Monday, 31 March 2014

Make some Noise

At first I was really apprehensive about this paper, its completely different from what I expected of 
Massey. But as the weeks have gone on and I have developed my noise maker I have begun to really
enjoy myself. What I am most happy with is how much I have learnt about my own 
process of how I make art and how much I have opened my mind to new possibilities. I feel like high
school can be restricting in terms of art, by doing this paper first at Massey I think it will effect how I 
complete the rest of my work through out this year. 

My 100% completed noise maker. 

Our final performance went so well, there were no hiccups and we all seemed to follow the score perfectly. 
All our practice was worth while as we remembered all our cues and according to some audience members 
we looked confident. In general we received some really lovely feed back and the whole class
was very supportive. Over all the experience was really beneficial, hopefully through this I will 
be able to become a more confident performer. 

Final Composition

This is our final score. To most people it probably looks a bit of a mess but to our group its very clear.
We each understand the the meanings of the colours and the volume of the sound depending on its size.
The tempo of each section can be seen through the density of mark making. At the beginning of the last
 third, we call this double time and its a very fast paced section of the performance there fore these is a
 lot of colour and marks to show this.

We ended up sticking to the original paper and not the shaped ones, we came to the conclusion that we
were already so comfortable with what we had done it would have been confusing to change it half

( click to enlarge)

My mark Making -

First third : I come in at the start with smacks, drawn in purple (my colour through out) short lines. The
line is short and fat: short line, short sound, dense line, loud sound. I then move on to shaking a range
of my chains to get  a layered sound. To symbolise the multiple chain, I have multiple lines each over
lapping. This section is completed by us yelling in the bucket "introducing ourselves".

Middle : for this part I come in with one chain and slowly build up to three. I switch up what chains I
as I feel necessary. Right at the end of this I sound the transition by smashing my frame on to the floor.
 this is drawn with a big jagged line above my name. My name is there to remind us that its me as up
 until a day before we perform it was Maddy so I had to remember to do it.

Last third: In the 'double speed' section, I lift my frame up and down fast but gentle to get a tapping
 sound. This is shown with the lines waving to show its not as harsh as the loud bang and they over
lap because the 'Taps' are so close together. At the end of this we fade out in to soft sounds where
I use both my two softest chains : one makes a clinking sound thats very spaced and definite,
this is documented in a tick shaped mark for the 'clink' 'clink' 'clink'. The next sound it is much
more whimsical, its softer so I drew it as a soft squiggle. There are lots of the squiggles to represent
the loops traveling up and down the chain.

We considered mihi mihi while composing. As a result we each have a solo to introduce our noise maker,
We introduce ourselves as performers with the bucket and the the way we laid out our performance
considered mihi mihi throughout. The first part is shy and awkward, then its loud as the conversation starts to flow.
In terms of meeting people at Massey we discussed how when you meet someone it goes like this:
 make statement ( awkward start/ crinkle of paper), discussion about papers/halls/massey starts, the you
 mention your name (bucket) the conversation flows with ups and downs till it fades out . Our
 composition mimics this.


As part of keeping our performance engaging and physical we have decided to use levels. 
When we play our softer sounds at the end we all crouch down together. 
This gives a sense of intimacy and highlights the change in tempo. 


In this Video I demonstrate the range of sounds I can get from my noise maker:

Watch Video

Chains: This is my most used way of creating sound. There are 6 chains and each one makes a slightly different sound - some are barely audible others can become relatively loud. Having the variety in sound is really great I use all of the chains in the performance sometimes I also layer them to get a different sound that has more depth.

Smacking: This again used the chain, like before each chain makes a different sound when smacked on the wall. If I use the thick chain this is how I get my loudest sound from my noise maker. I also have a very little chain that has no wire loops on it that I use purely for hitting the wall. I don't use this particular chain much in the performance much as it easily gets drowned out.

Lifting: I can lift the frame up and down either very fast and lightly or loud and slowly. This can be used to make a good beat or a highlight as the sound when I smash this on the floor is very loud.

Scraping: This is a very subtle sound that I also don't use in this performance. This is because it doesn't have much impact. But if its quite enough its a really interesting sound.

Original Composition

Listen to the composition.

This is known as the 'original composition', its the score we started working on in class at the very start.
We liked how it was developing so we kept at it, its now modified a lot more but its made it in to our 
performance. The recording is how this drawing actually sounds. 

I am the purple, and each line is a chain as you can see I pick up more as the score progresses. The X are me smacking the wall with my chains. 

