Module Task 5: Performance Evaluation

Here is the video of our final performance on our assessment day. In all honesty I was quite disappointed with how our final performance went. Even a lot of our rehearsals had gone better.

We had a quick time before our performance to go through a bit and when it came to the actual performance we had forgotten to clear our loopers from the practise and so they started playing as soon as we triggered the keys.

In our technical rehearsal the day before, a lot of the equipment we needed e.g. the foot pedal, was being very temperamental and so we had to change a couple of things. We originally had the keys mapped to one of the foot pedals for me to trigger it on and off at certain times, but as the mapping wasn’t working in the technical rehearsal, we had to use the space bar on the computer keyboard to trigger instead, but this did not work how we needed it to and messed up a few other of our already mapped triggers.

This was frustrating as in our final rehearsal the week before, we had managed to get everything working swimmingly, with all the triggers mapped correctly and working at the right times.

With this in mind, it meant at the end of our performance, when we went to press the space bar for the keys to stop, all the other sounds we had created also turned off. The song was meant to carry on for another 30 seconds but as there was an abrupt stop of all our sounds, Rosie had to come in with the song ending ‘help me’ before previously planned.

I think we felt a bit deflated because we had put so much effort into practising, researching and working out a creative/abstract concept which we all really liked. I don’t think it was down to lack of rehearsing, but more lack of time towards the end e.g. I think because quite a few things went wrong in the technical rehearsal that we had never had problems with before (particularly the mapping of things), and the performance was the next day, there wasn’t enough time to properly rectify these things.

Creatively I think if we did it again there are a few things we could change/implement. For example, the amount of reverb became quite saturating at points which we could dull down a bit. And we could have incorporated some of the audio effect racks techniques with the macro controls to manipulate the vocals at varying degrees live. However, I think we did do what we set out to do: to create an experience of schizophrenia that was captivating and different.

I think if we were to do this again, I also would be less afraid to really try a more varying set up in regards to instrument racks, audio effect racks and live looping of vocals and instruments with some experimentation towards automation and macro controls.

Final performance: Stage Plot

Screenshot 2017-05-20 14.32.16

  • 3 mics (SM58) each plugged into individual audio tracks in Ableton (Chloe audio, Rosie audio, Ophelia audio) – specific audio fx and looper applied to each channel in Ableton – very wet reflective reverb audio fx with long delay time applied to all channels – simple delay applied to my channel
  • Keys – pre-recorded midi clip of main song melody with looper applied – keys plugged into Ableton audio track through pre-amp to play some live notes during performance
  • FCB1010 Midi Foot Controller – triggering looper for Chloe and I during performance – also triggering play and stop for pre-recorded keys midi clip
  • Ableton Push – linked to midi track in Ableton with Voice ‘Sirens of the deep’ plug-in applied
  • Roland SPD – linked to midi track with instrument rack in Ableton

Final Performance: Song Composition

Final performance group: Chloe Wood, Rosie Mountjoy and Ophelia Neville

When we first met as a group to discuss our final performance, we started throwing around a few ideas and all liked the idea of creating a very ambient, eery and abstract song that could prize the use of loopers and vocal manipulation in particular.

We quickly decided on the theme of schizophrenia. Below are some of the notes I jotted down during our first discussion just as some ideas.

IMG_1138

We looked up Schizophrenia to find out a bit more about the topic and it talked about there being three different elements of a person being effected: Thoughts, emotion and behaviour. As there are three of us in our group, we thought it would be interesting if we all took on one of these words as our “character” for the song. We through around the concept of having three verses, one verse for each “character”, however, we steered away from this after our first meeting with Tim to discuss our plans as we didn’t want it to be too structured and run like a normal song – we wanted it to be more of an experience/representation of schizophrenia itself.

After meeting a couple of times to rehearse we had decided on a short piano melody which would be looped and create the base of our song and give us an element of time in our song. We set up three microphones and applied some different audio fx as well as a looper for each mic and improvised a bit. Rosie came up with a line ‘voices voices in my head’ which Chloe followed with another line, whilst I sang the word ‘whisper’ overlapping. This became the start of our song which we then improvised slightly to create the rough idea of our whole song. We created a mind map of words which we associate with schizophrenia. Although we didn’t have a typical song structure and it was quite abstract, we knew what each part of the song was and when we would shift into something slightly different.

