Posts Tagged ‘birmingham’

BEAST FEaST 2015

Monday, April 27th, 2015

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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.

Urban Wildlife

Monday, September 24th, 2012

Here are another couple of field recordings that capture the sounds of wildlife in an urban, Birmingham garden.

The first is a recording of a flock of starlings that happend to roost for a short time on the roof of my house. The sliding melodic songs are echoed briefly amongst the traffic by an ice cream van and a siren. They departed as swiftly as they arrived.

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This second recording is the delicate sound of worms and woodlice working their way through my compost bin. It was recorded using hydrophones submerged under the surface of the compost.

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Imperfect Cinema Collaboration – Supersonic 2011

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

As part of last year’s Supersonic Festival 2011 I worked with Annie Mahtani from SOUNDkitchen on a collaboration with micro-cinema collective Imperfect Cinema. Inspired by their DIY punk roots Imperfect Cinema invited festival goers to record small amounts of footage of the festival on Super 8 cameras which they then collected, digitised and edited into a 15min film. Annie and I collected field recordings from around the festival and compsed a soundtrack for the film to be edited to – all in 48hrs! The final film was screened at the festival in the Custard Factory theatre on the Sunday evening.

Supersonic 2012 is coming up in October and looks set to be a fantastic 10th year celebration. Imperfect Cinema are back and discussions are underway for SOUNDkitchen to put in an appearance too!

By Dan Paolantonio & Allister Gall. A collaborative short film shot on super8mm film by attendees of the 2011 Supersonic Festival. This film was informed by a workshop held by Imperfect Cinema in which the IC project and the super-8mm medium were explored in terms of potential synergies and dialogues with sonic arts, with a particular emphasis on location and materiality and 'foraging' as a production methodology (with the films of Margaret Tait and Marie Menken used as examples). Working with Sonic Arts collective Soundkitchen (who produced the audio for this film) who describe themselves as 'Cinema for the Ears' we asked our film-makers to consider the visual material they gathered in terms of its potential for becoming 'Music for the Eyes.' We were also particularly inspired by Capsule's 'Home of Metal' project and how this presented the aesthetic of Heavy Metal Music as a manifestation of the industry of the West Midlands. Similarly we asked our filmmakers to consider not only the post-industrial landscape of the Custard Factory (the venue for the festival) but also the reflexivity of the analogue materials used to capture the images in the first place (film stock). Following shooting Imperfect Cinema hand processed the film stocks overnight (in a travel lodge bathroom) then converted the film images to digital video files (telecine transfer) and finally edited the visual elements to the soundtrack produced by SoundKitchen for screening on that day. During the edit we aimed to focus upon images which we felt conjured feelings of the elemental, with a particular emphasis on fire and water, as we felt that this fit with the notion of Heavy Metal music being 'forged' in the West Midlands. The entire process from the start of the workshop to the screening in the Custard Factory Arts Centre Cinema was a little over 24 hours! We hope you enjoy this alternative document of the 2011 Supersonic Festival and indeed can experience it as Music for the Eyes!

Upcoming Performances

Monday, May 28th, 2012

I’m giving two performances this week.

On Tuesday 29th May BiLE (Birmingham Laptop Ensemble) are giving a free, post concert performance at Symphony Hall Birmingham in the foyer bar. We will be playing a new collaborative piece called Chained Melody, a new piece by Shelly Knotts and Julien Guillamat’s Back to Front for cello and laptops. The concert is immediately after the screening and performance of Dracula with music by Philip Glass performed by the composer and the Kronos Quartet.

On Saturday 2nd June I’ll be playing a solo, live laptop set at the Ort Art & Community Cafe in Balsall Heath, Birmingham. I’m planning to include some recent contact mic field recordings of wires and fences. Also on the bill is Alex Charles and Cities Prepare for Attack.

BiLE Performs at Network Music Festival

Monday, January 16th, 2012

BiLE

Image: Antonio Roberts

I’ll be performing with BiLE on 27.01.12 (28.01.12 rescheduled) at Birmingham’s first Network Music Festival. This is set to be a fantastic 3 day festival of international artists discussing, presenting and performing new musical forms and ideas where networking is central to the aesthetics, creation or performance practice of the work. The programme includes Benoit and The Mandelbrots, Barcelona Laptop Orchestra, Glitchlich, Jack Harris and Samuel Rogers and more.

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Also look out for the first SOUNDkitchen event of the year on 26.01.12 where we’ll be launching the Network Music Fetival with a selection of Brimingham based electronic acts including Juneau Brothers, Lash Frenzy and Freecode. There is also another opportunity to hear the SOUNDKitchen multichannel radio installation that I composed called Theatre of the Mind.