I love the start of this piece, the glass bead sound reminds me of a sound from Winderends sound art 
I looked at in the first week. I really like how all the sounds are very subdued and work in harmony. 


We discussed many ways of how to set up the audience. At first we thought we could get 
everyone in to a circle and we would perform in the middle, this then developed in to the audience
facing outwards so they could only hear us not see us. We then decided that how we play was really
important and the audience had to see. 

The main factor that restricted how we could or couldn't set ourselves us up like was that I need to be
close to a wall to activate my noise maker. Above is what we came up with - this works well because I
 am still a part of the group visually and I don't have my back to the audience they can see what I am
doing. This plan and moving the audience was unnecessary as the wall its self can be moved.

Is this is how we will be set up when performing. During the first half I am by the wall so I can activate my noise maker, I then move away to the position shown in the photo so that the audience can really see what I am doing. The way we are all spaced out means we can see each other and the score at all times which is key to making sure our performance runs smoothly.

The bucket

Now open to taking more risks since loosening up through dance, we introduced a new element to
our performance - our voices in Maddy's bucket. Through out this process we had been told
that the greatest noise maker we have access to is our bodies, so why not include them in our 
performance? This is also one of the elements that helps convey our slightly weird awkward vibe - 
people aren't used to seeing you yell in a bucket - its a little off putting for the audience. Another 
reason we are using this is that we wanted to be able to amplify sounds with having
to rely on the mic. 

Play it physically

Following on from the prompts we had discussed in class such as 'play it with anger' "play it with
sadness' 'Play it with excitement', we wanted to try and play with direction. During our group
experimentation we played our noisemakers starting in a corner of the room and slowly making our
way in to the middle.

Watch this Video 

It was through this exercise that I realised what great noise making potential the frame of my noise
 maker had, the wood sounded great when scraping over the floor, however this was also a subtle
 sound much like my others, what I really liked was banging the frame. At one stage we even
considered throwing our noise makers but didn't want to risk breaking them.


Watch video

Once again taking inspiration from Dadson, our group decided we really liked how he had used the space,
and how Dadson was so physical with his noise makers so that it was visually engaging as well.
Maddy suggested that we should try some interpretive dance to encourage us to use the space, the full
 motion of our bodies and also relax and get comfortable performing in front of each other.
Although it felt silly at the time I think this was a turning point, we started seeing what we are
doing as a real performance not just creating a sound, it also made us closer as a group and more willing to try stranger ideas.

After the interpretive dance I was now playing my noise maker much more physically, crouching
 down, standingn up, stepping back etc.. I therefore got a much wider range of sound and I had a
 greater stage presence. Over all my performance was better

The amp.

Taking on board some advice from a class critique I decided to try out my noise maker on the amplifier.
A lot of my noises are very soft and could be made better when louder. However because we had such
 limited time with the amp (in class hours only) and so many people wanted to use it I only began
 experimenting with it a few days before we had to perform. 

The amp did very little for my noise maker, because the sound comes from the wires moving along the
 chain it makes it really difficult to keep it up close to the mic for it to be picked up on. I showed my
 group and they too agreed that it wouldn't be worth using, although my noise maker is soft it just means 
the audience has to listen harder and I like that, I think it makes for an engaging performance. I also
 think we have composed in a way thats mindful of mine being quite so its not drowned out, it might 
not be the centre of attention but when performing in a group not everyone can. I feel 
that my noise is more of a soft constant rather than a highlight.


During our live performance we want to try and convey a vibe, at the very start of composing 
we decided this would be beneficial so that we had an idea of where we were headed and 
what the final out come would be like. 

In the end we came to the conclusion that our performance will be slightly weird, with elements that 
are a little uncomfortable to hear or watch, we also want it to keep the audience on their toes, to lots of highlights and low lights. As a group we also decided that we really love those moment where 
it starts to get awkward, for example when we play the same beat over and over for 
a bit too long and the audience starts to question it, or if we play so quite some people
might even wonder if we are making any sound at all. 


Improvisation #1
Improvisation #2

Like I have previously mentioned, our group felt we limited ourselves by being too precious with our noise makers and by also drawing out our sounds before we made them which ruined the 'flow' of what we were creating. For this rehearsal we decided to have a 'jam' record it, listen to it and then pick out the best parts to put in to our score. Through doing this we stumbled across combinations of 
sounds we hadn't even considered. 

