I met Benji Bower last week. He plays the staggering collection of instruments below to provide his live one man soundtrack to Ali Baba & The Forty Thieves show at the Tobacco Factory, Bristol. Taken with permission. (The show is highly recommended (by me) btw although my nephew only enjoyed it "middle".)
From the programme: "Benji is a composer, multi-instrumentalist and producer. He is a founding member of Unforscene and UFS productions. Theatre credits include: Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me, We're Going on a Bear Hunt (Bristol Old Vic), Aesop's Fables, Stickman (Scamp Theatre), Strange Case (Bristol Old Vic / Pervasive Media), Ugly Duckling (Tobacco Factory), City of One, Jolity Farm (Myrtle Theatre), TV credits as composer include Colut of a Suicide Bomber (Channel 4), Cmonics Britannia, Rude Britain (BBC4), Blown Apart (BBC2). As Unforscene: Sulston Connection, Pacific Heights, New World Disorder (Kudos), Fingers and Thumbs (Tru Thoughts)."
The fascinating looking spiky thing to the right of the photo is a waterphone.
"The Waterphone was invented and is patented by Richard Waters (pat.#3896696). Each instrument is unique and made to order. Richard personally makes, tunes, signs and dates each Waterphone. The sound of the Waterphone has been compared to the haunting melodies of the Humpback Whale and voices from inner/outer space. Waterphones have been described as acoustic synthesizers, Waterharps, a musical “Aladdin's Lamp”, and “Whalephones”."
The ongoing competition page includes recordings of what people can do with it that are definitely worth listening to.
"9 Countries was recorded on location in Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Tibet, India, Egypt and Greece between October 2005 and March 2007 by Tom Compagnoni. What you hear has been entirely assembled from these field recordings, no additional samples used. "Recorded, edited, mixed, re-mixed, mashed and mastered by Tom Compagnoni 2005-2009"
On Sunday 20th Sept, Arnolfini and Bristol festival will be hosting an afternoon of free workshops, focusing on state-of-the-art tools for interactive, audio and visual media. Practicing artists will be running through some simple projects you can do and will be sharing some of their tips and tricks.
The timetable is:
11:00 - 12:30 - After Effects
13:30 - 15:00 - Max MSP
15:30 - 17:00 - Circuit Bending
The workshops are open to all on a first come first serve basis. If you are interested, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org stating your experience and which workshops you would like to attend. Please help us circulate this email to anyone who might be interested in this event.
Following from this there is of course next weeks Pestival, which Stewart Lee fans will probably already be aware of from his 41st Greatest Stand-up routine. Comedy at the insect themed festival is provided by Robin Ince along with many other fasinating insect based art projects from the Termite Pavilion to broadcasts from Resonance FM and workshops from The Art of Being a Maggot to Praying Mantis Kung Fu. Sadly I can't make any of this, but I'm most upset missing out on Cross Pollination, where “Internationally acclaimed sound recordist for BBC’s Life in the Undergrowth and original member of Cabaret Voltaire, Chris Watson, curates an evening of experimental insect music.”
Due to a family wedding I was also unable to attend Chris Watson's workshop at UWE last weekend, and I forgot to blog about it in advance, but there are still some events to go on the STAGING SOUND 2.0programme, including the Dorkbot Bristol Sound Hack followed by Guerilla Busking in Bath this Saturday.
Back on an environmental footing, various national media have picked up on the “living wall that died” in Islington. Most of the press have hung the story off of the waste-of-public-money angle rather than the technical issues with the failed watering system / learning experience / maybe the odd weather we've had? There most be an engineer somewhere mopping a sweaty brow as that one passes over. Either that or (s)he will be saying “I told you so.” A year or so ago I'd've worried that this would lead to a cut in spending on environmental projects but in the current financial and political climate I know it's going to get cut anyway regardless of previous successes or failures. Not good times.
Tony of Eustachian (DJ Skull Vomit) says: "Here is a live dj set I did from last nights Bong-ra show here in LA.....I know the track list in random, I got trash canned before I played... tony" Tracklisting in comments
"Shot and Mastered in HDV, Absurdity.Biz continues the Circuit Bending Documentary Project with the release of Bent 2007 NYC widescreen SD-DVD. Help support the independent documentary now over five years in the making being produced solely by Dr. Rek. DVDs available at absurdity.biz"
"I had an excellent time performing at them in New York and Minneapolis this year it was cool to meet faltyDL, for a brief moment while sweating thru a orange furry suit and minneapolis is a really nice town with not too little and not too much happening, if it didn't have hellish winter, I'd want to live there.
"Absurdity.Biz's newest music video for our long time pal Daedelus' track "Lights Out" [21MB mov] off his new release on ninja tune and mush records entitled "denighs the days demise" can be downloaded here for the best looking version, or watch the google stream below, which plays best when u let the whole video preload before viewing."
Decal - 404 not found videos These were only shown on Irish TV when the album came out (2002). And this non-album track is a stunner: Decal - Dancing With Stiletoes In The Snow*
"One of Decals most inventive tracks and [was] only available as a quicktime video! Included on a CD of Irish artists, 'Please Don't Ask Me What I Think of Your Band' that came free with Homage magazine. The video by Tim Redfern is also outstanding, gelling seamlessly with the music, 2002." * Gotta love the Marrillion reference too!
Bad Mammal has a new MP3 release over on Good Luck Bad Luck, if you want something downbeat and dirty/lo-fi, but it's charged for, so I'd suggest downloading the live set from Chicago [38MB MP3] last year and seeing what you think.