Jekyll & Hyde – Birmingham REP

March 18th, 2019 by Iain Armstrong

 

I am currently working on Birmingham Rep’s Youth Theatre production of Jekyll & Hyde as composer and sound designer. This contemporary adaptation by Evan Placey is a radical retelling of the famous  R. L. Stevenson story. It is directed by Tessa Walker who I have worked with previously on Looking For John and The Whip Hand.

The music features a gothic horror style orchestral score alongside contemporary sound design. You can hear a taster in the trailer above.

The show runs from 18-27 April 2019 at the Main House, Birmingham REP. For further information and tickets please visit the REP website.

 

 

Chère Julie – Anna Falcini

March 18th, 2019 by Iain Armstrong

Last year I collaborated with artists Anna Falcini on the production of her film Chère Julie. I was commissioned as sound recordist and soundtrack composer. The film is part of a larger body of work in which Anna responds to an archive of letters written by Gwen John, an artist born in Wales in 1876 who spent much of her working life in Paris and Meudon. She was also the sister of Augustus John and Auguste Rodin’s lover.

Anna’s film documents the key locations in Gwen John’s life, her early years in Tenby, where she lived and worked in Paris and Meudon, Rodin’s house in Meudon and Dieppe where she died. In May 2018 we traveled to France to film these different locations and I collected field recordings. The field recordings form the basis of the film’s soundtrack which is a soundscape composition that combines documentary style material with more abstract, musical manipulations of the recordings.

More information is available on the project website –

https://inbetweenthefoldsareparticles.wordpress.com/

Chère Julie will be screened in Anna’s exhibition In Between The Folds are Particles at Oriel Davies Gallery, 6th April – 5th June 2019.

 

Wanderlust Broadcast

December 18th, 2018 by Iain Armstrong

Iain Armstrong – Live at SOUNDkitchen: World Listening Day 2013

A recording of a soundscape performance I gave at SOUNDkitchen on world Listening Day 2013 was broadcast on 17 December 2018, 22:00 (CET), on Wanderlust, Cashmere Radio, Berlin. Wanderlust is a regular programme of long form field recording, soundscape and experimental composition. If you’d like to listen again the broadcast is available in the Cashmere Radio archive here. The track is also available to stream or own on my bandcamp page here.

 

 

The Fear Of Fear

November 12th, 2018 by Iain Armstrong

I recently designed the sound for The Fear Of Fear commissioned by Warwick Arts Centre. The show is a piece of new writing by writer and performer Stephanie Ridings. The work is a response to Stephanie’s research into fear and her desire to create a scary ghost story.

The creative team included Director Sarah Myott-Meadows and set and lighting designer Ben Pacey.

The show premiered at Warwick Arts Centre in October 2018 and we’re hoping that it will tour in 2019.

You can read more about this production and listen to audio clips on the project page here.

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.