The quality and nature of a sound must be held within the context of what is heard in the everyday. Using only personally recorded sounds or playing with popular reference material, Robert avoids the imitative quality of synthesized midi. Sound creates a world for us that can feel familiar or new. As in choreography, a merging of what feels unknown yet familiar is desired. A sound designer can trigger the memory of intensely emotional or abstract experiences. They attempt to create a unique world that hasn’t been heard before. Aiming to connect audience members with their aural sense memories a work can be brought to life in unique ways for each person. Robert creates the sound for his own work. He uses techniques such as having dancers in the audience wearing the soundtrack as headphones, wearing portable speakers, running a live mic that hides in the audience to amplify their sounds or creating ambient vibration under the seats of the audience with sound. If you need sound, editing of pre-recorded material or music for a project, please feel free to contact Robert.
At 3, Robert had to sit and watch his sisters take piano lessons. He would learn all of the songs at home by ear. After 4 years of competitive dance as a boy, the family moved to a place without a studio. Robert finally got his lessons and began the journey that took him to York University, studying piano performance and composition. Dancers asked to choreograph his pieces and eventually for him to dance in their works. Early on, Robert collaborated on a piece where sampled household sounds were triggered on a keyboard as a live score to accompany his movement. Possessed & perplexed by the sound, he made an attempt to understand how different sounds would affect the body. This cross-interest between sound & movement fuels Robert’s desire to create & design audio for the stage. He also teaches piano to both beginner and adult students in Guelph.
- the Rooting Project
My sister Christina Kingsbury is an installation artist who works with a lot of natural materials, surrounding ecological consciousness. She created this tree (no, it’s not real), which has paper bark made from invasive plant species. We collaborated on an audio component coming from the tree. It tells the story, in Guelph founder John Galt’s words of the felling of the first tree to mark the city. Christina wrote a text from the perspective of the land that interweaves with her reading of Galt’s perspective. I’ve made the audio component available to listen to here:
- The Dietrich Group's Paris 94 / Gallery
The Dietrich Group presents Paris 94 / Gallery at the Enwave theatre this weekend. I’ve been collaborating with choreographer D.A. Hoskins on composition & sound design this spring. Based on his time spent with David Earle in France, Paris 1994 was originally an abstract almost Cunningham style work for Danielle Baskerville & Mike Moore. A TV onstage played footage shot by D.A. & David in France and the sound score was made up of manipulated field recordings from those videos. For this ‘gallery’ iteration of the piece, each section takes on a different quality of installation. I was challenged to attack the sound on a conceptual and persistent level, as though it were being created to accompany a sculpture or installation. I got to work with the original field recordings, using them to create ambient atmospheres and sound experiences that reference different states of embodiment. Part of what struck me in this process was the totally non-phenomenological job of the sound designer/composer. I had a strong desire to base my sound off of a tangible studio or theater experience. For this process I was asked to finish the sound before rehearsals were to begin. This week I had one hour in the theater to edit and EQ the sound live, in the space it will be played in. Although I am very pleased with the work that I’ve done, I hope to do more ‘site specific’ sound work in the future. So come out and see the show! Check out the Dietrich Group’s new website for details: www.thedietrichgroup.com
- Audio for Jasmyn Fyffe at Dance Ontario
Robert’s been busy sampling, re-arranging and mixing old soul music for Jasmyn Fyffe’s commission for Dance Ontario. The piece goes up at 2pm this Saturday and Sunday. Here’s a sample of the audio work that came out of our collaboration.
- In, With & Of
Danielle Baskerville in a rehearsal of a solo representing my recent phase of interior mapping score-based choreography. The mover references specific peripheries in different combinations, aiming their reaches to the places furthest from conscious awareness. In the theatre, worn speakers project Robert’s piano music. Watch at 720p.