton Live, and Logic Pro digital audio workstations. To guarantee the most transparent translations between the digital and analogue domains we have 24 channels of AD/DA conversion from Mytek.
For a fuller list of things that the studio had please continue reading. Some people really get off on kit list sort’ve things but to me the main attraction was the live space, you just can’t cheat an amazing room. That coupled with the quiet basement below, the fantastic central location and vibe was a winner. You could fit a full orchestra in there and we did on many occasions as well as having seating for about 300 people. I miss working here sometimes but feel lucky to have spent many happy hours here making music, recording, mixing and performing.
Anyway here’s the list:
- SSL AWS 900+ SE 24 channel mixing desk
- PMC 5.1 surround monitors
- TC Electronic System 6000 with surround reverb and MDX5.1 mastering dynamics and EQ
- Manley Massive Passive 4-band stereo valve EQ
- DAV BG3 stereo mastering EQ
- Vertigo VSC-2 stereo compressor
- Cranesong STC-8 Discreet Class A Compressor Limiter
- Drawmer Mercenary 1968 Stereo Compressor
- Eventide Eclipse stereo 96KHz FX processor
- 3x Mytek 8×192 AD/DA convertors, 2 with ProTools HD DIO cards
- Apple 2×4 core 2.26GHz Xeon, 12Gb RAM, 3TB disc, 24″ Apple cinema display, 32″ NEC display
- Digidesign HD1 PCIe Pro Tools HD Core System
- Lynx AES16e-SRC 16-channel PCIe digital audio card
- TC Electronic Konnekt 32 digital patchbay and Firewire sound card
- x3 TC Electronic Fireworx multi-effects processor
- EMT 140st stereo plate reverb (oh yes indeed, she was a bit fussy and noisy but still singing like a champ)
- Studer A80RC 1/4″ 2-track analogue tape recorder, 7.5 and 15ips
- Radial OX8 Eight Channel 3-way Mic Splitter with Jensen transformers
- Klark-Technik Reverb
- 4x BSS AR-133 Active DI Box
- Sonifex RB-HD6 6 channel headphone amp
- Sennheiser HD 650 headphones
- Fender Blues Junior Tube Guitar Amp Combo
- HHB Udp89 Universal Disc Player
- 2x SE Reflexion Filter
- 6x isolation panels 120x180cm
- Herman Miller Aeron chair
- Samson Powerbrite mains switch and conditioner
- Hear Technologies Extreme Extender ADAT to CAT5 convertor for digital connection from hall to studio
- 2x Neumann U89 (omni/cardioid/wide cardioid/hyper cardioid/fig8)
- 3x Schoeps MK6 (omni/cardioid/fig8)
- 3x Schoeps MK2 (omni)
- 2x DPA 4061 (miniature omni)
- 2x Electrovoice RE-20 (dynamic cardioid)
- 2x AKG C 414 B-XLS (omni/wide cardioid/hyper cardioid/fig8)
- 2x Sennheiser MD421 Mk2 (dynamic cardioid)
- 4x Shure SM57 (dynamic cardioid)
- Also available upon request
- DAV BG8 8x mic pre-amps
- API 3124 4x mic pre-amps
- Pro Tools
- Logic Pro
- Ableton Live
- Altiverb Surround Convolution
The Digital I/O AES-EBU rack:
Filled with Mytek convertors and the renowned TC System 6000 mastering grade (whatever that means to you) DSP beast
It was a challenge building this studio as well as a dirty one. Crawling in the cavities throughout this old stone building was a messy dusty expedition in to the unknown but as ever it was more than worth it. There’s nothing quite like the satisfaction gained when you turn it all on, line and phase test, to discover that it was all behaving just as planned! Yeeeha! Go get the mics….
Further reading here
DEE ISAACS, composer, performer, animateur, and lecturer contacted me to deal with the live sound side of the project. We were to perform and record in the Queen’s Hall in Edinburgh, Scotland. This was the first time that I’d worked with Dee but afterwards we were sure that we’d be working together again.
Below was taken from Dee’s website here, but do please read on…
Whilst we all began with our discovery and understanding of the text we have also worked from a musical score and added visual interpretation in animation. Colerdige’s text was a rich source full of colour and sounds. We have also drawn on complimentary texts by T. S. Elliot, Pablo Neruda and others who took their inspiration from the sea.”
On the 28th February and 1st March 2009, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s epic sea voyage, was retold through image and sound. Fifty musicians and artists transformed The Queen’s Hall and took the audience on a long and unforgettable voyage.
The performance was a collaboration between Music in the Community and Sound Design at The University of Edinburgh, and Animation at Edinburgh College of Art, starring John Bett as The Mariner.
The adaptation of Colerdige’s work took participants and audience on a transformative journey, crossing both physical boundaries, across oceans, and metaphysical boundaries into an otherworldliness. The music celebrated the richness of both Western and non-Westerns cultures.
Excerpt from The Rime
by Samuel Taylor Coleridge:
About, about, in reel and rout
The death-fires danced at night;
The water, like a witch’s oils,
Burnt green, and blue, and white.
And some in dreams assured were
On the Spirit that plagued us so;
Nine fathom deep he had followed us
From the land of mist and snow.
And every tongue, through utter drought,
Was withered at the root;
We could not speak, no more than if
We had been choked with soot.
An! well-a-day! what evil looks
Had I from old and young!
Instead of the cross, the Albatross
About my neck was hung.