Artist Led Archive – Culture File

Screen Shot 2015-07-02 at 13.05.41Megs Moorley at IMMA, image copyright Catalyst Arts Gallery.

Meg’s Moorley’s ‘artist led archive‘ is a wonderful storehouse of the wisdom and work of numerous art collectives over the last four decades. The archive, which tours as a series of exhibitions and discussion events, is part of the permanent collection at the National Arts Visual Library at NCAD. I spoke with curator and artist Megs Morley, at the recent Artist Led Archive exhibition at IMMA.

All tracks used in this piece were from CD’s included in the Artist Led Archive (complete list below). Many of these works were included on the incredible ‘The Sound We Are Now‘ release from 2007, featuring some of the most beautiful and evocative sound artists working in the last decade. The Sound We Are Now is available from Farpoint Recordings, the label which curates a panoply of incredible sound artists and experimental musicians.

Download: ‘The Artist Led Archive’


Tracks used

The Sound We Are Now – Anthony Kelly & David Stalling – Powerstation 3
The Sound We Are Now – Thea Herold – Same Same but different
Gary Phelan & Mark McLoughlin – Random Access Soundworks – Kevlar Second Chants
The Sound We Are Now – Johannes S. Sistermanns – to disappear / appear
The Sound We Are Now – Alan Lambert South Shore
David Stalling and Anthony Kelly – Urban Utopias – Ghost Signal
The Sound We Are Now – Jürgen Simpson – Kepler
Alan Lambert – The Man Who Cycled To The Moon – Tiny Tiny

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Paraudiolia 1 on Hibernation Radio

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Spoken word nights in Dublin follow a predictable recipe: an unpalatable mishmash of weepy bildungsroman, irate slam and colouring book political commentary. Bluebottle Collective‘s events are different. The group hosts intimate experimental affairs, as likely to feature performance art or avant garde comedy as poetry and prose. Now Bluebottle are expanding into internet art, with a month of radio pieces, commissioned from a variety of mixed media artists. Here’s how they describe the project…

Hibernation Radio exploits the uninhabitable nature of Irish winters through rising internet speeds. Irish winters are: manky, silvery, filthy, dank, dreary, sodden, soft. There is no drama – no ice storms, hurricanes, landslide – just a gradual sogging of the country. Hibernation Radio nurtures aural curiosity and socialisation, as all other senses dim. Hibernation Radio is a meeting point. Rising mpbs allow weatherless intimacy- we welcome avatars and all-weather identities.

Hibernation Radio pivots the usual complaints about Irish weather into unconditional hero worship. We want to explore scientific (botanical, biological, zoological), artistic and emotional responses to thriving amongst the mank. Hibernation Radio does not see these categories as mutually exclusive. Every night for a month, listeners will find a cocoon of music, science, and spoken word; the mank is good and great.

The first episode, featuring a spoken word performance by Roisin Kiberd, music from n___________v and an experimental sound piece from yours truly, is available at the Hibernation Radio site.

You can also download my contribution below.


Download: Paraudiolia 1 [It’s not that way it’s over here]

Concrete Soup – featuring Katsura Yamauchi

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Hey folks, ¡NO! the psychedelic rock outfit featured in Episode 4 of Mad Scientists of Music, are running another of their monthly improvised music events in Twisted Pepper. This time they’re playing with avant garde Japanese saxophonist Katsura Yamuchi. If you fancy something chilled out and unconventional head down on the afternoon of October 18th. It’s a mere five euro.

Here’s the blurb…

From the black deeps of the Twisted Pepper Basement, the 3rd Saturday afternoon of every month, Concrete Soup has been bringing together international, national and local avant-garde musicians of all colours and stripes for nigh on a year now. Hosted by new psychedelic improvisers ¡NO!, Concrete Soup features a monthly guest and fuels itself on wailing walls of guitars, space jazz bass, brain bending keys, stair collapse drums, nuclear winter clarinet, high wire sax and generally mutant noise. Oh, and it’s often washed down with heavily psychedelic visuals. If you have a penchant for a mash up of the styles of Can, Pere Ubu, Captain Beefheart, Sun Ra, 70s Miles or early Sonic Youth, this will fix you nicely. October’s Concrete Soup will feature internationally acclaimed Japanese minimalist saxophonist Katsura Yamauchi. As per the usual form, Katsura will play a solo set as well as a collaborative set with hosts ¡NO!

