Thursday, 24 February 2011

Trying and trying and (hopefully) succeeding


 
What do you get if you cross a neuroscientist and a beatboxer? How about an evolutionary mathematician and an electro-pop duo? An art-rock band and a medical physicist? A classical music ensemble and an epidemiologist? A cellist and a cellular biologist? You get Trying and trying and trying – a sci-art-music album that we hope will make you laugh and cry, think and dance.
This project was funded by the Wellcome Trust and involved working with six different UCL bio-medical scientists (Dr Alex Dedman, Dr Sam Tazzyman, Dr Zarinah Agnew, Kara Cerveny PhD, Dr Nandi Simpson and Dr Martin Austwick) to write truthful but poetic explorations of their research, then taking the lyrics to six exciting, innovative and award-winning musicians (birdengine, The 9000, Reeps One, Hannah Marshall, Workers Union Ensemble and The Overdrive Orchestra) and working with them to record six unique new songs. In each, the science feeds directly into the music: one song uses electric guitars to copy an optical frequency graph with their noise levels; in another song about genetic codes, A and D notes are inverted ; and in another, a beatboxer channels an MRI scanner.
This project has been ticking along for about a year (ticking along means trying to arrange the lives of twenty musicians and six scientists so that they coincide at the same time and place every now and then) and now you can listen to the results here:


The launch was at Jamm on February 23, and at it all six acts performed their track (and a couple of bonus ones) live. The whole thing was brilliantly presided over by Wes White who managed to make sense of the project and hold it all together. Huge thanks to everyone who came along - anyone who couldn't make it, we still have some CDs so get in touch and we'll lob one in your direction, and to show you what you missed here's some tasty pics that Myles did make.

Steve from The Overdrive Orchestra on full (charm?) offensive. 

Gethan with megaphone, Hannah with her more refined instrument

No instruments necessary for champion beatboxer Reeps One

birdengine busy breaking hearts - all in a night's work

The 9000 busy breaking beats - see what we did there?

Of sex and yeast - Gethan's grand finale