Shopping Mall Recording

Here’s a recent Facebook post from the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, on my 2018 bumblebee recording outside Cribbs Causeway Shopping Mall:

https://bit.ly/2KOmODr

The recording was made as part of the Bumble project, which documents my ongoing search for UK bumblebee sounds.

Thanks to Annabel Lyne at Cribbs Causeway and Emily Sabin at BBCT.

The Mall’s original blog feature can be found here.

BEAST FEaST World Premiere

My latest acousmatic work, Shorelines, will premiere during the BEAST FEaST festival on Friday 3 May, in the Elgar Concert Hall at the University of Birmingham.

Concert time is 19:00 (duration approximately one hour).

Individual and multi-day tickets are available to purchase via the BEAST website, which contains additional info on all concerts and featured artists:

http://www.beast.bham.ac.uk/events/beast-feast-2019-fast-forward-rewind/

I’ll be crewing the event and attending all concerts/talks, so feel free to stop by for a chat.

 

New York Festival Selection

My recently-completed acousmatic work, Deadwood, has been selected for concert diffusion at the New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival.

A full list of selected compositions can be viewed here.

The festival is being run concurrently with the International Computer Music Conference, bringing together some of the world’s top audio researchers from June 16 to 23.

Plans are currently being made to travel to the event. More details, including concert times and venues, will be made available via this blog in the coming weeks.

Bumblebee Sounds

I’ve resumed my long-term search for UK bumblebee sounds, starting the 2019 recording season in Winterbourne House & Garden, Birmingham.

Keep an eye on this blog and the Bumblebee Conservation Trust’s Twitter page for updates as the year progresses.


Winterbourne House & Garden

I’ve resumed work on the Bumble project, starting the 2019 recording season around Winterbourne House & Garden, Birmingham.

A short blog entry on my first bumblebee recording attempt of the year can be found here.

Sounds captured so far include red-tailed, early and buff-tailed queen bumblebee flight buzzes, as well as honeybee and hairy-footed flower bee foraging activity.

I’ll be spending at least two months around Winterbourne, before planning my most ambitious bumblebee recording trip so far.

Updates soon.

BEAST FEaST Festival 2019

BEAST FEaST 2019 is fast-approaching.

The three-day electroacoustic music festival will include the world premiere of my latest acousmatic work, Shorelines, which is currently being mixed and mastered in the Electroacoustic Music Studios at the University of Birmingham.

Most concerts for the festival will take place in the Elgar Concert Hall and the Bramall Music Building’s BEASTdome between May 2 and 4. Student- and standard-rate tickets are available for the whole weekend; individual concert tickets can be purchased at the door.

More info will be posted on this news blog in the run-up to the event.

In the meantime, please feel free to contact me with any questions here.

BEAST_FEaST_2019_emailer.jpg
 

Updated Csound Instruments

Updated versions of all Csound instruments used during the early stages of PhD composition at The University of Birmingham have just been uploaded here.

Please see the accompanying version notes for info on all fixes (just above the download links for each instrument).

More code is on the way soon.

LCAHM News Article

Thanks again to all at the University of Birmingham who attended my recent presentation at the School of Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music (LCAHM) research forum.

Some very interesting questions were raised in the allocated discussion time, opening up some new perspectives and thoughts on methodologies and interdisciplinary approaches.

There’s a short news article about the event here:

https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/schools/lcahm/news/2019/lcahm-research-forum.aspx

Thanks also to Aengus Ward, Andrew Ginger, Sam Kocheri Clement and Isobel Palmer.

Deadwood Premiere

Deadwood — my new, 8-channel acousmatic work exploring the internal and surface sound worlds of a rotten branch — will premiere on March 1 at the University of Birmingham, during the BEASTdome: Headlong concert in the Bramall Music Building.

The concert will feature pieces by Vinko Globokar, James Opstad, Ray Gibson, Christopher Fox, Scott Wilson and fellow BEAST composers, with virtuoso clarinettist and new music star Heather Roche performing.

The dome venue is accessible on the top floor of the Bramall. Doors close at 7.30pm, and duration will be approximately two hours with a short interval. Refreshments will be available near the ground floor entrance.

Tickets can be purchased here.

LCAHM Research Forum

I’ll be giving a twenty-minute presentation tomorrow at The University of Birmingham, as part of the School of Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music (LCAHM) research forum series.

https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/schools/lcahm/index.aspx

All UoB students/staff are welcome in Nuffield G13 at 2pm.

