VIDEO: Dear Leaders – Myth (Not A Football Song)

Here’s my first venture into music videos – made for a friend’s band – Dear Leaders.

It was actually shot last year, but a busy work schedule delayed the edit until the beginning of this year – they released the track as a single in April alongside the video – check it out below!

It was real guerrilla film making, we had no budget, very little plan or script – just a very rough narrative. We shot this across London, near Green Lanes in Haringey and also in Hackney Marshes, with a lot of improvisation at the locations. I also shot this solo, with only two days to get everything done (the band live in separate cities) – which added extra pressure to the production!

The edit was quite challenging as a result, but eventually I picked a route through the footage, not that the narrative makes total sense… but when were music videos ever the bastion of linear narratives?

I was lucky enough to work with actor Julian Spooner (who put up with two days of masking tape being ripped off his face) – who was great to work with, mainly because he was very patient and took my direction without protest. The band members also make small cameos – see if you can spot them!

It was shot mostly on my Sony A7s and it’s low light capabilities allowed opened up a lot of creative possibilities for shooting at dusk on the marshes.

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Video

VIDEO: An Astrological April Fools

This year we wanted to go all out for our April Fools effort, so we decided to make a video to announce this year’s (fake) Christmas Lectures subject and lecturer. You can see the effort below:

In reality, the lecturer featured in the video is none-other than Ri Director of Finance, Michael de Crespigny (at least his name was real) who, may I add, played a fantastic role in portraying a quantum astrologer.

Although we don’t usually make a video announcing the Christmas Lecturer we wanted to create a piece of content that would work for our international YouTube audience as much as those that regularly tune into the Lectures in the UK.

So we set about scripting a piece that straddled the line between nonsense and plausibility, settling on the subject of astrology and making liberal use of the word “quantum” to hopefully pull the wool over people’s eyes.

I’ve written an extended blog piece over on the Ri’s blog.

Video: Playing with the Panasonic GH4

I decided to buy myself a new camera over Christmas and after much deliberation (including watching countless video reviews) I bought myself a Panasonic GH4. It’s a small mirror-less Micro-Four-Thirds DSLR that comes crammed with some incredible features, such as 4k internal recording and a 96fps shooting mode in 1080p! Oh and it’s a pretty cheap piece of kit for what it does.

I took a few walks out with my new camera and cut together a few bits of test footage – take a look below (I’m still getting to grips with the camera, so do excuse the shoddiness)

Both were shot with the Panasonic Lumix 12-35mm f2.8 – it’s a fantastically sharp little lens with image stabilisation built in. The footage was cut together in FCPX and graded with the help of Impulz LUTs.

The camera isn’t perfect, but I’m fantastically happy with it – the 4k footage is beautifully detailed and can be downscaled in the edit for a 1080 export – providing some useful cropping options as well. Here’s an arty picture of me sitting on the ground in Regent’s Park, with my GH4:

me

I’ll likely post more test footage over the coming months.

Audio: The Listening Post

Back in June I worked on ‘The Listening Post’ – an ambitious sound installation, co-commissioned by LIFT and 14-18 NOW that formed part of the ‘After a War‘ exhibition at the Battersea Arts Centre.

IMG_1613_webWriters James Wilkes and Tom Chivers led the project researching the history and lives of Battersea residents during the First World War. Their research into local archives and town records unearthed a wealth of material to work with, featuring stories from conscientious objectors, the struggles of munitionettes and the local paranoia surrounding activities of German bakers (below).

The pieces were produced and presented across more than 14 speakers spread throughout the installation, supported by work from graphic designer Lina Hakim and installation designer Gary Campbell.

Each section of the installation evoked a different feeling and theme, ranging from orchid growing to leisure activities (roller skating and hot air ballooning) before moving onto the darker tones of wartime industry and tribunals for conscientious objectors.

You can listen to James below as he gives a guided overview of the installation:

https://soundcloud.com/liftfestival/lift2014-after-a-war-a-tour-of-the-listening-post-with-james-wilkes

You can read a review of the event here.

Voices In The Dark

In The Dark @ The Voice, Wellcome Collection

Friday 1 March 2013, 19.00-23.00

The Voice

In a week’s time In The Dark will be hosting a special listening event at the Wellcome Collection, as part of the larger Voice event. We will be curating an evening of listening that taps into our complex relationship with the voice, featuring a rich chorus of vocalisations, speech and other oral oddities. The listening event will run for approximately 20 minutes and will be repeated throughout the night (timings below) – I’ve just finished mixing the playlist and we’ve managed to squeeze in an interesting range of material, from strong narrative pieces to the more avant garde.

