Sound Art

Recent Commissions and Performances

(click the pictures for audio)

 

DJING AT THE FESTIVAL HALL, SOUTH BANK CENTRE, LONDON

Audio to come!

I was invited to play music for the bank holiday on the terrace of the South Bank, with the London Eye right behind me, as part of Twat Boutique. My selection took in Italo and Mutant Disco and some electronic oddities.

 

TWO ELECTRO-ACOUSTIC COMPOSITIONS COMMISSIONED FOR THE FIESTA DEL LIBRO Y LA CULTURA, MEDELLIN, COLOMBIA

Click to download audio of ‘Fingle Gorge’
The first piece, Fingle Gorge is an attempt to connect with the hidden layers – mythical, prehistoric and Mesozoic in the ancient woodland near my home where I walk every day. All the sounds are made entirely from the human voice, manipulated by various digital effects. It is a part of the overall area of my work which I tentatively call “digital shamanism”. 
The second work, Blackbird, Gulls and Surfer is a poem for multiple voices based on observing sunrise on Teignmouth beach, Devon. All the sounds are made by the human voice. The arrangement combines iso-polyphony with aleatoric techniques in order to mimic the cycles of nature. The link for that is below in the Polyverse section.

POLYVERSE

Polyphonic poetry soundscape (5 mins)

 

Polyverse is a polyphonic poetry choir, if choir is the right word. We write and perform poetry for more than one voice. Everything is spoken, not sung.

Following on from two summers’ studying with Stevie Wishart and Alice Oswald at the Dartington International Festival, we deploy Polyphonic principles from Early Music and World Music in order to better capture the motions and cycles of nature.

Why polyphony? Polyphony is all around us. Nature is polyphonic (just listen to the dawn chorus).  Some anthropologists believe the earliest human music would have been polyphonic. Poetry is meant to be heard aloud and what better way to hear it spoken than to hear two or more poets interweaving, bringing their different perspectives into play and creating mesmerising sound collages. That’s the idea anyway.

Click the link above to hear a sample recording.

 

RITUAL

 

Ritual Techno Soundscape made using natural materials (15 mins)

 

Ritual was performed at Midnight Sun @ Union Corner, Plymouth Uk, 21st June 2019.

This performance was part of the ongoing project I’m hesitantly calling “Digital Shamanism”, where I attempt to use technology to cross boundaries between the natural and human world.

It happened like this: I woke at dawn on the 21st and wrote poetry to capture the moment of the summer solstice.

For the evening performance, I mic’ed up various instruments including a sheep skull, catkins, pine needles, rocks and sheep bones. Some I played across a giant drum skin, others I used contact mics and violin bows.

Click the picture above to see the full performance.

 

THE ASSISI MACHINE

 

Radio play, The Assisi Machine (28 mins)

 

The Assisi Machine explores storytelling through myth, dramatic verse and dialogue. It was broadcast by Radia.fm and syndicated to 21 stations worldwide in August 2018.

The Assisi machine is the story of a machine that can translate birdsong into human speech. The machine’s creator has died under mysterious circumstances and his machine is at first thought to be a hoax.

The drama unfolds through extended drone sound pieces where we hear a machine trying – and eventually succeeding – in translating birdsong. And, it turns out that the birds speak in poetry.

The dramatic movement is not through dialogue or gesture, but through the interplay of poetry and drone music. (Drones are a recurrent theme of my practice, as they force us to focus on change, which in this case drives the drama.)

 

TIN MOTH

Drone piece recorded live at Music Is Murder, Exeter, 2018 (19 mins)

 

Tin Moth is a group of like-minded radiophonic explorers working out of Dartington Hall’s Soundart studio. In the audio link above, we are improvising Drone music using circuit bending and home-made electronics. Our improvs are broadcast live from 1-4 every Wednesday on Soundart Radio.

We are sometimes invited to perform live shows. We have appeared at Islomga Festival of Sound, as well as Music is Murder Exeter.

We, well I especially, am kind of obsessed with drones. They work as realpolitik and metaphysics, which is odd.

First, there is the drone of the sitar or the bagpipes, which Indian musicology says is the sound the universe makes. It may or may not also be the music of spheres, either way, it keeps the world in existence. This drone works busily behind the scenes, just like worker bees, who are also drones.

Military drones work busily behind the scenes. They fight wars at a safe distance on the West’s behalf, ensuring that the capitalist system remains in existence. If the military drones stopped, our world would collapse, just as, if the music of the spheres ended, our world would collapse. Weird, huh?

Sometimes, Tin Moth teach others to make their own circuit-bent dreams in a regular hacking club:

 

Audio Hacking club promo (2 mins)

 PLYMOUTH ART WEEKENDER CLOSING PARTY

 

Video of Drones Over Keyham (2 mins)

Drones are an all-girl Electro-Punk-Art kind of band. We were also ‘fresh find of the week’ on BBC Introducing in May 2018. We have been described as ‘the best band in the Plymouth underground’, which I guess is something.

Drones Over Keyham were commissioned to close the Plymouth Art Weekender in September 2018. We put together a special set, using homemade instruments made from skulls and bones, as well as an 808 Drum Machine and other electronics.