The idea for this desktop performance came from a challenge I had set myself earlier in that day: to log all of the ‘noise’ I heard that day; sound that I hadn’t intentionally created myself, in both physical and digital spaces.
I failed to complete this challenge as I got side-tracked and made this remix instead.
Sqaurespace ads had been popping up on Youtube on every video I tried to watch, which were mainly songs by Meredith Monk.
I decided to force the two to collaborate, embracing the disruptive nature of the advert that we try to skip as soon as possible, and using it to create an on the fly remix between Squarespace advert audio and songs from Meredith Monk’s album ‘Lady of Late’.
The process was more difficult than I thought it would be. Or at least, I spent more time experimenting and playing with the performability of the videos than I thought I would.
Try it yourself
Have a go at making your own with the two videos below.
Top Tip: find interesting points in the track to move back to to create repetition in the performance.
This was a quick experiment I did during a car journey between Wrexham and Newport. The idea was to celebrate an act of musicking that many other people do: singing to the radio.
I have been trying to find ways to explore the idea of musicking (that music is not a thing but a thing you do), and produce things people can relate to, that may not normally be considered as performance or composing.
This is something people do everyday and chances are, many of them will not consider themselves as musical, and will deny any musical ability.
It is my aim with future projects/ideas to blur the barrier between musician and non-musicians so that acts such as singing to the radio can be more widely accepted as musicking.
‘tour in a day’ is a project that highlights how, for many people, everyday listening experiences have become more passive in recent years due to the increasingly pervasive use of internet platforms and social networking sites that favour visual content over audio. (This is because you can consume lots of pictures and tweets in the same time as it would take to listen to a single piece of music all the way through.)
To highlight this, and to give people an interesting active listening experience, I booked a tour of micro performances that took place in a single day in a number of locations across Newport. The idea is that if people haven’t got the time to go to see live music or to mindfully listen to an album all the way through, I could go to them, and in the time of the average interaction on Instagram, they could conveniently watch some live music.
Performing in these everyday spaces where people are already, plays to the topical idea of convenience – if they can’t come to me, I’ll go to them. It’s only a short amount of time, again convenient, and roughly the amount of time people spend on Instagram in a single interaction. The ‘tour in a day’ idea reflects the notion that experiences are becoming condensed: read the summary of a book in 15 mins (blinkest), get your toothbrush delivered the same day you order it (Amazon), watch a whole TV boxset in a weekend (Netflix). In condensing a tour, something that usually happens over an extended period of time, into one day, and with these gigs being streamed online, it would also allow people to watch me, replacing one of their many smartphone interactions with a bitesize performance.
The performances are 1-2 minutes long and do not require any tech support; it is a completely mobile setup, in the effort to be as convenient as possible.
These are the venues I performed at in Newport:
Hortons Cafe Subway Kettle Cafe (10-11) Aladdin’s Cave (11:30) St David’s Hospice Tiny Rebel (send email) Vacaras Fish and Chips Hounds Barbers (text a time) Holy Cheesus (before 12, after 2) Rogue Fox GCM Coffee (Cheltenham) Salon, TC202 (University of Gloucestershire)
After the success of the ‘tour in a day’, and a proof of concept, I approached the organiser of Art on the Hill, Newport and asked if I could use the festival as a platform for another tour. I was given access to a variety of public and private ‘venues’ to perform in, which was documented well by a friend, resulting in a documentary style video (found here).
So this week, inspired by this and this, I decided to record and share a performance online. The idea is simple, I wanted to noodle while my noodles were cooking.
After a quick jig around of my drum kit and a trip to Morrisons I was quite quickly set up in the kitchen ready to play along to the bass drone sound of the microwave cooking my super noodles.
In the spirit of immediacy, I very quickly created a bass melody in Ableton and a simple percussion line, and chose a lead instrument for me to play with on the midi keyboard. After a very very very brief pre-noodle, I hit go on the microwave and began the music making, knowing exactly when I had to stop.
This was all filmed with two cameras, one up in my kitchen cupboard leaning against a jar, and the other was held by my, then bewildered, partner. I had a field recorder capturing the microwave sound and the drum kit playing and the rest of the audio in Ableton was recorded internally.
The editing process took place in iMovie, and didn’t take too long at all – there were only four sources of content to edit together. For an extra bit of fun I decided to grab some stock footage of stuff happening to microwaves to help break up the two angles of myself in the kitchen.
What will come next? Do I need to take this somewhere else?
This week I have focused on experimenting with some tools and concepts; risk-free making…
I did a re-mix of the lead track from my latest EP that reflects the quality the audio would have had for those listening to it through the speakers on a smartphone. The idea here was to explore how the listener of a piece of music has a final say on its composition/performance, by mixing a piece of music to a quality that many people would hear it due to hardware limitations.
It has got me thinking about the role of the audience for music, in a variety of contexts, and potentially how little they may be aware of their it.
I also had ago at playing around in Processing, a programming environment that will come in handy when I start to look at web-based interactive toys. I created an account in OpenProcessing where I can keep my sketches.
An experiment that explores the role of sound in visual contexts.
Conversations take place in WhatsApp utilising the voice type feature in to exchange each message, where I spoke in English and the recipient speaks another language. The voice type system interprets the non-English message in the context of the English language and types out words that sound most like words in English from its library.
This idea is being developed from screen to stage. Ongoing conversations between myself and Jack (Utililux), are currently in the process of being interpreted into a script for a live soap-opera-style performance. The messages will be played out in a different context, further removing intended meaning from the recipient’s message.