This week we had the pleasure of being invited to St George’s Church in Brighton for a Wonderland/Sensoria screening of I Dream Of Wires as part of the Brighton Digital Festival. For those that still haven’t heard of it, I Dream Of Wires is a documentary that chronicles the rise of the modular synthesizer, its fall, and then its rise again.
In the rather unique setting of a sacred building, the evening was expertly introduced by Stephen Mallinder, most familiar from Caberet Voltaire, who gave us an insight into his involvement with the film (parts of the film were shot in his studio) and shared a couple of anecdotes before directing our attention to the screen.
For a documentary I Dream Of Wires has very high production values, the editing is top notch and deftly weaves the narrative through the entertaining and varied interviews that make up the bulk of the screen time. The film starts with a general history of synthesizers from the spread of electricity then through to the huge academic sound design labs of the 1950s but it doesn’t really pick up speed until we start to hear the tales of Bob Moog and Don Buchla in the early to mid 1960s. Although I Dream Of Wires continues with quite a heavy US bias (we only get glimpses of other modular systems made outside the states) the remainder of the film is a real tour de force of big name interviewees and both historical and current knowledge. The dip in fortunes of the modular system in the 80s and 90s is, rather predictably (but wholly understandably given the subject nature), given a bit of a “digital synths were crap and sound awful” twist which jars slightly against the “all electronic synthesis is the best thing ever” tone of the film up until that point but full celebratory service is restored when we get to the modular revival in the late 90s and mid 00s.
From the first few minutes it’s clear that I Dream Of Wires was a real labour of love for the creators, Robert Fantinatto and Jason Amm, and the quality in depth of the interviewee list shows that they knew exactly where the personalities and stories were. As documentaries go it was a hugely entertaining and informative ride and comes highly recommended. Although I Dream Of Wires is currently touring the world if you can’t make it to a screening the “Hardcore” edition is available to buy. Rolling in at 4 hours long and featuring extended sections, interviews and interludes. you can either buy from the official site or check your local Amazon store. The embedded video at the top of the page is the full length trailer for the Hardcore edition… even the trailer is 12 minutes long!
Top marks, too, to the teams at Brighton Digital Festival, Wonderland, Sensoria, Melting Vinyl, and Scalarama, for putting on such a good evening.
Brighton Digital Festival runs until September 30th and features a comprehensive catalogue of events, both free and paid, that celebrate digital culture in and around Brighton. For full listings head to the Brighton Digital homepage. The next Wonderland/Melting Vinyl/Sensoria event is on September 28th and is the world premier of Kafka Chic, the radio play written for coffee houses. Simulcast in Brighton and Sheffield, it features narration from Graham Fellowes and contributions from Martyn Ware, Phil Oakey, Stephen Mallinder, Stephen Singleton and Glenn Gregory.
The countdown has officially started. Music Tech Fest’s flagship show in London for 2014 is only 10 days away! Book Of Sound will be there to cover the action so stay locked to our site and Twitter feed, but to whet your appetite here is an overview for all 3 days:
Friday: 6pm – 10pm – Occupy Music
Join us as we take over the music industry and invent it again from scratch with new technologies, new ideas and new economics. From an exclusive sneak preview of a documentary film about the social technologies of independent music collectives in Brazil to the introduction of brand new music formats, new wearable performance technologies and the reinvention of merchandise, a specially commissioned wearable tech performance with Jason Singh, new ways of being a band, brand new apps – and radical digital innovation from a bunch of people who are several steps ahead in their thinking about the music business.
Saturday: 1pm – 10pm – Gunk and HMI
On Saturday, we’re going Gunk – geek punk. Forget three chords – here’s a Raspberry Pi, an accelerometer and the Soundcloud API. Go form a band. Have a battle of the apps. We’re pitching Coldcut with Ninja Jamm against Yellofier. Improvise with gaming controllers and enrol in Fakebit Polytechnic. Rough and ready innovation at the cutting edge of music and tech. We’ll also be getting into HMI – Human Music Interaction – music and the brain, music and emotion, music and visuals, new works at the intersection of contemporary music and data and live performances by a brainwave quartet – as well as a new classical work entirely composed by a computer.
