As composer in residence this year at Brookfield Community School, I worked with a fantastic group of Year 9 music pupils. My job was to give them their first glimpse of how to create a musical composition that changes every time a listener interacts with it – which is yet a fantastic, well-designed experience for all who enter it.
|Brookfield Community School – satellite view|
There are some simple tricks to making a geo-located soundwalk a fantastic experience and I was thrilled to see how these inventive young thinkers quickly made the soundscape very much their own piece of work.
The Brookfield Soundscape Project involved a wonderful mixture of live music performance, with the inspiring ‘Tomorrow’s Warriors’, creative writing (which contributed elements to the soundscape), learning about acoustics – sound waves, reverberation, frequency vs pitch, how sound travels, how a space sounds and can be acoustically redesigned – with Steve Dorney from the University of Southampton’s Institute of Sound and Vibration Research and real-world maths problems and solutions.
I hope these creative explorers will continue to make wonderful music for many years to come!
(although deeply wary of their colourful CEO, a feeling increased by the erudite description of O’Leary’s entrepreneurial persona by my friend Dr Lorraine Warren.
(Really, guys? Have you made aircraft hijacking history with that one?) (add an hour)
|Image: Luboš Motl|
My last trip here (well, to Prague) was as a removals man, six years ago, in deep snow. Today it is sunny and hot and the colourful ancient city of Brno awaits.
Although it seems a shame to put my boots back on and leave the air-conditioned cool of my home for the next few days…
Probably an afternoon in the pool and sauna, a sausage supper and early to bed, although plans may change.
After all, I have come here also to work and some wonderful unexpected ideas arose for a one-woman web-based opera cinecast amid my crazed in-flight dreams.
This is a long story and I’m not going to tell it all now: here’s the main thing –
it’s the story of a town founded 800 years ago that supplied the British Navy, surrounded by water, on the end of the land.
a story in sound about the town of Gosport, once principal supplier of the British Empire’s naval fleet,
a main departure point for the D-Day landings,
the origin of deep sea diving,
home to both a historic and beautiful organ played by G.F. Handel and
a rare electric Compton cinema organ, delicious and multifarious beasts, both.
Marge, 92 worked making bombs when she was 17, in the munitions factory.
Tony voyaged under the North Pole in the first nuclear sub, during the late 1950s.
Sometimes planned, often randomly encountered individuals and places of this incredible location have been a source of eviscerating joy and sadness.
I’m attempting to paint a thickly coloured sound portrait of a town whose history, present and future embody the flux of the late 20th, early 21st century Britain.
It isn’t just a bunch of stories and vox pops: the project assimilates the sounds of the place, now and historically, with music captured in the street and in concert. The incredible sound of some fine local music makers: amateur bands, professional performers and historic recordings.
It is a musical composition built from thousands of audio fragments: captured, generated and borrowed.
The only way you can hear it is by walking in the landscape with an Android handset with the app on it.
The GPS signal locates you and lets you hear the part of the sound in the space you are walking through or sitting in to listen deeply to.
As you walk, you reconstruct the whole from all of the stems I have lovingly compiled over months of walking, recording, interviewing, listening and dreaming about this wonderful town’s strange and uniquely resonant past. And what it’s future might be.
What you will hear is nothing like any recording, broadcast or electronic composition you have ever encountered.
Fifty plus circles in the landscape containing unique miniature broadcasts are interlocked, overlapped, sequentially linked.
You need a GPS-connected handset with noTours software and our project “Written in Water: Portrait of a Town”. We will provide.
Come to the launch… or any time (Gosport Discovery Centre)
You’ll walk inside a sound portrait of the town and its long history –
moving through the landscape
with its own living auditory personality
always changing and shifting around you,
as you navigate the virtual composition.
Contact us for more details or visit
You are invited to join us this Friday 6th December for a practical training session on geo-located soundscapes tool noTours.
Please email lw4 [at] soton [dot] ac [dot] uk to book a free place.
Lunch will be provided and parking is available on site.