BiLE at SONICpicnic, 29th July 2011

BiLE will be performing alongside a whole host of musicians at SONICpicnic on 29th July at VIVID.

SOUNDkitchne SONICpicnic

I designed this. Word to your mother.

BiLE had their very first performance at the first SOUNDkitchen event – see, we’ve got proof – so we’re really happy to be performing again.

We’ll be performing a few pieces including XYZ, which was recently played in Venice at the Laptop Meets Musicians Festival. You can see a preview of the visuals that I’ve prepared for it below:

I’ll also be doing visuals for the whole night alongside Chromatouch


Back in April Film Division took part in the 2011 Sci-Fi-London 48 hour film challenge:

We’ll give you a randomly generated film title, some dialogue and a prop list. You’ll then have 48 hours to write, shoot and edit a complete five minute film… hard work but fun!

I provided some glitches – using the What Glitch? scripts – and other graphics for this film, which you can watch below. My glitches are at about 3:16.

Unfortunately the film didn’t win but it did go on to be shown at Cannes in a Van. Go team Film Division!

Despite the film having been shown elsewhere I’ve only just watched it and I must say I’m rather impressed with what a highly dedicated – and possibly crazy (we stayed up ’til 5am editing) – team can come up with in 48 hours. I’m told that a directors’ edit, which will include many of the effects that didn’t make it in time, will be out in the near future. Anyway, enough reading, go watch the film!

Zen audio hack

Awhile back I acquired a Creative ZEN Stone mp3 player. It was a a little scuffed around the edges but otherwise a perfectly functional mp3 player. For some time I was using a pair of regular headphones but then I tried using in a pair of iPhone headphones (and then later HTC headphones). The results are somewhat weird. Take a listen:

Original song: Fade to Daft by Look What I Did (download for free from here.) I had to record this by placing my headphones on my microphone for reasons that I’ll explain later.

You may not be able to hear it but it sounds like one of the channels is being muted, whilst the other sounds like it has an echo effect. Also, it sounds as though the bitrate has been reduced to about 24kbps!

At first I couldn’t understand why this was happening so I consulted fizzPOP (who have just started hack sessions again) and it’s apparently due to the rings on the headphone jack.

Headphone hack

Wikipedia, which is so obviously a reliable source, informs me that this is a TRRS plug, the extra ring being used for the microphone/control button. This extra ring is obviously interfering with the devices and making it sound glitchy. Naturally my first instinct was to record it, but this presented many problems.

First, in order to record the output of the player I needed a male to male 3.5mm cable that uses TRRS plugs. A quick Google search revealed that these don’t exist so I had to make my own.

Headphone hack

Some of thinnest wires in the world evar!

As I had discovered earlier, the headphones capable of reproducing this glitch are iPhone headphones so I soldered two of the cables for these together, essentially creating a male to male 3.5mm cable with TRRS plugs. Happy times! 🙂

Or so I thought.

The problem I now still face is that the socket on my laptop is obviously capable of accepting TRRS plugs without glitches so the audio comes out clear when recorded via Audacity (well, it would be clearer were it not for my crappy soldering skills!).

This is where I require help from those more adept with audio than I. Is there a way to record the glitchy sound in the same “quality” as it is output from the mp3 player? The recording above was made by holding my headphones to my laptop microphone, which doesn’t faithfully reproduce the truly weird audio experience (though does produce a lo-fi aesthetic).

BiLE at Laptops Meet Musicians Festival, 11-12 July 2011

From 10th-13th July I’ll be in Venice (which is in Italy, apparently) with another three-sevenths of BiLE for the Laptops Meet Musicians Festival.

Sonic Arm Wrestlers

We’ll be performing two pieces, Partially Percussive (recording below) and XYZ, which was recently performed when BiLE was in Norway for NIME:

XYZ (or ‘Sonic Arm Wrestle’) is a structured improvisation using motion capture devices such as iPhone, Wiimote and Xbox Kinect. Each player can fight to take control of another players sound.

In Partially Percusive, players sample the sounds of striking metallic objects and then manipulate the sounds in software. Players are instructed to listen for whether other players are playing sounds that are percussive vs sustained, pointillistic vs flowing, sparse vs dense, or loud vs soft and situate their own sounds accordingly. Players can sample a new sound after a pause and can pause for as long as they’d like, when they feel they should.

Partially Percussive by BiLE

You should all travel from wherever you are in the world to Italy just for this one spectacular performance. 😉