Tag Archives: Norway Erasmus Intensive Programme 2013

Another Music Production Project Tracking Completed!

It’s that busy time of the semester again! The time where time itself is running out and the assignments are piled high! Recording projects are wrapping up and are in the final mix stages, essays are full speed ahead and how I wish there were more hours in each day!

Tonight I finished tracking my Music Production Project for semester 4. I haven’t blogged about the production process like I did last semester, so apologies for that! This semester FLEW, I think the Erasmus trip to Norway accelerated that, where does time go when you’re having fun, eh?!

I have been working on one of my own songs for this semesters’ production project. It is a song I started working on over Christmas, inspired by Electronic/Dance music I had been listening to a lot (and still am- I’m also currently enjoying various Dubstep tracks while walking, the Sound City album while driving and Evanescence while running!). I have been writing New Age/Chilled Electronic for a few years now as I really have been enjoying creating music “in The Box”. Logic Pro 9 is my little getaway place!

While I was in Norway I continued working on the piece of music, structuring and shaping the sounds and taking deep inspiration from the emotions and experiences of the Erasmus Programme and the natural beauty of the cold, snowy, sunny, fjord and mountain landscape. The programme was very intense emotionally as I struggled with homesickness for my friends, college, home and family, I felt slightly lost at times as workshops made me close my eyes, look inside myself and think about sound, light and creativity in new ways.

Inspirational beauty in Norway which inspired me
Inspirational beauty in Norway which inspired me
Random sign on my long walk through a Norwegian wood ;)
Random sign on my long walk through a Norwegian wood πŸ˜‰

When I came home I had a draft mix of synths, beats and ambient nature recordings, which I was very happy with. There were only 2 lines of lyrics, which I tracked at home “Close your eyes/What can you see?”. I listened to my mix on the lovely Genelecs in the college studio just for fun and it was suggested that I make the the music into a song, go write lyrics and melodies and think about bringing the song to a whole new level, record acoustic drums and other instruments! Make it my production project! I was skeptical at first as I was rather attached to this piece of music (music for thinking to- as I saw it as), which I composed entirely by myself.

Enter Keith Caffrey. If you have been following my blog, you’ll already know that Keith is like the other musical half of me! He is my songwriting partner and close friend, the music I’ve written with Keith through the years has always had deep, personal meaning and a creative enjoyment I never experienced before. I sent Keith the draft mix and emotional ideas I would love to communicate through lyrics (closing of the eyes, looking inside myself and being more aware of myself yet still feeling slightly lost).

Very quickly the music turned into the song. Keith came down to my bedroom studio and we tracked the entire vocal idea. The lyrics were so deep, personal and emotional, Keith understood perfectly what I had been feeling (as spiritually close friends, there are few who understand me so well!). It was also as if Keith KNEW we had only been studying the art of vocal expression in college, he felt the song should have lots of aspirate on-sets and releases, creaks and shakes.

Keith writing lyrics in my bedroom studio during a late night recording session
Keith writing lyrics in my bedroom studio during a late night recording session

With minor structure adjustments and a guide vocal done (and a huge migration into Pro Tools 10!), the song was ready for addition instrumentation. I’m not going into the nitty-gritty details of my sessions but I recorded drums in session 1, harp, piano and electric guitar in session 2 and female vocals in session 3.

Craig Sullivan on drums
Craig Sullivan on drums

During my time in Norway I made lots of new friends and valuable contacts, Fiona McErlane being one of them. We met in the airport and sat next to each other on the plane from Dublin to London and hit it off straight away with giggles over drinks! I heard her singing in the music performance workshops in Norway and was blown away by her pure, crystal clear, angelic voice. I knew back then I wanted to work with her in the future but didn’t know for what project!

Having the craic with Fiona in Norway!
Having the craic with Fiona in Norway!

I asked her to sing on the project and play a little bit of traditional harp. She was excited about the song and the inspiration of the music and lyrics (she was actually present when I made the recording of the fjord shore in Norway).

So tonight was our final recording session, we tracked lots of vocals and had a very productive session. I was so happy with her performance, she gave it 110% emotionally and technically, she jumped right in with suggestions and gave it her all. I was also happy that I got to finally track using the Distressor compressor (gentle 2:1 ratio) and got to try out the Rode K2 valve mic, it sounded sweet!

Our session was the first official night time recording session in DkIT 6pm-9pm. Yes! Finally! A night time recording session!!! I’m a big fan of working in the evenings/nights (last semesters’ Monday 9am-12pm were not to my liking!). Energies are high, vocals are warm, people tend to be more relaxed in the evenings I find! So please, for next semester, more night time sessions please!

I better go to bed, it is 12:30am now and tomorrow is a new day of vocal editing! I will of course share the song “Close Your Eyes” when it’s mixed. Special thanks to Keith Caffrey, Fiona McErlane, Craig Sullivan, Gavin Clarke for their creative input and help and to my friends for their support!

