Make some noise...

A few weeks ago, Bido Lito sent me along to one of the Make Your Own Noise workshops that are currently being held at FACT as part of their Build Your Own exhibition.  The workshop focused around approaching music in alternative ways, using found objects and abstract instruments. One of the first exercises involved the group staying silent for a few minutes before slowing trying to mimic what we could hear around us.  One person moved their chair accidentally causing a squeak and someone else imitated that sound causing a ripple effect of evolving noises throughout the group.  We later built our own 'instruments' using wood blocks, screws, tin foil, springs, contact microphones and whatever else was at hand.  We used these instruments to perform in a similar way to the earlier exercise, reacting to each other.

The workshops are being run by OWL Project, a collaborative group based in Manchester that explore sound art using a mixture of tactile materials and experimental electronics.  They brought along some of the wonderful sound objects they make.  These included a myriad of circuits, filters, coil microphones, light to sound convertors, and flashing LEDS.  It was the use of light which raised my eyebrows the most.  As part of one circuit, where a speaker once lived, the OWLs had replaced it with an LED.  You can record your voice into this device and when you press play, the LED flashes.  Not massively impressive.  But once you hold this up to one of the light to sound convertors, which look like mini solar panels, you can hear a pretty accurately transmitted version of the recorded sound.  SCIENCE!  All I want to do now is build an array of these LEDs and sequence them transmitting to different sensors.  Or instead of LEDs, using lamps for something larger and more visual!  I might not get around to doing that, but it's certainly given me ideas about approaching sound in a new way.  And I need to get some contact microphones!

I recorded a big handful of sounds from the day and Faded Gold, who is another Liverpool electronic artist, and myself are going to attempt making some music using this audio.

You can read the article in the latest copy of Bido Lito here.

Noise experiments...

After releasing Transmission last summer I've continued to explore the themes and sounds that I used to make it.  I've been drawn towards the sections around the edges of the tracks. The noise, static and warbles.  At the time, I created a lot of that from straight modular recordings as well as the sounds of electronic circuits, recorded using coil microphones.  Since then, my modular has continued to grow, with a recent addition being the RF Nomad, a crazy little module that has its own shortwave receiver!  So I've found myself becoming obsessed with actual transmissions, which you can only pick up late at night, and Numbers Stations.  Some dark scary things going on there....

One fun resource that's recently popped up is some impulse responses taken from inside an NSA Listening Station in Berlin that was used in the Cold War.  They are available here if you are interested in experimenting with that kind of thing!

I'm aiming to build instruments made up entirely of sounds from transmissions and electricity.  I'm lucky enough to be doing some of this source work at Parr Street Studios with the help of the Merseyside Arts Foundation!  I will update with some cool sounds soon.