Ed Devane presents Stop/Run

Stop/Run, 11-18 December 2010, Severed Head

Stop/Run is a show that will combine a number of interests of mine. Before explaining any of them let me first say that I am no expert (at anything)- I'm making efforts to learn as much as I can so that maybe one day I will be pretty good at a few things! Back to these interests, which deserve a short paragraph each:

1. Sound Design

First and foremost, this project is about sound - as a physical thing created as a result of various laws of physics in action, energy vibrating through substrates, be they strings, metal tubes, or air. This project requires me to make several types of instrument that I will then give to the composers to make pieces of music with. Here are a couple of videos I have made demonstrating how two of those will work:

String feedback prototype from Ed Devane on Vimeo.

Wind instrument prototype from Ed Devane on Vimeo.

2. Making things with my brain and hands

First the idea, then the action - I love following an idea through various permutations in my head before trying it out in real life. I'm in a good position to do this at the moment - since making my first zither a couple of years ago, I have steadily been buying hand and power tools. I set up my first workshop in a building without electricity or running water in December last year (the coldest one in living memory or something?), realised after a few days that the cost of running a generator outweighed any benefits and packed it in. Around the same time Lisa Crowne (mainly) and A4 Sounds were talking about renting a building to use as an art studio, so I joined forces with them. Eventually we found the perfect place in Harold's Cross, where I now have access to an ever-improving workshop, desk space to design at, and sound studio to record in.

So it's only really now that I'm able to do this project...

3. Physics / electronics

I'm learning a lot about the physics of sound by making various instrument types, and am thinking logically about how to implement electronics in the project. The plan is to utilise Arduino microcontrollers to control motors, electromagnets and solenoids via computer (most likely Max/MSP or Max for Live). Donal Holland of A4 Sounds is going to help me with that, as I haven't used Arduino before, but am keen to learn!

4. Curation

The Severed Head gallery contacted me / us at Second Square to None to put something on a few months ago. This is more of a solo show than an SSTN show, but a lot of the composers I've invited to compose pieces using the instruments have contributed to SSTN is some way in the past. I chose these composers because they all have open minds, and a fairly diverse range of experience.

In alphabetic order, here's a short biog of each:

Brian Conniffe

Brian Conniffe is a cross-genre, experimental musician who has worked with a long list of collaborators including Nurse With Wound, Suzanne Walsh and United Bible Studies. His work directly states inspiration from such non-musical sources as hypnosis, linguistics and ritual magick, making for a style which fuses the darkest psychedelia with disquieting ambience.


Niamh de Barra

Niamh de Barra is a Dublin-based composer and musician. She works primarily with cello, voice and electronics. As a solo artist, she recently released her debut EP, "Cusp" on the Second Square to None label.


Amanda Feery

Amanda Feery is a musicmaker based in Dublin, working with acoustic and electronic music.Her work has been performed both nationally and internationally in the U.K, U.S, and the Netherlands by groups such as Ensemble ICC, Crash Ensemble, RIAM Percussion Ensemble, Dublin Guitar Quartet, and Orkest de Ereprijs. She was recently selected for a composer residency at the Bang on a Can Summer Festival, at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. She is represented by the Contemporary Music Centre, Ireland.


Laura Hyland

Laura Hyland is a performer-composer. In 2008 she founded the quartet, Clang Sayne to explore the boundary between song and improvisation. Under her direction, the group released their debut album, 'Winterlands' in 2009 to notable critical acclaim. She is currently developing a choral section for the group with fellow composer/singer, Judith Ring, and singer, Laura Murphy. They will make their debut performance as a sextet at Café Oto in London this November.


Ian McDonnell

Ian McDonnell is a Dublin based composer, producer and DJ. He releases music as Eomac, as Lakker with Dara Smith and he helps run the !Kaboogie label and clubnight. He is also an active member of Bottlenote Music, Spatial Music Collective and the Irish Composers Collective. Currently he is studying towards a PhD in composition with Donnacha Dennehy.


Shane McKenna

Shane McKenna (has to send me his biog, so I'll write this for now) - Shane is a more than capable musician, but chooses not to make his own music in a standard fashion. Instead he creates animated graphic scores which are projected on a screen. He then invites musicians from all sort of backrounds and abilities to interpret the shapes, colours and durations in his visual composition. The instruments are being designed with the form types and colours consistent with Shane's scores. As I build them Shane will design a score specifically for the show.


Eoin Smith

Eoin also has to send me a biog but his backround is in producing dancefloor beats under the Taper Jinx alias, and more recently in experimental turntablism. Eoin invited me to play an electro-acoustic piece in Maynooth College recently, where he is conducting a research PhD. As far as I know he intends on sampling the instruments and creating a bank of sounds to perform through his turntable technique.


Which brings me to...

5. Creative use of limitations

I intend on presenting to the composers a wide range of sound making instruments and ways to control them - direct "playing", automatic control, process points etc., but what is most interesting about giving a group of creative individuals the same brief is how each interprets it. This is something I explored before through the Second Square to None Ten Second Rule last year, where the only restrictions were that an audio file be original, exactly 10 seconds long, and in wav or aif file formats. This project is more complex than that, but comes from the same part of my brain as a way of tying together disparate (and similar) ideologies, approaches and styles.

The instruments will be capable of making sounds, but how the composer uses them is entirely up to them (although I would ask that destructive means are not used - I have not asked for or expect any financial help to make these instruments, and suffice to say on my limited means the parts I've bought have not come cheap!).

6. Visual form / 3-D / Multi-direction audio

As well as make sound these instruments will take a physical form derived in part from the function (strings and pipes = straight lines, speaker cones and soundholes = circles etc.), from space constrictions in the gallery, and aesthetic choice. The colours as mentioned before will be in part based on Shane McKenna's use of the primaries, though I haven't gotten that far yet!

I have long thought of audio in 3-D, visual terms: this show will display some of those ideas, but it's something I will come back to in more depth in future. I will have sound makers placed around the room so how you hear the pieces will vary from where you are standing/ sitting/ walking.


So there you have a summary of what I'm working at mainly now. I have an ep coming out on Takeover Records in December, am playing gigs with Meljoann and jamming with Fionn Wallace, Laura Hyland and Amanda Feery (FYED, or possibly AMFYEDLA...Amla-Fyed for an Arabic twist?) in the coming weeks and months.