Hi everyone, Gareth here.
My recent strategy has been to have adventures in sound. I've written albums; written and recorded poems for kids; I'm co-producing and co-hosting a podcast with Dan Watts; I'm developing a pre-school+ property with Richard Smith.
Today I'd like to tell you about my wonderful experience with poetry in 2019. In January Moose Allain responded to a claim that there's no poetry on Twitter. What if I could find poets on social media who would be willing to have their poems set to music and sound design?
I replied to the tweet and contacted Moose to figure out what to do. Moose was, as you can imagine, very supportive. Pretty much all of the poets I contacted said yes straight away.
By the way, I have discovered that the poetry community - very much alive and well on social media by the way - is open and warm and love their craft as much as I love mine. I am so grateful to them for their permission and participation.
The poets on this little sound adventure were Ian McMillan, Timi Amusan, Brian Bilston, Mukahang Limbu and Marie-Louise Eyres. I was humbled to have a chance to take their precious work and make it into recorded sound. I would also like to thank Kate Clanchy for encouraging her amazing students Timi and Mukahang to take part. You are all wonderful people.
What followed was the series #HashtagPoems, an audio series of five poems previously published on social media, and recorded for the same platform. You can listen to them here. I hope you enjoy them, and that it perhaps encourages you to explore these poets more. And as always: if you like them, share them.
If I can be so bold as to offer a truth: you don't need permission to be creative. Creativity is about finding your own voice, not waiting for the validation of others. So create with abandon, whether it is commissioned or just for you. Have a wonderful day, and enjoy all the amazing poetry you see popping up in your social media feeds today.
The latest Real World Sounds sound pack is special. On his travels, Neil Spencer Bruce has recorded endless hours of environments in interesting places all over the world. This is his first sound pack for Real World Sounds, and there are plans for more.
Neil is a guitarist, composer, sound designer, producer, engineer, educator, and founder of Spencer Bruce Music. Over to Neil...
How did you find yourself in these amazing locations around the world?
Travelling is part of who I am, and I have been very (very!) fortunate to travel to some amazing places around the world. Once bitten by the bug I continue to have itchy feet to get back out there and experience the amazing planet that we inhabit. A big part of that is also not just wanting to take in the visual beauty but also the aural world that surrounds us. I feel that photos tell half the story and captured soundscapes can transport you straight back to a time and place, and fully immerse you in the experience.
A large part of the recordings were made whilst travelling around trying to pinpoint unique soundscapes. For example, although not a million miles away, Berwick Street Market is one of the last remaining street markets in London (and the UK), but it has a unique soundscape which could be lost to future generations. I feel like the role I am playing is as an ethnographic sound gatherer, storing these memories for future generations.
What was your strategy for recording
Keep it simple. Recording in these locations can be tricky (especially now in the UK where there is a sense of recording device paranoia), and also - as in photography - there is the need to move quickly at times and be up and recording very quickly. I have a tendency to allow the tape (showing my age) to roll for long periods of time, ensuring I capture not only what I need, but also any variation in the soundscape. I find that it takes at least five minutes for the soundscape to start to settle down into its rhythm. It also enables me to have much more material to choose from at a later stage.
The hard part can be being still for long periods of time! Ideally I try to record either binaurally, or in stereo, again to give me options at a later stage. If I am recording sound marks then I will switch to a mono microphone.
Were you able to record fairly quickly? Did you have any roadblocks or delays?
Using the system that I have means I can be up and running very quickly, particularly using the Soundman OkM binaural headphones. I can pretty much leave them in all the time and hit record when I need to. I was fortunate enough to be working on a large soundscape project, which gave me access to a wide range of portable recorders, so I was able to put them through their paces. I found that the smaller devices with an external Sound Devices MixPre produced the best results, was incredibly compact and could be up and running in seconds.
Now, with the advent of USB bus power, the issues of having lots of batteries is a fading memory and has made longer period recording much much easier.
World Spaces (Volume 1) will be available this coming Friday (26th April), exclusively via this website. It will be royalty free, which means you can use the content for your personal or commercial projects with no further charge.
If you saw and heard yesterday's Spent Force trailer👮🏼, you'll know that the first episode will appear this coming Friday 5th April via your podcast app. Spent Force has it's own web page at www.thesoundboutique.com/spentforce so if you'd like to find out more about the series it's all there.
In addition, Spent Force had a budget of £0 and you can hear it for free. In order to make more we are relying on listener donations, so if you would like to hear more about Inspector Reg's adventures, there are details on how to donate via the page.
Many thanks, and we hope you enjoy series 1!
I started screenless with Wibbly Rhymes (Volume 1) in October last year, and since then have been working to expand the brand to include a variety of content for all ages. The marvellous eatsleepthink designed the screenless logo with four distinct colours, and each colour represents a category.
There's content on the way. It takes a while for one person to create, write, record, release and promote an audio series, and I am helping this in two ways.
