PDAR

The Role of each god within the Court

Each god, or member of the band represents a duality of human aspects which they control.

Marcus – CONTROL / CHAOS

He began life as mortal, but manipulated his way to god of fate status as a bid for power to control.

Ben – SANITY/INSANITY

Malicious and insatiable – The god has no sympathy and little or no regard for anything other than itself. Its’ command of people and fate are little more than amusing distraction from the more taxing parts of its existence. It enjoys toying and playing games, and will only ever cause benefit for something else to remove it later down the line and laugh at the suffering caused by it.

It refuses point blank consequences for its own actions and will often shift the point or emphasis, or lie outright to avoid any negative actions or reactions.

It became involved with the Court due to its innate ability to persuade, put thoughts and ideas in a subjects head in such a way that they believe them to be their own and its lack of guilt in destroying lives. Its ability to persuade is largely how it became involved with the court. After gross exaggeration of power – it merely remains the ability to persuade rather than an actual affect on the sanity of an individual.

It puts untrue pure motives on its unjust actions and often acts as if its unjust actions are such deserved by subjects as to justify it objectively.

Gary Martin – HAPPINESS / SADNESS

One of the earliest gods, easy-going, displaying the simplest child-like forms of emotion.

Reece – DECADENCE / FRUGILITY

Began as a mere mortal, but took too many drugs, lost his mind and decided he was a god.

Rory – LOVE / HATE

Another early god. He represents the extremes of human emotion.

Monday, May 21st, 2012 2nd year, Coroners Court, PDAR, Uni No Comments

The ‘Finished’ Website

www.thecoronerscourt.com

The site is finished as a demo product, though I will continue to develop it if I continue the Court on as a project into next year.

The site contains the necessary elements to sustain the market interaction needed to run a project such as this, and is graphically consistent with the band’s image. However, the eventual aim is to extend the multimedia aspect of the band to the site, and create an interactive (probably flash, maybe HTML5) site, where the audience can interact with the music, and find out parts of the band’s fictional backstory, however this is a goal with a notably longer timeframe than the time allowed by this project, so would have to be taken up next year. As it stands though, I feel the site is a good demo site, for a demo of a band.

The site does have a few issues – a couple of inconsistencies with fonts (as well as the font not quite being right – it gives the right feel, but isn’t as readable as I’d like) and minor layout issues (form spacing etc) which I would like to fix but haven’t had the development time to iron out, I will fix these issues as soon as I am able.

The Coroners Court – Funding

The obvious way to gain funding is through gigging. This would not be sustainable at first, but if we could build enough of a fan base it would work. Album sales are unlikely at the moment, as the live show does not translate to a purely aural recorded format. The music would need a lot of development before we could record an album or EP. Due to the heavily artistic nature of our performance, there may be possibility of funding from bodies such as Wales Arts International for example, to gain funding to enter the european music scene. Another slightly unusual form of funding could come from teaching – as our compositional methods are quite unique, we can give others the benefit of the time we have spent developing the processes. There may well be access to funding for this aim. However it does go against the mythos surrounding the rest of the band’s activities, so would perhaps be detrimental to these other areas of performance. Regardless, A fully functioning live show needs to be perfected to be versatile enough to work in different environments before any of these are viable.

Monday, May 21st, 2012 2nd year, Coroners Court, PDAR, Tutor food, Uni No Comments

Market and Audience – The Coroners Court

As mentioned in the last couple of posts, there clearly is a market for nu-prog in the UK, however, bar a few exceptions, it does seem to diminish the further an artist strays from a ‘pop’ format. The most common way bands get around this is by achieving cult status, it is an unpredictable title, however, and cannot be relied upon in the least – however moves can be made in the right direction to increase the likelihood of being picked up on it, law out enough hooks, and play enough gigs, and perhaps people will bite. Again, this isn’t at all reliable, but would be an interesting social experiment.

Nu-prog does have a certain appeal to older prog fans, and that demographic should not be ignored. There would definitely be interest from the patrons of small/medium band run festivals such as Beautiful Days, and Cropredy, with an older age bracket than many of the larger festivals, and a higher concentration of hippies (hippies and geeks, the mainstay of prog). These festivals are relatively local, and definitely worth applying for slots at.

