Sounds and sights in an online Mesh
Feb 20 2008 by Val Javin, Huddersfield Daily Examiner
Sounds and sights in an online Mesh
Which sound would you associate with Huddersfield Town Hall, or the Lord Wilson statue; from orchestral to prog rock, a new music project is making some entertaining connections. VAL JAVIN reports
Mesh is a new online interactive sound toy commissioned by the festival
IT HAS long been said that Huddersfield is a musical town.
Now the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival has come up with a fun project which lets you log on to the festival website and see and hear just that; a town bursting with music.
Log on to the website and create your own virtual landscape. But as you drag on one of the town’s iconic buildings – Emley Moor mast, the Victoria Tower at Castle Hill or perhaps the stunning railway station frontage, you’ll also get an accompanying sound file.
And some of the pairings might just surprise you.
Mesh – a new online interactive sound toy commissioned by the festival – has used material from 30 diverse music groups from around the town.
There’s everything from classical, folk and jazz music to gospel, funk, rock and samba sounds played and sung by everything from steel bands to big bands and orchestras, from gospel to male voice choirs.
Each sound file that has been created is represented on the website by one of 30 instantly recognisable buildings from the town and the surrounding areas.
The numbers simply add up to a festival which has just celebrated its 30th anniversary.
Drag Huddersfield Town Hall on to the townscape and you’ll hear the strains of Huddersfield Philharmonic Orchestra, one of the many groups for which the hall has long provided a concert platform.
Choose the image for the Riverhead Brewery at Marsden and you won’t perhaps be surprised to hear the rich tones of Marsden Silver Prize Band. The valleys and beyond certainly ring to the sound of brass music and so why not?
Coax Lord Wilson away from his patch outside the station and into your very own townscape and you’ll be rewarded with the sound of a prog rock band from the university.
For a man famously photographed with the Fab Four you somehow think he’d have responded with a wry smile.
The combinations don’t end there though. Bring your chosen image into the foreground of your landscape and the volume of the music it has been chosen to deliver will increase.
Similarly, if you drag it into the background those decibels reduce.
And if you overlap two images . . . well the musical combinations are endless.
Mesh was commissioned by the festival to celebrate its 30th anniversary and is part of its education and outreach programme.
It’s been created in partnership with the university’s Department of Music and Drama and designed by London-based new media creative Edward Hill.
“We wanted to commemorate the festival’s 30th anniversary in some way. One idea was to focus on all the different kinds of music made in Huddersfield,” said Heidi Johnson, the festival’s education and outreach officer.
“We put together 30 sound files from 30 different groups to represent the town’s musical heritage and what is currently going on its musical scene.
“We’ve got everything from Bollywood drummers through various choirs to rock bands.’’
“Some of the groups already had CDs with their work on, but with a lot of them, we went out and made a little recording and that way, we got to meet them.
“The project is rooted in the architecture and the music of the town and makes a point about both the cultural history and the life of the town.”
And that is one of the key aspects of Mesh. Through it, the festival hopes to come ever close to the town in which it is rooted, to share its musical heritage and its future.
“It is another way to do something with the many groups in the town who are involved with music but may not think that the festival is for them. It will let them know a bit about the work that we are doing,” said Heidi.
Those whose music is included on the site are: Marsden Silver Prize Band, Huddersfield Philharmonic Orchestra, samba band Slick Stick Sambastic, Dhol drummers Desi Dhol Vibez, Xylosound, Colne Valley Male Voice Choir, Huddersfield Singers, True Colours Gospel Choir, Hoot, Holmfirth High School Chamber Choir, Holme Valley Orchestra, Holme Valley Singers, Rawthorpe High School Steel Band, North Stars Steel Orchestra, Kava Kava and five groups from the university, its Edges Ensemble, its Prog Rock Group, its Huddersfield Big Band, its South Asian Music Group and the Funk Band.
Edward Hill has created a series of sketchy representations of Huddersfield landmarks which will in turn represent one of the sound files.
There’s virtually every familiar building you could think of including Lindley Clock Tower, Kingsgate shopping centre, Huddersfield Open Market, the Sikh Temple, Standedge Tunnel, Lockwood Viaduct. Byram Arcade, the clock tower at the Tolson Museum and of course, the new creative arts building now being built for the university.
A musical town? Why not build your own and find out? Access Mesh at www.hcmf.co.uk