r _Web.log

Archives: 2008-04

Fragmented Orchestra awarded PRS New Music prize

K http://www.prsfoundation.co.uk/newmusicaward/

fragmented orchestra I was delighted to discover that the Fragmented Orchestra won last night's annual PRS New Music award -- a thoroughly well-deserved accolade for this brilliant trio, who will be realizing the project at FACT in Liverpool over the next few months, alongside field work at the 24 neural sites around the UK that make up the project's cross-geographical cortex.

The Fragmented Orchestra is a groundbreaking composition that will mirror the function of the human brain and the way it processes sound. At the heart of this pioneering new work are 24 ‘neuron units’ placed across the UK in locations chosen for their inherent sonic rhythms. These will include a football stadium, cathedral, dairy farm, school playground, motorway crash barrier and a field. Each solar powered Soundbox contains an artificial neuron modeled on those which fire within the brain’s cortex and will be attached to a resonant surface. Inside these devices, the size of a video cassette, is a minute microphone, computer, Feonic FI drive and amplifier, which will capture the huge array of sounds made at each location.

As each of the ‘neurons’ are stimulated by sound, created by both the public and the elements, they will select audio fragments to be streamed across an invisible network or cortex created between them. Using cutting edge technology, this cortex will form a living instrument which communicates with itself and in turn its audience. The total composition is created through newly-developed software and constantly evolves as the micro-fragments of sound are heard as music.

There's also a stunning introductory video which gives a more informative outline.

I'm honoured to have been invited to develop the project's digital interactive structure, including a web-based element which will allow a visitor to explore each of the neural sites and listen to the collective output of this 'living instrument'. More news on this soon!

Ableton Live Python/OSC API available for OS X

K http://groups.google.com/.../c0c808a7fb82c2d8

It's rare for me to envy Windows users, but I have a long-harboured jealousy of the unofficial Python API for Ableton Live that's been available for the past year or so -- as I'm sure the reader would agree, there's little in life that could rival programmatical access to arguably the world's greatest DAW. So, it was to my joy that I discovered that an OS X version of this API was quietly announced just a few days ago, coinciding with me delving back into Python for an ongoing project.

Expect some monstrous hacks as soon as I have a free moment...

Rate of change

rate of change Things change fast in the hypersphere. I've been absent for a couple of weeks, first journeying around Napoli on a working trip to EvoWorkshops 2008, then beginning intensive work on an electronics project that I'll outline shortly.

In the meantime, my friends seem to have sneakily entered productive overdrive with new written, drawn and photographed material from Scott, Mimi and Garry respectively. Mike has been involved in the Disclosures series at Gasworks, the Capsized Smiles have been furtively forging material for our impending EP, and new web projects are forthcoming from Julia and Josh (soon). Moreover, a plethora of excitable monome users have latched onto the alpha website for the Monome: Open Practice Project, an ongoing series of events that I'm involved in co-ordinating, so I returned to find a mass of unbelievable vimeo links of monome performances sitting in my inbox. Likewise, more news on this soon. Finally, my paper on AtomSwarm has been published as part of the proceedings of the above conference; to my delight, the nice people at Springer even corrected the shocking spelling error that I allowed into the camera-ready version ("anectodal", for reference).

There's also a frightening amount of exciting events happening in the next couple of weeks: lectures at Goldsmiths from Brian Massumi and Lev Manovich; a rare screening of Robbe-Grillet's Trans-Europe Express at the BFI; the EYOE event series at the O2; Futuresonic festival in Manchester, and (later) Venn in Bristol; a They Did stall at the London Zine Symposium, alongside one from our cohorts at the Forest; and the first of a series of gigs that we'll be hosting in Herne Hill.