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

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..

A circle in 12 parts: Aquarius

This year’s circle in 12 parts features guest artists chosen by zodiac sign, my guest for Aquarius is Maria Hayes.

Double Aquarius 14:02:22

We are birthday twins so we created this piece on our birthdays.

Working with Jake is always exciting and invigorating. Our creative conversations happen through initial talking, but mostly through the doing. We each work in our own ways but there is a connection, synchronicity and overlap in how we do what we do.

In making choices for this performance from Jake’s significant record collection and my overloaded image library I decided to be spontaneous. I listened to internal prompts and allowed those to guide me. On reflection I notice that many of the choices are things that have significance in how I have been formed, informed, shaped and made at different stages of my life. There are also sounds and images of my current obsessions. In addition there is the purr of my younger cat. All are soul connections.

This month we both lost our friend and collaborator Sianed Jones. Sianed features in my choices too. How could she not? She appears as butterfly. Psyche – soul – transformation. A butterfly can have the gentlest and most transient of presences yet affect complex systems in dramatic ways. And this can be true of us all.

And birds. Being an air sign birds are of significance to us both. I have worked for many years with the tension between freedom and security. Between trying to establish roots while desiring to fly. Between being of the earth and being other. Perhaps it’s something of the condition of being an artist and freelance working. Never quite belonging, but observing. Taking flight with our imaginations then nest building for the next project. It is so wonderful to find another member of your tribe, or flock, to fly with. Thank you Jake.

Half a circle

At this point I realise that I haven’t written on the process of creating this body of work, if indeed that’s what it is…I am reminded of a Don Van Vliet quote “I’m interested in playing, not working”, gotta love the captain!

I’ve been overwhelmed by the generosity and engagement of my invited guests over the last 6 months and feel a need to pause and thank them all for the time and effort given to this unfunded, personal project.

It’s been such an interesting process working with the artists through the last 6 months, each bringing their own interpretation and understanding of their zodiac sign and how to engage with the project. As the series has progressed there is a sense that each sign is intrinsically connected to the last, potential methods of interaction and engagement increase with every iteration.

How appropriate at this point in the cycle to be challenged by a Virgo to ‘Do something you haven’t done before‘, I decided to take that principle beyond the improvised audio and break the visual format established in the previous videos too, breaking down the individual video components and creating new visual options for future participants to explore.

I am looking forward to working with my next half circle of guests and hope they will embrace the project as fully as the first half circle and be bold in their suggestions and participation.

“It’s only music when you’re playing it, if you’re not playing it, it’s not music” John Leidecker aka Wobbly