Concrete Soup New Psych Music Afternoons
The Twisted Pepper, 54 Middle Abbey Street, Dublin 1

18 October 2014 – featuring Katsura Yamauchi
4:30pm –7:30pm
Admission: 5 euro

Mad Scientists of Music Live – Playlist

The event is called ‘Mad Scientists of Music’, and it’s on Tuesday
16th September in Twisted Pepper. We’ll have chiptune, circuitbending
and experimental electro-acoustic noise stuff, from a variety of crazy
Irish experimental artists.

Acts featured on the night include Deathness Injection, KaraKara,
Luxury Mollusc, Siam Collective, MarQu Vr & The Trumpets of Time &
Glotchbot. We’ve cooked up a wee playlist to give you a taster!

And here’s a wee interview about the gig, from Near FM’s Art’s Show last week (interview starts 6 minutes in).

Mad Scientists of Music Live

Mad Scientists Live

To celebrate the release of ‘Mad Scientists of Music‘ We’ve put together a fantastic lineup of experimental musicians, in a one evening mini festival in Dublin City Centre. Some of the best and most unique artists from the Irish electroacoustic, noise, chiptune and circuit bending scenes will be performing in a multi-hour experimental extravaganza.

Lineup to Include: Deathness Injection, KaraKara, Luxury Mollusc, Siam Collective and more! With sounds and visuals from MarQu Vr & The Trumpets of Time & Glotchbot.

Where: Main Room, Twisted Pepper
When: September 16th, 2014
Time: 7PM – 11.30PM
All welcome. Tickets €5 euro on the door

Facebook Event

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

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.

Download:
Episode 6 – ‘Postcards from the Edge

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.

    Learning How to Listen – Episode 1 – Mad Scientists of Music

    Episode one explores how circuit benders, hackers and artists are building teaching and education into their practice. This is a culture as much about sharing as making, and all the artists interviewed run classes and workshops (often at no charge). Children and adults alike attend the ‘maker fairs’ and hacklabs where circuit benders share tips and show off their home brew projects. We look at how the history and technology involved are intimately connected to learning as a democratic horizontal practice, and how workshops facilitate access to these emerging technologies. We drop in on a circuit bending workshop at A4 Sounds with Andrew Edgar, and hear adults and children explore this new world of experimental sound. Roger Gregg takes us on a tour of his radio theatre laboratory, and tells the story of how he fell in love with the storytelling possibilities of sound. We join electroacoustic musician and instrument maker Ed Devane as he teaches musicians and non musicians alike how to improvise. Sebastian & Emma, of Dublin experimental duo ‘Deathness Injection‘ discuss their massively collaborative performance at Culture Night in Exchange Dublin.

    Download:
    Episode 1 – ‘Learning how to listen


    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.

    The World You Think You Live In

    Experimental narrative video piece I made a while back. The narration is adapted from an unpublished short story called ‘The Wedding Tree’. I talked about the ideas behind this story in an Ignite talk at Mindfields a couple of years back called ‘The Nuts & Bolts Of Making Stuff Up’. Video of that talk never emerged alas.

    Download: The World You Think You Live In

    Update 2: Without warning, Youtube returned sound to the video. So much for open and transparent copyright policies guys.

