“A Typology for Listening in Place”

Paper presented at ‘Mobile Music Workshop’, Vienna, May 13-15 2008. Written in collaboration with Pedro Rebelo (SARC, UK) and Florian Hollerweger (SARC, UK).

“Sound technologies, particularly mobile and locative media technologies, can provide unique listening experiences within situations that are not themselves exclusive zones for sonic projection, meditation or exploration. This paper seeks to contribute to the understanding of locative sound design by presenting a framework consisting of three spatial archetypes: the Theatre, the Museum and the City. These serve as metaphors through which we can articulate different types relations between listener, sound and place. The Mobile Music Player has been chosen as an example of a listening condition that both characterizes and traverses the Theatre, the Museum and the City listening archetypes.”


“Musique Concrète” Workshop

One off workshop within the “Two places” sound art programme for Ormeau Baths Gallery, Belfast (Feb 2008 )

A small group of partcipants were lead through a days training upon how to record in the field (through a sound walk within belfast) using a variety of microphone and hardware. In addition, back in the gallery, they were introduced to some basic editing techniques and with these skills created short “Musique Concrète” inspired sound compositions. 


Details on the “Two Places” exhibit: http://www.twoplaces.ul.ie/

Ableton Live Workshop

Tuition upon ‘Ableton Live’ through the Digital Arts Studio (DAS), Queen’s Street Studios, Belfast (Last: October 2007 part of Visonic Festival, next expected November 2008 )

My blurb from the original ad:

“Queens Street Studio presents a short workshop demonstrating the music production package Ableton Live. This course will introduce the attendees to computer recording, editing, mixing and mastering techniques. Furthermore, a detailed overview of the unique live capabilities of this software will be provided. Ableton Live has quickly become the new instrument of choice for many innovative DJs and cutting edge bands – don’t miss out on your chance to join the music revolution!”


Scrapyard Challenge

Local audio expect for Jonah Brucker-Cohen and Katherine Moriwaki’s traveling workshop “Scrapyard Challenge”. Part of BBC Blast’s media weekend, Glasgow, Sept 2007.

Lead a group of young people through hardware hacking techniques and, in continuation, the creation of unique, personal, digital musical instruments from these components.

I believe Jonah and Katherine still run these workshops, visit: http://www.scrapyardchallenge.com/

BBC Blast is a nationwide initiative that provides young people with information and assistance on new media practice (http://www.bbc.co.uk/blast/)

Creative Programming Tuition: ISIS Arts

Delivery of tailored one-to-one tuition programmes for artists wishing to diversify their practice to incorporate new media technologies. Delivered through ISIS Arts, Newcastle (First: January 2006, last: May 2008 )

Expertise: Interactive audiovisual programming through Max/MSP, Jitter or processing. Interactive web elements through processing, php etc. 

Programmes run so far (most recent first):

  • Live visual creation through video tracking of dancers movements
  • Spectral data visualisation
  • Live video control through hacking midi instruments
  • Audiovisual event triggering through use of Arduino and various sensors
  • Audio signal recoginition (like voice recog but for more diverse sounds)

    For more information on the tuition scheme contact ISIS (http://www.isisarts.org.uk). I believe they make the call for those interested in learning new skills twice a year. The cost is minimal. Its a great scheme!

    City Halls’ Fusion Project

    Music leader for an outreach initiative run by Glasgow Cultural enterprises through City Halls, Glasgow under the banner of “Fusion Project” for young people (14-20 years) representing all backgrounds in Glasgow. My term: May 2006 – January 2007. 

    Working alongside Natalie Davidson and Pete Dowling, flexible tri-weekly programmes of learning were delivered that allowed each participant to develop music production and performance skills through the musical styles they enjoy. Furthermore, the project looked to fostering new working relationships and friendships between all contributors through group activities, allowing a trading of skills and influence. 

    Check: http://www.thefusionproject.org.uk/

    Hi-Hack Workshop

    Recycled electronics experimentation presented at the Stills Gallery Open Day, Edinburgh on July 8th 2006 

    Demonstration of different hardware hacking techniques and how to interface circuit bent instruments. This musical workshop was created as to involve individuals of all ages, from new computer uses to the more experienced. 


    The work is an exploration of the sonic potential of the Hewlett-Packard MediaScape GPS mapping platform. The final piece was demonstrated within the MediaScape conference on the 3rd December 2007 held at HP Labs, Bristol. 

