A circle in 12 parts: Taurus

A live audio visual improvisation with images, video and vinyl selection from this years guest Taurus, Maura Hazelden:

An aural & visual dance duet, a reminder of birthdays past, I so enjoyed the immersion in apple blossom. 

It was great to feel a bit creative and to be creative in collaboration. I had thought I might use some of my work in terms of images but somehow it became a personal journey of images from birthdays & my life, some friends…photos of me (I’m not always fond of having my photo taken except in my work!), of a place close to my heart now gone, food and bluebell wood walks for my birthday, and … apple blossom.
 
How have I never made a link between Lily the Pink and my series of works with pink lilies?

I would like to apologise for both of us not realising that soundcloud advertising would slip in, and my lack of speed in silencing it! I might be a Quaker but I don’t endorse Franklin Graham…this is not a love song…

Thank you Jake for the invitation and a creative afternoon with plenty of joy! I am inspired to relook at some of my language/sound work and do some re-creation.

Are baby be beeping…postman puppy rabbits

Make Noise

In late February/early march 2022 I bought a Make Noise Strega synthesiser and a 0-Control sequencer. Described by the makers as an ‘audio alchemical experiment’, the Strega is deliberately unusual and unpredictable. I found out after buying that Strega is the Italian word for witch and is also the name of an Italian liqueur which I managed to get in a local Italian deli! Bright yellow, sweet and herby it’s a great combination for noise making!

Here are a couple of early streams trying to work out what it does!

A third circle

Another circle completed and the cycle continues.

A huge thanks to you all of my guests for the thoughtful, creative contributions to this last year’s series of improvisations. 

I’ve been really pleased (and slightly surprised!) with how much people have embraced the idea and engaged with the work. The year has flown by and each month has brought different ideas and new interactions to the process, I really hope they enjoyed the experience as much as I have.

This year will see a new series of improvised works with new guests I hope.
I also plan to invite last year’s guests back for another go now they have a greater understanding of how they might contribute.
An interesting feature of the series has been the sense of guests interactions developing in response to the previous, each bringing new material and finding different ways of contributing. Most guests have immediately suggested they would like to do more so it will be fascinating to see what they might bring to a new work.

Circles, cycles, synths and symbols. Alongside the continuing monthly vinyl mixes there will be a series of live works streamed regularly and irregularly through the year. This new cycle will combine more animations, images and symbols with synths and vinyl, themed according to the zodiac sign under which they are created. Working with new technologies and regular guests Jay and Keryl (Virgo and Capricorn contributors this last cycle) brings new structures and opportunities to experiment in different ways. We have loop pedals and hardware synths, multiple cameras, vision mixers and VJ software, the opportunities are endless!

Virtual Synthesis

A circle in 12 parts is a way of bringing together all the different strands of my practice, a way to include all kinds of material and processes, ideas and influences.

Back in 2002, when I first started to find and collect audio objects and make experimental sound works with them, I tried a few software synths – Rebirth and Reason were the go to programs at the time and I can remember using a block sequencer in Reason to make and hear visual patterns but I struggled to get past the limited steps and regular tempos. Not only that but I was trying to develop a practice with minimal cost and the expense of the software was significant! The found objects and their physicality and unpredictable nature of interaction possible with turntables and vinyl became far more interesting and accessible.

20 years on I found myself experimenting with virtual modular synthesis having discovered the amazing free software VCV Rack. I started playing with the synth app as an alternative to playing a dreadful mobile computer game called Marvel Strike Force. Why I got so absorbed in that game I’m not sure but over 3 years it took hours, if not days, of my time, steadily increasing the need to pay for things to stay up to date. I never paid for anything. Finding VCV Rack and it replacing my Marvel habit puts in in a curious place, is it part of my art practice? is it a hobby? entertainment? maybe all three? Perhaps it doesn’t matter.. whatever it is, it feels a lot more wholesome than Marvel US military propaganda!

Almost immediately after starting using VCV Rack I was considering its visual quality and trying to establish a way to make that a more interesting experience. Initially I was recording the sessions locally and trying different visual treatments with the recordings in post. In mid October 2021 I posted this video of a processed recording of a VCV Rack session. I used some databending techniques on the original improvised synth session recording and then further corrupted the recording live while streaming to Youtube.

It was around then that I started streaming most of my experiments with VCV Rack, sharing my screen to Youtube as a way of recording the sessions without filling up my HDD. In hindsight I can see it is in part the uncertainty around what these experiments are and how they relate to my practice that led to my decision to stream them privately, a decision I regret somewhat as my work is very much about process, embracing the failures and getting away from value judgements and hierarchies..oh well. Perhaps they are more interesting in retrospect anyway (perhaps not) as we can see some sort of progression and understanding of the software develop (hopefully).

A fortnight later I posted this glitch video with a bit of improvised synth sound.

Another fortnight later I streamed this next video with a longer bit of live synth sound. The MP4/HEVC glitching process usually gives me a file that just about plays in my streaming software but this file refused. It did play in VLC player so I was able to stream it.

In the following week I started using Vmix to alter colours, add visual. With the exception of 22022022022022 I haven’t posted any more synth videos since mid November but I have been playing a lot and continued experimenting with visual material too, streaming regularly to youtube to record. There is now over 70hrs of recordings of my learning the software and developing a live process with visual material, overlays, circle drawings, animations and extra software to offer more live interactions. I’ll start looking through and posting some soon probably..

22022022022022

Once in a lifetime. The precise second where the palindromic time and date hit last night.

It was 20 years ago in 2002 that I first started playing with virtual synthesisers. I rediscovered them recently and have been finding my way around the amazing free VCV Rack since last September, finding ways to apply live visual effects and overlays to live captured synth improvisations.

This fairly minimal droney one started at 22:00 on 22/02/2022 and lasted 22min. Annoyingly Youtube seems to have cropped a second off to spoil my Twosday!