I’ll leave you with this fun snap from tonights session!

Fiona gave it socks! ;)
Fiona gave it socks! πŸ˜‰
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My Pinhole Photograph of Norway

One of our workshops on the Erasmus Intensive Programme was pinhole photography. I found this extremely interesting!

After a talk about the history of pinhole photography and what it actually is, we were given little tins with a pinhole in them, in the darkroom we slipped our special photography paper inside carefully and covered the top with black paper and tin foil and covered the pinhole with one finger before emerging into the light.Β It’s important not to let the light through at any point before you decide to take your photograph because it will ruin the paper.

We were invited to step outside and take a photo of something we liked. It could be a building on the campus, a tree, the water, a person, a self portrait…

The photo below is my second attempt (I overexposed the first photo and shook the tin slightly first time around!). I found this lovely spot after crossing a little wooden bridge in the forest, I placed the tin on a rock, sat beside it and enjoyed 2 and a half minutes of stillness, peace and serenity. The only sound was the lapping of the water on the shore. I’m pleased with the photo, it looks kind of spooky which is cool because the earlier workshop that morning was the ghost/sound massage workshop!

We were allowed to dip the photograph in the 3 trays in the darkroom ourselves after been shown how to let the fluid wash over the paper in the first tray etc. This was really cool!!! The photos were hung to dry, put through a machine after that… When they were fully dried, we scanned them, popped them into Photoshop and inverted the colours.

Hope you enjoy my pinhole photograph!

Pinhole photography by me :)
Pinhole photography by me πŸ™‚

My Weekend in Bergen, Norway :)

Apologies for not being online properly over the weekend! I was partying hard! Lol, not really, just had a poor internet connection in the hostel, I just about had enough connectivity to keep in touch with my loved ones back home! We’ve just arrived back in Leirvick, Stord tonight and I’m sharing the hotel room with Amy my classmate which works out perfect for us both! πŸ™‚ So I thought I should write about the highlights of the weekend and share some photos and audio.

Friday morning was slightly manic! We woke up late! We rushed to pack our suitcases and eat a small breakfast, saying goodbyes and thank you’s to our wonderful hosts who took such excellent care of us last week in their home. We were supposed to meet the IP students at 8.45am but we managed 9am, lucky for us, they hadn’t left for Bergen yet! πŸ˜‰

The sun was shining and the sky was clear, the sights really were amazing on the bus journey to the ferry. “OOOOH”s and “oh my god”s were exclaimed as we passed the many lakes and the sea with their beautiful reflections.

We made it to the ferry in good time and we all excited boarded, armed with cameras! I was delighted that it was such a beautiful day to go on the ferry, I couldn’t wait for the views.

Norway
Norway
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Heaven

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I like the ferry :)
I like the ferry πŸ™‚

After the ferry we got the bus to Bergen. The 2 hour journey didn’t seem to be half as long as when we first arrived arrived last week!

Straight away we went to the Grieg Academy where there was a presentation Β by masters students and lecturers, it was really interesting. We also performed for them- a sound massage and visual performances. I recorded the sound massage on my Zoom, listen to it below (don’t forget your headphones!):

After this our activities for the afternoon were cancelled because of the beautiful weather! The lecturers agreed that the sunshine was rare and felt it was important that we explored Bergen for ourselves a day early! Myself, Amy and Alex headed off for lunch and a walk around Bergen. Lunch was a warm salmon sandwich from a cafe on the harbour, very tasty!

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Yoga on a frozen lake! ;)
Yoga on a frozen lake! πŸ˜‰

IMG_0240We all met up in the evening for a delicious dinner in the Pasta Sentral restaurant. The atmosphere was great. I went for a walk afterwards and enjoyed the beautiful sights, listening to music and exploring the shops which were opened late.

Bergen by night
Bergen by night

I had another restless night, I fell asleep around 7am, but I watched the snow fall from 4am. Very beautiful…

At 9am I was awake and headed out on my own, feeling the need to be with my thoughts, I was actually feeling really homesick! I did some souvenir shopping and found the Floibanen- the train which goes straight up the mountain! I hopped on and was amazed…

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IMG_0298I thoroughly enjoyed my long walk in the forest which I mentioned in yesterday’s brief blog…

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the stream where i slipped on a rock and fell on my arse lol
the stream where i slipped on a rock and fell on my arse lol
walking down the mountain..
walking down the mountain…

I managed a good sleep last night, not just because of the long mountain walk down (no map… lol) but I realised sleeping with earphones in is a great idea! I fell asleep after 5 minutes of dubstep πŸ˜‰ I never woke once which was amazing considering 5 other girls came into the room at 4am after partying!

Up and checked out 10.30am this morning, the snow was coming down heavy. Myself and Amy headed out for a quick walk, we came upon an orienteering event in the centre, runners were sprinting around the city with maps in their hands as fast as they could… I never heard of this sport before!

