Mother Courage

Category : Dundee, Music, Theater

I’m back in Dundee these days, working at the Dundee Rep Theatre again. Everyone here is so professional and friendly, it’s always a pleasure to come back.

This time around I’m playing piano, trumpet, guitar, and some electronics for Mother Courage and Her Children by Bertolt Brecht, directed by Gerry Mulgrew and starring Ann Louise Ross. It’s a great production that will be running until September 27th, so do come on by if you’re in the area!

Pour un monde meilleur

This June, like last June and the June before that, my brother Cory and I met up in Paris to work on a play with our cousin Fabrice Macaux at the Abbaye de Maubuisson.

This year the play was called “Pour un monde meilleur”, and it featured a 12 person choir! Cory and I composed all sorts of music and sound design that used the choir together with our trademark electro-acoustic hybrid style.

Cory was a character in the play, whilst I was a shadowy background character, controlling all of the sound from behind a fence behind the stage area. I think the crowd could just see my head. I was doing lots of live sound design, manipulating recordings and live sound in real time to go with the dream-like atmosphere of the play. During one day of rehearsals and performance I took a photo every 10 seconds with the built in camera of my laptop. I’ve made a medley of the sound design and music from the production to go with it, to give a vague idea of how it sounded:

If you would like to hear what the choir sounded like without my computer trickery, here are two rough recordings we made in the Abbey:
Le capital toujours fondamental

I’m now back in Edinburgh, working hard on the Loop Machine, and enjoying the long summer days!

The walls have ears

It’s been a long time since my last post, because I’ve been working on several projects at once. One of these has finished up, for the moment, and I’m now back in Edinburgh. I spent most of March in Paris working on a play called “Ces murs qui nous écoutent” (“The Walls Have Ears”), which was written and directed by Fabrice Macaux (loosely based on the novel by Spôjmaï Zariâb) and featured Delphine Zucker in the lead role.

I did a little bit of acting, wrote and recorded original music and performed the sound design live onstage. I also wrote some Wii software for some wireless motion-based sound control, which I will post soon on the Loop Machine site. We performed at the Lavoir Moderne Parisien and the Theatre Sylvie Monfort in Saint Brice.

The story revolves around a woman living and working in a totalitarian country, where books and culture are disallowed. I played the part of her colleague, who disappears after warning her to stop reading books. If you speak French you can read this rather positive review!

Here is one of the songs I wrote for the play…the set was a giant rotating steel cube with colored movable panels. At several key points I would turn the cube while this music played, symbolizing the passage of time. This song is built from many of the sound elements that were used in the rest of the play, such as flipping through pages in a book, the sound of the work bell, and her heartbeat.

The Amazing Rolo – Les jours passent avec lenteur

We did a lot of filming, as well, so I hope to post some video here in the near future.

Hello from up north

Category : Dundee, Theater, Wii

It’s been a busy month! Since late November I’ve been in Dundee, Scotland most of the time, playing in the Dundee Rep’s production of Jack and the Beanstalk. It’s a panto, which for me is a totally new experience. Non-British readers can learn about panto here. It’s a rather silly form in some ways, with lots of audience participation and cheesy jokes, but this production has very good acting and amazing sets and great original music by John Harris. I’m playing piano, guitar, bass, trumpet, and controlling samples and such with my laptop.

In my spare time I’ve been working on the Wii Loop Machine, of course, and I’m happy to report that things are going well. I’m also happy to announce that I am now an EPIS scholar, which means that I have official support from the University of Edinburgh to develop the Wii Loop Machine, and once this show has finished I will be working on my Wii projects full time.

All of this means that my release date for version 2.0 has been pushed to January. Starting in a few weeks I hope to post videos and screenshots of the software in action! I’m hugely excited to get back at it. Thanks to everyone for your continued support and patience!

Mariage Blanc

Cory and I recently finished the play we were working on in France. We wrote and performed original music at a 13th century abbey outside of Paris, and it all went quite well. We recorded most of the music, here is the main theme:
The Seznec Brothers – Mariage Blanc
For this song Cory would play guitar and sing, and I would sample and loop his playing and singing to build up all of the layers in real time. It was a bit nerve racking but it worked each time!

In other news, you will notice a new link in the upper left corner of this blog, replacing what was previously my “links” page. Instead I have an online resume (or CV, depending where you’re from) that lists many of the projects I have been involved in over the past few years. Please take a look at it and email me any thoughts (or job offers).

Finally, there is some interesting movement afoot on the Wii Loop Machine front, stayed tuned for further updates.