This weekend Little Gem Records launched the physical release of my documentary series ‘Mad Scientists of Music‘. The series is available now from Little Gem‘s store (located off Parnell Square, just across from the Ambassador Theatre), on their awesome ‘little gem’ mp3 player format. It’s an extremely limited release – so pick up a copy from the shop (or from me in person) while you can.
Roger Gregg is a dramatist, poet, musician, actor and performer. Over a long career on radio and theatre, he’s had dozens of plays performed all over the world, and written and recorded numerous radio dramas as ‘Crazy Dog Audio Theatre‘.
Today Roger continues to record and perform, with his ‘Bee Loud Glade Cabaret’. Bee Loud shows fuse poetry and music, giving new life to verse, mythology and storytelling.
Roger appeared in episode one of Mad Scientists of Music, and this episode continues our discussion. Roger talks about everything from his radio influences, to his career in Irish theatre, to the inimitable power of sound.
Crazy Dog Audio Theatre – Studio Cuts
Crazy Dog Audio Theatre – Time Out For Bill Lizard
Bee Loud Glade Cabaret – Up Yours (featuring the words of Gerry Murphy)
Bee Loud Glade Cabaret – Too Lovely for words (featuring the words of Gerry Murphy)
Bee Loud Glade Cabaret – The Boney (featuring the words of Iggy McGovern)
Bee Loud Glade Cabaret – Helen’s Kiss
Crazy Dog Audio Theatre – Infidel
Roger Gregg – We’re number one
Bee Loud Glade Cabaret – Night Start
Roger Gregg – The Hollow Men (featuring the words of T.S Elliot)
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).
So last night I was lucky enough to see the incredibly talented radio producer Roman Mars perform a live episode of his show 99% Invisible, at the ever creepy Freemasons Hall in Molesworth St. The event was a part of the inaugural Sounds Alive festival, which brought together a bunch of radio folks like legendary storytelling collective the Moth, and Belfast’s Sonic Arts Research Centre, as well as curating several rooms of world class radio around the bizarre magical landscape of the Freemason’s Dublin Command Centre.
I had genuinely forgotten that Sounds Alive was also running a competition, called ‘Your Story Your Sound‘, curated in part by Roman Mars himself. So it’s with enormously still disbelieving bejaysusment that I report that a segment from my recent doc series ‘Mad Scientists of Music‘ (created for Dublin community station Near FM) took home the award. The piece takes us on a musical journey into the hills above Brighton, where avant-garde music finds a home in an ancient landscape.
If you like what you hear, we’re running a live show to promote some of the artists featured in the documentary. It’s on 16th September in Dublin’s Twisted Pepper, and tickets are only 5 euro! You can also download or stream to the whole series at this website, or on itunes.
Update: Luke at Culturefile was kind enough to rebroadcast the piece yesterday.
Irish electronic musician Ewan Hennelly (HERV / ZPG), has developed a way to combine his two passions; hiking and electronic music. 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 cassettes of his experimental music albums for curious travellers to encounter.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Mad 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.
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.