Learn a lot … in order to forget.

NicolasBecker2I am looking into sound (or maybe I should say listening in) to low frequency sounds, as used so effectively in many movie trailers: that deep boom or swish that you feel rather than hear. I want to use these ‘subwoofer’ sounds as a balance to the flute playing of Tadek, but there is lots to learn before I get to that point, and my research brought me to the French sound designer Nicolas Becker and his tip for learning about sound: “watch thousands of films, read books, listen to music, walk in nature, stay curious, work a lot, practice a lot, learn a lot of different techniques in order to be able to forget them…” I particularly like the bit about learning a lot in order to forget. I can identify with that. [Image: sorry, I couldn’t find who to credit for the pic.]


chalk birthmark smLike a birthmark across the face of England, the chalklands stretch from Lulworth Cove on the south coast to Flanborough Head on the northeast. Huxley gave his famous talk in Norwich, the Thames Estuary cement works supplied lime to London up till the 1970s, the White Cliffs face towards France, Giants of Albion came out of the Observatory being sited at Winchester, and the Isle of Wight has its chalk Needles. So, where does this project go next? Any suggestions?


SVAshowSmStarting today and running until the 23rd of April, 10 Degrees North-East of Basecamp brings together artists with studio space at SVA for a group show, part of the Site festival here in Stroud. For this I have been window dressing. Do come along to the ‘opening’ on Saturday evening, and there is live poetry on the last day. Hope to see you there.

Thank you

001.pctThank you to everyone who made it to our performance Score for a Flautist the other evening. Really enjoyed the event and good to hear your comments after. Tadek and I are ‘debriefing’ tomorrow in the pub! There is more to come, I am sure…

Heath Robinson & vinegar

Chalk vinegar filming smI’m preparing a piece of video for the performance on thursday evening. Every ten minutes I film for two. However hard I try, I always end up producing some Heath Robinson setup for filming: bits of cardboard precariously balance to block out reflections! A bit embarrassing, since the gallery is right next to the photography department here at the University of Gloucestershire with its professional studios. Oh well! I have no idea how long it is going to take for this piece of chalk to dissolve away, but in the meantime the gallery is nicely filling up with the smell of vinegar.

Teaching Oliver to breath

Chalk oliver smToday I am experimenting with a computerised reading voice to turn some of the highlighted text into sound. Let me introduce Oliver, the name of the voice that I am using. I like the way that he misreads some of the words, so I have to respell them in such a way that he reads them correctly; also how his pacing is completely wonky. What is missing is breath. I am placing hyphens all over the place just to give him the chance to catch his breath and pause between two words, rather than slurring them into some ungodly conglomerate. I am not surprised: just like any of the technologies that I use, each one has its own quirks and you end up doing pretty non-sensical things just to get something usable out in the end. Breath Oliver!