Sunday: 1pm – 10pm – Get Your Ears Dirty
Roll up your sleeves and get your ears dirty. Music is for playing. Technology is for making. We’re getting out the components, breaking open the software. Anything that can make noise will make noise. Bring your inner child – and your outer one. Here’s your chance to get involved and help invent the future of music – or simply watch it being invented before your eyes with lots of hands-on experimentation, hacks by both pros and kids, bucketloads of improvisation and unlikely collaborations, Shlomo getting his ears dirty with you – and great figureheads from the worlds of beatboxing, hip hop and jazz chipping in.
Book Of Sound are incredibly excited and proud to be a part of this years show as a media partner and cannot wait for it all to kick off! Tickets are available now from the LSO St Lukes and Barbican websites. A day ticket costs £20 but access to the whole weekend costs £50. For full details on the show head on over to the Music Tech Fest website.
GameSoundCon 2014, the leading conference on video game music and sound design, has announced early bird discounts on all registrations until September 1, 2014. The organization’s 10th conference will be held October 7-8 at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles and feature two days of sessions, panel discussions and hands-on workshops from over twenty of the game industry’s leading composers, sound designers and audio directors.
“The video game industry has been changing rapidly,” said Brian Schmidt, Executive Director of GameSoundCon. “New consoles have been launched, casual and social games have exploded onto the scene. We’ve put together speakers and sessions this year that reflect the changing challenges of working in videogames for both aspiring and professional composers and sound designers. GameSoundCon continues to be the premier audio event for people who want to understand the creative, technical and business challenges of working in sound for games.”
GameSoundCon comprises four concurrent session tracks. “Game Audio Essentials” features presentations and panels on essential topics in game audio, specifically designed for professional composers and sound designers who want to expand into games. “Game Audio Pro” features talks and roundtables for seasoned game audio professionals, while separate sessions providing hands-on FMOD Studio training and hands-on WWise training allow attendees to bring their laptops and receive training on creating interactive music and sound effects using the industry’s leading game audio design tools.
This year’s featured keynote speaker will be Marty O’Donnell, creator of perhaps the most iconic game soundtrack of the recent era with his work on Halo. O’Donnell, formerly audio director at Bungie, now with his own studio, will talk about stimulating creativity, the video game business, and what it was like to collaborate with Sir Paul McCartney on the upcoming game Destiny.
Voting for the KVR Developer’s Challenge is now open! This year sees 37 entries ranging from the regular to the very different, all hoping to attract some of the same attention as previous winners. On top of the crowd sourced prize fund, which at the time of writing stands at $1581, this is the first time the KVR Dev Challenge is also offering a grand prize. KVR has teamed up with A3E for the winner to fly to the A3E show in Boston and present their plugin to the conference.
All entries are available for download from the KVR Developer Challenge page and it’s still possible to donate to donate to the prize fund so head on over and and get involved!
The name Robert Henke will mean different things to different people. To some he’s the co-creator of Ableton Live and the Monodeck, to others he’s one part of techno group Monolake, and to others he’s an esteemed academic which includes being a professor of sound design at the Berlin University of Arts. This Saturday 19th July, however, sees Henke take up court at the Barbican Centre in London and unleash his “Lumiere” show. From the words of Henke:
“Based on self written software, this work on the edge of concert and site specific installation finds previously unseen beauty and minimalistic elegance in a commonly underrated medium. High power lasers are used to draw complex morphing shapes and connect points in space. Unleashing the full potential of the underlying advanced vector engine, Lumière combines precise geometric figures with floating organic structures, presenting the archaic sign language of an alien culture communicating via emerging and disappearing traces of extremely bright light.
The software also generates the control signals to drive equally abstract and powerful sonic events, a multi sensorial experience of audiovisual rhythm, at times fragile and quiet, at others massive and overwhelming. Each Lumière performance is a unique and site specific real time exploration of synchronicity and divergence, of light and darkness at the limits of perception.”
Henke is keen to stress that the show is in a constant state of evolution and that the show is site specific in nature, meaning that no two shows are ever the same (and they’re always getting better!). Reviews from previous performances have been overwhelmingly positive and confirmed future dates are just in Berlin so this potentially the last time UK public get the opportunity to see Lumiere, at least for a while.