Firstly, I am collaborating on content. I am working with talented individuals who have unique ideas and want to see (and hear) them made a reality. I'm lucky to know such people and it's been fun to continue to collaborate with them.
Secondly, as the budget for these podcast productions is zero, I have decided to open individual series for donations. If you hear an audio series for free via podcast and like it, please consider donating something to that series to help more get made. You'll find donation options on each series page on this website and in the podcast episode notes.
Thanks for reading this far. Next up is a screenless Comedy series, and if you follow in the usual places on social media you'll see details of that appear soon. In the meantime if you search for 'screenless Comedy' in your podcast app and hit the subscribe button, content will magically appear for you.
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All the best
The Sound Boutique heads to the garden to promote kindness and understanding
The Sound Boutique is proud to present Garden Tales (Series 1) by its audio content brand, Screenless.
From the journey of the Buzzy Bumbly Bee as she tries to fetch pollen from the garden, to the Little Bit Lost Ladybird who can't find his way home; this series of short story poems about minibeasts by Gareth Davies will be available first via podcast and then as an album on streaming services.
"The Garden Tales series promotes kindness and understanding, and explores how to accept and celebrate our differences, rather than be scared of them," says Gareth.
You can hear the first episode, 'The Buzzy Bumbly Bee', via the 'Screenless' podcast from Monday 28th January.
Garden Tales marks the second series for Screenless. The first series, Wibbly Rhymes (Series 1), is available now on all streaming services.
Screenless is a new audio content brand from The Sound Boutique. Screenless means high quality audio content with music and sound design; no screen required. Screenless content is released first via podcast episodes and then as albums via streaming services. Find out more and hear previews of Garden Tales at screenless.online
About The Sound Boutique
Founded by Gareth Davies in 2011, The Sound Boutique is a creative audio company providing soundtrack services, audio branding, real world sounds and audio content. For more information go to www.thesoundboutique.com
About Gareth Davies
Gareth has written soundtracks for commissioned TV series, most recently the award-winning 'Scream Street' for CBBC. His music can be heard in ads and programming around the world. Gareth has completed sound design projects for commercial clients, and provided voice over services to companies including Disney and Elemaster.
It's around this time of year that it's natural to reflect on the months gone by, and especially if you run a small business. My year has been, well, unexpected. I started out by doing a couple of voice over jobs, launched Real World Sounds and recorded eight broadcast-ready sound packs, proceeded to make six music library albums, launched an audio brand for kids, did some more voice over and soundtrack work, created a sound environment with foley and voice over for a Ted Talk art installation and more.
It has been very fulfilling. For many creative people it helps to concentrate on one area and develop their skills and networks. For me the wide variety of work this year has been so rewarding, that I know it's the way forward. It's so easy to put yourself into a category: composer, painter, sculptor etc. If 2018 has taught me one thing it's this: it's not for you to put yourself into a category, others will do that for you. My voice over clients don't care that I'm a composer. It doesn't matter to my composing clients what else I can do. I'm known to them for that thing.
My new year's resolution is to keep developing creatively. There are things I have planned that will feed into this, and for everything else my mind is wide open.
Have a very happy New Year and a creative 2019.
The last month or so has been a busy one, with various voice over and sound design jobs supporting the launch of Screenless.
Screenless means high quality audio content with music and sound design; no screen required. You can read all about it here.
When I realised that the final Wibbly Rhyme of series 1 - 'Types Of Plane' - would be released at the beginning of December, it seemed to me to be an opportunity to Christmas it up and release it as a single. I roped in some friends for the Wibbly Rhyme and the single (shout outs are coming, thank you thank you thank you), and it is quite possibly the most ridiculous thing I've ever recorded 🤔
I would like to ask for your help (note the word 'help' and not 'money'!)...it would be so appreciated if you could support this release by doing one, or more, or all of the following:
- buy the single
- stream the single
- add the single to your Christmas playlists
- rate the single
- leave a comment wherever you buy / stream your music
- tell your friends
- share the single on your social media channels
- share this post on social media
- share the release posts on social media (next week)
Like I said, even if you do one of those things I would be extremely grateful, it all helps! If it means the little 'uns spend slightly less time glued to the telly box this Christmas then I would consider it job done.
All the best,
p.s. As a thank you in advance, here's the artwork.
Here's a story of weird coincidence and what transpired.
Earlier this year I wrote an album called 'Strange Emotions' for a new library. When I was close to finishing it I met with Ethan at the library to say hello and discuss potential follow up writing. Later that day I met up with 50 or so other composers for dinner (yes, it happens!), and I randomly sat next to a guy called Mike Holt who, it transpired, had been at the same library half an hour later, having much the same meeting. How weird is that? Wait, it gets weirder, it turns out we had both told Ethan exactly the same thing, that the tracks that seem to perform best are happy clappy, ukulele-filled whistle fests. So we decided to make an album together, and now it's been published.
Now available for licensing (just click on the album cover), this album was 'simply uplifting' to make, and hopefully I'll get to collaborate more with Mike in the future.
Posts by Gareth Davies.