Culture File Report – ‘Popical Island’

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Image: Popical Island, literally ripped from the pages of Hot Press

I’ve long been enamoured of the sheer fun of Popical Island‘s albums and gigs. The label come collective feature numerous highly regarded Irish bands like Groom, Tieranniesaur, Squarehead, Big Monster Love and No Monster Club. This indy rock (I’d go as far as to say twee-pop, but I mean that as a compliment!) gang have moved to a new home on Little Brighton St, ‘The Pop Inn’. There they cook up new albums galore and cobble together gigs that have an atmosphere reminiscent of a beech boys video, without the hindsight about Brian Wilson later becoming a drug mental. I visited this cosy corner of the world earlier in the week, and spoke to the islanders about what makes them unique, and to No Monster Club’s Bobby Ahern about his upcoming booky wook, ‘D’You Remember Yer Man‘. Results above!

Music featured:
Cave Ghosts – ‘La Concha‘, No Monster Club – ‘Rock ‘N Roll Kids‘, Groom – ‘Golden Age‘.

Mad Scientists of Music – Copyright Bonus Episode

itunes-image

As promised, here’s the second bonus web only episode to accompany my series ‘Mad Scientists of Music’. Episode five of the series, ‘The Instrument of the Law‘ examined how changing technology and copyright laws are impacting music. This bonus episode fills in the blanks, addressing additional issues we didn’t get to talk about in detail, like creative commons, the legality of mashups, copyright as a promotional tool, and alternative business models at a time when music sales are in decline.


Download: Bonus Episode – Copyright

Issues Raised in the Programme

Great article on ‘The Economics of Girl Talk’, the mashup artist whose ostensibly illegal releases have somehow escaped the ire of the recording industry.

David Bowie’s predictions, a decade ago, on the future of the music industry.

More information on the proposed Irish Household Broadcast Charge.

Information on the work of the Irish Copyright Review Committee, including their final report, ‘Modernising copyright‘.

All the information publicly available on the secretive Trans-pacific partnership agreement, the new transnational agreement which will dictate which laws domestic governments can pass or amend to govern copyright.

If you’re interested in releasing or discovering work that uses a Creative Commons licence, here’s a link to the various Creative Commons Licences.

Article on recent Indian legal decisions relating to patents.

Eye opening article about the privatisation of Copyright Enforcement in Brazil.

Credits

Thanks to interviewees – Kieran Dold / Kara Kara, John Leech / Siam Collective, Dr Eoin O’Dell, MarQu VR, Ewan Hennelly, Meljoann, Simon Kenny (Bitwise Operator), Ed Devane, Andrew Edgar.

Threat Detection – Episode 23 – A.I. in Games (Part 2)

ellie in last of us

What’s Threat Detection?

Threat Detection is a lively, smart, frequently funny and always irreverent videogame chat show on Radiomade.ie. Each week, hosts Gareth Stack & James Van De Waal take an hour or two to tear apart a videogame topic, like character, horror, or sex.

Threat Detection Video Game Show - Episode 23 - 08/07/14 - Artificial Intelligence in Games (Part 2) by Radiomade on Mixcloud

Download: Threat Detection – Episode 23

In the second part of our A.I. in games double bill, we focus on the companion character of ‘Ellie’ in ‘The Last Of Us’, perhaps the greatest accomplishment in videogame A.I.

Culture File – ‘The Mentalist’

I can’t quite believe it, they let me do it again! Recently the producers of Lyric FM’s daily culture programme ‘Culture File‘ took an interest in my documentary series Mad Scientists of Music, asking me to adapt a report on brilliant Northern Irish chiptune musician Chipzel for their show.

Last week they commissioned me to meet Irish mentalist Shane Gillen. Shane’s new show, which brilliantly combines stagecraft and magic is currently on in Smock Alley. Rather unbelievably, they allowed me to make this bonkers report about Shane and his journey into ‘mentalism’. I’m seriously amazed this went out on RTE radio. I actually got a call from a close friend right after it broadcast to tell me I’m crazy. Victory!

Shane’s show ‘Lapse‘ is running until July 12th, tickets here. I’d heartily recommend it.

The music used in this piece is all stolen / adapted from Simon Kenny’s brilliant Bitwise Operator release ‘Translation’. You can download the whole EP for free from bandcamp. Simon is also the creator of the incredible sound synthesiser ‘Oscar‘ , coming soon to iPad / Android, featured in the final episode of Mad Scientists.

Mad Scientists of Music – Episode 6 – Postcards from the Edge

Download:
Episode 6 – ‘Postcards from the Edge

Mad Scientists of Music – Episode 6 – Postcards from the Edge

The final episode of the series looks at the future of Irish experimental music. We find out how techniques like ‘Live Coding’ (where computer programming during a concert, creates the music and visuals in real time), ‘Geocached Music’ (intrepid explorers following clues to discover hidden caches of music in the real world), and new interfaces like ‘Leap motion’ (which tracks users hands as they move through space) will change how audiences can interact with the music. This episode ties together the threads of the series, and offers a glimpse into the future of music, technology and creative collaboration.

Part 1 – Geocaching with Ewan Hennelly

Irish electronic musician Ewan Hennelly, formerly HERV, now known as ZPG, has combined his love of hiking and electronic music in an unexpected way. Climbing the hills and valleys of the South Downs, Ewan takes part in geocaching. Tracking down geocaches (tiny boxes for marked on an online map) with his GPS, Ewan leaves tapes of his experimental music for curious travellers to encounter.

Part 2 – Simon Kenny’s Inventions

Simon Kenny (Bitwise Operator) is a musician and inventor. He takes us on a whirlwind tour of his software experiments, working with a variety of groups like Galway Autism Project. Simon also shows off his cutting edge software synthesiser ‘Oscar‘.

Part 3 – Andrew Edgar’s Weather Machine

Andrew Edgar of Gamepak Collective has a dream. He wants to build a new kind of instrument, a ‘terrarium’ that can be teased into sonic life by musicians ‘like Gods of yore’.

Part 4 – Ed Devane’s Binaural Recordings

Electroacoustic musician Ed Devane has been experimenting with binaural recordings: Sending these hypnotic microphones out to vocalists all over the world. The results are beautiful and dreamlike.

Part 5 – Sebastian Heinz of Patchblocks

Patchblocks are a new invention, successfully kickstarted by Belfast based, German born Sebastian Heinz. Part synth, part midi instrument, they can be used alone or as a programmable effects pedal; with a huge library of community effects to download.

Epilogue – Success in music

Niamh De Barra and Roger Gregg talk about succeeding as an artist in the twenty first century.

About the Series

BAI logo mark colourMad Scientists of Music is a six part, BAI funded documentary series on Near FM. The show explores the world of Circuit Bending, Chip Tune, and Electroacoustic music in Ireland. Low cost technology, recycled instruments and a new attitude to tinkering embodied by the ‘maker movement’ are helping to reinvent music. A new generation of Irish musicians raised around computers, the internet and video gaming, see noise as something to be hacked, taken apart, and reconstructed. These artists build their own instruments, whether by recycling toy keyboards, modifying video game consoles, or attaching electronics to traditional stringed instruments. They often share their music online for free, and in doing so challenge our ideas about copyright and ownership. Their playful attitude to technology finds new uses for obsolete devices and brings the collaboration of musicianship to engineering and the arts.

Tracks Used

ZPG – Conjunx Endura
ZPG – Slow Cell
HERV – It’s OK I’m a collage
Oscar, Leap Motion Demo, Graphic Score Cam – Sounds and music courtesy of Simon Kenny / Surface Tension
Patchblocks – Sounds and music courtesy of Patchblocks. Including patch blocks demo track by Box Cutter
Weather machine – Includes the following creative commons sounds:

  • S: FishTank Bubbles.wav by skeetdawg | License: Sampling+
  • S: fish.tank_trickle.mp3 by dobroide | License: Attribution
  • S: wind3.wav by eliasheuninck | License: Creative Commons 0
  • S: spray_bottle.wav by stephendemaria | License: Attribution
  • S: Rain_06.wav by Q.K. | License: Creative Commons 0
  • S: Dolphin screaming underwater in Caribbean Sea (Mexico) by felix.blume | License: Creative Commons 0
  • S: kilauea-lava-01.wav by e__ | License: Attribution
  • S: Atari-Volcano-Erupting.mp3 by rambut | License: Attribution
  • S: Monks of Punakha Dzong.wav by RTB45 | License: Attribution
  • S: hair dryer.wav by Tomlija | License: Attribution
  • S: Storm200408.mp3 by csengeri | License: Attribution
  • This recording is released under a non-commercial, no-derivatives Creative Commons Licence.

    Threat Detection – Episode 22 – Gaming A.I. (Part 1)

    lucy grand

    What’s Threat Detection?

    Threat Detection is a lively, smart, frequently funny and always irreverent videogame chat show on Radiomade.ie. Each week, hosts Gareth Stack & James Van De Waal take an hour or two to tear apart a videogame topic, like character, horror, or sex.

    Threat Detection Video Game Show - Episode 22 - 01/07/14 by Radiomade on Mixcloud

    Download: Threat Detection – Episode 22

    Continue reading

    Culture File Report on Chiptune

    Chuffed to be able to present my first piece for RTE Lyric FM’s ‘Culture File‘ programme. It’s a short on Chipzel, the Chiptune artist profiled in Episode 2 of Mad Scientists of Music. The piece features much of the same material from that report, but presented in a more straightforward way, which was an interesting challenge. I grew up religiously listening to the incredible BBC Radio 4 arts programme Kaleidoscope, and Luke Clancy’s Culture File is a sort of modern day descendent of that show.