Supersonic Festival Live Set

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

Here is a recording of the live laptop performance  I gave at SOUNDkitchen’s Cinema For The Ears on 23rd October 2011. The event was part of the Supersonic Festival in Birmingham.

I was working with field recordings and prepared material that was predominantly noise based and experimented for the first time with presenting this material over multiple channels live. Running Ableton Live I had 8 independent outputs mapped onto a circle of 8 speakers in the space and an additional stereo submix on another two channels going to the desk to be diffused over the whole system by SOUNDkitchen’s Annie Mahtani. It was quite an effective and manageable way of working, allowing me some control of the spatialisation of material in addition to the structure.

This is a stereo reduction of the 10 channel set that was played over a multi-channel speaker system courtesy of BEAST.

Live at Supersonic by Iain Armstrong

Supersonic Festival 2011

Monday, October 24th, 2011

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SOUNDkitchen have just completed a two day event as part of the Supersonic Festival 2011 organised by Capsule in Birmingham. We had our own space in the Zellig building for the weekend which was rigged out with a 20 channel loudspeaker system courtesy of BEAST. Under the title of Cinema For The Ears we programmed a range of events including field recording installations, multi-channel BEAST concerts and live performances from SOUNDkitchen members.

I performed a 30min live set on the Sunday afternoon. I was working with field recordings and prepared material that was predominantly noise based and experimented for the first time with handling this material over multiple channels live. Running Ableton Live I had 8 independent outputs mapped onto a circle of 8 speakers in the space and an additional stereo submix on another two channels going to the desk to be diffused over the whole system by SOUNDkitchen’s Annie Mahtani. It was quite an effective and manageable way of working, allowing me some control of the spatialisation of material in addition to the structure. I recorded the set and I’m working on a stereo reduction that will appear on here soon.

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As part of the weekend’s events I also worked with Annie Mahtani on a collaboration with micro-cinema collective Imperfect Cinema. Inspired by their DIY punk roots Imperfect Cinema invited festival goers to record small amounts of footage of the festival on Super 8 cameras which they then collected, digitised and edited into a 15min film. Annie and I collected field recordings from around the festival and compsed a soundtrack for the film to be edited to – all in 48hrs! The final film was screened in the Custard Factory theatre on the Sunday evening.

BiLE (Birmingham Laptop Ensemble)

Friday, October 7th, 2011

bile_artsfestI was delighted to be asked to join the fantastic BiLE in July. BiLE are a collaborative group of composers and performers of instrumental and electroacoustic music with a shared interest in live performance. They’ve been playing together since the beginning of the year and are developing a growing repertoire of pieces including existing scores, works written by members of the ensemble and improvisations. They have already played several gigs in the UK and Europe.

BiLE plays as a networked laptop ensemble with each performer contributing their own ‘instruments’ via a range of platforms such as MAX/MSP and Supercollider.  They often incorporate live sound sources and experimentation with gestural controllers such as iPhones, wiimotes and Xbox Kinect. Performances also include live visuals.

I played my first gig with BiLE at ArtsFest in Birmingham, Sept 2011. We performed in the impressive Round Room at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.

Here’s a short video of the performance by Antonio Roberts:

For more info on BiLE check out the website.

SOUNDkitchen’s SONICpicnic

Monday, July 25th, 2011

The next SOUNDkitchen gig is SONICpicnic on the 29th July at VIVID, Birmingham. We’re very excited about being in a new space and have an extended programme of performances, films, artist talks and food! The line up includes some of the SOUNDkitchen team, returning friends and exciting new acts.

We have a mutli channel listening room with a 16 channel speaker tree and I’ve contributed a piece that will be spatialised in this space.

More info on the SOUNDkitchen website.

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World Listening Day

Monday, July 18th, 2011

Sunday 18th July 2011 was World Listening Day, an international call to spend some time listening to your soundscape on the anniversary of R. Murray Schaefer‘s birthday. Schaefer defined the concept of the ‘soundscape’ in his book Soundscape: Our sonic environment and the tuning of the world and helped establish the World Soundscape Project both significant in the formation of the area of study now known as Acoustic Ecology.

I wanted to participate in World Listening Day but it was raining in Birmingham. So I listened to the rain for some time and recorded the sound it made falling on the plastic rubbish bins outside my kitchen window. I used contact mics taped to the underside of the bin lids.

It was the first time I had recorded anything in a while. It was nice to engage with sound again in such a focused way, to spend time enjoying the pleasure of simply listening. I listened for quite a long time but you can listen to some short excerpts if you like.

Rain on Wheelie bin lid

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Rain on plastic rubbish bin lid

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© Iain Armstrong