The Life & Work of Roger Gregg – Mad Scientists Bonus Episode

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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.

Download: Mad Scientists of Music – Bonus Episode – Roger Gregg

Tracks Used

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)

This recording is released under a non-commercial, no-derivatives Creative Commons Licence.

Mad Scientists of Music wins Sounds Alive Prize!

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.


Download: Hiding Music in the Mountains


Hiding Music in the Mountains

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.

Copyright Bonus Episode – Mad Scientists of Music

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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.

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.

    The Instrument of the Law – Episode 5 – Mad Scientists of Music

    This episode looks at how innovative new ways of making and distributing music are coming into conflict with our legal system. Some argue that copyright and patent laws, created to encourage innovation, are no longer in touch with how artists remix and reinterpret our cultural landscape.

    Part 1 – Piracy

    We learn about copyright law, the ‘copy left’ movement and new licensing schemes like Creative Commons. Eoin O’Dell corrects some common copyright misapprehensions, Ed Devane and Simon Kenny discuss their experiences having their music pirated. Niamh Houston (Chipzel) discusses how small Chiptune artists are challenged by ubiquitous piracy and major label plagiarism alike.

    Part 2 – Sampling

    Ewan Hennelly and Meljoann talk about the culture of sharing. MarQu and Meljoann describe about how ready access to the internet enabled them to learn techniques and exposed them to niche scenes that would have been unavailable historically; and how our always on, connected society is reshaping music. MarQu VR discusses the endemic and transformative use of samples in VJing and parody.

    Part 3 – Illegal Art

    Karakara (Kieran Dold) and Siam Collective (John Leech) discuss the idea of remixing as a crime and illegal art as a wilfully provocative act.

    Featured Interviewees:

    Eoin O’Dell, Colm Olwill (DJ PCP), Seb & Emma of Deathness Injection, Niamh De Barra, Simon Kenny (aka Bitwise Operator), Ed Devane, Meljoann, Ewan Hennelly (also known as HERV / ZPG), MarQu VR, Andrew Edgar, Kieran Dold (Karakara), Niamh Houston (Chipzel), John Leech (Siam Collective).

    Download:
    Episode 5 – ‘The Instrument of the Law

    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

    Chipzel – Only Human Foilverb Remix (RoughSketch)
    Karakara – Illeagle – Thesis Song
    Karakara – Illeagle – You called it that
    Karakara – Illeagle – God only knows
    Karakara – Illeagle – Really
    Karakara – Illeagle – In Light of your misleading

    Lobat – my little droid needs a hand
    Covox – Sunday – handheld electropop

    Siam Collective – Melatronic Mission (unreleased rough mix)
    Siam Collective – Meatloaf Madness (unreleased rough mix)
    Siam Collective – Simpson Chemical (unreleased rough mix)

    The Hacker in the Gallery – Episode 4 – Mad Scientists of Music

    This episode takes us on a tour of workshops and hack spaces, and explores the relationship of outsider electronic music to the fine art establishment.

    Teaser – Andrew Edgar takes us on a tour of the A4 Arts Collective.

    Part 1 – Ed Devane talks about the relationship between self taught musicians, hackers, artists and the “new music” (contemporary classical music) establishment.

    Part 2 – The Dublin Laptop Orchestra introduce us to their own unique take on electronic music. Performing using digital setups with midi controllers, the group focus on making a performance which combines physical movement with electronic collaboration.

    Part 3 – Stewart Geelon of Luxury Mollusc & Primal Barber Quartet introduces us to the Dublin ‘harsh noise’ scene, where electronic improvisers taking their queue from industrial and early 20th century avant-garde music, create challenging dark soundscapes from found objects.

    Part 4 – Artist Aine Belton, talks about combining language and musical sound to enhance the impact of poetry and creative writing. Aine, a trained musician and visual artist, became fascinated with combining music, language and visual media. This work has resulted in a practice which includes instrument making and zine culture alike.

    Interjection – Ed Devane talks about sound as art, the different purposes behind experimental music, improvisation from a visual art / sound art background, and the creation of work that elicits a ‘sense of awe’.

    Part 5 – Dublin postpunk-neokraut-nowave-neopsychadelic multi-instrumentalist improvisers No!, discuss collaborations at their open door Concrete Soup Experimental Music Afternoons in Twisted Pepper.

    Download:
    Episode 4 – ‘The Hacker in the Gallery

    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:

    Ed Devane – Arcane
    Ed Devane – Feedback
    Dublin Laptop Orchestra – Wakey Wakey
    Dublin Laptop Orchestra – Beater
    Dublin Laptop Orchestra Live recording (Rehearsal, Trinity College School of Music)
    The Primal Barber TrioLive at Hunters Moon (curtesy of Deserted Village)
    Luxury Mollusc – Live recording
    Beets like – by Becca De La Rosa read by ESC Zine
    Slinky – by Jessica Maybury via Craiglist read by ESC Zine
    ‘The Spoonwriter’ by Áine Belton and Sharon White (2010)
    No! – Live recording (Twisted Pepper, Concrete Soup Music Afternoons)

    Bonus Episode – Beginnings – Mad Scientists of Music

    The is the first web only bonus episode of Mad Scientists of Music. Focusing on interviews rather than sound, these episodes feature clips, topics and artists there wasn’t space to fit into the radio series.