Also performing alongside Lumiere is Robin Fox with his show “RBG”. Based, much like Lumiere, around the the audio and visual interpretation of assorted stimuli triggered by a performer this looks to be a very primal experience promising to saturate the audience with, “sound and light information that connects parts of the brain rarely accessed.”
We are very very pleased to announce that Book Of Sound has become an official media partner to the rather fabulous Music Tech Fest London. What this means is there’ll be full coverage of the London event via live tweeting on our Twitter feed and blogging here at bookofsound.com, as well as Book Of Sound being an official source for all Music Tech Fest announcements for London and abroad. We’ll also be a presence at the London show so come and say hi!
Music Tech Fest is the Festival of Music Ideas and, now in its 3rd year, has very quickly become a global phenomenon. Originally based in London, 2014 marks the start of it going across the planet with shows in New York, London, Paris, Berlin, Boston and Wellington, New Zealand, with 15 international dates already in the diary for 2015.
There are two main components to the festival. Music Tech Fest features a main stage which hosts performances and demonstrations of the cutting edge of both the art and science of music technology. Artists and innovators showcase, perform and discuss their ideas, inventions, products and music. In addition, the festival hosts a 24-hour hack camp at which artists and technologists collaborate to respond to challenges, invent new types of instruments, new ways of making music and new ways of experiencing music. These inventions are then showcased on the main stage and prizes given to the challenge winners.
The 2014 London show is running from the 5th to the 9th of September in partnership with the London Symphony Orchestra, and will take place at the LSO’s fantastic St Lukes venue, smack bang on London’s “Silicon Roundabout” and therefore ideally placed to bring together the best in music and technology from the country.
International event The Sonic Arts Award announced their winners for this year’s competition. There were a total of four categories – Sound Art, Digital Art, Soundscapes, and Sonic Research. Explore the winning entries below and, for full details on this years awards and previous winners, go to The Sonic Arts Award website.
Sound Art – David Hochgatterer, Time To X
Digital Art – Tim Murray Browne, The Cave of Sounds
Soundscape – Anna Raimondo, La Vie En Blue
Sonic Research – Matija Strnisa, Particles of Accordeon
UPDATE – Matija confirmed his winning piece so listen here! Although Matija has an active webpresence (which includes an updated Soundcloud page and website) it’s not immediately clear whether his winning entry is available to listen to. We’ve reached out to Matija and will update as soon as possible.
After some very hard work over the past few months, Book Of Sound Issue 1 has been formally announced via an advert in our rather brilliant sister publication, Hungry Eye, and on our Twitter feed.
Our cover star is the “Godfather of Controllerism”, Moldover, and his collaboration with Livid Instruments, the Guitar Wing. Also interviewed is Paul Soulsby from Soulsby Synthesizers as he takes us on his journey from the Atmegatron’s inception right up to the present day, and we also speak to Jakob Erland from Gyraf Audio as we talk about his life, his passions, and his gear!
Martin Walker writes about his time as a soundtrack composer in the 8bit and 16bit era of videogames and the challenges of working with the chips of the time, and sound installation artist Esther Ainsworth tells us how she deals with working with audio in acoustically challenging environments.
Out very soon, Book Of Sound will be printed quarterly, is priced at the very reasonable sum of £6.99 GBP and is available from all good specialist magazine and bookstores and online here at www.bookofsound.com
Sennheiser UK has announced further dates for its UK Sound Academy courses, which have proved extremely popular with professional sound engineers, students and others working within the audio industry.
The ‘Basic Wireless Microphones and Monitoring’ course, aimed towards achieving practical setup of small RF systems, will run on 25th June, 20th August and 28th October 2014, whilst the ‘Wireless Mics and Monitoring – The Masterclass’, for experienced engineers, will be launched later in the year.
“Feedback from previous students has been very positive,” says Tim Sherratt, engineering & technical services manager at Sennheiser UK, who heads up the UK Sound Academy. “The combination of e-learning, tutoring and workshops seems to have worked well.” The Sound Academy’s RF training package is accredited by InfoComm and successful participants of the course earn RU credits towards the renewal of their CTS licence. A 20% discount is available for under 24 year olds and a 50% discount for ASD members.