We were really inspired by Dadson and the other performers we had seen earlier in the week, the way
 the improvised was so impressive, however it would be impossible for us to recreate something like with such little experience. There are moment in the above recordings that sound really amazing but there are just as many if not more areas that don't sound so great. 

We also learnt that when improvising, or even performing in general its so important to listen to each other, to pick up on what some one else is doing and add to it, or you can tune in to the movement of the sound - if its getting faster/louder/quieter etc..

Stage presence

While this is mainly a sound performance the visual aspect is equally as important. 
We discussed if we should have 'costumes' for our performance as a group we though if 
we all dresses in black it would give a sense of formality to the performance - at times 
it gets a little weird but we want the audience to be able to see that we are taking this seriously. 

Black also works well as its  so neutral and wont distract from what we are doing/ the sounds we are
 creating. We want people to focus on the noise not what patterns/colour we are wearing.


During our four hour session we managed to put down almost our whole composition. The first thinner
 part you can see is the 'intro' we worked on and developed form scratch that day. The next larger part
 that sits in the middle of the composition is our 'original score', one we had been developing in class for
 the past week, the end part we hadn't draw out as this stage but we knew it was going to be very soft
 and subtle. 

Our score isn't perfectly laid out, neat or tidy but its very functional. To all of our group members its easy
to read and you can clearly see what the sound will be like. We initially started with the middle sheet of 
paper and messily put down our sounds as a draft but as we worked with it and edited it we became
very familiar with the piece and we all felt it would have been to confusing to replace it with a 
'pretty' version. 

Sticking with our original score we decided we wanted to lengthen it, and move away from the
 composition of starting quiet and moving towards a bang, instead we wanted it to fluctuate and have
 lots of high and low points - much like Dadsons performance did. This should make our performance
 much more interesting to listen to. In terms of lengthening our work we want it to be around the 5
 minute mark, we can go up to 9 minutes but this seems too long - possibly boring for the audience and
 difficult to remember/easy to mess up for us. Anything under 4.30 mins and we wont be able to show
 all our sounds and the potential of our noise makers.

Sunday, 30 March 2014


On Friday the the 28th we had a group rehearsal and it was amazing! We got so much done and really 
bonded as a performance group. I believe one of the thing that will hopefully make our performance 
strong is that we really work well as a group. Through out this process we have been 
very mindful of the fact that this is a group piece, we want to create something really beautiful
and to do that we need to compliment each other in terms of sound and all be aiming for the same
over all outcome. 

Our rehearsal ended up being 4 hours , the time just flew by and we got so much sorted. The rehearsal 
was very experimental, as a group we felt we had limited ourselves in pervious sessions by being 
too safe. During the 4 hours we covered: how we wanted to look, how we wanted to sit, the vibe we wanted to convey, 
how to draw sound that we all understood as well as much more.   

Other people play my noise maker

MADDY - When Maddy had a go with my noise maker she found lots of really interesting ways to
play it that I hadn't even considered. The way that work the best was smacking the chains against the
 wall. As I developed this sound I discovered that if I swing the chain relatively slowly from the top and
press it against the wall it the chain hits and creates a longer sound as the length of the chain connects
with the wall.

SIAN - I am not 100% sure that it was Sian who discovered this but when the tutors took turns to play
 our noise makers for the class to draw mine was broken as it was experimented with. Although this
 wasn't ideal it was great to find the weak points of my noise maker early on so they could be fixed.


What I have found fascinating through out this whole process is interpretation, from what different
people  hear as a 'nice sound' or how one person might draw a swoosh compared to another.
 Recently I have found that working in a group situation it can be difficult to come up with a way of drawing that
everybody could understand.

I personally found that drawing a composition the way I have above is the best:
The three lines signifies the crinkling of plastic, then a short pause before start off loud at the 
triangle base an work out way to the point where we gradually become silent. Pause. 
We all use the bucket. Pause. we start of the original piece (one we had been working on 
earlier that we wanted to add a intro to) 

If I wanted my composition to be more specific with in the
blocks that make up the composition I could draw each individual sound like we have been doing.
From this as a group we have discussed taking our A1 paper and cutting it in to the shapes of how the
 noise will flow. Its a really clear and simple way of visually communicating our composition - the
mark indicates what sound and its position within each shape dictates how loud it is and the the shape
 in general tells you how to play - loud to soft, constant etc..


This is our second composition, we took on board the feed back from the class and continued 
to work with what people had reacted positively to, tweaked things that didn't work so well. We 
then wanted to develop the sound we were making. As a group we tend to lean towards
more complicated performances with many layers of sound.

