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Modulate will perform a live AV set at AVA Exhibition -Seeing With Sound  , at the Hexagon theatre MAC Birmingham on 22/03/2015.

Modulate member Bobby Bird has also been working with a group of home educated children to build a two and a three pendulum harmonograph.

Part of the live set will be based on this instrument.

see more images here: Modulate in the Woods
Hear excerpts from our live set on Modulate Soundcloud
For this years Shambala Festival, Modulate created a series of unique sound and visual experiences in the woods , partially inspired our setting, being situated in the center of the beautiful Wilderness area. Here we designed a magical light tree to sit beneath, an expanded UV Totem space, a three screen  projection installation, plus we brought our quality sound system, emanating a warm and resonating space amongst the trees. Through this we played our own selection of experimental electronic sounds and AV for three nights, plus, on the Saturday we premiered an entirely new Modulate audio visual live set at around 3 in the morning-
All in all, another creative and fun time was had by us all- thanks Shambala, Des, and to all of the extended Modulate team .

In March we gave a 45 minute Live Cinema performance at Flatpack Festival , an  improvised, slowly unfolding abstract sonic visual journey, which was very well received by the audience.

recording of our  performance below :

Prior to our performance we also curated a selection of screenings,  including an exclusive preview of EXP /Frank Bretschneider plus some clips of  a beautiful  video installation ‘Forever’ by Universal Everything

Modulate audio except ATM : cov1

In September 09 Modulate performed at A Thing About Machines festival in Coventry, in the historic setting of St John’s Church on Spoon Street. The three Modulate music makers ( Bobby, Mark and Mark) performed from the front of the church while Joseph and I  had the pleasure of projecting our visuals onto the architecture from the back of the church.

It was a great to have the opportunity to  perform in such a special setting, and a pleasure to be a part of this unique festival, now in its second year.

What a shame that the Arts Council did not support ATM this year, despite the success of last years festival and the great line up this year – but well  done to Cormac for continuing regardless. Lets hope they  give more support where its due in  future .

We also enjoyed the other performances in the church, which were given by Janek Schaefer , Ben Ramsay and Threep

Modulate Sonic Circle at Shambala 09

sonic circle

More images on flickr

For the woodland area at Shambala Festival 2009, Modulate continued to expandand and develop upon previous years multiple speaker sound installations, creating a larger version of the Sonic Circle , using a custom 10.2 rig flown in the trees comprising of 10 xNexo PS 8s,  plus a larger stereo system based on the ground,  with a smaller 10.2 monitoring system inside our Yurt control center.

With the 10.2 system, the stereo signal can be filtered & panned around the 10 speakers in different directions or in a random panning mode, the stereo system on the ground can receive the full frequency spectrum or be used as the sub for the 10 surround speakers, also effects can be added & these can be filtered & panned independently to the stereo signal. the idea is to create a moving stereo sound stage in which the system can be constantly tweaked or tuned to work with different tracks or soundscapes …. but you would really need to hear it to get the full idea!

This year, instead of the circle being visually defined by small led’s
inside the speakers, we had 40 x 1000 liter IBC containers with DMX controlled luminares inside.   Recycled IBC containers have been used by other artists to create various lighting installations, one of the better known being Modularbeat‘s Kubik installation / portable outdoor club, which has appeared in major urban spaces across Europe. However after we were asked by  Shambala  if we could incorporate the use of similar containers into the Modulate space, we thought it would be fun to try a new take on the idea, translated from an urban space into a woodland glade.

Having previously designed a number of light and sound installations using Max/MSP, multi-speaker sound systems & DMX controlled lighting within fiberglass orbs & light sticks, programmer and sound designer Bobby Bird found it a relatively smooth process to translate similar software design to the cubes, while David Checkley,  technical support,  sourced materials and pulled together a great team of able & willing assistants to build the installation on site.

Aside from the Sonic Circle and the cubes, we projected live quartz
animations onto a circular screen, laser projections onto the tree canopy, UV canvases on trees, a chilled fog machine, plus electronic sounds flying in all directions, selected all over the three nights by Mark Bunegar & Bobby Bird (Modulate).

