2nd SpACE-Net Workshop Report (Courtesy of Alex Southern)

Over seventy people from all over the UK and Europe attended the 2nd SpACE-Net Spatial Audio Workshop held in the Music Research Centre on Wednesday 23rd January 2008.  The theme of this year’s event was “5.1 Surround-sound: Opportunity or Constraint?” and invited speakers considered this question from many different angles. Two sound artists were commissioned to prepare new works specially for the event after SpACE-Net’s second call for works was announced in October 2007.  Mathew Adkins is an award winning composer and performer of experimental electronic music based at the University of Huddersfield and presented the first release from his forthcoming CD entitled “Five Panels (no.1)” – the first in a series of five experimental electronic compositions that take as their starting point the paintings of Mark Rothko.  Daniel Jones is an artist and software engineer based in south London and he presented “Atom Swarm” - a framework for musical improvisation based upon the swarming behaviours seen in large groups of social animals.

The keynote address was given by Jean-Marc Jot, Audio Research Fellow, at the Creative Advanced Technology Centre, Scotts Valley, California who considered approaches to surround-sound audio that were not limited to any specific current or future format.  Aristotel Digenis, Experienced Audio Programmer for Codemasters, was our first of two invited speakers. He presented and demonstrated his perspective on next-generation surround-sound using the Playstation3 and some of the newest games developed by Codemasters.  The day was rounded off by our second invited speaker for whom praise and respect is both long and significant. Chris Watson has been nominated for Broadcast’s Hot 100; the Guardian lists his album “Weather Report” as one of the 1000 you must hear before you die; the Radio Times describes some of his recent Radio 4 broadcasts as,  “…beyond compare”; “…he is to radio wildlife programme making what David Attenborough is to television”.  He has worked on many of the BBC and Attenborough’s recent television programmes and was awarded a BAFTA for “The Life of Birds” in 1998.  He was also a founding member of the influential Sheffield-based experimental music group Cabaret Voltaire, and his work has been praised extensively by Bill Oddie on Richard and Judy’s Channel 4 programme – it doesn’t come much better that that… His recordings can currently be heard on BBC television’s Life in Cold Blood.  During his presentation we heard surround-sound recordings of many diverse natural landscapes, ranging from killer whales off the coast of Vancouver to the insides of a zebra carcass being torn apart by predators on the African plains.

In the breaks between sessions, researchers from York and further afield presented their work in posters, and time was set aside to encourage and develop opportunities for networking and collaboration that SpACE-Net hopes to support to full proposals for EPSRC.  Delegates also participated in tutorials on spatial audio composition and software development given by Pete Harrison from Creative Labs Europe, and Michael Kelly from Sony Computer Entertainment Europe.  Additional industry support was provided by HHB and Beyerdynamic who demonstrated some of the latest equipment for working with surround-sound audio in the Headzone 5.1 headphone monitoring system and the 8-track PDR2000 portadrive, and from Source Distribution and Genelec who provided additional loudspeakers for the MRC Rymer Auditorium.


A Copy of Mathew Adkins' Paper: Towards 'a beautiful land': Compositional strategies and influences in Five Panels (no. 1).

The Workshop programme and abstracts

Summary from HHB on the systems that were available for demo on the day

Pictures from the day

Workshop_Abstracts.pdf132.21 KB
HHB_Demos.pdf6.42 KB
Towards_a_beautiful_land.pdf135.2 KB
Submitted by mrapsouthern on 28 January, 2008 - 20:17.