June 30, 2014

Honens Bison Noir: John Cage Revisited

Filed under: Events — Tags: , , , — Kyle Napier @ 4:57 pm

We’re proud to say we set up for the recent Honens event, Bison Noir: John Cage Revisited, at the #1 Royal Canadian Legion.

Outside of this event, Honens is known for hosting their International Piano Competition, a world-famous piano competition in which the First Prize winner is awarded $100,000 and a $5-million budget to develop an artistic and career program. The competition started in Calgary, Alberta in 1991 when Esther Honens donated $5-million to develop a prestigious, global piano competition.

The performing artists for Bison Noir were personally selected by Esther Honens, and flown into Calgary.

Hinrich Alpers, Honens Laureate (2006), travelled from Germany to perform an amazing technical and emotive set on the grand piano at the #1 Royal Canadian Legion. The inspiration for the event, John Cage, had asked Alpers to perform his renditions using a prepared piano.

Alpers set a few different dampers on the piano strings to create the specifically desired acoustic effects.

The second band, Cabaret Contemporain, is described as an “electro-acoustic-techno-meets-acid-house ensemble.” Esther Honens personally requested that Cabaret Contemporain perform in this event after seeing them live in New York.

With two upright bassists, a guitarist, a drummer and a pianist, the group is well-equipped to cover John Cage’s performances. Each of the artists prepared their instrument to adjust the sound in an effort to keep their John Cage renditions true to experimentation.

For example, one of the upright bassists played using a bow, and then created a rumbling bass by dragging his hand forward just above the bridge. To catch these two signals, we ran a microphone to a DI box, and then out of the thru to another DI box. Both boxes ran to the snake to create to two identical channels with one microphone. These channels’ frequencies were then adjusted to catch either the bowed input or the hand input.

The guitarist likely had the most conventional adjustments to his signal – an intricate series of pedals and effects boxes.

The piano was prepared with a variety of specially-selected objects inside of the piano. We placed three Rode condenser microphones around  the piano’s body – one for the high range, one for the low, and the last under the piano to catch the full body.

Pierre, Cabaret Contemporain’s sound tech, travelled with the band from France to Calgary. He mixed using our Presonus 24.4.2 digital mixing console, and the effects rack, allowing for 24 channel inputs and four different effects. While we won’t divulge any more of his trade secrets, Pierre’s mix ended up filling the room, and sounding amazing. The left and right main output came out of four three-way speakers and four subs – totalling 8,000W of fine, prepared experimental John Cage renditions.

We cranked eight Par56 lights up along the steel truss, and placed two light trees on either side of the stage, each with an Intimidator Spot 150 moving head light – visible in this photo as the mauve swirls in the bottom left, as well as four Par56 lights. The computer above the rack is using Q-lights, allowing us to adjust each light on the fly during the performance. The band had requested that the lights not match the pulse of the song, so we exercised a few creative liberties with the moving heads in attempting to match the band’s experimental nature.

Check out Cabaret Contemporain’s video for an example of the John Cage Project.

Public Records video release at the Reclaimed Trading Co.

Public Records hosted the world premiere of several independent music videos at the Reclaimed Trading Co.

They tweeted about it here. We were there, and it was awesome.

The Reclaimed Trading Company has been hosting events here for just over a year. Although the venue may seem a bit obscure at first, it is an absolutely tremendous location with fantastic people.

Margot, the organizer for the event, prepared the videos ahead of time off of her computer. We had to quickly learn a method of allowing Margot to switch between music videos seamlessly to the audience. This meant hiding all of the behind-the-scenes computer action while toggling different videos. So, we used Margot’s extended desktop as a black backdrop screen, and the other as a screen in which Margot would select the next video. This allowed her to switch between music videos without the audience noticing.

John Dough, who recently took off after dropping a bunch of different videos, performed first. As we weren’t expecting live hip-hop, we hadn’t equalized the wireless microphones for performances in front of the speakers, so had to adjust within the split second of John Dough taking the stage. These powerful performers definitely maintained the hype.

We are the City headlined the show, and played a healthy mix of songs with balanced, experimental timing and frenetic energy. It was awesome mixing their sound, and staying on our toes with what the band was going to perform next. We’re stoked to see what city this band will bring themselves to next.

Mikhail Nigay and Kris Benoit, on the left, organized the event on the audiovisual side of the things. We programmed a few lights to wash the stage and highlight some particularly nifty around the shop, such as old road signs and a few reclaimed pieces suspended in the corner of the shop. The DJ had also worked in some real funky beats in-between performances, keeping the placing bumping and grooving between music videos and live performances.

In contrast to how some cooks say presentation makes the meal, this meal here also set the standard for the presentation. You can read about what Our Daily Brett’s blog had to say about the event, but know that the meal was damn awesome. To quote from their blog, they served up:

  • “Shrimp boil with wild pacific prawns, corn, potatoes, grilled red pepper, and chorizo sausage,
  • Buttermilk biscuits,
  • Sriracha popcorn, and
  • An assortment of hot sauces, without which a shrimp boil would not be complete!”

The meal was phenomenal.

That said, the entire event was awesome. We at Calgary Sound Rentals are stoked to have participated in the event, and wish all of the independent bands, performers and film-makers involved good luck on their next endeavours.

To rock and roll and reclamation,

- The Calgary Sound Rentals team.

June 23, 2014

Yoga with Lululemon at the Devonian Gardens

Filed under: Events — Tags: , , , , , , , — Kyle Napier @ 9:01 am

Last week, we helped Lululemon set up at the Devonian Gardens. While leaving the venue three floors below, we were still able to hearthe music from the mix as though it were coming from the mall’s in-house system.

It was a quick setup and strike, with us just having to run two of our subs – alongside the DJ’s – and four of our three-way tower speakers. As with all of our setups, we wanted to keep things clean.

We’d also brought dress kits for our staging, which allows us to keep cleaner cable runs, and leave most of the magic under wraps. You’ll notice in the picture above, the cable being wrapped around the speaker stand for the towers tend to loop in the same direction, so as not to cause magnetic interference between the cable. Power for the subs had run on the ground, while the XLRs were suspended around the wheels.

The yoga presenters demonstrated different ways to improve the balance and strength of their body and themselves in a live performance at the front of the stage, while about 50 or so Lululemon employees stretched alongside.

The venue was great, and the organizers were awesome to work with. They had even wrapped the cable at the end of the event before the strike, which was incredibly helpful.

Stay coordinated,

- the Calgary Sound Rentals’ team.

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