At the top in black and brown you can see that Maddy and Bella continue with the beat they put together
in our first composition,  I come in three times at random ( there is not set moment but they are roughly 
spaced out and get louder/longer each time.) I then change to hitting the wall as we build
to the highlight that is Maddy whacking the bucket, when she does this we go to silence. 
While this goes on Jenny is shaking her noise maker continuously in to the amp. 
You can see at the end of the green line she also starts to get louder.

In this composition, I am the pink marks. The first three squiggly lines show me moving my chains in 
the standard way to create the jingling sound. Depending on how many lines is how many chains I 
move. While messing around with our noise makers, Maddy found that the chains made 
a really interesting sound when hit against the wall. To keep my personal performance interesting I
 want to be able to show the range of sound that can be made from my noise maker. However because 
I need a wall to activate this sound it limits the places a can stand in a room while I perform. 

Saturday, 29 March 2014


Above is our first group composition, we took what we had learnt in previous lessons about how to
 draw sound and put down our noises in a more formal style thats reminiscent of a music score.

Unlike the work we had done previously, our composition had to be drawn in a way that
each individual can see what the other is playing, it had to be clear and understandable to all four
members. To ensure this as a group we decided keep all our sound marks in a line and individual
colours so its easy to understand.

This composition was made as part of an exercise where there were certain elements we had to include.
These elements included a constant sound and a highlight. You can see in the composition,  the
constant sound is a green line that makes its way across the entire page with no break. This sound
was made by Jenny. As a group we thought it would be best for her to be the constant as her noise
complimented the rest of ours so well. The highlight is the bright blue circle at the 1/3 mark. The
 highlight was Maddy's sound she created when she hit the bucket. We decided she would be the best
highlight as she could make the sound with the most shock factor.

While doing this composition we spent a lot of time discussing how to draw our sounds and what we
wanted our piece to sound - we did barely and physical noise making. Instead we just drew it up on the
paper with out seeing what it all sounded like together. This showed me personally its much better to
have a 'jam' find the noises we can make as a group and then record them as a composition.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Phil Dadson, Rob Thorne, Enrique Siques Perform

This blog post explores what I learnt and my thoughts on the performance 
by Phil Dadson, Rob Thorne, Enrique Siques I was lucky enough to 
see today.

This is a close upshot of Dadsons rock collection. The collection comes
in pairs, Dadson selects two stones that work well together to create sound
Although its a seemingly simple example of a found instrument its not random and 
Dadson aims to create a certain type of sound when selecting rocks. 

To further enhance the sound made by the stones they are submerged in water. Dadson believes this 
adds another dimension to the sound and and causes it to resonate. Watching these stones be activated 
was fascinating - Dadson was constantly moving his hand as he did so the sound 
created would alter depending on how much of the stone was touch his palm. He also Altered the 
sound by moving around the space as he 'played' the stones. 

This is a close up of Rob Thorne's selection of Taonga Puoro instruments. Thorne is part Maori, by 
learning about traditional Maori instruments it was a way of him finding his roots. 
Although these are traditional instruments he emphasised that the way he played them 
was very modern as we can't be sure how they were first used. As a sign of respect for the tradition and
his ancestors Thorne plays bear foot. 

Most of the instruments are flutes or horns, the sounds they created seemed to me 
instantly recognisable as Maori. The whistling was the kind of thing you hear in 
documentaries and at Te Papa - it was nice to see how that sound is made. 

Apart from the one or two percussion instruments bought in all of Thorne's instruments 
were activated by the mouth. All of them could make a vast range of sounds - many more 
than you would assume by looking at them. 

I personally found Enrique Siques noise maker the most fascinating. The range of sounds that can be 
produced from it was really amazing. The idea that every inch of it was a noise maker 
really got me thinking that the frame of my own noise maker also has the potential to make sound. 
Previously I had just thought of it as a structure that held up my noise maker.

The sound created by this when it was activated with a bow was phenomenal - it completely filled  the
 space to the point that you could almost feel the sound. I had a really strange experience that while
 listening I had one ear ringing from the sound and the other just listening to it. Siques sounds 
are very atmospheric, on  one hand they are soothing and on another the sound is so 
power full your forced to listen to it, my attention was held for the 
duration of the performance. 

All three performers used various ways/objects to activate their noise makers:

Rubber balls, metal, straws, plastic zip tie (also a noise maker of its own),
Traditional bow (like ones used with violins), the body, mouth, voices, hand held fan,
water, the space, microphone.

