Flick Flack

A series of improvisations exploring the objects I use as preparations with the guitar and pickups. I was interested to see if there was a way to see the spatial relations between these things giving rise to things that could be developed further as score based systems. Watching back it became clear that in fact there was some possibility for extracting this from it but perhaps this wasn’t the most interesting thing happening. In the end I found I was thinking more about sound, space and performative qualities of objects in improvisations which fed into new work with a pickupsnaredrumoscillator setup I have been developing rather than the original score making idea.

50 Steps Halifax performance

Audience eyeview film of the final performance we did for 50 Steps in April this year.

“Final performance of a cross-artform dance project celebrating the Pennine Way in its 50th anniversary year. With Stacey Johnstone, Ruth Jones, Natalie Speake (performers), David Birchall (musician) and Simon Warner (videographer)

Square Chapel Centre for the Arts, Halifax. April 2016
Project supported by Arts Council England

Film by Elizabeth Patrick”

2nd day of electromagnet recordings for LRM show

Another interesting day exploring the few hundred metres surrounding the People’s History Museum in Manchester using a pickup as a listening device. This is for a piece of sound work with accompanying map that I’m preparing for an exhibition curated by the Loiterer’s Resistance Movement at the PHM opening on 23rd July. See more here http://www.thelrm.org

The sound clip above is of the most interested thing discovered today; recording outside the Nat West in Spinningfields; super high end drone generated by who knows what wifi or security signal but interestingly its accompanied by internet office work sounds/conversation. Wondering if this is being transferred by radio or CCTV signal somehow? Even could be that the higher sound is a carrier frequency for whatever electronic signal is making the office sounds audible. Or completely unrelated.

The other interesting discovery (perhaps not surprisingly) is that there is a huge huge voltage present on the corner of Bridge St and St Mary’s Parsonage just behind the Tax Office. Very pleasing massive low ground/high voltage hum and then a much higher frequency modulation patterned trigger at regular internals.

Here’s the map shaping upScreen Shot 2016-06-28 at 17.00.16


1st day of electromagnet recordings for PHM



An interesting first day making field recordings to go in the Loiterer’s Resistance Movement exhibition taking place in the People’s History Museum in July. The starting point I’m working with is mapping and exploring the area surrounding the museum using electromagnetic signals captured by a pair of pickups as my starting point.

Some notes below. The above recording is an interesting spot being generated by signals emitting from a bank in Spinningfields.

013: Stretford Metro-Deansgate/Castlefield Metro. Headphones. Sort of muted response compared to some previous pickup/tram recordings. Not as much harmonic tonal material being generated by speeding up and slowing down of trams as I expected.

014:Deansgate Metro-People’s History Musuem. High level of background crackle rumble. City type vibe. Some sound from recording device electronics: maximise distance between it and pickups. Round Eyed CCTV camera on top of massive tower on corner of Quay St/Peter St/Deansgate generating a bunch of interesting high end noise. Outside of burger restaurant on Deansgate near start of Spinningfield some nice flurocesent sign sounds. Eyeballed by staff on break on 4th floor of office as I’m trying to find a sweet noise spot on Hardman St. Realise it looks pretty weird as I’m moving back and forth looking about trying to ascertain how a electromagnet signal and possible sound source are matching up. Remember to wave and smile next time.

015: PHM -Salford Central. On listen back lots of nice little electronic gulps and spluters but nothing super interesting. The line that runs through Salford Central appears to be diesel powered.

016 Salford Central-New Bailey Bridge-Hardman Boulevard-Hardman Sq-Deansgate. Started to get very interesting. Nice loud electronic glitch and gulp near restaurant at end of New Bailey Bridge. Then heavy clicker rhythm outside bank just further up on Hardman Boulevard. About 30m metres up a line of powered bollards was emitting a intense top quality roar of noise, then strangely as I crossed Gartside St. a shift to a different frequency band of noise and then a high end drop out with magnified bass. Interesting little spot. I’m guessing since this area is newly built there are some heavy weight web and electrical connections buried around and about. The bollards are obviously powered by motors and have some kind of sensor/trigger generating the sound.

Screen Shot 2016-06-21 at 17.05.00


Duplo constructions

One of the really fun things about having a baby is the chance to play again with Duplo blocks (If you’re not sure what this is, its the pre lego LEGO system for tiny kids who might eat little bits of Lego). As Alex is pretty small still his main interest in this stuff is bashing blocks together and demolishing structures I’ve made. This has sort of lead to something interesting in terms of considering the quality of those structures which I’m understanding a little through being a musician interested in improvising. The simple reality being that the best possible structure for Alex to interact with is one that’s sturdy but easy to break into pieces; structures that are too well build are not very interesting to him as they are way too hard for him to demolish. There’s also nice sideline in these games where I can begin to choose basic structural elements for maximum stability but add really unstable ones for him to bash about; I can be building a model that develops in unexpected ways as Al demolishes parts of it.