As for local gigs, Newport is an unlikely area to gain much success. There is a suitable crowd in Cardiff, but it’s very small, and rarely would have enough people to merit booking a venue with a large enough stage for our current performance, unless the floor mat is modified to fit a smaller stage (2 drummers and a large mat is quite restricting really). Bristol, however, has a very large population of the demographic we’d be aiming at, so it would be worth our while starting to gig around bristol to build up a fan base.

Beyond that, there is a larger scene for prog music across a lot of Europe, particularly eastern europe going into russia, if we could gain funding to tour around that area, we might gain success.

Monday, May 21st, 2012 2nd year, Coroners Court, PDAR, Tutor food, Uni No Comments

The Coroners Court – Comparative Projects – Concepts

From a conceptual point of view, there are many other projects that take a very stylised, conceptual approach to music, and many bands that heavily incorporate both mythology and theatrics into their performances.

All of these concepts are possibly most effectively – and successfully – demonstrated by Gorillaz – who are a fictional band, in a fictional world, with a complex fictional backstory, that intertwines with some truth about Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett’s genuine creation of the project. The multimedia approach led to a very different approach to live music, where the focus is fully on the visuals, rather than the band. The fictional story elements spread across several different mediums to the point that at one point, after Noodle (the guitarist) ‘died’ in one of the videos (El Mañana), she disappeared from the (no longer) online tour of the Gorillaz’ fictional studio, and her room started falling apart. There was nothing released other than these subtle hints, and only when a lot of people had questioned it did they say that the death had been ‘staged’ and she was still alive. The questions surrounding the back story have generated a lot of buzz for the band, though it must be noted that there had to be a certain level of popularity beforehand for such a tactic to pay off.

A band that shares a similar theatrical element and mythical back story would be CalatrilloZ I metal band that perform “a tale created by Mr Z, an opera singer who created mix between a band and theater play to tell the story of the Evil Marionettes.” The focus of the band is very much on the story as much as the music itself. The result is a lot of hype about their live shows – the theatrical, visual elements adding hugely to the experience.

Several other bands have adopted this cabaret-esque performance to great success – albiet more often than not, bands with at least a hint of the gothic to them (Though the Court can certainly be said to have that, with it’s performance based around what is essentially a large sigil on the floor). Examples of such bands would be Emilie Autumn, who’s already cabaret influenced show has slowly dropped more and more of it’s live instrumental performance over the years to adopt an ever more theatrical style. Voltaire, the acidental goth. The Constructus Corporation (and many of Watkin Tudor Jones’s other projects, Die Antwoord being the latest) which beautifully combined a musical double album and graphic novel – the second disc being composed around ideas sent in by readers – unfortunately the project self destructed due to a series of unfortunate mishaps during release. Abney Park and The Clockwork Quartet who both explore steampunk narrative themes via the use of music. And more locally, Rogora Khart, a local ‘gypsy rock’ band from ‘Newportograd’ who play up the gypsy image and backstory to great effect and seem to have a steady flow of function gigs in the area, despite (and perhaps because of) their unusual performance.

Monday, May 21st, 2012 2nd year, Coroners Court, PDAR, Tutor food, Uni No Comments

The Coroners Court – Comparative Projects – Music

The Coroners Court is relatively unique in it’s approach to composition and music as a whole, but different aspects of the whole can be linked to other projects that we have either been inspired by, or are just creating work along similar lines.

From a strictly musical sense, the court clearly reflects a lot of classic progressive rock, with its fusion of jazz funk and rock along and sprawling long structures, from the obvious influence of King Crimson, through the joining of rock and jazz in The Soft Machine, to the ubiquitous Pink Floyd and ELP. While these bands are sonically very related to The Coroners Court, they cannot be considered competition, per se. While all of them except for The Soft Machine are still sporadically performing, in some sense, they are really running on remaining momentum from when they were more popular, relying mostly on an older audience – the audience they have kept with them.

There is, however a small uprising in nu-prog, with bands such as Pure Reason Revolution (admittedly very recently disbanded), who hoped to revive the spirit of Pink Floyd and market it at a new, younger generation with electronica and post-rock elements added into the mix. They achieved relative success to this aim, before deciding their journey had run its course, just before christmas. Other bands in the mainstream can be considered as nu-prog, or at the very least rock with certain prog elements, for example Radiohead, MuseCoheed and Cambria, Battles, Indukti (ok, maybe not quite so mainstream, but still fairly popular!)