    Through the use of the MediaScape software platform a circular segment of the city has been transformed into a sonic cyclone. An arced gesture within the playing field causes this giant instrument to audibly alter in pitch and temperament. As the Cyclo-phone gathers pace, an increasing palette of city sound is drawn into the system and begins to oscillate and resonate.

    The piece makes use of a unique mapping system that seeks to track a continuous walking gesture. This gesture instigates audible changes to the presented sound field. This is comparable to the operation of a musical instrument: your path within the cyclone recollects the path of performer’s hands or bow upon the body of their instrument. 

    For Cyclo-Phone the instrument body is the city itself. Hence, a concept and sound palette sympathetic to this environment has been developed. What is created is a unique sonic experience that does not abstract from, but adheres to the urban locale.

    Should you have access to a windows mobile device with GPS you can experience the work for yourself by downloading from: http://www.mscapers.com/msin/ABA0000122

    Spectrogram Interface for ‘HEARIMPROV’

    A commissioned instrument for Adinda Van’t Klooster’s “HEARIMPROV” initiative. The work consists of a spectral visualisation with three audio inputs alongside an interactive element for the spectral manipulation of each audio signal. The device was utilised within a improvised performance, given by Adinda van’t Klooster and colleagues, for the hearing impaired held at the Sage, Gateshead on the 17th October 2007.

    The work seeks to create a live visualisation of three independent audio sources. The visual system can illustrate the spectral composition of each audio signal as it develops over time. This is achieved through adopting the characterizing structure of a spectrogram: frequency is plotted upon the vertical axis, time along the horizontal and amplitude represented by colour intensity. The analysis of each audio signal is presented within a single visualisation, hence a comparison can be easily made between the three channels. 

    A visual interface has been provided that allows a user to select any dominant pitch or harmonic within the plotted range and increase or decrease the sound intensity of this signal. Hence, a multi-sensual feedback network is created between the creators of sound at the three inputs, the initial spectral visualisation, the performer in control of the interactive element and the audiovisual alteration that this individual creates. 

    The finished system was implemented within an improvised performance held at the Sage, Gateshead that was specifically constructed to be appropriate for a hearing impaired audience. It is commented within Adina van’t Klooster’s press release for this concert that the spectral software “is an ideal tool for people with hearing difficulties as it allows for a better understanding of which frequencies in the sound they have lost or are over-sensitive to”. In addition to the given performance audience members were invited to trial the software and hence investigate the nature of their own hearing abilities.

    Performers at Sage event: John Ayers (clarinet), Steve Brown (keyboard, guitar, voice), Jamie Thompson (oboe), Steve Ojay (bass), Adinda van ‘t Klooster (cornet), Mona McCarthy (accordion), Nick Williams (guitar), Ralph Bossingham (saxophone), Dominic Smith (melodica)

    Visual scores (projected alongside the spectrogram) by: Dominic Smith, Adinda van ‘t Klooster, Julie Freeman, Steve Brown

    For more info on the HEARIMPROV event see: http://www.juliefreeman.co.uk/images/hearimprovposter.pdf 

    or a review at http://interface.a-n.co.uk/interface/reviews/single/389835

    ARIA-Phone (Adaptive Resonant Incoming Alert)

    In collaboration with Pedro Rebelo and Florian Hollerweger

    Mobile demonstration created for promotion of the school of Sonic Arts within the Queen’s University Innovation publication, showcased at the Invest Northern Ireland Innovation Conference. 
    May 2007

    This project seeks to create a non-intrusive ringtone through appreciation of the mobile owners present environment. The system identifies the key sonic components of a location through the use of a microphone attached to the mobile phone. A sonic ‘snapshot’ is taken of the present surrounds that becomes the basis of the ringtone. This profile is then filtered and projected in a manner that is informed by the surrounds. The system makes the mobile owner aware of an incoming call through their awareness of being the source of this new sound. However, because this sound is that of the present place, the ringtone is able to subtly attach itself to the soundscape creating no notable Intrusion. 

    As this ringtone progresses it becomes more abstracted from the environment. 
    It begins to resonant as though projected through a specific musical instrument body. 
    However, the quality of this tonal resonance is maintained 
    by the system so that it still sympathises with the character of the present place.