Jonathan Guillen music + sound

Flutes, washboards, and auto-harps, oh my!

I was excited to start the recording process for Minna, which took place in November and December of 2009. I had seen 12 Ophelias: A Play with Broken Songs at Trap Door Theatre and was impressed by its cast, many of whom played instruments live onstage. Two cast members, Geraldine Dulex and Pamela Maurer, had prominent roles in Minna. For Minna, Geraldine and Pamela lent their talents on flute and washboard (Pamela plays washboard in The Barehand Jugband) and along with David Holcombe on auto-harp and Carl Wisniewski on bongos completed the Minna musical ensemble. The cast also recorded all of the screams, jeers, crowd noise, and laughter samples. This was done to create the "disembodied" effect Howard Barker refers to in his stage directions. During the show, the cast would simultaneously vocalize live over the same recorded sound, blurring the line as to what was real and what was recorded (as was experienced in David's auto-harp and Carl's drum playing). Also, I prefer to use a show's cast over pre-recorded sound samples in order create a unique sound-scape and to give the cast a greater sense of integration into the work.
All of the tracks were recorded at the theater on my laptop in Protools using the the M-Audio Fast Track Pro. The Fast Track Pro was also an integral piece of equipment for executing a surround sound design. I created four channel surround mixes (Front Left, Front Right, Rear Left, and Rear Right) in Nuendo, and I used Qlab Pro to playback to four separate channels. The Fast Track Pro has four separate analog outputs which I sent to two separate stereo power amps for channels one and two and channels three and four. And, theoretically, in a square space with speakers at each corner, I could put sound in any coordinate on the horizontal plane. With Nuendo, Qlab Pro, a Fast Track Pro, and two stereos, I successfully created quadraphonic surround sound.

The versions of audio that are available for download at are stereo reductions of the four channel files. Included are musical themes and sound design created for the show. Each sound was meant to be layered upon one another in various configurations, to be repeated several times or played only once. To experience Minna in your own home, download a free version of Qlab or input the tracks into Ableton Live. Or you can play each track in itunes as you read along with the stage play. Regardless of how you experience the audio, enjoy the madness that is Minna.