Vocal Migrations – a work in process

Did something very different n Saturday night, ent to the first performance of Kathy Hinde’s Visual Migrations. Regular readers of this blog will know that Kathy contacted us  earlier this year and we organised a bat walk for the choir she was going to be working with,

Saint Cuthbert’s Hall Bedford

In many ways we were on familiar territory – a freezing cold building with a high vaulted ceiling. Originally built as a space for holding sunday school meetings and it also ran a soup kitchen.  That kitchen would have done a roaring trade on a cold night liike this. Those days are long gone and we had to make do with mulled wine instead ( such hardship).

As we walked in we were met with a mix track of bat calls and we played a quick game of ” what bat is that” and enjoyed the audiences reactions to sounds which are very familiar to us. Arounf the room were lots of high tech  computer equipment

We knew that J=Kathy was fascinated by how bats echolocate and how they modify their calls according to the environment they are in and the proximity of other objects, bujt we wwewren’t sure what to expect.

The choir emerged wraped in as many layers of clothes as you wold need if you were wrappiong up for an end of season mistnetting session. The air was so cold you could see their breath atg times. Not that we looked at that much. The most noteowrthy thing on initial view was they all wore a head mike and carried a small box warily with them The sight reminded me of those lpictures of people in war time carrying gas masks). These were pieces of tech based on raspberry pi. ( For non geeks The Raspberry Pi is

“a credit-card sized computer that plugs into your TV and a keyboard. It’s a capable little PC which can be used for many of the things that your desktop PC does, like spreadsheets, word-processing and games. It also plays high-definition video. We want to see it being used by kids all over the world to learn programming.” ( quote knicked  from the raspberry pi site)

As far as I understand it, this allows them to aample the singer’s vi0ce and change it according to their position in relation to other choir members.

More striking than this was the fact that each of the choir wore what looked ,like a ping pong ball on their head. Only later did we learn in the question and anser afterwars that it was a ping ball, and the ping pong ball was diffusing ight frimn an |LED  which allowed the computers to track the position of the singers.

Once the music began, my vocabulary ended. When descrivbing bat calls I spent a lot of time using sentences like ” it sounds a b t like…”, but what emerged was outside my limited musical exoperience. At different points it sounded like Steve Reich, a science fiction dilm score, Laurie Andersion I thought triumphant

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