Today we reflected on the evening we improvised and performed with each other. As it was our first time doing this as a group, it was exciting and interesting to see what would come out of it. We tried to recreate what each other was doing in our minds and realised we remembered quite a lot - where people were and what they were doing - but not entirely the details - what instruments each of us played and what we were playing.

Improv 1 Photo: Martin Singleton

Improv 2 Photo: Martin Singleton

We talked about what we might do differently if it happened again. Suggestions included;

  • considering pacing and silence as a sound,
  • taking turns as band leader or conductor,
  • picking a single silent film as score beforehand so we can look for cues and participation as an active listener in the audience.

Was feedback to the group important as a listener to the performance? Or was it just about the moment?

We also shared some new things that we found interesting, particularly about field recording.

The Oxford Sound Album presents a selection of favourite Oxford city soundscapes chosen by a group of people who rely on sound for spatial information, work with or study music, or both.

Field Recording with Sound Artist Jez riley French

Hear Be Dragons is Diane Hope’s immersive audio guide to Shanghai, where you navigate by your ears not your eyes.

Martin also shared a recent attempt at capturing birdsong in a forest nearby.

“Went out yesterday to try out new omni capsules on birdsong in local woods, found a good spot, waited twenty mins for wind to die down a bit and then pressed record and then a truck or some kind of heavy machinery arrived at the nearby football ground. Thought it was a dustbin wagon at first but it just went on and on, eventually went back home with nothing!”

Hear the clip (1:27) -

He describes his setup as follows.

“The recording was made with a pair of Sontronics STC-1 microphones with omni-directional capsules mounted onto a short (7”) stereo bar with the mics angled outwards at 45 degrees. The stereo bar is mounted on a small travel tripod, it’s too short for best results with omni microphones (I think about a metre apart sounds about right) but I don’t want to carry two separate stands, I have an idea for making a longer folding stereo bar. The recorder is a Zoom H5 which has phantom power for the microphones. The setup is getting a little on the heavy side for carrying about all day so I don’t want to add any more unnecessary weight to the kit.”