Reaktor Play Day

Months could be lost just playing with the packaged instruments that are in NI Reaktor, let alone getting under the hood and building your own instruments.

My personal favourite so far is Metaphysical Function which has 12 noise/tone generators, a sample playback module, and a brilliant effects chain to run everything through for sound mangling. Automation can then be recorded to most controls to turn it into an undulating, pulsing monstrosity!

Reassembled, Slightly Askew

Reassembled, Slightly Askew is the document of Shannon Yee's traumatic cranial surgeries, needed to save her life after suffering multiple infections, and the effects on her life post-surgery.

Greeted by a nurse as the show begins, you're asked to fill out an in patient form and then given a hospital wrist tag. Led to a hospital bed, you lie down, put on an sleep mask and headphones, and begin the journey into the living nightmare of Shannon's mind for the months that she spent in the hospital ICU. 

The narrative of Reassembled, Slightly Askew is presented through the medium of radio drama, and is an exceptional example of sound's power to tell a story, especially a story as subjective as this. Recorded and composed by SARC's Paul Stapleton, making special use of the Neumann KU100 Binaural dummy head, a soundscape of obscured voices and fractured ambiences puts you near the emotional core of Shannon's story; just outside the blast radius of  such a life changing event. 

It's a reminder of the fragility of our everyday lives and identities, with the greatest of reliefs being that you can cut off your wrist tag after the show and choose to become a person again, not a patient. 

Can't Cope, Won't Cope

Can't Cope, Won't Cope is a new, female driven, drama comedy on RTÉ. I was lucky enough to do some foley editing work on the show and it really is a great example of the wealth of talented women out there who are - regrettably - rarely given the platform to express. 

Catch the first two episodes on the RTÉ Player 

Smalltown

Smalltown is a three part drama series for TV3 by the award winning director Gerard Barrett. I had the opportunity to work as Supervising Sound Editor on it earlier this year and have been eagerly anticipating it's broadcast, as it deals with many themes important to Irish families. 

There's some excellent talent on display in it, not least a fantastic turn by Pat Shortt.

Episode one can be seen on the TV3 Player, while episode 2 and 3 are broadcast on September 8th and 15th, respectively.

The Dead

A sound installation, Voices of Memory, by the esteemed composer Christina Kubisch is currently at the Irish National War Memorial Gardens. Sound installations being relatively rare in Dublin, I hopped on a bike and made my way for a listen on a drizzly afternoon.

Walking the bare path along the riverside, you see a lone caber on the bank, and begin to hear the rote murmur of names being read aloud. The sound of water fills the background as it rushes through the sluice on the Liffey north bank. Water fowl croak intermittently.  

"Richard James, Richard James, Richard James...."

For a moment I'm disheartened and think the installation is malfunctioning and is stuck on the one name. But, as it chants the next name after several repetitions of Richard James, I realise that that many men with the same name were killed on the battlefield. The installation sign informs that 49'000 Irishmen were killed in World War One. Another loop of a name repeats. Each recitation has been recorded individually though, by an individual, for an individual.

The names are read alphabetically, with the sound of hydrophonic river recordings dividing the letters. Being situated beside the river, flow and time become important themes to the piece. The names flow by, sometimes slow and monotonous, but sometimes eddying and running into one another creating a wash of sound. These names have been fished out from time, to live momentarily in the ears of listeners as they pass by, sometimes with the river and sometimes against it. I left feeling that a rainy day was perhaps the best weather to find this piece in.

As I turned to leave, I noticed the heron standing on the far bank.

Voices of Memory is running until 30th September, 2016 at the Irish National War Memorial Gardens.