    We kick off with early experiences in technology, hearing from a host of folks about how early encounters with computers and electronics fuelled their interest in sound. A diverse collection of musicians, from Ewan Hennelly and Simon Kenny to MarQu VR of Gamepak Collective, give us their radically differing opinions of technology.

    Moving on to influences we hear how artists like Auteker and Aphex Twin inspired a host of Irish experimental electronic musicians.

    Ed Devane talks about moving from constructing his own instruments to collecting a unique set of sounds to manipulate electronically.

    Niamh De Barra talks describes how composers like Stravinsky helped steer the course of electronic music and why contemporary virtuosity pushed her towards electronic composition and performance.

    Meljoann talks about her diverse influences and combining classical and electronic composition.

    Oswald Green and Sebastian Dooris speak about the pleasures of understanding the physics of sound. And there’s a special exclusive track from Oswald right at the end.

    Download:
    Bonus Episode – ‘Beginnings

    Toys – Episode 3 – Mad Scientists of Music

    Episode three takes a journey into the underground world of circuit bending. Circuit benders hack children’s toys and dissect cheap archaic electronics, to produce strange new instruments. Circuit bending lies at the intersection of instrument building, grass roots activism and psychedelia. Listeners will learn about the history of circuit bending, a hobby that grew out of the the microprocessor and psychedelic revolutions in the 1960’s; and how these technological and cultural movements fused into a kind of activist musicianship.

    From the work of Reed Ghazala (creator of Circuit Bending) on, musical tinkerers have been antiestablishment figures – taking technology beyond its intended uses and in the process becoming outsider artists.

    Andrew Edgar explains how geographical differences in the history of consumerism influenced the musical cultures of different countries – and how he views taking toys apart as a sort of ‘sound archaeology’. Andrew introduces us to his collection of unique circuit bent instruments. Artist and VJ MarQu Vr situates circuit bending in the history of electronic music. John Leech gives us a live ‘cartridge ripping’ demo, which involves tricking a classic megadrive into producing chaotic musical sequences. We begin though, in Berlin, where writer and one time rock star Julian Gough, is making his own weird and wonderful instruments.

    Download:
    Episode 3 – ‘Toys

    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.

    Credits

    Sounds used from – Gamepak circuit bending bloof

    Part 1 – Julian Gough in Berlin
    Part 2 – Andrew Edgar & Gamepak collective
    Part 3 – John Leech (of Siam Collective)

    Also featuring MarQu Vr of Gamepak collective.

    Tracks used: Cartridge rip by John Leech, improvised performance jam by MarQu Vr & Andrew Edgar.

    Growing Up Digital – Episode 2 – Mad Scientists of Music

    Episode two explores the video game backgrounds of a variety of Irish experimental musicians – how video game culture and ready access to technology influenced their love of music and their aesthetic sensibilities. Chiptune music in particular reappropriates not only the machinery, but also the distinctive sounds of computer games of the 1980’s, and this helps to define its unique aesthetic. Kieran Dold (Karakara) discusses the aesthetic appeal of retro videogame music. Niamh Houston (Chipzel) explains how ‘home brew’ software like LSDJ, allows her to make music from classic Game Boy portable gaming consoles. Niamh talks about completing the loop – working with BAFTA award winning video game designer Terry Cavanagh to create retro video game inspired music for contemporary ‘indie’ computer games like Super Hexagon.

    Download:
    Episode 2 – ‘Growing Up Digital

    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.

    Credits

    Part 1 – Gaming

    Game experience intro: Sebastian Dooris (Deathness Injection)
    Montage of Gamers: Emma (of Deathness Injection), Andrew Edgar, Kieran Dold (Karakara), John Leech (Siam Collective), Ed Devane, Colm Olwill, Ed Devane, Meljoann.

    Part 2 – Chiptune

    Interviewees: Kieran Dold, Niamh Houston.

    Featured Artists

    ChipzelKnuckle Joe
    ZPGMalware Brigade
    ZPGXai Unbound
    ChipzelSuper Hexagon Soundtrack and Super Hexagon play through (courtesy of Terry Cavannah)
    Menacing WondersChipzel (feat Manami Matsumae)
    Super Gammy BoyMicrosoft Excel Swag
    Super Gammy BoyI’d Have That Many Followers Too If I Dressed Like a Whore
    Bitwise OperatorHows That

    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.