Once again I was working with Dee Isaacs on another uplifting yet challenging project. We were in Serrekunda in The Gambia working with local school kids and teachers using music as a means to teach. This is quite a new idea out there as it is in the UK and as ever our budgets were thin. This time I was the ‘audio guy’ with my trusty location gear making an audio documentary of the event.
Above are just a couple of samples of what came on a couple trips. One by foot and another by local taxi. Both of these are binaural recordings so if you can please listen using good headphones.
On Saturday the 6th of April Tam Treanor and I were lucky enough to be invited to perform ‘SkypeBack’ at the Edinburgh Science Festival 2013. The venue was the fantastically modular and somewhat THX inspired, in my opinion, Inspace. With their fantastic array of projectors and flexible routing matrix we were able to up the visual side of things and explore the use of light within this performance piece. To blend in with the colour palette of the space we also purchased and put on some neutral white outfits, which transformed us in to moving projection surfaces. Please have a look at the edited short version of the video.
Below is the full live audio recording taken from the concert.
Here is the short edited live audio recording taken from the concert.
The pictures below were kindly taken by our friend and colleague Tracy Foster:
Firstly I offer the Windy.app. A wind sound thingymajigy made from filter, modulated white noise with a few user tweak-able parameters. It might just be me, but sometimes I like just leaving it on whilst I’m wandering around the house doing other things to make me feel like I’m on the top of a big ol’ mountain. Is that weird? Have a go and see what you think…
It’s Mac OS X (Intel only) I’m afraid not out of any real choice other than that’s where I work these days. Please let me know what you think… This little ditty was very much inspired by the master of Procedural Audio Andy Farnell.
PayPal donations in support of my work can be made here.
Recently I’ve been back in touch with the incredible crew working on the Touretteshero project. Both Left Wing Idiot and Touretteshero herself are very busy and hard to pin down these days due to all their superpower superhero work but isn’t that the way of those in the superhero business?
Clearly famous for it’s audible output, Tourettes is a condition that many have heard of and usually for the ‘wrong’ reasons, such as Coprolalia which is the rare sweary version of the condition. Should you want to read further about some frequently asked questions that relate to the condition then you can do so here. We’ve done some amazing sound work with Touretteshero although I can’t really say much more than that at this point. Please stay tuned to the their fabulous website which is full of amazing user generated artistic responses to documented tics in various multimedia formats. I’m so happy to be involved on the sound front. Think music, sound installations and parodies a plenty and you might be in the right area, might…
World Premiere of ‘Skypeback’. A feedback based networked performance instrument. Unfortunately only camera onboard audio was available for this video but you do get the gist of what the performance contained.
Here is the audio from the public World Premiere performance of ‘Skypeback’ which took place in Music & Sound research department within the Edinburgh College of Art, The University of Edinburgh at Alison House, Nicolson Square.
These pictures were taken by Colin Chipchase:
Now, the decision to place this in Sound Design or Music is an interesting one that’s still up for debate… The below audio was the result of a 3month project based around the study of phase transitions of water, mainly solid ice to liquid and the sounds or music that this could offer. Relating to, and an extension of, feedback networks and temporary performance interfaces. I have a lot to add here and will do so in time, once I extract the useful details from the Daisy World project web site.
Exploration & Research Audio:
These are snippets of the work which lead up to the final Feedback Study recordings, which then lead on to our own creation of the ‘Skypeback’ Feedback Networked performance instrument.
Two more experiments documenting performances in full. A revisit and use of the Stairwell, after having re-written the MaxMSP patches including new filter designs and an alternate setting of the ‘Glasshouse’.
The final audio from various performances which Tam and I thought would best illustrate what we were had achieved.
Feedback Study testing in the stairwell:
Tam Treanor & Kevin Hay
This was a project to realise and spring off of the works by Agostino Di Scipio. After Tam and I had ‘translated’ the score/DSP routine from Kyma code in to a MaxMSP objects mega-patch, we decided to give the thing a test in an interesting environment that we had access to. This was a fire escape stairwell, and yes we know, we really shouldn’t have done so, but we got clearance first and sonically, we just couldn’t resist the chance of using such a beautifully unique and reveberant space. The only source sound is purposefully induced feedback loops between speakers and microphones. With our DSP routine in between.
Here’s a silly demo video I did one board lunchtime. Please excuse the bad humour and foolish accent…
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!
The design/installation stage team were (A-Z):
- 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