Finally, we incorporated the drum pad and the push to add some texture.

In terms of deciding who did what in our performance, we thought if Rosie had the drum pad, it could represent some kind of heartbeat within our piece – this also comes into play when we all drop out at the end of the song leaving Rosie to finish by saying ‘help me’ on her own. We thought this could create the idea of Rosie being the person affected by schizophrenia in our piece, whilst Chloe & I are representing the extensions of her disorder.

Module Task 4: Performance Development

Performance group members: Chloe Wood, Rosie Mountjoy & Ophelia Neville

Approach: Vocal loopers, audio effects and vocal manipulation – reverb, delay, saturation, EQ, automation…

We recorded these two takes in two different rehearsals. Having listened back to them, the things we knew we needed to work on were the structure of our song as it is quite abstract, we still needed to know the timings of things and also we needed to be careful to not over saturate and cloud all the elements. We wanted it to be very atmospheric and ambient but we wanted things to be understood and there to be different textures and light and shade.

We also needed to keep on top of our mapping of all the different elements and check they were going to work ok in our performance.

Here are a few photos of our rehearsals and set up and some photos of our notes…

IMG_1081IMG_1180IMG_1082

Module Task 3: Performance Proposal

Module Task 3 – Performance Proposal

Group: Chloe Wood, Rosie Mountjoy & Ophelia Neville

Having done some research around different approaches artists take to utilise the use of DAW in their performance, I would love to explore the use of looping and manipulating vocals in my final performance whilst perhaps incorporating some of the other techniques I have seen through my research such as Push and drum pads.

An artist I found as a good example of using looper to create layers and harmonies in performance is Kawehi.

As I will be in a group for my performance with Rosie M and Chloe W, I feel like this approach that Kawehi uses in her video would be easy to apply to our group. We would each have a microphone with a looper applied and we could apply a variety of audio fx and manipulate the vocals in different ways for each mic. In the video Kawehi is able to control a lot of different elements quite easily through her midi programming. If we can do this, we should be able to create quite an interesting performance mainly by just using our vocals.

As a group, we also created a reference track playlist with some other music we liked the ideas of:

https://open.spotify.com/embed/user/rosiemountjoy/playlist/3eWpPgIpGU8itI95g6rR3C

Performance Research

Performance using Push/Controllers:

Kaskobi | Shape of you: very good concept for a video – very aesthetically exciting and eye catching

Stro Elliot: quite an inwardly focused concept – not necessarily the most engaging concept for a group performance

Mad Zach: again very inward focused – not the most exciting performance wise for an audience

Conclusion: This technique is a great and interesting way to create a varying soundscape quickly within a song. However, as I know I will be working with a small group for my final performance I’m not sure how this concept would work with a group. A lot of the people who utilise this technique in their work are solo artists or solo dj’s. I also feel like this concept may suit an ‘experience’ better than a ‘performance’ as the audience would be involved as oppose to watching?

Loop based performance:

 Ed Sheeran | Shape of you: Very slick and nice arrangement – good range of instrumentation for a solo artist – a lot of prep involved i.e. a lot of midi programming prior to performance – a lot relying on his timing of triggering different midi controls – a lot to remember

Chameleon: Solid organisation and structure of the song needed i.e. very exact when to trigger certain elements and instrumentation

Delaurentis | As a wink: Love the idea of using looper on the vocals and layering harmonies utilising different audio FX

Conclusion: A lot of them are on their own/solo artists – would these techniques be harder as a group? We’d need to be very in sync with each other, however, it could make it easier to try as a group as we could have less things to be responsible for because there would be more of us and perhaps less things to remember individually

Backing Tracks:

 -great for full bands

-good for traditional band set ups who also have a more unique sound running parallel to traditional instrumentation/band set up?

Module Task 2: Looper in Ableton

For this task I created a simple drum rhythm with Impulse and the ‘Wicked Chillin’ pre-set. I also copied this drum rhythm and applied it to another midi track with a ‘voices’ sound.  I then created a midi track with a piano sound and looper applied where I played some staccato chords. On another midi track I had a synth sound and a looper with a reverb to add a softer texture and played a little melodic clip. I then had an audio track with a looper applied and layered three vocal harmonies on top of one another.