Reworking Humanhood’s ZERO

January 15th, 2018 by Iain Armstrong

In 2016 I composed the music for Humanhood’s ZERO which premiered at mac Birmingham and subsequently toured Midlands venues last year. The company have been commissioned by The Movement: Sadler’s Wells, The Lowry and Birmingham Hippodrome to present a 15 min excerpt of ZERO as part of Dance: Sampled, a showcase event presenting a diverse selection of dance from national and international companies.

We’ve been working with musician Azizi Cole, a quartet of fantastic string players and cellist Gyda Valtysdottir to record new string material that I have been incorporating into the original track. In addition to a remixed music score, the final section of ZERO is being reworked with new lighting design, new costumes and new choreography.

Humanhood will perform ZERO (extract) at Dance: Sampled, Sadler’s Wells 2nd & 3rd Feb 2018 and The Lowry 17th Feb 2018.

R&D Update

November 27th, 2017 by Iain Armstrong

I’ve finally got around to writing up some of my research for my Invisible Places 2017 R&D project.

In April 2017 I traveled to São Miguel island in the Azores to attend the Invisible Places international conference. As SOUNDkitchen, Annie Mahtani and I devised and led a soundwalk for conference delegates in Ponta Delgada. We’ve written an account of the walk for the conference proceedings which you can read on the R&D SOUNDkitchen SOUNDwalk: Ponta Delgada page along with further information about our soundwalking practice. There’s also a montage of field recordings that features examples of the soundscape we encountered in the town and across the island.

I’ve also posted a detailed overview of the field recording kit I took on the trip. In addition to creating the soundwalk and attending the conference I spent several days field recording across the island. This was a perfect opportunity to develop my multichannel field recording practice working with some new equipment. I’ll be posting descriptions of the techniques I used and examples of the recordings I made soon. In the meantime you can read about the Zoom F4 multitrack recorder and the Ambeo VR microphone that I used to make ambisonic recordings on the R&D – Field Recording page.

Humanhood ZERO Autumn Tour

September 3rd, 2017 by Iain Armstrong

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Humanhood’s ZERO will be touring the Midlands this autumn. Since the premiere in Birmingham in 2016 a 15 minute excerpt of the work won first prize at Certamen Coreografico de Madrid. Performances in London and Singapore have also received great reviews. The 2017 tour dates are:

10th Oct – Arena Theatre Wolverhampton

12th Oct – Déda Derby

13th Oct – Drill Hall London

20th Oct – BHM Live Leicester (Extract)

16th Nov – DanceXchange Birmingham

17th Nov – Guildhall Arts Centre Grantham

There’s more info, video, audio and reviews on my ZERO project page.

Fringe Theatre 2017

September 2nd, 2017 by Iain Armstrong

I had a busy couple of months leading up to the 2017 Edinburgh Festival Fringe where three shows were presented this year that I designed sound for. I was working in Edinburgh for the first week of the festival getting two of the shows up and running but I also managed to fit in seeing some other good theatre too. Highlights include Frankie Vah by Luke Wright, Meet Me At Dawn by Zinnie Harris, and Adam by Frances Poet.

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Heather by Thomas Eccleshare was produced by Dancing Brick and Paul Jellis in association with The Bush Theatre London and Tobacco Factory Theatres Bristol. Heather was shown at Summerhall and was well received with a five star review and top 10 place from The Scotsman. It was included in the British Council Edinburgh Showcase and continues to tour UK theatres through the autumn. You can find more info, listen to some excerpts and read some reviews on my Heather webpage.

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Photo: David Monteith-Hodge

The Whip Hand by Douglas Maxwell was commissioned by The National Theatre of Scotland and produced by Birmingham REP and Traverse Theatre Edinburgh. This play was also included in the British Council Edinburgh Showcase and following a successful run at the Traverse will be shown at The Door, Birmingham REP from 5 – 16 September 2017. There’s more info and reviews on The Whip Hand page.

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Photo: Graeme Braidwood

Finally, Looking For John by Tony Timberlake was a show I worked on at Birmingham REP in 2016 and it was great that it had a second airing at the festival this year. Especially in light of the fact that Tony and director Tessa Walker successfully campaigned for a Civic Society blue plaque to be placed at John Curry’s home in Birmingham earlier this year. The Guardian featured a lovely article on the show during the Edinburgh run. You can read it and more on the Looking For John page.

Humanhood – ORBIS

June 14th, 2017 by Iain Armstrong

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‘Orbis’ is an outdoor duet that explores the relationship between humankind and Earth’s permanent natural satellite: the Moon. Performed as a contemporary ritual; revisiting the mystical place the Moon holds in the history of human culture.