Please do come along to hear a few words about my ongoing Bumble project, and how my PhD research at UoB will interweave strongly with it in the coming months.

There should be some time afterwards for questions.

Exmoor Radio Show Interview

I was recently interviewed on the Exmoor Radio Show about current projects, the craft of wildlife sound recording, and the importance of preserving quiet spots in the UK.

Listen here.

Thanks to Keri Jones.

Code Repository

I’ve just launched a repository page for Csound code used in my ongoing PhD research at The University of Birmingham.

This is the first step in the development of a dedicated research section for my website, which will also feature excerpts from recent acousmatic works, academic papers and more.

I mostly use Csound for non-realtime processing and re-processing of recorded materials, in conjunction with a variety of DAW plug-ins and other effects units. I hope the repository will serve as a useful reference point for other composers, as well as a platform for class-based teaching and informed discussion about exploring sound.

Updates to the repository are normally made every few months following the completion of my most recent work(s).

Constructive feedback and suggestions are very welcome here.

Rivernest

Rivernest is now online:

www.markfergusonaudio.com/bumble/rivernest

In this sixth and final Bumble project entry of 2018, you can listen to the comings and goings of buff-tailed workers in great detail, against the sonic backdrop of the East Water in Exmoor National Park.

Bumble is an ongoing, long-term project documenting my search for UK bumblebee sounds, with scientific and ID assistance from the Bumblebee Conservation Trust.

I’m currently very busy planning the 2019 recording season, with an ambitious trip to the outer Hebrides in the pipeline. Throughout the year, I’ll be travelling even farther to some of our most beautiful gardens, forests, coastlines and meadows in search of that ever-satisfying buzz.

More info to follow in January.

MiniBEAST Session

This Wednesday at The University of Birmingham, I’ll be discussing wildlife sound recording techniques and approaches within the context of my PhD research.

I’ll also be playing some recent recordings and diffusing works by Tom Lawrence and Chris Watson.

The session forms part of the MiniBEAST series of free weekly listening sessions, curated by staff, postgraduate students and visiting guests. Please come along to the BEASTdome in the Bramall Music Building from 11:30 to 12:30 if you are interested.

More info is available on the BEAST website:

http://www.beast.bham.ac.uk/events/minibeast-mark-ferguson/

Cribbs

The fifth Bumble project entry, Cribbs, is now online.

All sounds were captured above a busy vehicle loading bay, just outside the rear entrance to Cribbs Causeway shopping mall in north Bristol.

Bumble is an ongoing, long-term project documenting my search for UK bumblebee sounds, with scientific and ID assistance from the Bumblebee Conservation Trust.

Bees in a Retail Environment

The fifth Bumble entry is on the way: keep an eye on the news feed this weekend for more info.

PhD research at the University of Birmingham is progressing very well. I’ve been focusing heavily on extracting textural detail from a number of recordings, using an intensive processing regime to bring out sonic detail at the microscopic level; the resulting source materials will be used in the composition of my first 8-channel works early next year. More information will follow as my work in the studio progresses.

Tomorrow will see the first of several attempts to record the late-October red deer rut in Exmoor National Park, using parabolic reflectors and remotely deployed microphone arrays.

PhD Research

My doctoral studies at The University of Birmingham have formally begun.

Jointly supervised by Drs. Annie Mahtani and Scott Wilson, my research will focus on multichannel acousmatic composition.

I’ll be composing works exclusively from natural source sounds, drawn from a personal recording library of species, soundscapes and abiotic phenomena.

A substantial component of my research will explore the relationship between sound recording and electroacoustic composition: in particular, how the inherent methodologies of wildlife sound recording inform creative work in the studio, and how intensive, studio-based sonic manipulation influences subsequent work in the field.

Other areas of interest include the broader practice of field recording (and its associated technologies, methodologies, pedagogy and community), approaches to wildlife sound cataloguing and curation, the historical development of wildlife sound recording, and cross-disciplinary conservation projects.

Finished compositions will projected through the University's internationally-renowned BEAST sound system, capable of mounting multichannel configurations of up to 100 loudspeakers and one of the largest of its type worldwide.

My doctoral research is supported by the Midlands4Cities Doctoral Training Partnership (formerly Midlands3Cities), funded by the AHRC.

I’ll be adding new, research-focused pages to this website soon.

Updates to come.