In addition to our own event, there’s a load of other great stuff going on under the same roof, including talks exploring the science of speech, live vocal demonstrations from yodellers and sports commentators, talking parrots and technology that will remix your voice in real time. It’s all FREE as well, so if you’re in London next Friday you may as well drop by and have a look / listen for yourself.

Listening times for our sessions are as follows:

19.30,

20.15,

21.00,

21.45,

22.30.

Hope to see you there.

The Dustbin Man Cometh (again)

Following the recent In The Dark: Cityscapes event I was interviewed for the Monocle 24 radio show ‘The Urbanist‘ – we talked about some of the pieces played, discuss the power of audio and explore the nature of urban soundscapes. You can have a listen below, although I admit, I much prefer being on the other side of the microphone.

Listen here: [audio http://dl.dropbox.com/u/13042873/Urbanist%20ITD%20interview.mp3]

The Dustbin Man Cometh was also featured featured on NTS radio by Graham Dunning on his show ‘Fractal Meat on a Spongy Bone‘ – the show’s a nice listen for anyone interested in avant garde audio, featuring a jagged mix of experimental music, sound art and sonic experimentation. There’s a blog associated with the show here and you can catch the show every second Friday between 8-10am on NTS Radio. Recommended listening.

You can listen to the show below:

http://soundcloud.com/n_u_t_s/fractal-meat-on-a-spongy-6

Audio piece: The Dustbin Man Cometh

A processed and layered piece constructed from a single recording of a dustbin truck captured outside of the Royal Institution of Great Britain. Headphones recommended.

The piece was produced for exhibition at an In The Dark live listening event on Cityscapes and presented within the Glasshouse Bookshop at the Wapping Project on Wednesday 22nd March 2012.

If you have ever been woken up in the early hours by this sort of noise, I’m sure you’re aware of the complex mechanical racket that they make. It’s a great collection of sounds – clangs, squeaks and crashes – I really wanted to capture and then pull out elements of this noise, turning them into an evolving, glitchy cascade of sound that would fill the listening space it was to be presented in. Anyway, have a listen below.

In The Dark: Cityscapes

The Wapping Project Bookshop (21/03/12)

On Wednesday night I curated a listening event for In The Dark, held within the intimate confines of the Wapping Project’s Bookshop, which just happens to be in a Glasshouse. If you’ve never been to an In The Dark event before, think of it as a film screening, but for radio, sound and audio stories.

The pieces chosen were all tied to the theme of ‘Cityscapes’, tapping into the many stories, textures and soundscapes that resonate from urban environments. The selection spanned a range of styles and formats, from more conventional narrative / documentary pieces to the more abstract, capturing the essence of urban decay through sound.

The features were also blended together with a collection of field recordings which I’d taken from around London, as well as those taken elsewhere, including a Parisian recording form Soundlandscapes blog.

Some notes on a few of the pieces featured:

Out of the Blocks

Included on the playlist was a 7 minute edit of ‘Out of the Blocks’, as recently featured on the Third Coast International site. Produced through a collaboration between radio producer Aaron Henkin and electronic / Hip-hop producer Wendel Patrick, the piece presents a sound rich documentary profiling of an entire city block in Baltimore, ‘documenting the stories, voices, and people who populate the 3300 block of Greenmount Ave.’. What makes this piece stand out is in its interesting use of music, which was scored exclusively by Patrick adding greater texture to the voices and the stories they tell.

You can listen to the short edit on the Third Coast site where there’s also a nice interview with the pair. To listen to the original full hour edit of the documentary go on over to Wendel Patrick’s site.

Gateshead Multistory Car Park

Towards the end of the night we delved into the darker side of urban decay, with an excerpt from the Langham Research Centre’s menacing sound profile of the Gateshead Multi-story Carpark, originally produced for Radio 3’s Between the Ears.

The piece was recorded entirely on location and laid down on reel-to-reel tape, where it was manipulated further, slowed down and looped. Everything heard in this feature was derived from sounds captured within the Carpark and you can really get a sense of the menacing and repressive tone that this concrete behemoth exuded:

The Dustbin Man Cometh

One of the regular noises I come across living in a city, is the early morning mechanical chaos of the dustbin collection. To finish of the night, I played a piece which I’d produced specially for the event – a heavily processed sound piece created from the single recording of a dustbin truck collection.

If you have ever been woken up in the early hours by this sort of noise, I’m sure you’re aware of the complex mechanical racket that they make. It’s a great collection of sounds – clangs, squeaks and crashes – I really wanted to capture and then pull out elements of this noise, turning them into an evolving, glitchy cascade of sound that would fill the listening space it was to be presented in. Anyway, have a listen below:

The next In The Dark event will be held on the 4th April, aboard the Lightship95 with guest curator Martin Johnson