As well as original material, some of the artists / labels played included Raster Notion: Alva Noto, Senking, Pixel, Nibo, Ryoji Ikeda, Kangding Ray, Komet, Stephan Mathieu, BJ Nilsen, Fluxion, Robert Henke / Monolake, Gerhard Behles, Frank Bretschneider + Steinbruchel, Robert Hampson, Klovn, Atom TM, Deep Chord, Hem, Autechre, Shuttle 358, Tetsu Inoue, Helena Gough, Fennesz, Rhythm and Sound, Trente Moller, Pole, Vladislav Delay, Coh, Main, Weiland Samolak, Loscil, EU, Smyglyssna, Signal, Biosphere, Sutekh, Gramm, Masters of Psychedelic Ambience, EU, Bretschneider + Dupree , Atom TMBurnt Friedman.

The Modulate team this year :

Bobby Bird: sounds +  sound design, Max/MSP programming and concept for the Sonic
Circle,  programing for the light cubes.
Dave Checkley : production manager
+ his team of helpers,  Cloe, Ant, and Bob
Liam: all round help & sound tech install
Mark Bunegar : sound selection and graphics
Sean Clark Cuttlefish : laser projections
Joseph Potts: UV canvas
Scylla : live quartz projections
Mark Harris: quartz composer programing
Dowd: professional tree climber , & Denise
Martin Vernan & Kika: mission transportation

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More images on flickr

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‘BIrmingham Sound Matter’ CD release and concert at Ikon Eastside

Concert presented by Modulate in collaboration with Ikon

Tickets sold out! CD available now

A concert featuring international sound artist

Francisco Lopez
(Madrid)  plus seven regional sound artists:
Helena Gough
Nicholas Bullen
Cormac Faulkner
Martin Clarke
Bobby Bird
Mark Harris
Annie Mahtani

Date: July 8th 2009

Time: 19.30

Venue: Ikon Eastside 183 Fazeley street, Digbeth, Birmingham, B5 5SE

Cost £6

A Birmingham Sound Matter CD (on Audiobulb Records) , will be released to coincide with the concert.  Available on the night and online from modulate.org.uk from Juy 8th for £10.

Francisco Lopez is internationally recognised as one of the major figures of the sound  experimental music scene who has, over the last thirty years, developed an astonishing sonic universe, based on a profound listening of the world.

He was first invited to Birmingham by Modulate in 2007, to give one of his legendary ‘Total Darkness’  performances, and we were delighted when he subsequently suggested returning to direct Birmingham Sound Matter. After a series of workshops led by Lopez earlier this year, the participants created a shared a pool of location recordings made in the city, which subsequently underwent a series of  transformations through further collective and creative processes. These recordings and transformations  have formed the basis of  the final compositions. which will be heard in concert on the night.

Lopez has previously directed two similar projects, Montreal Sound Matter and Brussels Sonic Matter

Supported by PRS Foundation  and  Arts Council England.

With thanks to Cuttlefish Digital Arts for web server provision,

Fazely Studios for workshops space, and SSE Audio for soundsystem

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 Birmingham and U.K creative culture as experienced by Modulate’s resident artist Damian Frey from New Zealand. Three videos below.

In 2007 Modulate successfully applied to host a three month International Artist Fellowship , a unique Arts Council programme established to award time and space fellowships to enable artists to explore ideas outside of the constraints of a production schedule, and to engage with their peers in different cultural settings, 

From a wide range of applicants, from 24 countries, New ZealanderDamian Frey was the person who resonated most with Modulate’s callout for a ‘Sonic Beatnik’, and the person whom we felt would gain the most opportunity from being selected. 

In May 2008 Damian re visited us in Birmingham and we took the opportunity to talk to him about his experience of being here, and how the residency had impacted on his creative path since then. We also collaborated on a piece of work, something we hadn’t done much during his residency.

Since the Modulate residency brought him to the northern hemisphere, Damian has remained in Europe, finding his skills – which include code programming and software development, musical composition, interactive sound and light installations – much in demand. As well as developing his individual work, he has successfully collaborated with high level media artists and organisations including Ars Electronica – OfLab (Austria), Chris Sugrue (US), Medialab Prado (Madrid), New Interfaces For Performance (Bristol),  the Netherlands Media Art Institute (Amsterdam), Yolande Harris Dorkbot Valencia (SP) Steim Foundation (NL) RjDj and Andre Goncalves (PT).

