Martin Parker

holding sound

jarsShotholding sound is a project I’ve been developing since November 2011. It is based on the idea that sound itself can be used as an interface to drive reactions from a computer. Importantly these are controlled by a very limited sound generating instrument – a pair of glass jars.

The title relates to two ideas. The first is that given the jars should be large enough to hold and the microphones are placed inside them, you’re literally holding the sound in your hands as you play. By changing how much you cover the tops of the jars with your palms, you can directly control the frequencies of the feedback in the system. The second idea relates to the quality of music itself. As a multichannel piece, scalable to any number of loudspeakers, the sounds rove around the room – this movement is linked to the amplitude and frequency of the sound that is made by the jars. As I play, I have the feeling that I can freeze the sound into the room if I can discipline myself to stay still for long enough.

I have performed this on several occasions, firstly in Edinburgh in November 2011 at the Soundings Festival, again in Prague in December 2011 (AXA in action), then more recently at Keele University on the 31st October 2012 and again in Dundee at Generator Projects on the 12th November as part of Catherine Street’s Continuum project.

Below is a recording I made of the Dundee performance with an excruciating amount of reverberation added in post. This is a temporary mix that I may replace with the next performance of the piece at the Surrounded Festival in Munich later this month. Enjoy!

Screen shot 2012-11-15 at 16.54.47


Performing in Pargue, December 2011, photo from here: