Thursday, 26 May 2011

DJing and Free Improvisation

While I was delivering a series of workshops at Band on the Wall in Manchester recently, I was interviewed by Dan Leach for an article about the connection between DJing and free improvisation. The article explores the ways in which an improvisatory approach can help DJs, and is now available online.

DJing and improvisation

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Remscapes: therapy through sound

I was commissioned recently by an EMDR therapist to write a music therapy piece for a client of hers. The brief asked for a piece based on the ideas of EMDR therapy (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing) and using singing bowls as the sound source. After creating this version, I then wrote a second piece using the same techniques, but creating a more artistically-based work. I've released both as an album on Bandcamp under the Hot Hail name.

EMDR therapy uses bilateral sensory stimulation - sight, touch or sound. It is an established psychological technique that is used to treat trauma and anxiety. It was first developed by an American clinical psychologist, Dr Francine Shapiro, in the 1980s.

Since then a wealth of research has been conducted demonstrating its benefits in treating psychological trauma arising from experiences as diverse as war related experiences, childhood sexual and/or physical abuse or neglect, natural disaster, assault, surgical trauma, road traffic accidents and workplace accidents. Since its original development, EMDR is also increasingly used to help individuals with other issues and performance anxiety. EMDR has been found to be of benefit to children as well as adults.

If you are interested in finding out more about EMDR therapy, go to the EMDR Association's website:

Feedback Prototype Test

I've just completed the first prototype for my interactive audio-visual-haptic project, Feedback. The work uses the sense of touch to guide the audience through its interactions with the piece and each other, making the audience’s engagement literally ‘hands on’. The project extends my work in the manipulation of feedback with physical objects. Passing feedback through the surface of a beach ball, the audience can change the sound by manipulating the beach ball. The video was recorded on my phone at Red Wire Studios, Liverpool. The prototype was funded by a research grant from Frakture.

Here's a short video of the first test of the prototype.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Hot Hail: new solo project

I've started a new solo project called Hot Hail, a solo extension of what I've been doing with Noise Club for the past 8 years. I've got a few tracks completed already, some released by myself on Bandcamp, and a track in an upcoming sampler release from net label, Electronic Musik (I'll post it here when it's released).

Here's my first completed release under the Hot Hail name.

The piece is called coram, from the Latin for 'in the presence of' or 'before'; a symphony of sounds, shifting through evocations, moods and ideas, exploring subjective perception and constructed meaning. The sonic landscape is made up of metamorphosing timbres and clouds of sound; sometimes the textures are jagged and moving, other times the music is supremely desolate in its delicate beauty.

The entire piece is performed with egg slicer and feedback.

Noise Club BBQ performance

It's been a little while since I've updated my blog... busy with lots of projects, as usual. I've been uploading a few videos to the net of performances from last year. Here's a bit of a gem... it's a Noise Club performance I was in at the Bluecoat's If Only...! night in Liverpool. For this gig, we decided to have a noise barbeque, complete with homemade burgers: a food performance. Surprisingly, the contact mics we made actually withstood the burning flames of the hot BBQ for quite some time!