BLOG (March 2006 - March 2009)


September 28, 2006

[21-24.9.06] Man In Chicago

Over the past couple of months I've been writing music for an experimental theatre work called Chicago Chicago, written by Australian John Romiril, directed by Peter Dunn, and performed by the second year acting students at AIT Tafe. The script was written in 1968, and is a satire on the American way of life - with all its foolish granduer, malevolence and decaying culture condensed in 20 disperate though inter-connected scenes.

A presidential candidate is the central character, and as the play unfolds he mentally unravels in his apartment where he is visited by a host of demented characters and a reccuring woman who takes on a series of guises. The subject matter of the play has numerous unnerving parallels with today's global culture of fear, and the actors performances are pushed to absurb extremes - but remain ultimately affecting.

My musical contribution could be best described as a quasi-jazz noise accompaniment - a series of musical themes (mostly acoustic) which introduced each scene with Ruth Buttery on vocals. During each scene I would either play understated jazz/blues motifs on my acoustic guitar, or treat my electric guitar with a socket wrench, bulldog clip, lap slide and my bare fists. The electric guitar wasn't so much played as guitar, rather as an industrial music box - using the webs of feedback and mauled strings to articulate the action on the stage.

Once I get get hold of a recording taken from the last and most chaotic performance on Saturday I'll post some excerpts for you to hear. In the meantime here are some photos I took:

September 16, 2006

[16.9.06] Directives

I am sitting in my girlfriend's room posting a blog to pass the time. A few things have happened during the week - it has been very busy with rehearsals for a theatre work I am writing music for, and the usual rigmarole of work and finishing my Masters proposal off. One thing has become very clear with regard to the latter, once the proposal is finished (sometine today - one week overdue) I will be leaving Uni and the research for awhile. The reasons for this move stem from being overrun with extra-curricular work, and a need to cut myself free from academia and pursue my ideas and projects with a little more freedom. This might sound a bit dramatic but if you are a student studying arts/humanities at Adelaide University considering doing post-grad in the future, don't do it unless you have yourself finacially backed (i.e. with a Scholarship,etc.) Because the powers that be will not give you any money unless you subscribe to comprimising your art to fit into their niche. It's an ugly old place, and I'm glad I'm getting out with my sanity and interests intact. Still, it could have all changed when (or if) I ever return to Adelaide Uni, then again (let us be realistic) given the direction that all University's are heading - towards absolute commericial interest - people like myself might be making the right choice to leave before we get removed by force. That is a bit dramatic.

There is a better future beyond concrete towers of academia and the city of quartz.

September 08, 2006

[8.9.07] Water, Materials & Sound (II)

A few days ago I spent some time extending my explorations of visualising sound through water by introducing some additional materials. Primarily my intention was to create a process where I would by able to imprint sound waves onto a surface, I came up with the following series of methods.

1. Water, paper, instant coffee.

A piece of paper is immersed in a very shallow amount of water, as the metal surface vibrates and makes the sound waves visible on the surface of the water, grains of instant coffee are dropped in the centre of the paper. A low sine wave frequency of 65.4 Hz (i.e C2) was used to resonate the surface of the tray, only a small amount of volume was required to make the waves visible.

As you can see by the image (above), it is a little hard to tell whether the sound waves are affecting the movement of the dissolving coffee grains. Paper was used with the intention of allowing the coffee to stain its surface, in effect 'imprinting' sound and giving it some kind of permanence.

2. Water, instant coffee.

Similar method, though no paper used this time, just the shallow water and the coffee grains. The same sine wave frequency of 65.4 Hz was used.

Again, difficult do really determine the waves influence of the dissolving coffee grains, but visually it was quite interesting.

3. Water, ground nutmeg.

Finally, some success. Nutmeg grains were immersed in the shallow water, and one the had settled on the surface of the tray, the C2 tone was played and left for one hour. The images below show the formation state in ten minute intervals. To observe the details of the process I uggest you click on the image below to enlarge it. (don't panic it's 'websafe')

I would say that my experiments in this field have been exhausted for the time being. I will revisit them when I can find a means of applying them in an appropriate installation and/or performance context.

intrepid visitors since 25/1/08