I was joined by musicians Stephen Wolff (‘cello) and Mike Blow (guitar). Stephen, Mike and I have worked together on various other projects, including the show Senster, so we’re used to jamming together and working out how to make our strange combination of musical instruments blend. Colin Uttley also came along to film us at work.
In addition to the usual line-up, we had two very special guests, both of whom joined us quite by chance. Digital Funfair creator Gavin Morris made an all too rare appearance on the spring drum and percussed waterphone. And virtuoso Susannah Simmons joined us for a session on her violin.
Our recording methods had to be thought through carefully as the excessive reverb could overload recording gear. The best recordings are those of the jam sessions themselves. These were recorded by Dan Simmons, one of the acousticians at NPL, using a spaced pair of omindirectional mics with a perfectly flat frequency response. NPL specialise in measurement – they’re the ‘guardians of the decibel’ – so these recordings are excellent. A few of the sounds are recorded on my own equipment. I used a couple of lavalier omnidirectional mics, spaced head-width apart. I kept the volume low but recorded at 24 bits to get as much detail as possible. A few sesssions only exist as soundtracks on the camcorder’s DV tape (as I forgot to switch on the hard disk recorder!).
Sarah Angliss on the waterphone and Mike Blow on the electric guitar. Some of the most interesting videos from the day are recordings of these performances backwards. See the videos on the first page.