AES Section Meeting Reports

Pacific Northwest - April 12, 2017

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The PNW Section turned its attention to sound and media design for performance for the April 2017 meeting, hosting award winning local designer Brendan Patrick Hogan for an interesting presentation on the nature and details of designing sound and media for live performance. 23 persons (10 AES members) attended the meeting in room 818 of the Shoreline Community College Music Building.

Brendan Patrick Hogan's work combines practices in composition, sound and media design for theater, dance and film, as well as electronics, programming and show control systems for live and installation/immersive performance. In addition to work with virtually every theatrical and dance company locally, he has taught Sound Design at Cornish College of the Arts, and is a two-time winner of Best Musical Score at the Seattle 48 Hour Film Project. In addition to theatrical work, he performs with Miss Mamie Lavona and The Bad Things.

Hogan began his presentation with a fairly deep dive into the nature of sound design, how a designer works in a collaborative theatrical environment, and what the work of a designer entails, both in terms of systems and technology and in aesthetic terms. He described the dramatic function of sound in the performance context, and introduced some of the terms and concepts used, with particular emphasis on the idea of the "soundscape," the aural twin of the landscape in which any story exists. Going deeper into the area of music for the theatre, he talked about the different functions of music in a typical dramatic production - both in terms of what we think of as Musical Theatre and in productions that use music in incidental or more direct ways.

Brendan also spoke about the styles of working with sound reinforcement in both "straight" dramatic production and musical theatre.

After a brief break and presentation of door prizes, Hogan introduced the notions of Inter-determinancy and Chance in live performance, based on the work of Cage and Cunningham, and explained how this is coming to be an important element in dramatic production.
He ended the evening with a fascinating demonstration of the use of multiple inexpensive or free software to build pseudo random elements that can be introduced into live performance. For the demonstration he used QLab v4 (which is free for use with limited channels of playback), Sonic Pi, Sonic-pi-cli, and TidalCycles, together with a code editor (Atom).
Links and examples of the software and resources will be available on the local PNWAES Section website along with copies of the presentation slides and an audio recording of the meeting.

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AES - Audio Engineering Society