Perhaps it was the ushers dressed as beekeepers, maybe it was the rustic soundscape on the way into the venue, or that tens of thousands of the principle players weren't actually in the building. Whatever, as live performance experiences go this one looked like it was going to be a bit of a honey. And with TiMax SoundHub dynamic spatialisation, a 15.2 KV2 surround system and layered projection screens there was promise of quite the memorable multi-sensory experience.
Be Play One was an ambitious live reprieve at Nottingham Arts Centre of the Wolfgang Buttress-inspired sound and music-scape created for the UK Milan Expo 2015 pavilion, as part of his massive beehive and meadow installation which sought to highlight the significance and plight of bees in our food chain and ecology. The show played for two nights to sold-out audiences and received quietly rapturous reviews from the likes of the Guardian and BBC6 Music.
Following his involvement in Milan alongside Mike Bedford of Hoare Lee, Out Board director Robin Whittaker designed and programmed Nottingam’s multi-channel surround system for the 12-piece live band reinforcement and immersive soundscape playback and live streams. The KV2 speaker choice was driven by positive results in other sound reinforcement projects including some high level TiMax theatre engagements. He comments: “The EX10s and EX12s delivered exactly what was needed and effortlessly handled the program content without losing clarity or definition. Its great to do what TiMax does best with a system that helps make it work so well”.
The musical content was composed by core members of Spiritualised and various collaborators amassed by installation artist Wolfgang Buttress, including acoustic and electronic musicians plus his own daughter on vocals. The absent but central performers were 30-40,000 bees who’s scuffling, tooting and waggling noises were live streamed from beehives run by Nottingham Trent University’s Dr Martin Bencsik who is a leading research specialist in the field and a central contributor to the Milan project. The bees’ constant activity was visually projected onto the translucent scrims in front of the band whilst the remote audio feeds of their complex hive chatter were immersively wrapped and floated around the audience by TiMax along with some of the music elements. As well as playback and all dynamic 3D spatialisation, TiMax2 SoundHub handled eq, delay and zone level trim for the multi channel system. A separate TiMax unit was in place for the walk-in soundscape.
The Be Play One is scheduled for a repeat performance at London’s Kew Gardens in the summer, when the entire original Milan Expo pavilion will also be installed there for an extended period as a visitor attraction.