1. You Sound Like A Broken Record – Paul Nataraj
The vinyl record is complex piece of black plastic. It is a cultural hobo that holds a dialectical position as both symbol of cultural subversion and the product of the music industry, remaining equally totemic in both paradigms. In being able to sustain such paradoxes across much of the history of recorded music, the record is illustrative of the on-going tensions inherent in music practices and analysis. Through the ethnographic, sculptural and compositional practice that leads this project, I have interrogated the record’s ontological resonances, cultural puissance, and the personal narratives buried in its grooves.
The practice presented starts with people’s personal relationship to this object, and through a sculptural intervention starts to unpack the aesthetic and sonic potentials of the materiality of the ‘thing’ itself. Volunteers donate records for this work and I have recorded an oral history interview documenting their personal stories about the gifted disc, and their wider musical lives. These narratives are then hand etched onto the surface of each disc creating a palimpsest that indelibly connects the owner and object. This practice carves out the enmeshments present in all our musical histories, opening them up for creative interventions that instantiate and highlight the ongoing dissonances between music and its mediation. This area of the work is located in a historicised discussion of the linkages between records, art and music, thinking about the artwork of Cage, Knizak and Marclay amongst others. Further to this I engage in a critical exposition of the notion of and creation of the palimpsest.
As the narratives shared by my respondents are the lead influence on the form of the compositions, in a complex play of objective and subjective space, record, owner and artist share in a temporally dislocated dialogue, played out on and in the grooves of the record and subsequently through the structure and timbres of the compositions. These multimodal translations of form, and the intra-connections between the actors in the respondents stories and the records themselves as sites of resistance and identity formation is framed by the work of Levi-Strauss, De Certeau, Deleuze and Guattari, showing the manifold ontologies of the vinyl record through its ownership and use.
I then use these records as the basis for musical compositions, playing back the vandalised discs and sampling their fragmentary mediations of the original sound. The compositions question commercial sampling practices, especially in hip-hop production and wider dance music forms. My respondentsâ€™ stories are at the core of this work, and it is this relationship which vinyl affords its users, in a very different way to any other format that provides the materials for my artistic interventions to occur. This work apprehends some of the splintered fragments the vinyl records’ heterogeneous ontology from the stand-point of a participant / observer, opening a productive dialogue between industry, user, artefact, artist, music and society.
Paul Nataraj has been writing about, teaching about and manipulating sound for the last decade. Now engaged in PhD research by practice at the University of Sussex under the supervision of Professor Michael Bull and Dr Martin Spinelli, his work enmeshes oral history, composition, sculpture and critical musicology. Paul has a proven skill to bring academic rigour to creative practice that blurs disciplinary boundaries. He has produced award winning sound art pieces during his MA study at Brighton University and has been involved in music, radio and film sound production, having work shown and distributed internationally. Most recently his work has been played on Resonance Extra, Radiophrenia in Glasgow and Radio 3’s Late Junction with Nick Luscombe.
2. Fractured – Jonathan Higgins
Fractured started out as a CD containing 12 tracks of white noise. This CD was destroyed and the resulting sounds recorded to another disk. Repeated over and over, eventually the original sound was lost, leaving only the sound of the process. The broken disks produced a plethora of harsh noise and volatile rhythmic patterns, these were layered and the interaction between them explored. A CD can only be so broken before it is unplayable. Similarly the layers within the piece can only be so dense before they have to stop.
Jonathan Higgins is a composer from Surrey who has recently completed an MA in Sonic Art at the University of Sheffield. His music is often centred around an exploration of the relationship between pitch and noise. He has presented work both in the UK and internationally, most recently at the ICMC (Athens 2014, Texas 2015, Uterecht 2016), Sines and Squares (Manchester 2016), iFIMPaC (Leeds 2016), Noise Floor (Staffordshire 2015), Metanast (Manchester 2014) and Sound Junction (Sheffield 2014-2016). Jonathan received a Jury Award in the 2016 Binaural/Nodar – Viseu Rural 2.0 Electroacoustic Music Competition for his piece Disinter. His electroacoustic remix of Gary Carpenter’s “Neiderau” played by the Tempest Flute Trio was shortlisted for the Nonclassical 10 Remix Contest. Fragments, a piece based on Humpty Dumpty received a runners up prize in the USSS Nursery Rhymes competition. His piece Matryoshka for piano and live electronics was featured in a series of concerts by the Edison Ensemble. Jonathan is currently writing an opera focused around the Berlin Wall that will be performed in July 2017 in Manchester.
