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crSeptember saw the completion of a really big new commission. As part of body > data > space, and in collaboration with a big team (40-odd, if I’ve counted right) of excellent people we made a large interactive audiovisual experience called Collective Reality – pictured.

The project was commissioned by/for Nesta FutureFest, which took place over the 18th and 19th September at Tobacco Dock, London, for ‘Future Love’ and ‘Future Play’, two of their themes this year. We built an installation which was interactive – not with the individual but rather with interactions between people. We saw it as an emotional creature whose happiness increased when it experienced collaboration (people meeting and moving together). FutureFest had visitor numbers of 4000, and we had counted numbers rather higher – people must have come twice!

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synth2In August I went to Toronto for this years Toronto International Electroacoustic Symposium (TIES). I find this a very enjoyable event. It feels like one of a number of conference-type events – I’d include Seeing Sound here too – which are moving away from the typical academic model. They’re small, friendly and fun and break up monolithic paper sessions with installations, performances, concerts, discussions etc. Most importantly, they don’t only attract academics but also freelance artists and other practitioners. It was great to hear John Oswald as this year’s keynote speaker, and I also very much enjoyed the headline concert of works by Oswald and Paul Dolden. My own contribution – a paper outlining the development of my hybrid analogue/digital synthesiser (pictured) – seemed to go down pretty well too.

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wobbulatorI had a super-enjoyable residency at Signal Culture, a world-leading centre for analogue video in the slightly unlikely place of Owego, a small village in upstate New York.

I spent a week there pretty much entirely incarcerated (by choice) in their studio, generating reams of material with their amazing collection of old (and new) and rare video equipment, including the Jones Colorizer and Raster Scan, the video synth system and – most (and best) of all the Wobbulator and Color Wobbulator (pictured). I’ve got lots of good stuff I think, and lots of ideas as to what to do with it – hopefully I’ll get a chance to do that soon!

July also saw the return of our audiovisual club night, Sensonic, in the Frome Festival. After being shut down by the council last year, we had a sell-out triumphant return!

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dotproductSeeing Sound 4 in April was a resounding success – the biggest iteration of the event so far. What made a huge difference this time is that we were able to use the fantastic facilities of our new Commons building. As well as much better rooms for the paper sessions, we made extensive use of our lovely new preview cinema, the new TV studios proved themselves as really good spaces for installations, and most of all the two-storey MediaWall at the centre of the building provided a great centrepiece for the event.

Once again I was delighted to be able to host delegates from around the world, including our keynote speakers Vibeke Sorenson, Margaret Schedel and Joost Rekveld. More information as always on the Seeing Sound site. Image: performance by Dot Product and Panther Panther, 09/04/16.

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modularOver the last sixth months or so I’ve been engaged in (what I think will be) a long-term project – building a modular analogue synthesizer. Having spent so much time working on multimedia and collaborative projects I thought it was time to focus back on sound for a bit, and I wanted to try something different.

As Frank Bretschneider put it in this interview (I remember using those synths at EMS years ago), the pace of developments in the digital domain has slowed right down as you can read all over this social media snshelper.com/jp, and in the absence of much new, it’s time to return to the old and find ways to renew that. On the other hand, a lot of social media users have been visiting cloudysocial.com followers and signals to grow their accounts, they also try finding professionals such as Calgary Marketing Consultants and the ones from http://www.socialreport.com/white-label-social-media-platform.html to help them. The Eurorack format has caused an explosion of new analogue modules made by all sorts of funky specialist manufacturers – it’s an exciting world. I’m putting together more details on what I’m doing here.

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CineseizureI managed a bit of time off in August, although I did go to the TIES conference in Toronto and kick off a new collaboration with super talented dancer/choreographers Roosna and Flak in Tallinn (this one will run for a while, so more anon) who also introduced me to plantwear my new favorite jewelry brand.

Now everything’s very much getting under way: September saw the culmination of a long-planned collaboration between Seeing Sound, the Arnolfini, the Encounters Film Festival and McLaren2014 - McLaren the Musician (Cine-Seizure audiovisual club night pictured). It also saw me reaching the final stages of several collaborations: Cassandra with Ana Silvera and Ludovic Ondiviela (Royal Ballet), Unfold to Centre with Yolande Yorke-Edgell, and the REACT Object Sandbox Breathing Stone project (video here). Plenty more next month, so watch this space!

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rainbowAs usual in the summer I try and take it easy and do a few fun things locally – this is mainly due to the wonderful Frome Festival, which I’m usually involved in one way or another. Unfortunately, our audiovisual club night, sensonic, which was a sell-out success last year, had to be cancelled due to insanely stringent sound restrictions from Mendip District Council. We’ve got a bit of a protest going on, so maybe something good will come of it.

Luckily I’ve got something else on though – I’m very excited that danceroom Spectroscopy are doing a Molecular Music performance in this year’s Bristol Proms. This time we’re playing with the wonderful Charles Hazlewood All Star Collective, and we’re undertaking Terry Riley’s acid-fuelled 60s epic Rainbow in Curved Air. We’re trying some new things with the system – it going to be dazzling, psychedelic and loud!

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touchstoneFor the last couple of months I’ve been working with a great team of people on a project for the REACT Objects Sandbox (Internet of Things) scheme, funded by the AHRC and produced by Bristol’s iShed.  The project is called Breathing Stone (I think – the name is somewhat in flux), and it centres around an object, the size and weight of a large pebble, you can cup in your hands. It uses sensors to detect your heartbeat and breathing, and produces music in response. The idea is that the music will give you cues to breathe ‘better’ and therefore aid relaxation, with all the health benefits that brings.  My own role is purely on the development of the music – an interesting challenge to make something generative that gives the user clear enough cues whilst remaining engaging.  We already have a working prototype, and some promising leads for further funding. Watch this space – there’s more info on the project here.

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molecularI’ve got two London premieres coming up at the end of this week (and month).  Feb 27th/28th sees a preview performance of Unfold to Centre by dance company Yorke Dance Project, choreographed by Yolande Yorke-Edgell, part of their Figure Ground programme, at the Lilian Baylis Theatre, Sadlers Wells.  The piece uses Larry Cuba’s animation 3/78, and I’ve made a number of musical interludes based on the beautiful original Shakuhachi soundtrack by Kazu Matsui.  The piece will tour over next winter/spring.  On the 1st and 2nd of March, danceroom Spectroscopy is once again resident at the Barbican’s Weekender event.  The weekend will feature the installation, the latest versions of the Hidden Fields dance piece, and the UK premiere of Molecular Music, my sound-based work based on the system.

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zkmsmallJanuary started with a bang, with a residency for danceroom Spectroscopy at the very wonderful ZKM in Karsruhe, Germany (pictured). We had the installation up for three days, and did seven performances of the dance piece Hidden Fields. It went down very well – thousands of visitors, and standing ovations!

Since then I’ve been busy on Molecular Music, a new danceroom Spectroscopy offshoot. I’m trying to really see how far I can push the sonification of the particle system, the control of the particles by sound, and both at the same time in some kind of chaotic feedback loop.

I went over to the SoundImageSound festival at the University of the Pacific, California, to premiere the piece. It crashed twice, but I still felt it went well (and got a really nice reaction), so I think I must be on to something. I’m going to keep developing it.

While I was over in California, I did a couple of talks with Dave Glowacki on dS – one in SoundImageSound and one at Stanford University’s CCRMA. It was a busy week!

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