o ire

o ire is a framework for laptop performance with ambisonic sound spatialisation. Each performance is improvised within the constraints of the framework, and three different improvisations are presented here. The audio is converted from ambisonic to binaural format and should be listened to on headphones.

The piece emerged from experimentation with the live manipulation of historical and field recordings and sounds of old analogue media, investigating their transformation through presentation in a range of different spatial contexts. This developed into a broad framework of spatial dynamics using simple relations such as inward/outward, here/there, and through/between, explored through ‘waves’ over time and combined with other spectral and textural manipulations. The framework attempts to integrate these aspects – spatial manipulation and spectral, temporal and textural processing. Tools were created to facilitate this simultaneous handling of space and other sonic parameters, and this culminated in a collaboration with Incalcando to develop a touchscreen interface for this purpose. This took the form of a ‘polar controller’ screen for Incalcando’s Parat+ app.

Performing the work embodies a live instance of this process of investigation of the material, exploring the implicit spaces and surfaces inherent in the source recordings. The aim is to create an intimate, immersive experience, inviting listeners to come ‘close by’ to the personal sonic world of the performer. For this reason, anyone performing the piece is invited to supplement or replace the sound library with their own curated or collected sonic materials.

o ire was made originally for the CUBE ambisonic space at the IEM, Graz, in 2015, and has developed continuously ever since. It is a flexible framework that can be used in a range of different performance contexts (e.g. see Yonder By on Iorram Records).

The piece requires Max software running on a Mac laptop with Mira and Parat+ apps running on two Apple iPads, plus custom-made hardware in the form of a simple Arduino-based light sensitive controller. Materials, patches and instructions, plus a more complete description of the research process, are found here.