Registered charity no. 1171097

Song Forge

Song Forge is a group of OmniMusic advanced musicians who write music inspired by the proud industrial heritage of Stockport

Smokey City

During the first half of 2019 the group worked very hard on creating six new pieces, which they performed at The Space – a wonderful small arts venue in Old Town, Stockport, run by Disability Stockport.

The piece featured in this video is called Smokey City and describes how Stockport must have been a pretty grimey place in which to live and work in the 19th and early 20th centuries, with hundreds of chimneys belching out smoke and soot. A far cry from Stockport today where, of course, the sun shines every day and it hardly ever rains!!

During the performance you will see and hear many innovative pieces of technology being used – some of it mainstream, some of it highly specialist. Broadly speaking we use the term ‘assistive music technology’ to describe this technology being used.

The percussion track in the piece is made up of pots and pans from the venue’s kitchen, as well as other bits and pieces we found lying around, with which we had great fun banging, hitting and recording during one particular workshop. The group also came up with the words to be projected and played out during the performance, with the projections and audio being triggered by Robert. The sounds of the words are the participants’ own voices recorded and then put through a vocoder.

This is a recording of the first piece the SongForge group played at their 2019 performance in Stockport. 

The inspiration for this piece came from Carol, who wrote some of the words, sang and played the fiddle with a Midi Creator.

This piece opened the concert and we thought it would be a nice thing for everybody to introduce themselves and play a solo so people in the audience could hear the instrument they were playing. Knowing which member of the band is playing which instrument may not be immediately obvious to the audience when specialist sensors and switches are being used!

During the performance we also had images being projected onto a large screen behind the musicians. These images were chosen by the members of the group and reflected the imagery conveyed by the words of the song. Helen was in charge of triggering the images using a wireless switch and did a great job in making sure they they appeared on the screen at the right time during the song!

Helen Alton       – Vocals and Moog synthesiser & saxophone on iPhone (or Sax iPhone!)

Julie Blake       – Vocals and cello on iPad

Carol Boyd       – Vocals, violin on Midi Creator and lyrics

Steven Lidster       – Vocals and Saxophone on SoundBeam

Natalie Reeve       – Vocals and piano

Robert Smith       – Flute on Midi Creator, visuals

Nina Stark            –     Lead Vocals

Doug Briggs       – Keyboard

Andy Boothman   –     Vocals and conductor