Saturday, April 24, 2010

Crescent Arts Glitch

The Crescent Arts Centre has re-opened in Belfast. Now that it has been refurbished the interior and exterior look goodas new. The opening week has had lots of free workshops and taster sessions so people eager to sample what is on offer can come and try out before signing up.

The other day I managed to get out of work a few minutes early so I had time to see some people practicing their dance routine attached to ropes, bouncing off the side of the building with some umbrellas. But something happened between me, taking, editing, and uploading the video: the results sound okay (ish) but the picture has gone pretty strange.

The main reason I wanted to be there was to participate in the Gamelan Workshop. From Tuesday to Thursday between 3 and 5 there were free, open to everyone sessions where people could learn about and play a (2/3s of the whole thing) Gamelan from Java, Indonesia.

Our facilitator was Beverley Whyte of Open Arts (and Music Director of Open Arts Choir) who was a tutor of mine years ago when I studied Community Music For Practitioners at MADD, it was fantastic to have her direct us, as she knows how to use pace in delivering instructions on how and when to play, very well.

One of the things that makes Gamelan so easy to play for beginners with no experience is that the Western scale and it's code of thin, black, horizontal lines and dots is done away with. Instead we were able to play using numbers or colours, which were clearly marked on the gongs and tines. I worked my way around and had a go on all the instruments. It's a fantastic feeling playing with all those pieces of sweetly-resonating metal.

I used my new Canon VIXIA to capture the video in HD. I then edited out a lot of noise and exported to DV PAL using Premiere and Media Encoder. I then converted the format to Theora using Miro, so that the file would be fast to upload to youtube. The result was a glitchy mess. I quite like it, it reminds me of data moshing - but there's something (I can't put my finger on it) that's different.

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