Formuls Review

Fluid Visuals with Formuls at SOUNDKitchen

I had recently posted about performing a show with James Dooley as Formuls, a live real-time algorithmic audio-visual duo at Birmingham’s SOUNDKitchen concert series, supported by Sound and Music. We received a very favorable review from the night courtesy of Fluid Radio and moreover, nobody had any reaction to the intense strobing!

Read the full review from the night over at Fluid Radio.

SOUNDKitchen September 2014 Formuls shadows of two performers against a projected background full of visual static
SOUNDKitchen September 2014

SOUNDKitchen Sep ’14

“The third evening in SOUNDKitchen’s 2014 series of electronic music events in Birmingham opened with a set from the duo Formuls. James Dooley made music using a self-developed algorithmic audio environment, while Matt Parker created real-time fractal visualisations that were projected behind the pair. Things began quietly, but it wasn’t long before a shuddering sub-bass pulse brought a more purposeful sense of drive, herding along high-end bleeps and whistles. Despite the heavy beat, I wouldn’t have called this dance music as such; sounds at the top and bottom ends of the audible spectrum seemed to cluster together in swarms rather than marching along in the orderly and predictable fashion demanded by the dancefloor. The visuals weren’t simply slavish representations of sonic events, but had a developing logic of their own, which was great to see. I wouldn’t normally listen to this style of music, but to my ears and eyes the set was fully convincing.”

Huge thanks to Nathan Thomas at Fluid Radio for coming and watching/listening and being positive about our debut (and full credit to him for the photo of us head moshing too).

Formuls Concert with SOUNDkitchen

formul-fractal-672x372I’ve been fortunate to get an invitation to perform alongside my good friend James Dooley on Saturday, 13th September to provide visuals for his performance as Formuls. Formuls is the algorithmic performance environment built with Pure Data by James. James performs slowly emerging feedback patterns that gradually build into a rich, oscillating backdrop of finely tuned noise. He’s made from scratch an incredibly sophisticated performances system with PD that he will perform using two touch screen tablets that are connected to a host computer via OSC. His aim to make as wireless and performative a show as he possibly can. We’re not too sure just yet how to lay out the devices on stage but I think the key idea is to be standing and performing as opposed to being sat beside a computer (Head Banging all the way).

To complement his performance, I have developing a series of modules based on the Vizzable library by Zeal and the VModule library by Fabrizio Poce. I’m trying to be as responsive as possible to what James comes up with and am trying my best to ensure that I never click on a track pad or mouse. The visuals will be generated in real-time as they respond to certain signals that James outputs from his PD set. It’s the first time I’ve worked on this format for a live concert and I’m quite nervous about how it will be received. The imagery is still pretty crude at this stage but I am improving my knolwedge of fractal geometry and hopefully in the future I can really improve upon the setup and start making fractal discplacement maps that really pop.

Formuls is playing live at SOUNDKitchen, a Cooperative concert group setup in Birmingham in 2010 that provides a platform for performances by music technologists from across the UK.