Mid year 2019

Eek… New year same habits, hey?

Looks like a haven’t learned how to keep this blog updated on a regular basis.

Alas, I do have some news to post about. The first half of this year has been spent working on new music for my band Lost Coast. We decided to finally get into the studio and put our music to tape and that’s what we have been doing.

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We spent four days locked in a studio just outside of Canberra, where we recorded drums, bass and all the guitar parts. After that comes the mixing process which we are doing out of Louis Montgomery’s personal studio. It’s a long process but completely worth the time and effort.

One of the benefits of jumping into the studio is working on all the individual parts, seeing what works best for recording and what needs to be changed from the live setting. The songs that have been recorded are ones that we have been playing for a long time, some even years so it is great to finally have them on tape.

We also just released a single from the recordings. The first piece that has come out of the mixing stage. The song is called ‘Dylan’.

You can listen to it here:

I’ve also spent some time working on new Soft Hollow music. There are two songs that will be out later this year and I’m going to aim to do more shows along with more twitch streams. Updates will surely come!

End of 2018

Last day of 2018 here in Aus so I thought I’d put down a few words about the year that has been.

I think the year started slow with not too much action. I finally started writing things down, things like goals and what I wish too achieve. That really helped to push me. It’s what made me send through an application to a residency programme in Japan. It’s what got me to take the first steps on a few projects.

Mid year was when things really started to take off. When the projects I had started had found their completed form. One of those projects being the record I released under the new project titled Soft Hollow. It took me a while to get to the sound and style I was looking for but eventually I made it. Originally, binning nearly seven finished tracks because they weren’t consistent. I listened a lot and, through listening, learned. What I learned I brought with me into other projects, mainly the work that was done during the residency in Japan. (I’ve written a lot about it already so please feel free to read those post.) That was a great learning experience, learning about myself, others and the way I work and what I can do with sound. It’s also good to know that you are able to go to another country, have a clearly defined idea, build on that idea and complete a full body of work that is ready for showing within a time frame of one month.

I’ll be honest and say I didn’t do much to help other people this year. Except a bit of teaching through the Sounding Canberra workshops my colleagues Alec, and Ben developed and ran throughout the year. Those were great. Teaching students how they can record sounds out in the wild and use them for their own personal or professional purposes. The plan is to continue developing the work we do as a collective have more shows and more music made!

I’m also making it a goal to develop the live music Twitch channel I created. So far not much has happened on it. Time to change that. I have contacted a few friends and they seem interested so now it’s time to put a plan in motion. More shows, more streams.

More music to make and more projects to develop next year. I’m sure it’ll feel similar to 2018 but maybe it’ll be a whole lot better.

Have a nice NYE.

Week 4, Final Week of Studio Kura

Blink and you’ll miss it... That’s how it felt like the past month went at Studio Kura. The final week of my stay at the artist residency was spent exploring Fukuoka prefecture and all (as much as I could get to by train) to offer. Fellow artists and I went walking through the wilderness, exploring the history of Kyushu in museums and castles, searching through second-hand stores, taking quick Shamisen lessons, and even relaxing in an onsen (it’s weird). We’ve met up for dinner, eaten amazing food and discussed plans for the future. It’s an amazing experience to be able to travel to a foreign country to live and work but having like-minded, talented and kind people working around you at the same time makes it unforgettable.

All the work displayed over the two weekends of the festival was world class quality and deserves all the praise and recognition it received. And that goes double for all the staff who worked to organise and facilitate all that went into the festival. Having a space to work on a single project and then display it in a festival setting is something that can be hard to find and everyone at Studio Kura work so hard to provide a great work and living space for their artists.

I didn’t change anything in my work between the two weekends of showing but I did start planning the album form the work will take. Right now, it seems like a 12-track album of both individual field recordings and the combination of recordings and music will be what I put together for a low-key online release (unless someone wants to split the cost of producing a physical version). Hopefully we can set up a performance of the work back home so the work can continue to live on in a spatialised capacity. That will be a complete outcome of a great month of working and recording the sounds of Fukuoka and Itoshima.

At the moment I’m on a Shinkansen train going between Fukuoka and Okayama looking back at pictures I’ve taken over the month and already reminiscing about all the fun we have had. I’ll be making my way around some of the big cities of Japan for the next two weeks. Maybe there will be blog posts but who knows? Tomorrow my plan is to head out to the island of art museums on Naoshima and see all that I can see and then Osaka and on and on.

And I guess all that is left is to dump a few photos up here on the blog…

Third Week and showing!

I missed posting last week so here is the make up…

Last week was the lead up to the opening of the Itoshima Arts Farm festival that was being held here with the assistance of Studio Kura. I spent the entire week working to finalise the piece of music and get it ready for presentation. I always had a pretty clear idea of how I wanted to present the piece in a physical space so it was really a matter of finding the best way to implement that idea. There are always restrictions when doing any kind of work and things like getting power to the speakers, being able to synchronise the outputs, and positioning the speakers so that the spatialisation was a effective were some of these restrictions.

In the end it all worked out and the presentation actually ended up looking very nice (if I do say so myself).

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Then opening day came! On the saturday we had a big crowd come through on a tour through the festival. We each spoke about our work for a few minutes to give people an idea of what they were seeing, or in my case hearing. I always find it a little weird to talk about my work as I don’t often work with conceptual ideas in mind. I explained the influences on the piece, why it is displayed through spatialised 8 speakers, how the piece is structured and why it is important to capture field recordings and compare them.

On the sunday of the festival I ran a workshop that we developed through the Sounding Canberra program. It was a great experience to get to teach people, young and old, about the history and techniques that can be used in field recordings. Showing examples and explaining the technology I think helped people understand how and why people do field recordings.

Pictures courtesy of Studio Kura SNS

Pictures courtesy of Studio Kura SNS

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This week I’ve been making the most of the areas around me and going for long day trips to see sights and take lessons from locals. Maybe next week will be a travel blog post…

Second week!

Second week of the residency down! This week has been full of bike riding and soundscaping. I began the week by completing the structures for the two tapes (sounds from Itoshima and Fukuoka) that will make the base of the installation. I then moved onto working through the hour of sound planning out the appropriate compositions to go with sections of time. I also planned the work to have a macro structure of a kind of ternary form, going through modal changes that would resolve in the key the piece begins in. (We’ll see how effective this is…)

I also began planning the workshop that I’ll be running during the festival weekend. The workshop will be an adaptation of the workshop Sounding Canberra ran back in September and will show participants a few approaches the field recording that they can take with them and develop. We will discuss the history of the medium and also it’s implications.

But it hasn’t been all-work-no-play, we’ve also had a few great trips around the area. On tuesday we were taken to the Saga prefecture to see the way washi paper is made and I’ll just say that it is an incredible process that has amazing results. The variations in the paper show the level of skill the craftsmen are working with and you could often mistake the paper for fabrics.

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There also seems to be a few things I’ve failed to mention in any kind of blog post recently. First off, I recently launched a Twitch channel called Limited Live. The idea of LimitedLive is to have a space where people can come and perform and an audience can view those performances through the Twitch platform. I’m a big fan of Twitch and I think it has the potential for a good deal of music streaming. Secondly, I also launched (on the twitch channel) a new record I put together under the act name of Soft Hollow. The record is titled ‘S’ and is the first of what will be many records.

Please go and check out the record and give it a download on Bandcamp or stream on all the streaming services.