Sound

John Williams (Candle)Light on the Edge

On Saturday 6th June 2015, I’ll be performing with John Williams, Gary Ryan and friends at the beautiful Shakespeare Globe in London. Among other works, we’ll be performing Phillip Houghton’s sumptuous Light on the Edge by candlelight. I’ll be providing electronics (courtesy of Ableton and one of my many MIDI controllers) and it should be rather magical, unless of course I accidentally play Chloe’s playlist of Wheels on the Bus and other hi-energy toddler classics.

Click the pretty picture for info and tickets.

Pretty

 

The Escher Café Video

Digital animator (with a PhD in Chemistry) Anna Tanczos has set my composition ‘The Escher Café’ to video for live performances. Here’s an extract with animated tessellating lizards no less.

Tension Blue: Bridget & Milton Mermikides

Bridget and I will be performing at 1.30pm Sunday March 30th (University of Surrey) at the launch of the International Guitar Research Centre (IGRC) run by Steve Goss and me. We’ll be performing 7 new works for classical guitar and electronics. Not the usual guitar rep. Tickets are £2 for students and £10 for the rest of us. Would be lovely to have some friends (of ours and new music) there.

http://www.surrey.ac.uk/arts/music/events/bridget_mermikides.htm

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Bloodlines feature in Times Higher Education

The Times Higher Education have run a well-written feature on the Bloodlines project.

Transplant inspires siblings’ Bloodlines project | News | Times Higher Education.

The Classical Guitar Compendium

Bridget’s book The Classical Guitar Compendium (Hal Leonard 2013) is now available on Amazon and Amazon UK

It’s a huge 160-page book of original (and beautiful) arrangements, with 2 CDs of Bridget playing the pieces.

The book launch at London Guitar Studio, with Craig Ogden, Gary Ryan and Amanda Cook playing a selection of the arrangements was too much fun to express in WordPress.

 

CGC

 

 

 

 

 

All at in C

On the 14th October 2013, I’ll be joining the eminent musician and fellow Wodehouse character Peter Gregson at the Luton Music Club to max out on Minimalism. Details to follow, but on the programme is Terry Riley’s seminal work In C in all its heterophonic and generative gorgeousness.

In C

Rather than play it (on my guitar) traditionally with the ensemble, I thought it fun (and more interesting) to use Ableton Live (and Push) to rebuild it so it ran generatively. I’ve done a very simple version which adopt most of the instructions, any errors kindly forgive me and my future generations.

 

Here’s a screenshot of the resultant tapestry:

In-C-Live

And here’s the WIP for your to download in the spirit of musical democracy.

In C Live Project @miltonline

Hit scene 1 and they’ll tumble through, I’ve weighted the follow actions to have on average more repeats on shorter phrases which makes sense musically. You can intervene, urging on any stragglers and holding back any clips forging too far ahead. Actually I may need to consult a statistician as the deviation in fall rates seems (in my fallible intuition) to suggest something’s a bit skewy with the randomising process. But oh well, the variation in performances is intriguing (I’m on listen number 6 and still very happy). You can of course ride volumes, edit instruments and send out effects to your ears’ content. You can always set clip 53 to – rather than stop – return to clip 1 so the piece lasts forever, with clips lapping each other – adding another dimension to the work. If Follow Actions in Live were more sophisticated or I had time to render in Max the clips could behave more intelligently by grouping together, dropping out and changing velocity more responsively as per score instructions, but it actually works quite beautifully as is, which is a testament to the power of Riley’s concept.

Incidentally if you’d like to tweak the ‘fall rate’ – and hence the resulting approximate duration – change this number on the clips (you can select multiple), but remember that you may want longer clips with lower numbers. Again I wish there was more sophistication with follow actions, which would also allow the pulse to stop after all other clips are finished, but I await Ableton Live 10 11 17

Follow

Thanks to user Jeepee on the Ableton forum, whose patch I discovered when googling this idea, I’ve kept many of Jeepee’s clips as I like how he/she played them, but am also thinking of doing it PROPERLY in Max and crowdsourcing midi and audio clips from the interwebs when the Earth slows and there’s enough hours in the day for such mischief.

