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August 2012 l 41 For the latest installation news installation UNITED KINGDOM Spiral scratch

WITH A wonderful twist of the tongue, singer Katy B talks about “all the different similarities” between sport and music in a recent documentary about the song she has recorded with producer Mark Ronson for the 2012 Olympic Games. Called Anywhere in The World, the track is laden with athletics samples that form the rhythm parts: archer Dayyan Jaffar’s relinquishing twang; table tennis star Darius Knight’s syncopated ping-pong; heavy breathing from Russian 400m competitor Kseniya Vdovina. Sponsored by Coca-Cola, the

song was completed in various stages beginning with Ronson pointing Sennheiser shotguns at the athletes on location. Sessions at Sphere and Metropolis followed, until Ronson and freelance recording engineer Joshua Blair had a releasable single and the soundtrack to a thousand marketing applications. The most unusual of these is a dedicated building inside the Olympic Park in east London: a post-modern visitor attraction called the Coca-Cola Beatbox that represents the closest thing yet to a walk-in theremin. An exterior ramp takes visitors on a spiral incline towards the roof, past interactive panels containing touch and proximity sensors. You’re invited to play with these, triggering individual loops taken from the track. An interior spiral decline then leads into a darkened corridor where Void Acoustics monitors pump an evocative heartbeat sample before the final reveal: the middle of the ‘beatbox’ where the full track is playing, drinks are served and a lighting display is meant to evoke the bubbles rising in a glass of Coke. Thanks to custom software, plus the expert administrations of Out Board Electronics’ Dave Haydon using TiMax in the

Arthur Carabott (left) and Joshua Blair “It’s important that the

Inside the Beatbox –the closest thing yet to a walk-in theremin

output stage, the whole building is synchronised. The potential cacophony of random twiddling is avoided, and at every stage of the journey the audio overlaps seamlessly – samples, loops and the full track dovetail together to create a coherent experience. Arthur Carabott programmed the software that allows the interaction of visitors with the audio samples and loops. He also had a big hand in the design of the panels – or ‘cushions’, as he calls them – that act simultaneously as input and output devices: as well as a trigger, each hollow perspex rectangle is a slightly pneumatic, nearly flat-panel, electro-acoustic enclosure that literally answers to your touch. Carabott’s tool was SuperCollider, described as “an environment and programming

language for real-time audio synthesis and algorithmic composition”. He was engaged by the architects, who were aware of his work in previous audio installations demanding a sophisticated level of interactivity. “I knew instantly that it would take SuperCollider to take the various segments of Mark Ronson’s audio and realise their vision of a building you could ‘play’, essentially,” continues Carabott. “I worked for a few months on writing the software using the sounds given, and then in April we were able to test the first cushion – supplied by iart interactive from Switzerland. It was fascinating to see how people reacted to them, and it really helped Josh and I to work out what could and could not be done.”

experience is more than just stop, press and listen,” adds Joshua Blair, who worked with Carabott in the preparation of files and stems from the original Pro Tools 10 sessions. “You can really interact with the loops next to you, above or below you and they’re always strictly in time. There is spill from every output, so everything has to be locked down. The 120BPM tempo is regulated from one central server.” Blair exported a plethora of

WAV files including prepared loops and individual samples, always in 2- or 4-beat cuts so that they could be placed into one synchronisable circuit. Once in Carabott’s customised SuperCollider program, EQ, filters and delays were added to optimise the output. “More than a theremin,” points out Blair, “the panels read acceleration and deceleration as well as distance, making DJ-like scratching possible as you progress up the building, adding layers of the mix as you go.” So Katy B is right: you can enter this building, encounter a deconstructed, 3D mix and enjoy all the different similarities. n

Phil Ward encounters a building you can play like a DJ in London’s new Olympic Park


d&b audiotechnik’s White Range has been chosen for the Ilona restaurant in Tampere, Finland. Part of a chain renowned for its multifunctionality, with each venue serving-up a bar, karaoke, a live stage room and a quiet room as well as the restaurant, Ilona employs 5S, 8S and 10S loudspeakers, along with the arrayable 12A powered loudspeaker.

Costa Fascinosa, the new flagship of the Costa Cruises fleet, has set sail with Powersoft’s M series amplifiers. Duecanali and Ottocanali amps drive sound systems in the restaurants, chapel, library, casino, theatre, pool, fitness centre and spa, dance lounge and disco, bars, and meeting and multifunction rooms. Some 143 EAW speakers (including KF695zT, SB850zP, KF650zP, JF80z and SB150zP cabinets) have also been installed in the theatre.

Extron has announced the availability of its latest ProDSP processor. The DMP 128 is a 12 x 8 audio mixer featuring Extron ProDSP, automixing, I/O expansion capabilities, and available acoustic echo cancellation. The DMP 128 offers a configuration approach to DSP that simplifies mixing, routing, conferencing and room optimisation.

Bush Hall has acquired a Midas PRO2 console from LMC Audio after the venue’s chief engineer, George Hider, saw it at last year’s PLASA Show. Following Hider’s initial interest, LMC’s JP Cavaco advised Bush Hall on their options and arranged demonstrations. “JP and the team have been very helpful,” said Charlie Raworth, Bush Hall’s MD. “Our engineers have received training on the desk from Midas, plus further training is available should we need it.”

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