Monday, May 21st, 2012 2nd year, Coroners Court, PDAR, Tutor food, Uni No Comments

Outline of the Coroners Court as a PDAR project

www.thecoronerscourt.com

The Coroners court as a whole is too great a project for any one of us to take on as a Project Development and Applied Research project, so initially, we split the project between members, with different people dealing with the audio, visuals, concepts, marketing and technology.
I chose to take on a combination of the aesthetic design and conceptual design as the part of the project I would develop, being particularly interested in background narrative in performance and the media surrounding it. Unfortunately, people went off on tangents a lot, and by the end it was only me and Gary working on the Court for our projects.

As Gary was working on the marketing and networking aspects of the Court, we dicided we would both present – as a practical outcome of the unit – a working prototype website for the Coroners Court. For my part, this would give a solid product with which I could demonstrate the graphical and some of the conceptual design for the court, the textual/media content would be dealt with by Gary, past anything that would demonstrate conceptual design.

We started by discussing the conceptual backstory as a band, then I developed the ideas put forward into a slightly more fleshed out story – The Coroner’s Court being a court within a system of bureaucratic gods. Our court deals with the fate of individual humans, and each ‘track’ of our performance, is our method of deciding and controlling that persons life. Our ability to shift between tracks repeatedly within a set represents the intertwining of the lives we control.

Each god represents a different aspect of ‘fate’ – Control/chaos. Sanity/Insanity. Happiness/Sadness. Love/Hate. Decadence/Frugality.

While the Court already had a strong visual image, I wanted the input of a designer to help cement that image into a clear production. Initially I talked to a variety of different graphic designers, from meeting with the Newport Uni Design Society, and discussing setting them a brief for a mini project, to talking to other graphic design and art students. I settled on Livy – an animation student, soon to be switching over to animation, as her style matched the graphic-novel-esque style that I was hoping for.

After a couple of meetings with Livy to discuss ideas, the Court got together for a practice, and he had a quick photo shoot to give her some images to work from. Unfortunately not everyone was in costume, and Gary was missing for the shoot, but time restraints and waiting on a photo shoot from fashion photography that never happened meant that that 1 shoot was all we had to work with.

Livy initially made several quick sketches in different styles, with both ink and paint, and sent them to me; I decided that the simpler, sketchier purely-ink graphics best matched the band’s style – the simple black and white aspect of our floor symbol mirrored in the drawings, and the sketchy aspect referencing our improvised nature as a band. I then asked her to redraw each character in this style, once for each half of their character. I then digitally edited the images to fit the site and make the background transparent.

I continued this ‘sketched’ visual design with the general design of the website.

Initially, the site was quite expansive, but we eventually cut it back to 3 pages, the home encompassing the majority of information, to match with web 2.0 conventions. This meant that we could no longer use the character related to each page for the background image for that page, so I settled on using a random background on each load of a page, with a slight weighting towards my character (as ‘control’ and ‘chaos’, both the random element and the attempt to get myself to show more often matched my character). The random element also alludes to our changing structures in our live performances.

Work Experience – Journal Day 2

9:30 – 11:30

Sit in on finishing the initial mix of Glass Armonica program.

it now just needs 1 last interview, and then enters the final mixing process which takes a week or so.

11:30 – 12:20

Sit in on meeting planning technical practicalities for a radio play with a live audience.

An interesting point mentioned here is that when you’re recording audience sounds, it’s best to avoid putting the microphones too close to the edges of the stage, as the wide stereo image of the audience exaggerates any pocketed laughter – eg. where one side of the audience is laughing more than the other side.

Room areas (doors etc) are taped on the floor to ensure people enter and exit in the same places.

A lot of sound effects are left out live, and added in in post production.

They were discussion experimenting with staging – using lights and props that don’t create sound, though this is very much not the norm for radio plays.

13:30 – 15:00

Finished the Ed Byrne mix from yesterday.

15:00 – 16:30

Sit in on a meeting discussing concepts for a proposal of a series of BBC documentaries on WWI. I found it interesting to see how the system for proposing programs works, and how the smaller companies have to compete to get program slots.

16:30 – 17:15

Crit session/discussion about my Ed Byrne mix.

Apparently I did a much better job than they were expecting, so my mix will be broadcast! Woo!

 

Overall, I have enjoyed the experience, and have gained valuable knowledge on working within Sadie, as well as much better knowledge of how the broadcasting industry operates.

Friday, March 16th, 2012 PDAR, Stuff I've Done, Uni, Work Experience No Comments