During the month of November, Fresh Milk resident artist Ask Kæreby held a series of three workshops looking at experimental ways of working with sound. One of the participants, Immanuel Hunte, wrote about his experience with the workshops, as well as sharing two of the pieces he created based on what was discussed in the sessions. Read more below:
I attended a 3 day workshop, which was held by Fresh Milk via their Artist Residency Programme. Ask Kæreby, a Danish composer and sound designer was the chief facilitator of this particular project, being that it was about sound and sound design. I have to say that in my opinion, even though only a few people attended the workshop, it was AWESOME. Ask helped me to open my eyes to how sound can be used in unconventional ways to express one’s self creatively.
Over the course of 3 days we looked at the technical aspects of sound and talked about the the artistic and philosophical aspects of it as well. During that time, I gained an understanding about sound and sound design; ie. that sound does not only come from musical instruments, or an orchestra, or notes and pitches. Sound is present in our everyday surroundings and in our everyday lives, whether it is natural ( eg. wind, water, trees, animals) or generated/man-made (eg. engines, machines, traffic, interaction of objects). To sum it all up, I was informally introduced to the world of sound art: Sound art is a contemporary art form in which sound (natural or artificial) is utilised as a medium or a form of expression. Sound art comprises of different elements that are often intertwined eg. audio media, electronic synthesizers, noise music, acoustic or psychoacoustic art, to name a few. Sound art tends to be experimental in that it gives the artist a chance to stretch his/her imagination. I got to learn about the people who were pioneers in this sound art movement, such as Luigi Russolo, who composed for noise machines (which he created) and had members of a London-based orchestra play them, …….which did NOT go down too well with the traditional audience! Russolo at that time wanted to escape the confines of what his generation called traditional music.
There was also Pierre Schaeffer, who was into experimental sound in the 1940s and developed musique concrète. We listened to one of his manipulated recordings of trains. My favourite part was learning about Delia Derbyshire, a woman who was instrumental in the early days of the BBC in London in the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. She has been revered for being a pioneer in electronic music. This unique workshop consisted only of oscillators and various analogue machines. Music for radio and television was scored using only these machines, including sound effects. One famous example is her electronic rendition of Ron Grainer’s theme to Doctor Who, one of the first television themes to be created and produced by entirely electronic means.
Immanuel Hunte’s Soundscape
Also, during this time, the group was given assignments to record our environments, and to manipulate them in an artistic manner. The sounds I used were recordings of my toilet flushing, the washing machine, doors, a spray-can and my voice. Using what I learned in the workshop, plus my experience in making music on computers, I got some satisfyingly interesting results. I edited parts of the audio from my raw recordings and I applied some delay and reverb effects, as well as vocoder effects. The recordings were made using my phone, and the finishing touches were done in digital audio workstations called Propellerhead Reason and FL studio.
Immanuel Hunte’s Desert Scape
Thanks to all of those who participated in the sessions, including Annalee Davis, Adrian Green, Immanuel Hunte, Katherine Kennedy, Jesse Phillips, Melanie Springer and Andre Woodvine.