Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Sylvia Hackathorn’s notes on her collaboration with Liz Hayden for Sissy


At our first meeting we pretty much set up the scene for our piece. Liz is working with Hand2Mouth on a piece that has to do with memory (Uncanny Valley, I believe). So, she wanted to incorporate her experiences on that piece into this one. By the end of the first meeting, I realized that I’d construct it, sound-wise, as sound design that would run augmented by a live instrument. We had laid out a basic chronology of events, so I first gathered the sound effects I would need. Most of these I got from the Freesound Project, a wonderful website for sharing recorded sounds with others.

I knew that I wanted an environmental background throughout, and I found an Indian forest recording; just the ambient noises of that forest. The other sounds that I collected are effects tied to particular movements that Liz performs. They remain to be heard by all who attend the show on Sunday night :^) I composed the project in MOTU’s DP7 DAW, running on my Mac G5 (dual core, pre-Intel).

Next was to create a ‘drone’ that could represent the earth herself; a living, breathing, moving tone to lie beneath the environmental blanket. MOTU’s Proton synthesizer provided a perfect patch that I tweaked the envelope and eqs on.

For the memories involved, I recorded both Liz and myself recalling memories from our early lives. They surprisingly coincided, most notably in relation to the name of our piece. My inspiration for overlapping and using echo and delay on these vocal tracks came from Glen Gould’s voice collage called ‘The Idea of North.’ The voices begin working as a fugue as they overlap, and the intonations are quite musical. All of these elements were combined to create the basic sound design.

I decided on electric guitar through the Boss ME-70 pedal board, creating a big, reverb, delay setting, to play incidental riffs and chords over the original sound design. For the performance of Ten (no five) Tiny Dances I’ll play the recorded sounds and the live guitar through my ME-70 to my amplifier, which will most likely be miked and sent through the house sound board.

I had a great time on this collaboration. Thanks to Liz for her incredible inspiration and talent.



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