I’ve recently finished composing the music for Humanhood’s Orbis. This is my second collaboration with the company following ZERO which premiered in Birmingham last year. Orbis is a 16 minute outdoor dance duet accompanied by an original music composition presented in surround sound. The piece was commissioned by Without Walls Consortium, Brighton Festival, Norfolk & Norwich Festival, Déda  and supported by DanceXchange and SaNau.

Humanhood are currently touring the work with performances at UK summer festivals including:

Brighton festival: 13 – 14 May

Norfolk & Norwich Festival: 20 – 21 May

Greenwhich & Docklands International Festival: 24 – 25 June (on 24 June Orbis is performed beneath Luke Jerram’s Museum Of The Moon)

Hat Fair Festival: 30 June – 1 July

SOUNDkitchen SOUNDwalk: Ponta Delgada

April 14th, 2017 by Iain Armstrong

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I’ve just returned from a trip to São Miguel island in the Azores where I devised and led a soundwalk as part of Invisible Places 2017. I worked with Annie Mahtani to create the walk under the SOUNDkitchen banner. We’ve documented the walk on the SOUNDkitchen website so if you’d like to read more click here.

This trip forms part of an ongoing research and development project and I also spent several days making field recordings around the island. I’ll be posting more about my work on the island soon but in the meantime why not enjoy this edited mix of sounds encountered on our SOUNDwalk in Ponta Delgada:

Invisible Places 2017 R&D

March 25th, 2017 by Iain Armstrong

Ginetes visto do alto da Caldeira das Sete Cidades (Portugal)

I’m embarking on a period of research and development around my field recording and composition practice that has been funded by a Grants For the Arts award from Arts Council England supported using public funding by the National Lottery. The first stage of the project involves a trip to the beautiful Sao Miguel Island in the Azores to attend Invisible Places 2017. Working with Annie Mahtani, I’ll be devising and leading the SOUNDkitchen SOUNDwalk – Ponta Delgada at the symposium. I’ll also be spending a few days field recording around the island with a focus on ambisonic sound recordings.

I’ve set up a project page on my site here to document my work and will be posting updates on my progress on this blog in the category ‘IP 2017 R&D’.

Humanhood – ZERO reviews

February 18th, 2017 by Iain Armstrong

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Humanhood performed a 15 min extract of ZERO at Resolution 2017 in January, a festival for new and emerging contemporary dance. Here are a couple of reviews of the performance:

“The perfect kinesthetic responsiveness to Armstrong’s music along with Horneman’s brilliant lighting design were two necessary ingredients for shaping a unique and impressive piece.”

http://www.theplace.org.uk/blog/resolution-review-2017/sat-14-jan-james-mullerrae-dance-collectivehumanhood

“The crowning achievement of the evening is ZERO (extract) by Humanhood (Rudi Cole and Julia Robert).”

http://exeuntmagazine.com/reviews/review-symbiotic-unravel-le-bolero-zero-place/

The company have received ACE funding to tour the work in the Midlands in Autumn 2017 and I’ll post more info on the tour dates once venues are confirmed.

Read more about the project here.

Stories To Tell In The Middle Of The Night

January 30th, 2017 by Iain Armstrong

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I worked as sound designer on this new piece of theatre written and performed by Francesca Millican-Slater. The show is “A live late night radio show for those that can’t sleep, aren’t asleep. Instead of records, this DJ is spinning stories that exist between dusk and morning. Small stories, odd, true, funny and familiar, reflecting the night hours themselves”.

Following a successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe last summer Stories To Tell In The Middle Of The Night is playing at The Door, Birmingham Repertory Theatre from 9th – 18th February 2017. Please visit the REP website to book tickets.

If you’d like a free taster of what’s in store, Francesca will be telling some of her stories in the REP basement until 7th Feb 2017. You can find out more info and book here.

Look out for Stories To Tell In The Middle Of The Night at various venues around the West Midlands as, thanks to the Barry Jackson Trust, it will be touring until March 2017.

For more information on this project, reviews and a video trailer visit my project page.

Commissioned by Birmingham Repertory Theatre and produced by Pippa Frith.

Humanhood

January 30th, 2017 by Iain Armstrong

ZERO_Trailer from HumanHood on Vimeo.

In 2016 I worked with Humanhood on their first full length contemporary dance piece ZERO. I composed the music in multichannel surround sound working with a wealth of recorded musical material provided by a talented group of international collaborators. The piece was commissioned by mac birmingham and supported by Arts Council England and premiered at mac birmingham on 01.10.16. A 15 min extract of ZERO won 1st Prize at Certamen Coreografico de Madrid 2016 and was performed at Resolution 2017, The Place, London. The company are working towards a UK tour and other international performances later this year.

For more information please visit my ‘Humanhood – ZERO’ project page.

I am also looking forward to working with the company again as composer for their new outdoor dance piece ‘ORBIS’. Inspired by the moon and astronomy this work will premier in May 2017 and feature at several UK festivals over the summer.