Category Archives: Step Across The Border

Step Across The Border

Step Across the Border – Project Pitch

1.What is your project?

(What ideas have you taken from the module)

My project idea will take influence and traits from the graphic score and sonic art units from this module. I chose to base my work on these units because I really liked the unconventionality of the graphic scores, and how images are used to symbolise the music which is then interpreted however the reader decides. As for sonic art, I was drawn to the immersive nature of it, and how it allows the spectator to directly enter that musical atmosphere and be a part of it.

I really want to try and merge these two ideas by creating an immersive, three dimensional experience based around a piece of artwork. I like the idea of composing a piece of music around an image, as it’s almost like giving it a voice and opening up more ways people can absorb it.

2.How will your work be presented?

(What will the work look & sound like, how many people are involved?)

My work will allow spectators to enter a space where the whole atmosphere is based around this image. My plan is to have the artwork created on a large canvas which will be placed in the middle of a room, and then have my composition of dark ambient music played through some low-fi speakers. The reason for this is that I want the artwork to be quite gritty and distorted, so the music should reflect this. I will also use lighting to shape the experience and create an appropriate atmosphere.

3. What statement(s) are you making?

(Whats the purpose & drive behind what your doing)

The purpose behind my idea is to create a three dimensional artistic experience that the spectators can enter and immerse themselves in.

4. What are your technical requirements?

(Lighting, sound, offsite requirements etc…Please be as concise as possible)

The project will be held on site at the university. I will play the track through my phone or laptop through a portable speaker. To get a gritty sound I will either add an effect to the track export, or if I’m able I will use an appropriate amplifier that can achieve my desired sound. I will bring my own strobe light and will book out two LED parcan lights from the university stores. The artwork I will create myself and I will locate an appropriate stand to mount it.

A rehearsal schedule

(Submit a written plan of how you will achieve your final outcome)

I will create the piece of artwork at home. I will then begin to compose a piece of music on how I personally interrupt the image and for the music to represent the image and sound atmospheric. During the rehearsals we have been booked in for, I will practice arranging lights in a way that looks best and illuminates the artwork appropriately. I will also figure out the best placement for everything. I will perform all appropriate sound-checks and make sure my mix of the composition sounds alright through the speakers. If it doesn’t I will tweak the mix and do more mastering on it.

The Graphic Score

The track is made up of a mix of found sound and midi instruments:

Midi – Piano, Three synths & Two basses

Found Sound – Hitting of metallic pipes, Drip of water, Creaking of wood & Footsteps

Every-time I applied a new textual medium layer to the canvas, I recorded a stem to match the mood, tone & feel of that layer. Once I finished the canvas, I then went on to arrange the stems into a track.

Candle wax = Dripping of water sound

Water colour paint = Lead piano

Charcoal = Synths & Bass

Tea stain = Creaking of wood sound

Acrylic paint = Hitting of metallic pipes & footsteps

The piece of music was composed on Propellerhead Reason, then mixed and mastered on Ableton Live.

Graphic Score Collage______________________________________________________________

Light Development

Whilst planning my project, I knew I wanted to incorporate some movement of light. I began experimenting with a variety of lights including using a flash light, LED par-can lights to finally getting hold of a strobe light. I found although the flash light was a nice and subtle enough effect it was static, not allowing for the effect I wanted to achieve. Whilst trying out the LED par-can lights I found to have the same problem, although the overall illumination wasn’t quite what I was going for. I then decided to use a strobe light, the strobe light created the atmosphere and effect that I set out to achieve. The strobe light was at the core of the idea and brought it all to life.Light

The Sound Development

Whilst planning my final project, I knew I wanted to achieve a specific overall sound. I tried out several speakers and sound systems from:

  • PA System

  • Portable Speakers

  • Surround Sound System

  • Laptop Speakers

  • Megaphone

Although I tried out the final track through a PA system I knew it wouldn’t give me the specific sound quality I was after. I then went on to simply try out a couple of portable speakers, it did kinda give the lo-fi sound quality I was after but I felt it wasn’t completely what I was looking for. The surround sound system really added a lot of dynamics and I felt It did create a great atmosphere and I thought If I simply put an effect on the finished track, the the surround sound system could really work for what I set out to achieve. The laptop speakers was pretty much the same as the portable speakers giving a slight lo-fi sound but not quite what I wanted to achieve.

I decided to choose the megaphone for the final performance in the end, due the very specific audio quality that the megaphone projects. The audio quality of the megaphone give me the overall sound I was looking to achieve, whilst also creating the appropriate atmosphere. The specific sound of the megaphone saved me from manipulating the audio in anyway also.

The Sound System Experimentation________________________________________________________________________________

Projection Development

Adding a projector to my project was one of the last key elements I felt my final performance needed. After several rehearsals, experimenting with the lighting and sound I knew it needed another factor. I felt by adding the projector to my project it simply tied everything together, creating the 3dimensional effect I set out to achieve. Once I knew I wanted to add the projector I was unsure of the type of footage to project. I then spent awhile planning and researching possible ideas. I first planned to project black and white war stock footage, but I felt it distracted away from the initial point of the project. I then moved onto the idea of simple stock footage of smoke, ink or abstract digital art, I felt this was closer to the idea I had in mind.

These are some of the footage I looked at:

After trying out each of the visuals with the composed piece of music, none of them was quite what I was looking to achieve. I then came across a great bad tv/VHS effect footage, which I felt worked perfectly with the music and had/created the desired effect I was after for the performance. I felt the footage didn’t draw any attention anyway from any other feature within the performance but subtle enough to tie it all together.

Live Improvisation

Live in the moment, Improvisation on an electronic drum kit. The first time I rehearsed I realized the pre-set sounds found on the electronic drum kit wasn’t quite what I was looking for so, I then decided to put the electronic drum kit through an electric guitar multi-effects pedal. By applying reverb & distortion to the drum kit and experimenting with levels on the pedal, I eventually achieved the perfect sound I was looking for. After doing a full sound rehearsal I got an idea of how I wanted the overall performance to run and sound.

I wanted to get myself out of my comfort-zone and by never playing drums nor working with an electronic drum kit before, I decided it be a great opportunity to experiment.

Overall Live Performance

The live performance will allow viewers to enter a space where the whole atmosphere is based around this image/graphic score. The plan is to have the artwork created on a large canvas which will be placed in the middle of a room, and then have my composition of the dark ambient graphic score music played through some low-fi speakers, such as a megaphone. The reason for this is that I want the artwork to be quite gritty and distorted, so the music should reflect this. I will also use lighting to shape the experience and create an appropriate atmosphere. By only using the strobe light to illuminate the art/graphic score piece the viewers will only have glimpses of the art piece at a time. I also wanted to incorporate live improvisation to the final performance to reflect all the aspects of the project and tie them together so, it’s a live representation of everything.