For those sensible people not in to Ableton or this sort of thing, you can hear a rendered version from this patch here:

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(If that doesn’t buffer or you are a suffering iPad browser) -> In C Live

 

The Amazing Metrobird

I have a little place in Greece, on a lesser known corner of the Peloponnese, on a little beach with a derelict and rarely visited acropolis from which the islands of Ψιλι, Πλατεια and (just about) Σπετσεσ are visible.

Here

It’s a magical (and for me painfully nostalgic) place where even when we eventually installed a phone (1996),  modem (2006) and wi-fi (2013) seems eerily frozen (well baked) in time. This part of the world is home to some odd creatures: deafening cicada, scorpions, flying fish, swordfish and a plant with fruit that explode on the lightest touch.

Shore it is

One such unusual animal I have yet to (knowingly) see but I’ve been fasciated by its sound for years. It’s some kind of bird that emits a short tweet at intervals so regular that we use it as a metronome. (It sounds particularly good on beat 4 & in a bossa).

Here’s an unedited audio sample recorded on Tuesday, 7 July 2009 19:32

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(non-flash) Metrobird

Notice how (separated by an unmeasured pause) there is a decent metronomic tempo established. Logic Pro X’s transient detector and beat mapping tools reveal that once a pulse is established it tends to stay within a couple of bpm. I’ve played with far worse time-keepers of the human species. Here are the numbers:

Numbers

To get a feel for it, listen to the same unedited clip with a click track.

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(non-flash) Metrobird with Click
Not bad at all. Here’s how it sounds (again completely unedited) in the context of a percussion groove.

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(non-flash) Metrobird Groove

Does anyone know what type of bird it is, an what evolutionary pressures gave it such tight timing?

Bloodlines at the Dana Centre, Science Museum, July 18th 7-9pm

Live lecture/performance of BloodLines at the Dana Centre, Science Museum. Thursday July 18th, 7-9pm.

 

Diagnosed with Leukaemia, John was given hours to live – but survived thanks to a bone marrow donation. How can ethically sourced stem cells save lives? Experience an immersive and exploratory performance created by a survivor and his donor.

John’s disease, Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia, is ‘a deadly disease for which the best available therapy is only applicable to a fraction of patients and is itself potentially lethal’ (Dr Adele K. Fielding, Haematologist UCL). That therapy – a transplant of blood stem cells – is both potentially lethal and life saving. It is also miraculous, mysterious and slightly macabre.

Bloodlines conveys the science and the experience of this last chance treatment in a performance featuring a haematologist, a musical score created from blood cell counts, kaleidoscopic visual effects and dance. Join us in the Dana Cafe after the performance for a discussion with the makers: learn more about stem cells and becoming a donor and about this collaboration between artists and medical scientists.

Bloodlines Team:


Alex Mermikides: stem cell donor and direction

Milton Mermikides: leukaemia survivor and music

Ann Van de Velde: haematologist and performer

Anna Tanczos: videoscape

Adam Kirkham: dance

Bex Law: dramaturgy

More details about Bloodlines can be found here. This event is supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

John Williams Recording

It’s wonderful to be involved in classical guitar virtuoso John Williams’ latest recording project. Details to follow, but the energy, enthusiasm and skill he continues to deliver after 200 CDs, all the accolades and well over a half-century of professional musicianship is astonishing and inspiring in equal measure.

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Bridget’s Guitarrista

I can say without bias that Bridget‘s classical guitar playing and arranging is exquisite and widely admired by musicians from Julian Bream to Tim Minchin. It was an absolute pleasure to record and produce her debut solo album, and the next is just around the corner.

 

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