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.

Looking For John – Birmingham REP

January 30th, 2017 by Iain Armstrong

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I created the sound design for Looking For John, written and performed by Tony Timberlake and directed by Tessa Walker.  The show was produced by Birmingham Repertory Theatre in association with Homotopia and SHOUT festival. It tells the fascinating and somewhat tragic story of champion figure skater John Curry who, despite redefining men’s skating and winning Olympic Gold in 1976, has been largely forgotten. I’m happy to say that this show was well received and went some way to bringing John and his artistic achievements back into people’s lives.

You can find out more about the project and read some reviews on my ‘Looking For John’ page.

Heartbeats & Algorithms – On Tour

January 30th, 2017 by Iain Armstrong

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Does your computer know about your embarrassing web searches? Does it know that, despite your claim to be fluent in German, you use Google Translate? Does it know about your casual relationship with porn? Does it know you better than your friends? Does it know you better than you know yourself?

A woman designs an algorithm that will predict the decisions of people in seemingly unpredictable predicaments. In the process of perfecting the algorithm she ends up creating a programme that gets to know her better than she knows herself, and discovers her most intimate secret. As a result, it predicts that she will soon find herself in an unpredictable predicament…

Jenny Lee’s Heartbeats & Algorithms is a dark, heart-achingly funny story that conjures up a seductive, inescapable world of information use and abuse and examines the leading role our technology plays in our lives. The play has the feel of a psychological, techno – thriller reflected in the ominous, cinematic approach to elements of the sound design that I created.

Following a successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2015 Heartbeats & Algorithms has been touring recently with performances at Soho Theatre, London, Derby Theatre and Oxford Playhouse’s Burton Taylor Studio.

There’s more info and links to reviews on my Heartbeats & Algorithms project page.

 

A Journey Round My Theatre

September 27th, 2015 by Iain Armstrong

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‘A Journey Round My Theatre’ is now available online to download for you to enjoy at your leisure in the foyer spaces of Birmingham Repertory Theatre. You can also borrow mp3 players and headphones from the box office or stream over their free wi-fi. I was commissioned by KILN Ensemble to work with Olivia Winteringham to realise her concept for this architectural soundwalk featuring her grandfather Graham Winteringham, the architect of the REP.

There is further information on the flyer, plus a helpful map to guide you around. Download the PDF flyer and map here.

For more information about this project visit the project page.

Heartbeats & Algorithms

August 1st, 2015 by Iain Armstrong

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I’ve recently completed work on the sound design for a piece of new theatre Heartbeats & Algorithms. Written and performed by Jenny Lee, this one woman play tells the story of Banks, a programmer who develops an algorithm that can predict the decisions people will make.

A woman designs an algorithm that will predict the decisions of people in seemingly unpredictable predicaments. In the process of perfecting the algorithm she ends up creating a programme that gets to know her better than she knows herself, and discovers her most intimate secret. As a result, it predicts that she will soon find herself in an unpredictable predicament…

Heartbeats & Algorithms is a dark, heart-achingly funny story that conjures up a seductive, inescapable world of information use and abuse and examines the leading role our technology plays in our lives.

Director Valentina Ceschi (Dancing Brick) has opted for very minimal staging with no set and simple lighting that focuses attention on the character, her story and the sound which plays a significant role in supporting the narrative. The sound design consists of ambient sounds signifying the various settings in the story both literal, such as and office and a tube station, and the abstract, virtual space of an online forum. I also created a sonic representation of the algorithm that haunts the narrator using coil pick up recordings of computers and other electronic devices.

Following a successful preview at the Kings Head Theatre in Islington on 27.07.15 the show will run for the month of August at Pleasance This at the Edinburgh Fringe.

Find out more on the Heartbeats & Algorithms website where you can book tickets and follow Banks on Instagram.

 

BEAST FEaST 2015

April 27th, 2015 by Iain Armstrong

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My work ‘Annapurna Pastoral – One Hundred Springs‘ has been programmed in BEAST FEaST a three-day festival at the University of Birmingham 30/04 – 02/05 2015.

My work will be played in the Dome Room in the Bramall Building on a 20 channel loudspeaker system. Following an invitation from BEAST I have just been in residence at the studios preparing a 20 channel version of my piece that was originally composed in 5 channels.

There is more info on the piece and an excerpt in a previous post here.

The concert is at 8pm and BEAST FEaST continues until the evening of Saturday 2nd May with paper presentations, installations and concerts featuring the work of David Prior, Peter Batchelor, Manuella Blackburn and Annie Mahtani amongst others.