More homemade contact mics

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Via the instagramma. I’ve been tinkering in the studio this evening, designing some new contact mics that run to an XLR (balanced signal) output. A bit ugly at the moment, but they sound pretty good with high responsiveness and minimal noise. I added a thin sliver of cork to the back of mic to assist with grip when clamping/fixing to surfaces and/or objects. I may add some cork to the surface of the mic as well. It’s a good wood.

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Sound Installation: Pink Twine (2005)

Audio from the 2005 installation Pink Twine has been recovered from an ageing C90 cassette tape and is presented for the first time as a four-part release.

Pink Twine  was the first of my works to bear the influence of Alvin Lucier’s seminal work, I am sitting in a room (1970).

The work was realised as part of the Project 2 Sound Art Workshops held at the Electronic Music Unit (EMU) over a the course of a weekend in February 2005. The installation remained active for the duration of the following week.

pinktwine2005

Four loudspeakers are positioned on Level 5 of the Schultz Building (University of Adelaide) within the stairwell space with two microphones positioned on the 4th and 6th levels of the stairwell.

The microphones record the space for a duration of 45 minutes (the length of a cassette tape). This stereo recording is then played back into space through the loudspeakers, whilst being simultaneously re-recorded and manipulated using the EQ and pitch controls of the Tascam 424 Portastudio.

The overall sonic effect consists of a discrete reinforcement of resonant frequencies, whilst also featuring instances of feedback and the subsequent layering of activity in the space. At times, peripheral sounds such as voices, the sound of the lifts and a mobile phone (during Part 3) can be heard.

This cassette recording captures the end result of 7 days of re-recording, manipulation and countless actions within the space. I have remastered these edited recordings a little so as to balance the overall audio image, however I decided to retain the audible tape hiss as evidence of the technology in use at the time.

pinktwine2005

Slinky as sound generator/mock-reverb apparatus

I obtained a Slinky over the weekend and decided to test it out as a sound generator by clamping a piezo transducer at one end and tapping my fingers at the other end as an impulse.  As you can see in the video it’s a pretty interesting result.

I also experimented with sending various signals through the Slinky using another piezo transducer clamped to the top, operating a bit like a crude spring reverb unit.  The impulses – square and sawtooth waves; recordings of voices and instruments all sounded quite reverberant with (in given cases) slight instances of frequency modulation.  (not included in the video)

New music: Swimming Widget (short soundtrack) for Dfaces of Youth Arts

Video still courtesy of Danielle Walpole, 2012
Video still courtesy of Danielle Walpole, 2012

TLR: ‘Enlaced’ samples, Ableton Live, Boss DR drum machine, MIDI sync, Korg Monotron synthesiser, Casio CZ-101 synthesiser.

A bit of new music from me. This is a composition for a short film documenting a youth arts initiative in Whyalla involving Adelaide street artist, Seb Humphreys (Country Arts SA/DFaces.) The shimmering marimba texture is drawn from an old 2008 track, Enlaced. I thought it would be interesting to use an old piece of music as the starting foundation for a composition and work from there.

Musically this is a fair departure from recent stuff I’ve been doing..for starters, this actually has a perceivable beat(!)  I also decided to experiment with some more adventurous and unconventional music production techniques (for me at least), such as slow filter sweeps and seeing how far I could take brick wall compression. Both of these techniques are strictly off-limits for most of the work I’m doing at the moment, so it was nice to loosen the rules up a bit on this project.  The latter technique is quite a bit of fun to use – it has the potential to completely annihilate audio signals.

Thanks to Dfaces Creative Producer, Danielle Walpole and Country Arts SA.

DIY hydrophones: Violet and substrate sonics.

Several hydrophone recordings made in the Goolwa (East Fleurieu) area using a the DIY built hydrophone ‘Violet’. These recordings have been mixed together to create a work-in-progress composite sound image. A majority of the recordings here are the result of the hydrophone being buried in sand near the water to capture the sonic environment of the substrate. Notable elements include: wind ‘playing’ the exposed XLR cable, the dynamic peaks of sand and other small particles moving past or making contact with the hydrophone, and the ‘groan’ of large densities of sand shifting in close proximity to the hydrophone. Basic fades, spatilisation, EQ and filtering have been employed to render a consistent sound image and accentuate the respective qualities of these sounds.