Amy loves the snow :)
Amy loves the snow πŸ™‚
go!
go!

We met the rest of the group at 1.30pm and we attended the open rehearsal of an Italian opera.. it wasn’t what I expected at all and I was very pleasantly surprised! There were 6 musicians on stage yet the sound was huge, I was confused for most of it, what sound was “real” and what sound was tape?! I loved it! Even though it was in Italian and there was no translations of the text, the emotion was easy to follow and I hit the nail on the head with my confusion as to what was real and what was not because it was supposed to be like this!!! I would say the finial production will be superb!!!!

Legged it to the bus and we caught the ferry back to Stord and arrived at the Grand Hotel Lervick in the evening. We’re all resting and preparing for the final week of workshops and performances.

Photos will be uploaded tomorrow of the opera….

Norway Adventures! Boats, Ghosts and Statues :)

Yesterday we had a tour around Kvaerner, the biggest oil rig on the planet! It was really interesting! The tour guides were so nice and welcoming, they even gave us gifts of fruit and 4GB USB sticks! Sooooo many people work there!

After this I had some free time to shop and walk around Leirvick town centre!

Loved this!
Loved this!
Leirvick at the harbour
Leirvick at the harbour
I enjoyed looking at the boats in Leirvick harbour
I enjoyed looking at the boats in Leirvick harbour
Shoppers! Tim from Belgium, Emma from Dundalk IT and myself :)
Shoppers! Tim from Belgium, Emma from Dundalk IT and myself πŸ™‚

After that we had a great museum trip! We visited Sunnhordland Museum, there we carved our very own key-holders like the ones used in the old days (travel was mainly by small boat! so if a person dropped their key into the water, it would float!)

Making the key-holders :) we keep them now :)
Making the key-holders πŸ™‚ we keep them now πŸ™‚
DkIT students proud of their finished key-holders!
DkIT students proud of their finished key-holders!

We also reconstructed a boat like this, sang a boat building song and learned the names of the parts in Norwegian! Here my recorded audio below!

build the boat
build the boat
finished!!!!! lets set sail hehehehe
Finished!!!!! lets set sail, hehehehe

We had a quick tour of the rest of the museum which was about living standards in ye olde Norwegian times!

Traditional outfits from different regions of Stord
Traditional outfits from different regions of Stord
Very pretty
Very pretty πŸ™‚
Typical old Norwegian house
Typical old Norwegian house
Leirvick
Leirvick

The rest of the evening included deep, reflective discussions about what has inspired us the most about our trip so far and a lovely salmon dinner.

Today we had more intense workshops and beautiful weather! It’s much colder today, about 1 degree Celcius but the scenery is very beautiful. The college campus goes right to the shore and has a lovely forest walking trail which I got to explore πŸ™‚

The first workshop was sound massages! What is that?! Basically we made various sounds while walking around a bunch of students with their eyes closed… we were pretending to be ghosts! It was fun and very interesting! We also played a game called Statues and Ghosts, where half the group became statues and had to mimic the movements that the ghosts displayed to us! I made most of my statues hold Yoga poses, hehehe! This was also great fun. After that we told ghost stories.

There is a ghost story belonging to the college. The college is over 170 years old, when it was first built, a man with strict beliefs ran the institute. He believed in proper living, no drinking, no babies outside of wedlock, etc. When the college was running about 5 years or so, there was a young student who got a local girl pregnant. The dean was appalled and expelled the young man straight away, telling him to never return. The young man could not understand this and felt he did nothing wrong, but nonetheless he rowed away (transport as I mentioned earlier was by rowing boat). But the next day he came back, desiring to continue his education. The dean saw him rowing and went to meet him at the shore. Many boys saw the two in deep argument but no one ever saw the young man again. It is said perhaps he slipped into the water or something more sinister happened. No one ever found out. The child was born soon after and when he was old enough, he asked his mother where his father was. She told him that he was rowing to the college every day and there, the boy waited in hope every day…

Sad story!

The shore
The shore
Deep sorrow
Deep sorrow
The path leading to the campus
The path leading to the campus
College
College
The harbour to the college
The harbour to the college
Sunshine
Sunshine

Inspired by this ghost story, we created a short film and recorded live audio using musical instruments non musically. Very interesting experience!

The next workshop was pinhole photography. We learned how to use a pinhole camera and the history of this art form. We were then invited to walk around the campus and take photos, exposure time was 2:30 minutes because of the bright weather. I haven’t got the scanned photo here but I will share it as soon as I can! This very interesting also for me!

The rest of the evening we spent preparing for our performance in Bergen tomorrow! We will spend the weekend there and return to Stord Sunday night for more intensive workshops and preparations for our final performance next weekend.

Snow!
Snow!
Pretty
Pretty