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Movement and space


Yesterday we worked with the dancers for 5 hours and then I kept working into the evening. Technically I’ve been using Spat and ambisonic for spatialisation. For most of the session I used Spat. It works really well and I don’t think I ever before have been able to create by far as convincing illusions of sound coming from a far distance.

In the evening I had the stage room to myself and also wanted to test the ambisonic Audio Unit plugins made by Digenis. As Max doesn’t support Audio Unit plugs at the moment I had to use Plogue Bidule.

I like their way of integrating Audio Unit plugins. You don’t notice any difference of behavior between AU plugs and full fledge Bidule modules. Apart from that patching in Bidule feels awkward as compared to MaxMSP. It might be habits only or not knowing all shortcuts but it takes much longer for me to create patch cords and in addition I’ve not yet found easy and good ways of creating control modules for algorithmic manipulation of audio parameters. I’m not sure if they exist at all at the moment.

I did not manage to get any useful results using Bidule and the AU ambisonic plugs. Either I was doing something wrong or there’s a problem with some of the algorithms. The sound always seemed to be dragged towards the loudspeaker closest to me. Changing the azimuth of the source didn’t seem to work as expected. Azimuth has a range of -180 to 180 degrees but all negative values seemed to produce the same result. My laptop and the mixer is positioned at one of the corners of the space used by the dancers close to one of the 8 loudspeakers surrounding the space. Several times I went out on the floor to see if my experience was caused by a high degree of sensitivity of the listening experience depending on wether you’re standing within the sweet spot or not. Regardless of what I tried I was not able to make any real sense of it.

So much for the technical part of it. The real topic of this work session is how positioning and movement of sound relates to the movements of the dancers. Yesterday we approached this by doing a series of improvisations trying to discuss and summarize what happened and making reflections on that a point of departure for the next improvisation. I guess it all boiled down to three general categories of approaches:


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