One of the best outcome of the I.A.F residency has, for us,  been in making a strong connection with Damian, so that we  now consider him an international ‘floating ‘ member  of  our extended Modulate collective.

Below : short video related to Damians residency and revisit

Below : two conversations with Modulate. Taking part: Damian Frey, Bobby Bird, Mark Bunegar, Mark Harris, Scylla Magda, Joseph Potts, Sean Clark. Mediated by artist Geoff Broadway, One : more about the residency

Two : “Isolation” geographical and artistic: Damian in New Zealand / Modulate in Birmingham.

Excerpt: ” Maybe being isolated from the rest of the artistic crowd says a lot more about the rest of the artistic crowd than it says about Modulate. Maybe there’s a good reason to be isolated – to isolate yourself from the rest of the art world. -maybe the rest of the arts world is disappearing up its own rear end, for want of a better term, in lots of important ways ” Damian Frey (NZ)

 

 

 

 

 



In music,  the digital revolution happened well over a decade before the much vaunted ‘digital film revolution’, with bedroom studio musicians everywhere finally getting their hands on affordable digital technology to create experimental music. Any  clubber who was around in the 90’s in Birmingham will be well aware of this, as the city was home to some of the most respected clubs in the country, including Oscillate, hosted by  Higher Intelligence Agency, which brought acts includung Orbital, Autechre, Plaidµ-ziq, Biophere, Locust, UltramarineSpacetine Continuum, Chantal PassamoteSun Electric  to perform here, and House of God  whose resident  DJ / Musicians included  Surgeon and Sir Real

Now Birmingham City Council brings us “Hello Digital”, billed as the Midlands first digital festival, which proposes to introduce the citizens of Birmingham to the wonders of everything digital, and invites them to discover the future, at millennium point next w/e.

Modulates name won’t precisely be up in lights here (well, they could be…) but some of our members  have been working away in the background on one of the interactive installations, “Field of LIght “, a project dreamed up by the PLUS team, who also devised ‘Illuminate‘, another installation which we were involved in.

Modulate’s Bobby Bird has been programmer and technical consultant for the piece, devising a way to control the lights & transfer data gathered via a website into the real-world installation, Modulate member Mark Harris has created a generative sound piece to accompany it, which will gently evolve over the 4 days of the exhibit,  while our trusty ‘ in house’  electrician, Dave Checkly, has been busy wiring everything up in such a way as to ensure the general public won’t be electrocuted.

Bobby Bird will be exhibiting a newly commisioned sound installation at The Herbert Gallery in Coventry as part of A Thing About Machines, Festival Fri 19th – Sun 21st September. 

“Purpose Built” is a multiple speaker sound installation, using as
source material location recordings made at LTI, one of the last
outposts of manufacturing in Coventry, where Black Cabs are still
being hand built. The piece will be both a sonic re interpretation of
the process of manufacturing, and an exploration of sound as a
by-product of the manufacturing process.

Bobby Bird is a musician and sound artist. In the 90’s he released
experimental electronic music albums as the Higher Intelligence
Agency, while in recent years he has also been designing site specific
sound and light installations, and is currently a member of audio
visual collective Modulate.

Also at the Herbert will be a new sound installation ‘Re: Construction” by Cormac Faulkner, , and Kinopixel  a screen based installation curated by Darryl Georgiou

Venues:The Herbert : Jordan Well, Coventry, CV1 5QP, UK 
Late Opening Fri 10.00 -21.00 /Sat 10.00 – 5.30 Sun 12.00-5.30

Inspire Cafe Bar: Christchurch Spire New Union St, Coventry, CV1 2PS

Frank Bretschneider, co founder of one of our favourate labels Raster-Noton, came to visit us in Birmingham on 31/05/2008, and gave an audio visual performance of his album ‘Rhythm’. …some more photos here on  Flickr 

It was a pleasure to host this event and we appreciated his taking the time to come to Birmingham, after his performance at the  ICA in London the night before as part of “12 years of Raster-Noton“.

Modulate’s Bobby Bird first made friendly contact with Frank after noticing his use of a Higher Intelligence Agency sample on his ‘ Looping 1-V1’ album, which he took as a great compliment!