Trondheim Voices is a unike improvising vocal ensemble, artistically led by Tone Åse since 2006. Working with microphones and amplified sound, there is a close relation between the ensemble and the sounddesigner/engineer; the use of reverbs, effects and panning has always been an important part of the musical expression. There has been an artistic need in the ensemble for exploring further how the use of processed voice sound could expand the a capella ensemble sound, and how we could take control over the use of effects in a more flexible way. The ensemble started looking for new tools and methods some time ago.
Tracking the the singer on stage
The system we are trying out in this pilot project is Stagetracker FX, a performer tracking and audio localization system developed for the theatre by the company TTA in Stjørdal, Norway. The system is utilizing hardware and software to track the positions of performers on stage and applying these positions to their microphone signals, automatically and in real time. The result is that the voices of the actors actually ‘follow’ them as they move around the stage. This has been done in different ways in theatres for some time, but the new thing with this system is that it can do the calculations faster and more precise, so that you will not need days of calculations in the concert room. Another, and even more exiting possibility with the system is that the trigging of effects and reverbs can be assigned to spesific areas on stage. In this way each singer gains control over the use of effects simply by moving physically on stage. This open up for several interesting artistical and expressional aspects.
New and exiting elements in performance :
– The connection between the sound and the singers movements on stage
– The flexible use of processed voice sound within the vocal ensemble
– The control each singer gets over effects through moving on stage
– The visualization of choices regarding sound, both for the performer and the audience- through the movements of each singer on stage
These elements are especially interesting when it comes to improvisation, but also as a possibilty for composers that we work with. It also makes the role of the sounddesigner somewhat different, setting up sound-scenarios for improvising will be an important part of the artistic outcome. In this project we are working with well-known Norwegian Sound- designer Asle Karstad, who also has designed our other big projects BINGO!! (2008) and IMPROVOICING (2009). We are also having a great cooperation with one of the developers of the Stagetracker FXsystem, John Torger Skjelstad from TTA