Did You Ever Eat a Bat?

It began life as a live piece for 3 flutes and stereo tape; then it was reimagined as a purely acousmatic piece diffused through four speakers; now, here is the stereo remix of the quad version of... 'Did You Ever Eat a Bat?'

(note: there's a lot of energy in the bass, so it might do to turn up your speakers. Like the man said, THIS FILM SHOULD BE PLAYED LOUD).

Down, down, down. Would the fall never come to an end! There was nothing else to do, so Alice soon began talking again. 'Dinah my dear! I wish you were down here with me! There are no mice in the air, I'm afraid, but you might catch a bat, and that's very like a mouse, you know. But do cats eat bats, I wonder?' 

She felt that she was dozing off, and had just begun to dream that she was walking hand in hand with Dinah, and saying to her very earnestly, `Now, Dinah, tell me the truth: did you ever eat a bat?' when suddenly, thump! thump! down she came upon a heap of sticks and dry leaves, and the fall was over.  

And as an extra-added bonus spectacular, here's the piece being played in quad at my final recital:

MonoPd in action

Hey there crazy crew. I know, I know, I've been away for a while, right? I regret that. Really, I do. I mean, we all lead busy lives and, Zeus only knows, sometimes it can be difficult for us to make time for each other. But, hey. You and me, we go back. Waayy back. And our relationship - this understanding we have? It's not something you find every day.

What I'm trying to say is, I miss you. And I want you back. I hope you feel the same way.

As a peace offering, here's a video of people playing around with the first prototype version of MonoPd. Click through to read more!

Assignment: Outer Space!

For those who missed my recital, here is one of those things that were, for a time, part of it.

Deploy the Blurb-O-Tron!

I have a world premiere tomorrow.

Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to draw your attention to / brag about the fact that Did You Ever Eat a Bat?, an new tune for 3 flutes and 1 stereo tape part, is being premiered tomorrow afternoon at the British Flute Society Convention 2010.

It's being played by the now-legendary 'Nicholson Trio', somewhere in the bowels of the Royal Northern College of Music, between 13h50 and 14h30.

That is all.


Harnessing the power of a thousand suns (and one wii remote)

So. Wii Remotes. They're tricky little buggers. Yes, they're an interesting tool, but only if they're used in an interesting way. This is the story of two rubbish ideas and, hopefully, one alright one.

Rubbish Idea 1

  • this idea is entirely based on programming abilities that I don't have.
  • I'd rather come up with something more musical.
So. Think musical, Edward. What musical things can we approximate with a swoosh, a flick and a click?

Rubbish Idea 2: the wiiharp

...was a wiimote harp. As can be seen in the screenshot below (click to embiggen).
  • Strumming across the strings produces 'plucked' notes, via midi messages being sent to Logic. 
  • The wiimote's trigger buttons add various effects, delays and filters to the sound.

  • it's fun and intuitive.
  • the wiimote isn't fast enough to play complex melodies.
  • you can only play one note at a time (unless you have more than one wiimote and many hands)
  • it gets old quite quickly.
Basically, the wiiharp is quite a fun little toy. However, it's not very satisfying musically, especially once the initial fun has worn off. I would quite like to make one of these, though.

Hopefully, Quite Good Idea 3: the monowii

So, I don't want to replicate a 'real' instrument anymore. Instead, I want to replicate a monome. Or, at least, take inspiration from it. This is what my GUI looks like now:

The four large buttons at the top of the GUI represent the 4 main 'play modes' I'll be working on:
  • The top picture represents mode 1: setting off quick samples by swooshing the wiimote over the 9x8 grid, in a style very similar to the wii harp.
  • The bottom pictures shows mode 2: a step sequencer visualised on the 8x8 purple grid. It'll be firing off samples in Ableton, and doing all kind of wikkid stuff. 
  • WHO KNOWS what modes 3 and 4 will be.
The design is still in its infancy, but the monowii already has some advantages over the wiiharp:
  • it's fun and musical.
  • the wiimote adds to, rather than subtracts from, the core experience:
    • unlike the example of the harp, the core functionality of the monome should be easily implementable (even if, by recital-time, my demo version is still quite simple)
    • the wiimote's accelerometer can add aftertouch and other effects in a streamlined and intuitive way, improving on this core functionality.
This isn't just a tech demo anymore, but something that could actually evolve into quite a neat performance tool...

More news as it happens, folks! Or, more probably, a while after it happens. Also, more words in bold!

Preview of forthcoming attractions...

...as Princess Grace once said to Jimmy Stewart.

I apologise most profusely for not having updated of late. Work continues apace, however. Please see below for exempla.

Finished products forthcoming.

Oh, and my recital date is set, y'all. Friday October 1, 2010. Cardiff Arts Institute. All afternoon. Keep an eye out for Facebook events. Hourrah.

Pip pip! x