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Martyn Ware of The Human League visits BU

4 May 2012

Martyn Ware Martyn Ware of The Human League gives a talk at BU about his work in the world of 3D soundscaping.

Martyn Ware may be better known for his chart success as a founding member of 80’s super band The Human League, rather than creating art from sound in cities around the world.

‘Building dreams in space: sonic architecture for art business and education’ was the title of Martyn’s talk he gave on May 2 at BU, which explored his move from chart synth pop into the world of 3D soundscaping through his company Illustrious formed with Vince Clarke, formerly of Depeche Mode.

Soundscaping is a form of spatialised sound composition using a combination of natural and environmental sounds, through musical composition and sound design. Soundscapes can also be a performance of sounds that create the sensation of experiencing a particular acoustic environment.

Martyn said “The biggest one I have ever done was the worlds largest 3D soundscape in Palacio di Belles Artes in Mexico City where we merged three giant soundscapes into one experience lasting 24 hours, 12 two hour pieces.”

Current projects stretch from attempting to recreate the exact “aural atmosphere” of The Roman Coliseum as it was in 40AD, to making a sound telephone box alongside 40 other artists for the BT Artbox project.

“Our box will tap back if you tap it, I just wanted people to think about sound…our box will be placed down a side street somewhere in Soho, it will be pointless but fun!”

Other than making sound installations Martyn often gets asked to brand products through sound, like perfume, or even rare diamonds, often to produce sound just “to get people to stay in the shop longer!”

Martyn has hand picked Bournemouth University as a future collaborator in delivering soundcape courses, and talked about his work with Alain Renaud, Senior Lecturer in Music and Audio Technology at BU.

“Alain is very much in tune with my thinking on this subject I thought it would be great to do something here in Bournemouth, and the student population seem very engaged in the idea of sound.”

Students asked the aural composer after his impressive presentation for advice on how one would advance to a position of his talent and influence.

Martyn retorted with an analogy of a West End chorus: “Now to be good in the chorus in the West End you have to be fit, be amazing at singing and dancing, and look good, you have to be good at everything now you cannot just have one skill.”

He also added only half jokingly that, “If I was starting my career now, I would learn how to make iphone apps! My two words of wisdom to students starting out now would be, good luck!”

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