Continuum – Microphones

Booking out the following mics to experiment with:
AKG c451B condensor
DPA 11TL condensor
Neumann TLM193 condensor
Sennheiser MKH416 P48 shotgun mic
+ stands + cables
Also, diy contact mic and SONY ECM88 lavelier mic

These are to be tested tomorrow night in Nick Ables Studio then used on Friday.
Venue: Newburn Surgery
Field recordings for Continuum

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Echo Chamber

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PLAY – mp3 recording – Click on the Link below:



Recording an echo to look at the wave form.

This could be an interesting site-specific location to install the sustain project – the echo created by the architecture could enhance the work. The posts would form ideal places to install the sensors.

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Nick Williams, Ben Freeth & Adam Thomas[imagebrowser id=1]

An Investigation Into Tape Culture led by Adam Thomas (Preslav Literary School). Involving public submissions of audio material, a workshop and a publication, the project will climax in a collaborative sound performance on Saturday 12th December 2009 at the Star & Shadow Cinema, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK. 

Participants will include the legendary Machinefabriek (NE), lo-fi pioneers Jazzfinger 
(UK), C60 manipulator Preslav Literary School (UK/DE), rising Berlin star Poldr (FR/DE) 
and tape-noise aficionado Posset (UK). 
In workshops held before the performance, led by educator & curator Cara Bell-Jones, 
the artists and a number of selected workshop participants will create a series of unique, 
tape-based compositions from an archive of rare cassette material. On 12th December, 
these collaborations will be realised in front of a live audience, culminating in a vast tape 
orchestra concert exploring obsolete technologies, lost performance techniques and 
underground artist networks. 
Live recordings from the event, commissioned photography by Marion Auburtin, 
speculative fiction and critical writing on cassette culture will be released in 2010 by 
experimental UK label NO-FI (home of Sir Richard Bishop, Yellow Swans, Burning Star 
Core, Emeralds) as a limited edition CD and publication (designed by Supanaught). 

I took part in these workshops over two days (11th – 12th December 2009) to work collaboratively producing tape loops and performing together.

Created Chandler Loops using old cassettes. The technique involves unscrewing the case, removing the tape from the spools. Applying rubber cement to the spools to give them a “tyre” for traction, Cutting a length of tape 38.2cm. Joining it together with double sided sticky tape to make it 37.2cm and then reinserting it back into the case. Put the tape around the small guide rollers but not the pins next to them. Screw the case back together and test in a 4 track or tape player. See diagram below:


The Chandler tape loop plays for 7.8 seconds.

I made mine with field recordings of live Gagaku from Yokahama Noh Theatre made earlier this year in Sunday 15th March 2009, some Hindustani vocal music and Steppenwolf (some random German rock band – not The Steppenwolf of B0rn To Be Wild fame) – found in a German thrift store, field recordings of streams and rain in Kielder Forest.

Playing these loops on a 4 track you can create a blend between the four tracks present on the tape – 2 that play fowards and two that play backwards. This can create bizarre interactions as the recordings push and pull rhythmically against or complement each other.

I used a wah pedal as a filter, not really wahing it but leaving it open or partially closed to create different filtering efffects.

Also, a dictatphone for speeding up and slowing down some of the recordings, then re-recording them.

and a tape head stuck to a table and bowed lengths of tape against it to create interesting noises when the tape was moved swiftly and slow, viscous drones when the tape was moved in barely perceptible extended scrapes.

The physicality of creating objects that contain a loop was great and really nice to perform with in a live setting. It was great to improvise in a live setting with other musicians, listening and responding to their contributions and having them add to what i had introduced into the blend of sound to create a collaborative piece that worked really well.

Weblinks to participants:

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Echo Project Concept

Personal experience of a mountain echo in Italy.

Loud conversation produced inchoate echoes, sensed rather than heard… playing with this initial sensation I began by shouting… after a massive delay the sound returned as though someone else far away beyond the horizon had shouted… the repetition minus the bones of my skull sounded incredibly strange and dislocated from my creation. I am interested in this transformation of sound, interaction of vibrations and the silence that the echoed sound replaces. Also, those inbetween bits – Japanese concept of Ma – pregnant pauses inbetween sounds, noises, musical notes.

Whats the difference between echo and delay and reverb?

According to Thom Holmes in Electronic and Experimental Music, 3rd edition (

an echo involves a delay that has to last longer than 30ms. Reverb implies a space – the sound is reflected off of surfaces e.g. a cave, in a hall etc, Delay comes from tape composition where the distance between record and play heads on a tape recorder would define the length of time a delay could be created. Loops of tape were created and the length defined the delay…

The concept will be an interactive environment. Walking through the environment will break infrared beams that will trigger events to happen within the MaxMSP programming environment. The first trigger will play a sample close to where the beam has been broken. This will then replay from another speaker far away. A microphone will record these interactions of vibrations, store it in a buffer and transform the frequency to midi (like the reflection from the rocks creating a transfomed sound that has lost some information). This will replay when a second trigger is interrupted.  

What should the sound be?

a tanpura,

a donkey whinneying recorded through a drain pipe,

a potato being peeled in the sink,

a donkey being peeled in the sink,

a potato whinnying through a drainpipe,

a drain pipe whinnying through a sink,

the sound of footsteps,

alpha brainwaves from you, 

the rustle of an eyebrow massively amplified,

Many sine waves in C,

Further triggers will create iterations of this process and cascades of sound.

Choices like moving further through the space create an interplay between the silence and the noise creation echo.

Environmental sounds will create chance (stochastic) events that will be recorded therefore the sound should develop with these addtions from the original sample and become something new through repetition. This will take place in the midi conversion. This sets up a situation where meaning in the sound may be ‘deferred’ or defelected.

The piece will be multi channel. – need to set up the motu and drivers on my laptop.

Possible Max objects:

bang – to start things

serial – to get MAX to communicate with Arduino

sfplay – play a sample

tap in tap out – create delay lines



dac 1 2 3 4 – for multiple outputs

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Sensors For The Echo Project

Looking at types of sensor that could be useful to the echo project:

Force sensors – have to physically touch them, stand on them etc

Infrared range finders, ultrasonic rangefinders – both work over a short limited range, output strange values close up

push buttons, potentiometers,  – boring standard interfaces for control surfaces.

Ultrasonic Rangefinder

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Creating Drones For Sustain


Creating Drones for Sustain

Creating Drones for Sustain

Guitar pickups wired together create a magnetic field stroking the guitar string…


Creating Drones for Sustain

Creating Drones for Sustain

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Yoshi Wada

Inspiration from Yoshi Wada. Fluxus Artist who studied vocal singing with Pandit Pran Nath. Creates incredible drones using voice, bagpipes fitted with air compressors, swimming pool resonator.00-yoshi_wada--lament_for_the_rise_and_fall_of_the_elephantine_crocodile-.em.-2007-insert_pic_2

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Today Nick Able, Paul Grimmer and myself met to plan the soundtrack to Continuum. Discussing the four stages of the Alchemical process – Albedo onwards to create a 5.1surround dronescape.
Internal body weather will form the base material of the soundscape. These field recordings will then be transformed and blended with submerged melody.
Technically, using stethophones like the ds32a could yield results.
MO64’s that can record the heart beats of slugs and the footsteps of ants could also be useful.
Links with the University Medical School could be beneficial to achieve some of these recordings of internal body weather.
Continuum DEFINITIONRecording-Package-Manual-Sony-ICD-UX71-81Index_ Continuum  (Structure, Musical [Str])

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