General notes and quotes from performance :

"Anything that vibrates has the potential to be an instrument " - Phil Dadson.
While developing a noise maker - first Dadson will find something that works acoustically he then
 enhances it electronically.
The soft pauses in the composition force the audience to concentrate and listen harder.
The composition built to a highlight - similar to what we are trying to create in our group.
While playing all three artists seem to get lost in the performance - eyes shut moving with the sound.
Each performance was about 10/12 mins long
Dadson was interested in how people try to justify sound and compare it to something they know.
I found myself doing this: Thorne's noise makers were very natural sounding. Some noises even 
sounded like bird call : Weka and Seagulls.
Advice " Don't limit yourself " - Enrique Siques.
Dadson: " Sound is an extension of your voice" its a communication.

Hearing a performance live is 100000 times better. You get a ringing in your ears, goose bumps, your 
can hear/feel the full force of the sounds. I also think you can feel more
of what the artist is trying to create. It also means you get to witness the subtlety of how some noises are
made. Plus there is the obvious that you get to experience the true raw sound not 
a recorded version.

Over all I found the experience really interesting, the power of the sound blew me away! I found a lot 
of inspiration for new ways to activate your noise maker and I now want to play with amplification as 
my sound can be very subtle.

VIDEO - Phil Dadson, Rob Thorne, Enrique Siques Perform

Below are recording taken from Phil Dadson, Rob Thorne and Enrique Siques live performance :

( my thoughts on these are written in the post above)

Saturday, 22 March 2014

DRAWING SOUND - collaboration

As part of Mondays drawing sound session we were encouraged to get in to groups and make one 
massive sound drawing. Where we would all draw the same sounds simultaneously. 
Above is the work I helped to create, I found this exercise really interesting to see how differently
 people interpret and visualise sound. I also think its really interesting that although we all portrayed 
the sound differently you can still make out the composition of the music where the louder parts 
are and where the softer parts are. Doing this also helped me realise that people hear thing so
 differently, or their ears pick up on different elements of a noise that someone else may just ignore. 
By having several people draw I feel it creates a more complete visual of the sound.

These are examples of the other works made by groups from the class.
Looking at these you realise how differently we all interpreted the same music. Seeing these
helps me to develop new ways of documenting the sound.
I also think it worked really well to seperate each group member with and individual colour.

I really like the work with the red colour pallet, all the sounds overlap and mix in together the
way that different noises work together to make music.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

DRAWING SOUND - class activity

This was my first attempt at noise drawing - its very uptight and relatively small on the page. 
However size does reflect the sound so its not too much of an issue. 
In this work I tried to portray the cascading sound of the music we listened to with the flowing curves. 
The next sound I drew was a high pitch 'ting', it was loud and quick so I did a small black circles 
with faded circles around them to capture the echo.

This next piece is is much more fluid. Its completed using both hands simultaneously and with my 
eyes shut this basically forced me to loosen up. I feel this work captures the layers of sound I heard as
 well as their delicacy. Most of the lines are thin and smooth  however these are some areas of small 
sharp lines as well to portray the different sounds of the music.

This is is part one of three A1 pages. Its a collaborative work made with two other students 
where we all documented the same music at once. 

Sound Library - visually recording a range of sounds to come back to.

This is my final drawing from the class, this has the widest range of sounds as 
I had refined the way I could draw noise. In this work I also began to write in a more linear way
thats reminiscent of a traditional music composition.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

DRAWING SOUND - independent study

Taking inspiration from the Dada art I has seen I began to make my own word based sound drawing. 

I stared with a watercolor background made up of a mix of muted colours. I chose these because 
the sounds are soft like the de-saturated tones; the mix of sounds created by my noisemaker 
is represented in the range of colours. I went with watercolours because of the way they blend 
and the soft look have. This references the way the my sounds fade in 
and out and work together.

The words I used came from listening to my noisemaker ad picking out the main sounds 
I heard I then tried to write them in a way that showed how much variety one sound had 
(change in size/direction/spacing etc..). I kept the lines fluid and random as that’s how I interpret 
my sound, the lines of words also come in at random some times out from 
different lines this indicates the introduction of a new strand being activated.

Compositionally I kept the writing small on the page, as the sounds I create don’t really fill the 
space so I wanted to show that. I also wanted some strands to flow out further as my sounds 
seem to travel, as they are high pitch and metallic sounding. 
I also wanted to include the dashed lines as to me it’s a visual representation of my 
noisemaker – a whole lot of small clinks coming together to make something much bigger.