With over a decade's experience of creating and engineering audio content for a diverse range of playback devices and formats I offer professional services geared towards Artists and Organisations interested in using the medium of Sound.
My role is to act as interface between Artist and hardware, dream and reality, facilitating the Artist in making appropriate choices to create the smoothest path from ideas to outcomes. Stereo mix, bespoke sonic device, or custom surround environment, my aim is to minimize the technical hurdles an Artist may encounter during the process of designing, executing and showing a piece.
While imagination has no limits, unfortunately hardware capabilities, playback environments and budgets do. By enabling work to fall within these limits I help the Artist to make the best representation of their ideas. I'm not a hardware snob, an audiophool, or a platform specific nerd - I appreciate high quality work, and I'm here to help.
I am currently working on the SoundSpiral project (see below)
... by email ...
MAJOR NEW AUDIO WORK FROM AMIE SLAVIN - SoundSpiral - part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad, East Midlands Festival of Festivals
I'm the Technical Director of SoundSpiral - a project to create of a bespoke inflatable sound-art venue with an embedded 52-channel surround-sound system. The piece will be shown at the Slumgothic Gainsborough, Lakeside Arts Centre Nottingham and the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games, before becoming a legacy pop-up venue capable of delivering innovative large-format audio works to anywhere with on-site power & water.
The system, designed in consultation with Cameron Balloons (Bristol) and Hi-Q Sound (Lincolnshire), is one of the UK's largest sound-art systems in terms of raw channel-count, and my involvement is to oversee (and create) the audio mixing infrastructure and software-backbone required for the initial piece, "Babel Spring" which sees 41 translations of a commissioned piece of prose played into the space and ultimately transformed into a new piece of electronic music.
for more info on the project, please visit SoundSpiral's homepage, and to keep-up with the project, take a trip over to its facebook page : here
A bit of fun with Visuals
2011/12 has certainly been busy, and in the gaps between building SoundSpiral and hacking away at its software I've been rolling up my sleeves and getting my hands well and truly dirty providing visuals for a variety of events at Lincoln DrillHall alongside The Collaborators and top disc-meister DJ Heretic. I've been 'camera opping', video mixing and designing animations (alongside keeping an ear on the sounds) for the last 18 months or so and have played-out to something like 2,000 people so far - the main image shows the 2012 Bangers and Mash Summer Ball (a fund-raiser in support of the DrillHall's outreach activities) for which I created an 'algorithmic union flag-masher' capable of outputting 2 trillion unique union flag images.
The Pool - Peter Kirn vs The SoundWall, The Collection, 22nd October 2011, part of the Frequency 2011 festival of digital culture
Join us for a picnic on the beach - bring a blanket and kick-back to the sounds of the ocean in a unique live multi-touch performance using the collection's 22 speaker 100ft wide soundwall.
22 October 2011 at 12:00 @ The Collection, Danes Terrace, Lincoln.
International digital artist Peter Kirn will deliver a technology demonstration at 12pm followed by a promenade performance with picnic from 1pm onwards - ideal for all the family.
PETER KIRN is a composer/musician, media artist, educator, and technology writer, and the creator and editor of the website Create Digital Music. Hes the author of Real World Digital Audio from Peachpit Press, a comprehensive book on producing music with computers and digital technology. His own music and digital media art has been presented in the U.S., Korea, Canada, France, and Bulgaria. He is a frequent collaborator with dance and other media, including working with choreographer Christopher Williams on the Bessie Award-winning Ursula and the 11,000 Virgins. He also writes for Macworld, Make, Keyboard, and Computer Music magazines.
THE SOUNDWALL is one of Eurpoe's largest permanently installed sound-art playback systems featuring 22 flat panel speakers embedded behind the Lancaster stone façade of the Orientation Hall at The Collection, Lincoln.
Lincoln Digital Arts - we're holding our first group-show on Friday June 24th at The Collection - Amie's piece Audience is showing on the sound-wall and my piece 2BAB is being presented in an especially up-mixed 7.1 version. Entry to the event is free, but booking in advance is essential as there's limited space. To book your seat, see instructions on the Lincoln Digital Arts website
Audience - Amie Slavin :
Showing during November and December 2009 at The Collection, Lincoln, Amie's new work fills the space with an active crowd scene derived from sounds captured at a recording session run in The Collection earlier in the year.
My role : I engineered the session, facilitated some of the mixing, made a couple of plugins for part of the mastering process and wrangled the playback hardware.
Techy stuff ... recording - 8 channels - decca tree + centre l+r + rear stereo + fill ... mixing : >160 channels ... playback 13 channels.
An attempt to communicate a split-second daydream: to put you in the shoes of a bee, manipulate the perspective, show the massed passion of the collective individual I encountered as I momentarily connected with hive mind.
Mixed in Quad-Surround, 2BAB is a recreation of the imaginary work-songs and noises-off in a beehive as the drones, workers and queen going about their daily buzziness of building cells, making honey, nurturing the young and progressing ever-forwards to the next generation.
The piece is made from more than 200 vocal recordings singing the word "Bee" and associated words and phrases such as "honey, sugar, pollen, light, air, sky" and so on. Many thanks to Sara Leith, Damo Waters and Amie Slavin for lending me their voices and Nellie at SoundFjord for the encouragement.
2BAB was made for playback at the DragonFly Festival, Falköping Sweden as part of SoundFjord's International Sound Art showcase.
2BAB's UK PREMIERE will be at Slackspace, Colchester on february 5th part of the event "New Music in QUAD" - more info here and here
Simo Alitalo : Carter de Ausculto :
Opening May28th @ The Collection, Lincoln, Simo's piece is mixed from recordings taken last year in Lincolnshire woodland. I facilitated and engineered the mix onto the SoundWall in what must be one of the most relaxing mixing jobs possible - the output is a virtual woodland worthy of a chilled-fizz picnic with the sounds of blackbirds, frogs, geese and various native woodland animals, wind-noise and light aircraft.
I'm a member of Indie Dev Collective - a loose-knit international network of soundware developers offering original software instruments, effects, soundsets and presets. In May/June 2010 we ran our first collaborative sale and now we're back with our 3rd offering - sale runs until 23rd May
There's sure to be further sales in the future, so watch this space ...
Computer Music Magazine & Computer Music Special : Effects
2 exclusive plugins featured in Computer Music publications :
bolsteriser(CM) - a CM addition to my popular bolsterisers compressors range, bolsteriser(CM) features all the great controls and flexibility of revs(A & D) with a further twist of pre/post emphasis/de-emphasis EQ in the signal path ... in short this compressor has a tone control enabling precise tweaking of the sound. Internally it is structured as a compander but has additional controls to nudge the transfer function into compression territory ...
"imbued with rich character and iconoclastic spirit, bolsteriser CM offers many subtle and not-so-subtle ways to tweak your sound."
d:SHIFT(CM) - a pitch-shifter and delay collide head-on with a bit-crusher and waveshaper to create all manner of effects from subtle chorus to wild and whacky harmonies ...
"This oh-so desirable effect combines pitchshifting and delay to produce lush choruses, swirling echoes and some dynamite vocal doubling"
Computer Music Special : Effects, May 2011 & Computer Music issue 165, June 2011 - available in all good newsagents now, or by visiting Computer Music Magazine
My track "Lincoln Down" made it onto Pegasia Music's second release - Pewter Gods more information here, or here for the downloads
REMIX - Shapeshifter : Longest Day :
Through December 2010 I created a remix for entry into the Shapeshifter "Longest Day" remix competition, featuring Sara Leith on vocals, Dave Gibbons on Trumpet and Damo Waters on backing vocals. The track got the biggest public vote over the course of the competition, but alas the band chose another remix for release on their next album. Huge thanks to everyone that voted for the track - it was an absolute blast to make and made me several new contacts along the way - both in New Zealand and in the UK.
As part of the Liverpool Biennial 2010, the BlueCoat are holding a Bed-In celebrating John Lennon's birthday, and also the original Lennon/Ono bed-in.
The original bed-in (in 1969) saw the performers in bed whilst a recordist used a 4-track tape-machine to capture sounds ... so ... Sunshine's twist was to reverse this situation by putting the recordist (me) in the bed. I spent the best part of 4 hours in, on and around the bed - I did however have a huge advantage over the original bed-in ... equipment (left). Rather than having to carry a 20kg machine, delicate microphones and boxes of tape, I used the latest generation of pocketable solid-state Sony field-recorders (borrowed from my Sound Artist wife, Amie Slavin), coupled with a selection of robust studio-mics - I was entirely self-contained, and capable of obtaining excellent results with a minimum of hassle - with a total equipment value the right side of £2000 - how times have changed.
The day was spent recording gallery visitors and passers-by ... Sunshine's work can now begin in earnest - she'll be editing the recordings into a multitrack remix/re-imagining of "Give Peace a Chance" to be installed in the BlueCoat on a listening post, later in the month.
Voice peace by Sunshine Gray - slideshow with 3 minute mix from recordings on the day.
Virtual Fantasy Audio Software :
Before today's analog-modelled hyper-real production studios there were actual analog studios with real; physical : buttons, knobs, and faders. Life was rather different : production was slower and in some ways, more haphazard ... (try syncing 2 tape-loops using nothing more than a pair of pencils) ...
Before analog studios and all their wonderful bits 'n' bobs there was military hardware - early radar, radios and the like. Experimental cutting edge-stuff - the very substance of national security : esoteric equipment with peculiar controls and skilled operators ...
But before military communications ? ...
... it could be anybody's guess ...
The bolsterisers are a family of dynamics effect plugins for windows vst apps, modelled after fantasy devices created during an imaginary history in a time when scientists, engineers and experimenters were 'in the dark' about the audio theories and techniques we deploy daily in our neat and powerful; digital environments.
These plugins are based on the application of first-principles, in much the same way our audio-predecessors built their first devices : imagination gives rise to a design, subsequent testing and iteration refines the model.
Each one is built in a different style hinting at the modern models we deploy in terms of response, transfer function, and character, but created from an entirely naive perspective with only the most basic concepts informing the algorithms - no modelling, measurement or scrupulous calculations have been used to create them - they have been refined and evolved through listening and subjective analysis, not science and fact.
The bolsterisers are my homage to the early pioneers of audio, many and various - the experimentalists, the men in sheds; the great-grandfathers of our modern audio studios.
Working with Video Artist Rosie Ward I recently facilitated a sound-art workshop for 11-years-olds in the run-up to a "Creative Partnerships" conference at The Collection.
The young people brought their mactops and were guided through the process of recording editing and mixing a piece on the Collection's Soundwall.
This is the first time this has been tried - facilitating kids in producing a sound installation across such a big-rig - the end result is a looped piece using the full width of the space, featuring their own voices, and the voices of interviewees attending the conference on the day.
They used post-it-notes to create a graphical score to compose the piece, and with assistance translated this into the Nuendo editing system - the participants even had a go at multi-channel mixing and positioning.
From nothing to a running piece took around 8-hours : the quickest production at the Collection to-date ... with the youngest producers (search for "sound art").
MusicTech Magazine SynthEdit Workshop :
Three articles focussing on how to create your own plugin effects and instruments using the incredible SynthEdit visual development environment on Windows PC. Each week I detail a different aspect of the process from getting started with SE to building effects circuits and then on to the all-important interface design. 1800 words each with screenshots, example projects, 3rd party modules and free plugins from top indie developers.
This workshop also forms part of the MusicTech Focus Synthesis Edition, exclusively available from WHSmith (UK) Barnes & Noble and Borders (USA) or direct from Anthem Publishing here (all territories)
whiteLABEL VST plugins :
whiteLABEL is my brand of VST plugins - virtual audio processing equipment. 11 products and 9 'betas' - the products all have free or demo versions too, so there's plenty to play with.
Several of the whiteLABEL devices have proven themselves invaluable in my recent audio work, being used in mixes, installations, a national tour and several radio pieces. To discuss a custom plugin built to your specification, use the contact links above.
SEE BELOW ... I won fourth prize in the KVR Developer Challenge (DC'09) with Twin Engined Verb - a unique delay & reverb processor ...
Twin Engined Verb - Award winning reverb processor :
Twin Engined Verb (TEV) is a new take on reverb and delay effects and offers a bewildering array of rooms, spaces and downright weird effects. Entered into the 2009 KVR Developer Challenge, TEV was awarded 4th prize in an international field of more than 40 entries. After a month-long user testing and voting period it narrowly missed third place coming only 4 points behind the mighty de la Mancha's FMMF Synth.
now available on the coverdisc of MusicTech Magazine issue 84.
and Computer Music Magazine issue 181, feb 2011.
Some user comments :
SNS : this one rocks,great job
taotekid : very cool plugin, sounds awesome
SampleScience : it have it's own sound as well as sounding amazing
freddemillio : both subtle and wild effects - greatly appreciate it
Cordelia : TEV rocks. There are some very elegant touches on that GUI that make TEV a real joy to use. Thank you. What a blast.
Click above for one of the TEV demo tracks. All effects come from TEV ...
dd SE modules :
I design and build modules for SynthEdit, a modular audio synthesis environment running on the VST framework. For the uninitiated, these are little functional blocks of software that when joined together in the SE environment allow for complex audio routing scenarios to be rapidly developed. My modules, written in C++ are freely available - all I ask is a donation and a credit if you use them in commercial vst plugin releases - I've several 'prefabs' too :
"I really appreciate your work :)"
Steve (de la Mancha plugins)
"works like a dream"
Dennis Lenz (Prodyon Virtual Gear)
"thanks to your modules even the sequencer could be done fairly easy and with saving resources too."
H. G. Fortune
Sound Art - from Idea to Audience Based on my experience as a musician, producer, engineer and facilitator, I offer introductory talks / lectures suitable for students of music, art, and media production from A-level upwards. The general focus is "Sound Art & the Production process", taking the view that audio arts are a "Wetware communication facilitated by hard-and-soft-ware"
previous delivered at :
East Coast Institute of Art & Design.
Sound Artist Space Introductory talk on The Collection's Soundwall facilities and the issues and opportunities presented by this unique publicly accessible system - one of the largest in the UK outside of academia.
previous delivered at :
University of Huddersfield Week of Speakers Sonic Arts Forum Conference
Image : 3000 Miles from the Moon, David A Hardy, from The Golden Record exhibition, curated by Mel Brimfield @ The Collection, Lincoln : March to May 2009
Stewart's students at the University of Lincoln, recorded and edited voices for the piece using Edirol portable recorders and Final cut Pro, and then passed their outputs to Andrea, who combined them with original composed content created and mixed using MAX/MSP and ProTools. This outputted 180 files that made-up the 23 minutes of the piece, spread accross 12 channels. From here, I facilitated the post production stages, configuring the system hardware, making further technical edits, and creating various stems to aid in bass reproduction and vocal clarity. Once the material was on the system, the work of eq'ing and compressing the piece began, and after 4 itterations, the piece was ready for final level setting.
Altogether, the project required about 70 gigabytes of disk space, 5 edit-machines (both mac and pc), 2 24-channel harddisk recorders, 8 harddisks, and a little over a week of post-production to go from Andrea's initial mixes to a ready-to-play installation.
Isolitude - Mike Marcus & Amie Slavin :
A mixed media installation by Street-Artist / Photographer Mike Marcus and Sound-Artist Amie Slavin consisting of two rooms packed with 7-foot high cutouts of the Isolitude figure (pictured) accompanied by a ten-speaker surround sound-scape.
My role in this project was to design, and install the hardware system. I was also involved at a more creative level by making a custom surround pan controller used in the mixing process. This consists of a graphics tablet and some software, the net effect of which is to use a stylus to position sounds around the rooms - as in, I want it over there, so I'll move the stylus in a direction that reflects this. Sounds complex, but its incredibly simple really, and massive fun to turn stationary sounds into moving objects to create an immersive sonic landscape.
Interested in using the panner in one of your projects ? see this page.
I'm Series Producer of 2757 - a peripatetic open submission sound-art radio show. During 2008 the show went out on SirenFM 107.3 in Lincoln, and ArtinLiverpool FM as part of the Liverpool biennial, and featured 8 Sound-Artists, Musicians, Experimentalists and Producers. Currently taking a break, I accept work in any genre as long is it fits the golden rule - 27 or 57 minutes duration on the dot. That's it. Contact me (above) if you have a submission, or a potential outlet - I have material waiting to go, in a variety of styles.
I worked with Sound Artist Amie Slavin to design and build her stunning piece Sophia's Web. From a technical point of view, the web is a 92 channel polyphonic sampler housed within an alluminium body. I helped with hardware design and built the physical interface and electronics needed in order to power the piece. I then built microphones and a chamber to help with the transfer process to get the finished audio content into the playback modules. Other work for Amie has included making underwater microphones, custom surround mixing hardware and a VST Plugin
Part of the 'Waterlog' exhibition at The Collection, Lincoln, Marcus created a beautiful piece on the sound wall of the Orientation Hall. The system consists of 22 speakers embedded in an 80 feet wide, 30 feet high limestone facade. 16 different channels of synchronised hard-disk playback are routed through a rack-mount dsp system containing a full virtual mix environment. The room is quite lively with stone surfaces and a high glass ceiling, resulting in a reverb time of around 2½ seconds. I assisted Marcus in transferring his material and programming mix routing, and then offered potential solutions to some of the challenges inherent in the playback environment such as background noise, overall sound of the room, sources of leakage, and pollution. Several days were spent listening to and fine-tuning eq curves and compression settings in order to make the best of the system in its space. Finally, I programmed the hardware for playing back the piece throughout the day, and setup various presets for the Museum staff to easily adjust the level in the room, whilst maintaining audibility.
"... I have benefitted from Daz' help and advice whilst working with production software, on location recordings, mixing for extended surround and innovative playback environments such as Sophia's Web. He has proved himself invaluable at every stage from consulting about the best technical way to achieve a result, to mastering and building bespoke devices. His skills are excellent in each of his specialisms and I would highly recommend him as a hugely valuable contributor to any sound project. He grasps concepts well, and is especially good at finding neat ways to do complicated things ..."
"... I've been using Daz' services for a number of years now. As a mix engineer / programmer he's helped me produce some complex tracks and always has a solution to the question of 'can we make it sound like ...'. His understanding of sound and process has helped me achieve what I want, especially when I wasn't sure how to go about it myself. He has also provided valuable tech support in setting up and maintaining my project studio, and has helped me out of holes when things seem not to work. Thinking 'out of the box' or acting 'to order', he's a pleasure to work with, and is always ready to grapple with that next 'problem' - knowledgable, skilled and sensitive, I don't hesitate in recommending him to your project ..."