Archive for October, 2008

Video Installation

Light show by AntiVJ

Their website has a showreel of some very impressive work.

And their blog with very interesting articles.

I’m a big fan of their work, the concepts behind them are strong and the vizualisations impressive.

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The Music Video

David and myself have been working away on the ol’ music video again this weekend. Late nights, early mornings and lots of tea as ever. But this time we’ve got a drastic amount done and at this rate the video will be finished and ready to show in no time! I’m afraid I can’t show any images or clips of progress, you’ll just have to wait for that, but what I can show you, is a joint doodle effort that we’ve called ‘Man, this thing takes ages to render’.

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Ambient Noise Experiment 1

I have been conducting sound experiments to see the effects of ambient noises and sounds. This particular experiment was conducted with a guitar being played through a tremolo effects pedal, recorded with a hand held camera.

During the experiment I varied the rate of the tremolo effect, the velocity of the note and switched between random note playing and sequenced notes.

After recording the experiment I played it back to myself late at night whilst working on the computer. My conclusion is as follows.

Volume
Whilst varying the volume of the playback, I found a very low, almost inaudible volume to be best suited for an ambient atmosphere.

Velocity
Even with a low volume, the velocity the note played still has effect. A strong note can disrupt the ambience and some times causes distortion, causing the listener to flick from ambient to attention.

Tremolo
The slower rate of tremolo gives a more relaxed atmosphere and allows longer room between notes. The faster rate turns the relaxed echo into a short stab with a haunting after effect. It also means the note doesn’t hold as long and causes a sort of expectation for the next note.

Note sequence
Whilst listening to the random note sequences I cant help but feel the need to turn and face the speaker, the randomness in the notation and timing causes an uneasy tension, where as a simple note sequence with loose timing allows the listener to relax into a groove.

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Specialist Project – Learning Agreement

Two weeks into the project and I’ve secured an idea for what I want to work on and have written up a learning agreement.

Here’s a brief summary of what it is I want to create…

  • “For this project I want to explore the concept of interactive ambience. In aim to create a visual display, that can change between states as the user switches their attention to and from the piece.
    The idea came from working late at night, in a dark room with only the computer as company. Whilst in this dark, lonely room, I wanted some kind of presence or company that would fill the room without demanding my full attention. In an attempt to cure the lonely atmosphere I turned on the television only to find that its fast pace and demand for attention would only distract me from the work that needed my full awareness. From this I decided that it was my duty to explore this concept and create a ‘polite’ media presence that would react to the users attention, providing entertaining visuals when looked at, then as attention is given elsewhere it would die down and create only atmospheric ambience.”
    “The reason for doing this is to bring back the freedom of thought, to give people a chance to relax and think without the influences of advertising or television. In modern life its normal to relax in front of the TV, in the older days people would relax in front of a fire. The television and the fire both have mesmerising qualities, yet the fire has the innocence of being ‘just a fire’.”

The best way to sum up the concept for this project would be ‘Polite Media Presence’. As far as I am aware this term hasn’t been used yet and is something I have rather cunningly conjured up!

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VJ Demonstration

Today in class, a group of students gave a talk and demonstration of some V-J work they had done over the weekend .

Using a midi controller through Arkaos, they mashed various clips together to accompany the DJ’s set.

This is a basic form of VJing, but it still proves entertaining. An example of advanced VJing would be ColdCut. I saw their ‘Journeys By VJ’ live set in Bestival this summer which combined the samples they played with visuals, then as they scratched them the visuals would behave as the sound would. I’m not sure how intricate the set up was and how much control they had over it, but it still was a great show.

These are the closest videos i can find of their performance, its a shame, because it doesn’t really do it justice. There is something nice about seeing the human element as well, watching how they actually control the sound and visuals.

Coldcut – Revolution

Coldcut – Timber

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Look mah, my work !

On the way into Uni today, I found myself staring at a bus poster with some of my work on it, a still shot of an animation i done a while back.
It was a strange feeling to unexpectedly see a piece of work I was so familiar with, in a completely different medium, in a public environment (and without my permission).
It turns out the AIB used it in their promotional posters and newsletters.

My work is tiny on it, wonky and bad quality… but it’s a start!

Also my work on the AIB showreel.

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Experimental Musical Experiences

Digging around on the web again, i found some more interesting takes on music performance.

Firstly, Gil Kuno’s ‘Six String Sonics, The‘.

Instead of stringing one guitar with 6 strings, we have created 6 single string guitars which will be played by 6 people. Since there will be 6 hands manning the strings, the group is capable of reaching many more chords and melodies.

The concept is incredible, from what i can tell it has created an extreme closeness between the members of the band and a new outlook to guitar songwriting. The music is actually rather listenable, in-fact enjoyable! It still sounds like the early stages but… well have a listen for yourself.

1. Mars Icon
2. Evidence of Pop
3. Slow Stone Slow
4. Hard Ball

Like a lot of prog/experimental rock, its takes a few listens to get into it, but i do have a fondness for the second track ‘Evidence Of Pop’.

Next up is The Res (Recycling Entertainment System).

“6 NES controllers, midi signals and Max/MSP allow players to jam together.”

Its a great party piece that allows up to 6 friends to blast out some music using a device that just about every human is familiar with. I can imagine its hard to stay in time but the guys in this video seem to make a good job of it. Every now and then it turns a bit chaotic and falls apart but later in the video they make some funky beats.

The link between these pieces is the central point of interest, the way that a group of people come togher and explore strange unconventional ways of making music and rhythm thanks to these strange devices.

Lesson of the day: The experience seems to be more powerful once it is shared with other people.

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