Podcast – Stories To Tell In The Middle Of The Night

June 3rd, 2018 by Iain Armstrong

I’ve been working with Fran Millican-Slater again on the next incarnation of Stories To Tell In The Middle Of The Night. I designed the sound for the original stage show which was commissioned by Birmingham REP in 2016. This collection of short stories, framed with a radio raconteur aesthetic, lends itself perfectly to a podcast. All the stories from the show have been included along with many more in this expanded collection that spans nine 30 minute episodes. The original sound design transferred well to the podcast and I took the same approach with the rest of the stories. Real world sonic references – music, environments, sound effects – are combined and transformed to reflect the humour, unease, violence, and peculiar scenarios the stories evoke.

We officially launched the podcast on 29 May at Birmingham REP along with a book work which is the published stories from the original theatre show and British Sign Language integrated film performances of three of the stories. The podcast is available from usual podcast distributors such as iTunes or Podiant and you can find out more about how to subscribe, buy the book or watch the films on the project website:

https://www.storiestotellinthemiddleofthenight.com/

You can listen to episode 1 which was released on 22 May 2018 here. The remaining 8 episodes will be released weekly.

SOUNDkitchen Release Ilha Verde.1

May 10th, 2018 by Iain Armstrong

Last summer I attended Sound+Environment 2017 a conference at Hull University for artists and researchers exploring the relationships between sound and the environment. I was there with Annie Mahtani and together we performed as SOUNDkitchen. We played a 30min set using field recordings from a trip to São Miguel island in the Azores combined with live electronics. We performed on HEARO, the Hull 30 channel loudspeaker orchestra using ambisonic sound spatialisation and made an ambisonic recording of the performance. The track features calls of native wildlife, the interactions of wind and water on the natural and build environment and the sound of human activity and technology. 

I’m happy to announce the release of ‘Ilha Verde.1’ on Bandcamp. You can download a stereo mix for any price you like – including for free! If you’d like a multichannel file for full surround sound immersion in the wonderful soundscapes we recorded then for a small fee you can choose from a variety of multichannel formats including ambisonic B Format. Oh and there’s a bonus binaural mix too for those headphone moments. 

R&D – UK Field Recordings

May 10th, 2018 by Iain Armstrong

I’ve uploaded some UK recordings made with the Ambeo VR. I was in London and recorded some city ambiences including some lovely sounds of trains rumbling over the bridges above Borough Market. I made a long duration recording here of over an hour capturing the changing soundscape as the market winds down and packs up for the day.

You can listen to the recordings on my R&D – UK Field Recordings page.

 

R&D – São Miguel Field Recordings

January 25th, 2018 by Iain Armstrong

I’ve uploaded some of the field recordings I made on São Miguel island during my R&D trip in April 2017. There’s a variety of recordings made with the Ambeo VR ambisonic microphone including birds and frogs from some of the many calderas on the island and some urban recordings from Ponta Delgada.

You can listen to the recordings on the R&D São Miguel Field Recordings page.

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.

Petrol Sound bag & kit

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: