August 4, 2014
A few weeks ago me and Jeremy Welsh went for a two day video and sound field recording trip to Nord-Hordaland and Sogn og Fjordane. The trip was the kick-start for a new collaborative project – “River Deep Mountain High : The Atmospherics”. In the coming months we are planning more field recording trips like this, collecting ambisonic surround sound field recordings and nigh-resolution (4K) moving image for a a new series of work that might take various forms such as short film, installation, or video screening.
In every way this was an inspiring trip. The weather was absolutely fantastic, and staying over in Dale in Fjaler we had the added bonus of meeting up with Torkild Sandsund in e´the evening again.
I am now listening through the several hours of sound recordings from the trip. In the process of doing so, writings by Michel Chion and Salome Vogelin comes to mind.
In a recent essay in Wire, Salome Vogelin criticises a somewhat naive tendency within some of current field recording practice where the recordings are understood as capturing the essence of what was recorded, and an accompanying naive belief that reproductions of the recordings will be able to mediate this essence to the audience. “This age of innocence, now abandoned or ironised by photography, is hard to shift in the invisible realm of phonography. The difficulty partly arises from the recordists’ trust in their own multisensory memory of the field. They mistake the reduced sonic data for the sensorial complexity of the contingent encounter, and forget the frame of reference left behind that needs reframing if it is to trigger anything.”
I agree that this would be a naive assumption. One of the fascinations I have with surround (ambisonic) field recordings is that the recordings carry the notion of a place, but they do not carry any notion of the place. The mediated sound, removed from the original time and place, and detached from the parallel sensory information provided by vision, smell, heat or cold, and the general bodily experience of the place, becomes abstracted and generic.
This can be seen as the first of a series of abstractions that the recorded sound from the field enables and possibly enforce. According to Michel Chion, repeated playback of recorded sound is a prerequisite for reduced listening: “When we listen acousmatically to recorded sounds it takes repeated hearings of a single sound to allow us gradually to stop attending to its cause and to more accurately perceive its inherent traits” 1, p. 32.
For me it is this potent field of tension between concrete representation and abstracted sound and abstracted and (re)synthesised place that I want to explore further. If I just wanted to transport the audience to the various places that I record, it would make more sense to simply take them for a walk.
1 Michel Chion (1990): Audio-vision. Sound on screen. Columbia University Press
August 9, 2014
Cool! Locally I have a working port to Jamoma 0.6 of the model for hosting VST and AudioUnit plugins. I need to do some further testing and cleaning up before pushing it to server, but it should be added to the repository sometime mid next week.
By now almost all of the stereo audio models have been ported to Jamoma 0.6.
August 13, 2014
I have just developed a plugin that might be a strong contender for “most nerdy plugin interface ever”.
Suffice to say that the audio processing coolness factor is inverse proportional to the visual appeal of it.
More info will be forthcoming over the next few weeks.
August 20, 2014
Screen and sound capture of the FOA Mirror Transform plugin, part of the soon-to-be-released “Ambisonic Toolkit for Reaper”, a suite of JS FX plugins for Cockos Reaper for encoding, transforming and decoding first order ambisonic sound fields.
In this example I’m using plugin parameter automation in Reaper to generate the continuous rotations.
Please listen using headphones.
August 21, 2014
Over the past 1 1/2 year I have gradually been porting Ambisonic Toolkit by Joseph Anderson et. al. to a set of JS FX plugins for Reaper. ATK for Reaper consists of a number of plugins for encoding, transforming and decoding FOA sound fields, and contain several functionalities that to the best of my knowledge are not available in existing plugin suites for FOA.
Me and Joseph have been writing a paper on the subject that will be presented as a poster at the upcoming joint ICMC / SMC conference in Athens. I’d like to have an initial release of ATK for Reaper available for download by the time of the conference, but before letting it out in the wild, it would be useful to have some beta-testing in order to ensure that there are no obvious malfunctions, omissions or bad interaction design decisions in the first release. Hence I’m looking for a few beta testers to give some initial feedback on the plugin suite.
I have made an installer for OSX that should make it easy to get up and going. For Windows installing currently will require a bit of manual copying into the correct folders. I have not tested the plugins on Windows myself yet, but as it is all based on the JS FX scripting language, I would expect them to work the same there as on Mac. On Windows it would also be possible to test them with other VST hosts using ReaPlugs.
In particular I’m looking for feedback of the type:
- “This seems to work well”
- “This is just not working”
- “This is just plain wrong”
- “This is really nice and intuitive”
- “This is not intuitive at all”
- “I have a suggestion for an improvement: …”
Initial reactions to the plugins are particular useful, as the first reaction to user interfaces are often quite informative in terms of how the user interaction design works (or not).
If you are (1) a regular user of Reaper, (2) have prior experience with first order ambisonic, and (3) have the interest and some available time over the next two weeks for testing and providing feedback, please contact me. If you have prior experience with ATK for SuperCollider, that would be useful as well. Please also provide me with information on what OS you are using.
And if you have prior experience with building installers for Windows that would be particularly useful, I might need some help when attempting to solve this one.