Every pirate wants to be an admiral
I loved this project. We had ups and downs but no middles: exactly how I like it.
The Fairfax brothers were fabulous collaborators and we shared something wonderful on our rollercoaster ride. The brothers became famous and hugely popular with the receptionists in the Future Inns Hotel where the WNO kindly put us up and it’s wonderful when a project is fun as well as challenging and creative.
I wanted to share what I thought was a brilliant take on copyright and piracy from Cory Doctorow. He argues that all new media – from sheet music to cable TV – is accused of piracy by the mainstream … until it becomes the mainstream.
Take a look at his video for the Guardian:
I think it’s a great place to leave this project. I hope we get to take this project further. This was only a glimpse at what was possible. We hope to put some footage up of the final performance soon.
Thanks to everyone for the experience.
That is a very good idea Michael to contribute some post performance thoughts on this blog. If these contributions have any value then it is wholly appropriate to contain some summary thoughts. Well done on that.
Time just flashes by. I am now eighty three. Ok, some thoughts on the process and sharing/performance.
It was a huge privilege to work with the WNO - David, Penny, technical team, the Principle Players and of course Michael and Jess. Brilliant stuff. Hearing at close quarters the quality of sound produced by the Principle Players whilst warming up and rehearsals was extraordinary.
I always wanted to be in a boy band so being the Wind next to Paddy was a moment I’ll never forget- until I start looking in the back of my shirt to confirm my name is Marks & Spencer. Thank you for that.
I think the breadth of language created by the team is extraordinary. I would certainly have loved another 6 sessions to explore this language further. I am very grateful for the number of sessions we had though. It is clear in my mind that the sharing on the 3rd was a sketch. I would love more time to dovetail the elements further. The film and the three dimensional visuals were just starting to speak to each other. The potential to develop this integration is exciting. The varied three dimensional staging, lighting and costumes could be developed so much more. I think the moving sand, hint of a costume and projection indicated the first stage of what can be achieved. The movement of the Players is also very interesting aurally and visually.
I am also excited about the combination of classical, abstract and electronic sounds. I think the potential was clear to see and hear. We started to address the artistic issues of harnessing such an extensive and expansive language. This is very challenging. But Shackleton didn’t die exploring Norfolk.
As I mentioned in the Q+A session afterwards, I think it would be very interesting to have a philosopher, academic or lawyer on board too. It was great to have Daffyd’s contribution and I would certainly like more of that. It would add another layer. In such a tight time frame it is perhaps not surprising that the emphasis was on the artistic development of the piece. Daffyd was able to be free from that constraint and created a terrific contextual view.
Thank you again to all the team for this wonderfully rich experience - a huge pleasure.
May 3rd performance
The site seems to be very quiet now as everyone takes stock of the events of this research project. The final day of the performance was fraught with small dramas. The Weston studio was a new venue for us all, the space, the seating, the lighting, sound system, a screen for projection and a kinetic sand dispensing sculpture. We hadn’t met up with the players for a month and needed time to rehearse the piece with the film for timings et al. Tonight we would have an audience and then a debate about the process and I.P. The sand dispenser was having a problem, no sand was coming out of the ends and was leaking at a few joints. Richard, Jan and the crew went off to repair and amend. Sennheisser came and sorted out the sound micing each instrument and putting me through their mixing desk. Lights needed to be sorted so the players could see but not be to well lit as to distract from the film. Jo’s film needed to be central to the sculptural element that cast a shadow onto the screen. The piano that Jess was to play was out of tune. By now baldness was creeping on. David and Penny were very helpful trying to get everything sorted, infact everyone was brilliant, working flatout to make sure all these little digressions were sorted out. Jo’s film looked fantastic on the big screen, the sculpture now turned and dispensed sand, how would Mikael the bass player feel having to sit in the centre of the sand dispenser and could it be made to dispense without covering him and the bass in sand?. The players came in and it was lovely to see them all again, handshakes and hugs. They found their seating position and began the tuning up process, Stevie had been very thorough and had notes of the timings for the film and the music, Jo had put some secret key codes for the changes of mood into the film. The first run through was rusty and I found I had no control over my mixing desk and the sounds I was making just carried on, this is when I discovered that Sennheisser had control over my mixing desk and I needed to work the volumes on the instruments. Another run through this time of the tricky time changes. We changed into our suits and then out again for the performance everyone looked great and we were ready, the audience entered Weston studio, lights went down and the gentle sound of dust and the flickering lines of the film went together. The performance which is 15 minutes long sped through, I had a problem hearing the sounds I was making sitting between the timpani and brass was loud, they sounded great and the whole performance seemed very tight and worked well in with the film. The audience applauded and we bowed and then straight into the question and answers, which given the day, I could of done with having a bit of time for the adrenaline of performance to have died down inside my body. The question and answer session was interesting on the take of how we dealt with I.P. and whether the approach was correct or if there is such a thing as a correct approach, it really is such a complicated area. I feel that in time we all had together, which really breaks down to six sessions what we achieved was incredible, I know that given more time and less space between the sessions we really could have racked it up and since the session I have thought of many ways of taking the process on. The reaction of the players at the end was tremendous and I really feel we have the trust and support of most of them, that has been great. The team has huge potential to go on and do more, Jo’s films, Jess’s composing and piano and my noises. I really hope that this isn’t then end we have made some good connections with some great musicans and I for one would really love to take this process on.
Huge thanks to Penny and David for getting us in, the Principal Players for their work and pleasure to be with. The guys behind the scenes, Sennheiser for their expertise and use of their equipment. I am sure I have forgotten some people, so for them too.
and of course WNO.
Electroclassic on Radio 3’s Music Matters
Composer Jess Curry and Sound Artist Michael Fairfax talk to Radio 3’s Music Matters about Project Electroclassic and it’s research into the complexity of Copyright law. The feature is followed by a debate about Intellectual Property and how it’s being tested by the ever changing digital landscape. The piece features Mishcon de Reya’s IP Barrister Simon Tracey who was part of the steering group for Project Electroclassic.
Listen again on BBC iPlayer
My apologies - I uploaded the same section - here is the new section.
You’ll be able to paste these together and make your own film!
I hope that you are enjoying them.
The circular motion of the light marks on the white circle in the film should echo the circular movement of the particle dispenser rotating around Mikael in the performance.
Another section of the film. The beautifully clear soaring voice.
A bit more. Basically this is how snails live sending postcards home saying ‘I’ve moved another inch dad’……
I am really glad to hear that yesterdays session went so well.
Here is another clip. Up to 7mins and 23 secs.
You Shall Not Look Through My Eyes
Great session again yesterday. I have been listening to the piece with headphones on and the variety and subtlety of playing is extraordinary, particularly through the black hole section which is obviously dominated by the deep electronic catatonic noise but within that, is a wonder of variation and hearing this time Sam’s voice in there as well is terrific. I would really like to thank all the players for the way they are embracing the project and the suggestions that occur during these play throughs. Jess’s lament and Sun elements bring a real heart-aching beauty to the creation and destruction either side of it. From the clips of Jo’s films we are in for a real treat on the 3rd May, well the audience is as we will be in the middle of it all.
A big thanks too, to David and Penny for making this all happen and all their support throughout.
I can’t believe that was our last session before the performance. Hang on to your breeches for the meltdown on the 3rd…..Oh I can hardly wait.
Radio 3 ‘Music Matters’ recorded the proceedings and interviewed players David and Les plus soprano Sam, Jess, Michael and David Massey. It will be very interesting to hear what they make of it all, at the moment the date for broadcast is the 16th april.