3. Tick – Emma Margetson
Tick is a piece composed around sounds of a ticking metronome.
Emma Margetson (1993) is a composer of acousmatic music based in Birmingham and has had works performed across the UK and abroad.
Emma is currently studying for a PhD in Electroacoustic Composition at the University of Birmingham under the supervision of Annie Mahtani, Scott Wilson and Leigh Landy (DMU) funded by the AHRC Midlands3Cities Doctoral Training Partnership. This follows an MA Music in Electroacoustic composition/sonic art pathway (2015); and BMus with honours (2014) from the University of Birmingham. Here she also acts as an assistant for BEAST.
4. Balloon Theories – Dimitrios Savva
I was always enjoying squeezing balloons, pressing them with my fingers until they pop It has not been up until now that I realized why.
Dimitrios Savva was born in Cyprus, 1987. He received his Bachelor degree (distinction) in music composition from the Ionian University of Corfu and his Master degree (distinction) in Electroacoustic composition from the University of Manchester. In January 2015 he started his PhD in Sheffield University under the supervision of Adrian Moore and Adam Stanovic. During his studies he had contemporary composition courses with Joseph Papadatos and Dimitra Trypani and electroacoustic composition courses with Andreas Mniestris, Theodore Lotis and David Berezan. He has attended to electroacoustic composition seminars with Steven Miller, Leigh Landy , Tim Ward, Andrew Bentley and Simon Emmerson. He has also participated in live electronic concerts with the EPHMME student ensemble. His compositions have been performed in Greece, Cyprus, United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Belgium, France, Mexico, Chile Brazil and USA. His acousmatic composition Erevos won the first prize ex aequo in the student category of acousmatic composition competition Metamorphoses 2012 and his composition Balloon Theories has been awarded with the public prize at the composition competition Metamorphoses 2014.
5. Fragments of Reality – Joao
A sound composition made out of electromagnetic waves from a computer turning on. The piece explores sound space as if the listener is inside this digital world of a computer booting up making noises that would otherwise be impossible to listen to. Edited on Avid Pro Tools, most of the sound was left undoctored (with the exception of sound layering and some reverb) in order to maintain integrity of the interesting sound recording.
I’m a 20 year old film student in the University of Greenwich, with an expertise on sound design for film. I’ve been doing voluntary sound mixing for over 7 years now and plan on having a career as a sound supervisor in major films.
6. Radiowaves – Jamie Moulds
Radiowaves is an experimental composition and was created entirely using the recorded sounds from an old and battered valve radio.
Repurposing the radio as an instrument in the studio and “playing” or tuning through the frequencies during a live recording gave the ability of capturing the feeling of an unpredictable live performance.
Some of these recordings were then manipulated and others left as recorded in order to create a combination of drone like gestures and more articulated textures for the final piece.
Jamie is fascinated by retaining the human element when creating works. Currently recording, experimenting and creating acousmatic works that retained some live physical performance element to be created. Working with everyday objects not intended for sonic use, musical instruments and effects pedals to play and create “live” style work.
7. Greyline – Doug Rouxel
The Greyline is the constantly travelling line across the globe which separates daytime and night time. This line across the globe creates a consistent ionospheric conditions along it, which is ideal for very efficient shortwave radio propogation. This composition explores short wave radio transmissions and mimics the arc of the greyline our imagined location tracks from day into night.
Doug Rouxel is a Music Technology lecturer at Staffordshire University and has been composing since he was an undergraduate in the early 2000s. His works explore the spaces between, deconstruct and reconstruct the sounds of space and place and re-present them in a format for listener.
8. Nascosto in Chiesa – Stuart Ankers
All sound elements were created from my own source material consisting of several recordings from various churches in Italy.
The source material was then manipulated using various techniques in Pro Tools and designed into a slowly-evolving textural soundscape.
