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24 September 2014
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Martyn Ware at The Sage Gateshead
Martyn Ware says Hall Two is 'perfect'

Future of sound

Hall Two of the Sage Gateshead was the venue for one of the most unique and distinctive shows of the year as artists, musicians and designers explored the possibilities for sound.

Gazing around Hall Two of The Sage Gateshead, Martyn Ware says: "It's perfect."

The founder member of The Human League and Heaven 17 and leading figure in electronic music says he was inspired to take his Future of Sound on tour by the venue, which he first saw when it was being built.

Scanner aka Robin Rimbaud at Future of Sound
Scanner transforms background street noise

"I said we have got to do something in that hall with its brilliant acoustics. It's perfect. It's designed for surround sound," he said.

Brain activity

And so the tour arrived at The Sage for two performances, in which Martyn hoped the audiences would be blown away by the new things they saw and heard.

Things like the sound of children's toys bought from a car boot sale which have been modified into electronic instruments and the Interactive Brainwave Visual Analyser, which registers brain activity to trigger sound.

Martyn was inspired to set up the Future of Sound tour after becoming bored with the popular music scene.

He said: "The popular music scene in Britian just seems to be on the turn. It's going a bit stale and is very commercially driven and not so exciting anymore. I just found the whole scene very boring."

Brian Duffy at the Future of Sound
Brian Duffy with his Modified Toy Orchestra

He was involved in creating a 3D surround sound system for the now-defunct National Centre for Popular Music in Sheffield.

Back to basics

The pieces he created sparked interest and led him to bring together artists, musicians and sound designers for the tour, which stops off in Gateshead before going around the country.

He said: "I wanted to get back to basics and what inspired me in the first place."

Martyn said there is an incredible amount of work going on in the field, with access to new technology becoming much more widespread and people doing innovative work.

He said: "I am meeting interesting artists with new ideas all the time. I wanted to do things in collaboration. I am constantly being astonished and I find that incredibly exciting."

He said he believes the future is convergent art, where art and science will "bleed" into each other.

Luciana Haill at the Future of Sound
Luciana Haill transforms brain activity into sound

The idea of the tour was to bring the sounds to the wider public so they were not only being experienced by a small group of keen individuals.

Engage audience

There were different line-ups for the two shows at The Sage with performers including Brian Duffy with his Modified Toy Orchestra.

Scanner, aka Robin Rimbaud, demonstrated new technology to transform background street sound into real music and Luciana Haill performed with her Interactive Brainwave Visual Analyser.

Along with the performers on stage, images were projected on to a screen. The idea was to engage the audience in the performance and during the interval they were able to play with interactive audio toys.

Martyn said in previous shows, people had sent e-mails later after going away from a performance and what they have seen and heard had finally sunk in.

He said: "I want them to go away and say 'we have never seen or heard anything like it'."

last updated: 26/01/07
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