    Update: Youtube has seen fit to censor another one of my videos, due to the inclusion of ‘copyrighted’ material. To view the original video go to vimeo – https://vimeo.com/81525310

    New Radio Series in production ‘Mad Scientists of Music’

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    I’ve just kicked off production on my new radio series, my first documentary. It’s a 6 * 30 minute show about experimental music in Ireland, entitled ‘Mad Scientists of Music’. Experimental music is a pretty big topic, covering everything from bedroom tinkering with Fruity Loops to technically and aesthetically sophisticated electronic ‘noise’  to Harry Partch style microtonal music. Clearly, I can’t cover everything, and this won’t be an effort to comprehensively catalogue the field. Instead I’ll be focusing primarily on participatory music – chiptune, circuit bending, music apps and other techniques and technologies which allow untrained musicians to take part in creating music.

    For a number of years I was involved in the day to day activities of Exchange Dublin. Exchange was at that point a consensus based arts institution in Temple Bar Dublin; more recently the centre has moved away from total democracy, for better and worse, and apparently plans are afoot to leave its Temple Bar HQ for less contentious surroundings. When Exchange kicked off, the initial idea was to let open groups  co-ordinate creative projects in different mediums. Exchange Focus (founded by Dr. Jason McCandless) let enthusiast photographers and complete novices alike learn the intricacies of DSLR photography. My pet project, Exchange Words, ran workshops, lectures, and collaboratively organised spoken word performances. No Signal, a group organised by Dublin based artists like Jonah King, Daniel O’Donovan, Patrick Hough, Aine Belton, and Sebastian Dooris, fooled around with experimental audio video production and performance. No Signal was great fun, I used to head along as an interested if utterly unqualified observer. This was 2009, and demonstrations of 3D digital projection, live coding, and circuit bending seemed to come from a different world, a sizzling technoutopia where devices could be opened up, rejigged and tickled to reveal their secrets.  This open access mixture of mad scientists laboratory, artists workshop and technofetishists basement encouraged a playful attitude to technology, a million miles away from the intimidating math heavy culture of academic engineering and computer science. It was the purest expression of the hacker-artist culture I used to read about in Bruce Sterling think pieces for Wired Magazine or hear breathlessly described in The Net in the early 90’s. Talented amateurs using prosumer technology in interesting and innovative ways to make art, just for the love of it. Around the same time I took part in one of Ben Gaulon‘s ‘Sound Dig’ workshops, learning the very basics of circuit bending and hacking my first kiddie keyboard.

    Later I got to know the guys behind Gamepak, a loose knit Dublin chiptune / circuit bending collective. Gampaq run chiptune gigs at festivals like KnockanStockan, and circuit bending workshops in association with Harold’s Cross based A4 Sounds. Taking part in these unstructured peer learning workshops helped inform the ideas behind Open Learning Ireland. Most recently, MarQu and Andrew Edgar of Gamepak helped organise the Open Learning hacklab at our week long festival of learning.


    Bitwise Operator, one of the acts interviewed for the series.

    I’m no musician. I took piano lessons as a kid, and wrote some awful singer songwriter music after leaving school, but I can’t play any instrument with any degree of competence. What I like about these technologies, and the folks who play with them in an inclusive way, is that my lack of ability doesn’t matter as much as my desire to participate. This isn’t just fiddling about with a ‘my first musak’ toy either. Participative electronic music, like gamelan and other traditional forms of non-expert collaborative music making, let non-musicians take part in producing real music: Improvising with ambient noise duo Deathness Injection, fiddling with Andrew Edgar’s homemade keyboards, or jamming on Bitwise Operator‘s upcoming iPad app. That’s the feeling I’m trying to convey with this series.  The experience of playing with things beautiful, unsettling and deliriously novel. In my next post I’ll talk about some of the folks I’ve interviewed so far, and the techniques and radio series that have influenced the approach I’m taking with  ‘Mad Scientists of Music’. For now check out this collaborative performance curated by Na Hailtiri in association with Deathness Injection. 1000 members of the public converged on Exchange Dublin, to join in in the spontaneous performance – noodling on theremins, effects pedals and chaos pads.

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3pLJ5nCwrts]

    Mad Scientists Of Music should be done by early – mid 2014. If you’d like to be interviewed for the series get in touch. If you’d like to follow production, check it us on Facebook.