Playing a pickup…

New youtube EP showing a first exploration of straight to guitar pickup to metal sounds. Recorded straight into the recorder on headphones; using an extremity of volume and zero overdrive (an unusual feature for me!) to make the small interesting elements audible. This is part of a longer piece of research looking at ways to generate sound from pickups. The main approaches so far are using interference in the electromagnetic to generate sounds and using non-traditional methods of string playing as you hear here.

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Huddersfield Bicycle Orchestras!

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Been working the last couple of weeks on a really exciting project for the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival to coincide with the Tour De France’s Grand Depart from Yorkshire in July.

You can see various stages of production on one of our newly developed instruments for the commission, the Frame Harp.

There will be two public workshops on the 20th and 21st June in Huddersfield. Find out more here.

Light Theremin

I was working the start of the week trying to find my way around the first few basic Arduino projects… been really fun! Finally got to a point where I’d built up enough knowledge to have a go at this light theremin, great because this kind of interaction with sources in the world and sound is really where I want to go with it.¬† There’s millions of videos of people playing around with this light theremin but I just couldn’t help myself in my excitment!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nd_Cxvv4V_c

Stringless Guitars

Something I developed so I could do the on top of pick up work on tour recently without having to cart an instrument round with me (though admittedly I did also pack a travel guitar) Really fun and compact. Can finally tour with a holdall!

The single coil version was first one i developed for my own use. Made a humbucker one last week with a friend for a tour he’s about to do. Fascinating bits of kit; I developed mine with¬† really specific idea in place related to my playing but of course the 5/6 people who have tried playing them have found pretty varied and radically different ways to use them!

More developments on these to come…

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Cymatic experiments

Been working today on making some films showing some of the methods I’ve used recently to make sound visible; technically speaking I’ve discovered this is cymatics. I became interested in it a few years ago when I inherited a broken marshall 1x 12 combo the speaker of which worked but the amp part was broken, one thing lead to another and with proceding house and studio moves I disemboweled the speaker from the amp and got to carrying out a whole variety of speaker preparations really just as research.

The work I was doing in August with Bekke Platt & Aliyah Hussain for a dance piece (which you can see some of at Castlefield Gallery on 13th October) really set me off thinking about the weird and wonderful things that are possible through finding different ways to make sound visible; these films being just one of them. This was all first sparked by an encounter with Carsten Nicolai’s work via a Gerhard Richter painting on display in the city gallery in Leicester sometime in the early noughties. A summer visit to Manchester’s City Gallery also brought me into contact with a Haroon Mirza sound sculpture which operated in a similar area.