“Nascosto in Chiesa” translates as “Hidden in Church” The premise being that my source material was recorded and edited at 96kHz and therefore upon manipulation, hidden frequencies and artifacts were revealed.
After graduating from Staffordshire University in 2013 Stuart has been working as a freelance Sound Recordist / Sound Designer in the film industry, working on award winning UK independent feature and short films that have been shown around the world. One of his main passions that stems from his work is recording sounds from everything that he encounters. Designing and re-designing new sounds to add to an ever-growing sound library. Stuarts first acousmatic composition “Adventura Sonica” was selected for Noisefloor 2015 and was constructed using recordings from a year’s travelling throughout Andalusia, Spain. “Nascosto in Chiesa” was constructed using recordings from a months travel throughout Italy.
9. Cross Country Runner – Rick Nance
Cross Country Runner explores the sound world of a single runner along the canals and fields of an English landscape. The sonic transformations largely signify the runnerâ€™s shift in focus between his internal state and the world around him. The sounds shift from fields and bridges towards blood and breath, culminating in a transcendent singularity with runner and environment.
Its formal structure is a meditation on ideas from James Gibson’s Ecological Psychology, in which an organism, embedded in its environment, achieves perception as a result of that interaction.
RICK NANCE is a composer, performer and researcher. He has participated in free improvisation ensembles with surrealists Trans Museq, avant jazz trio PhantomLimb, and the noise improv collective, Liquid Brick. His compositions have been performed in Paris, Pisa, New York, Liverpool, Mexico City, New Orleans, San Fransisco, Birmingham, Alabama and more. As listening is his main focus, deeper listening led from improvisation to acousmatic composition.
10. David’s Run – Brianna Drevlow
Named after the Operation Lifesaver film I watched as a young child about train safety, David’s Run depicts a recurring nightmare I experience where I am being hit by a slow moving train, but I wake up before impact. This piece captures the lucidity of my nightmares and though these dreams are incredibly terrifying, I am oddly fascinated by the strength and beauty of the locomotive that metaphorically destroys me.
Brianna Drevlow began her musical studies at the age of three, studying classical piano and later, added cello lessons. In 2010, she performed at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York, was a featured recording artist with Minnesota Public Radio in 2011 and has performed on tour in Italy and France. Since 2014, Drevlow has been involved in composition. She has won several competitions and her film, “Twenty-Three Words,” received acclaim for its hybrid electronic scoring. In 2015, she was among the top composers in the United States selected to study at the ASCAP Film Scoring Seminar at New York University and was funded as a research scholar. Recently, she was selected as one of the four composers for the prestigious VocalEssence ReMix program in collaboration with the VocalEssence Singers and the Jerome Foundation. She has presented her research on aesthetics and pedagogy at several collegiate conferences. She is currently working on several projects in the fields of media and concert music. Drevlow holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Composition from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota and is pursuing her Masters in Composition at Bowling Green State University on scholarship as a graduate teaching assistant with ambitions to teach at the university level.
11. Just too many words – Lidia Zielinska
JUST TOO MANY WORDS was born from the excess of words in the TV news and comments. How and to such extent it is worth anaesthetising yourself to keep away from the streams of words and at the same time not to miss anything important from the current moment?
None of the events during the day I was recording the materials for my piece, had any importance for this world’s fate, there were an ordinary journalist food, a matter to fill in an air time, thus, an empty talking only. I was not under any historical pressure, so I could handle unceremonious with the recorded materials.
In this piece there is no place for a silence from the ideological (subject of the piece) but also technical reasons. The only moments of silence show that silence is also dirty, seems to be a second-hand product, which discloses an information noise pollution of each piece of environment. For me the only reasonable compositional procedure not to bore the audience was to build the whole piece from the planes of different textures, referring to different ways of speech perception.
Lidia Zielinska (*1953) is a Polish composer. She graduated from the State High School of Music in Poznan, where she studied composition with Andrzej Koszewski. She has worked at the electronic music studios of State High School of Music in Cracow, Stuttgart, Swedish Radio Malmoe, Experimental Studio of Polish Radio in Warsaw, IPEM/BRT in Ghent, EMS in Stockholm, ZKM in Karlsruhe and Experimentalstudio des SWR Freiburg.
Her works have been performed at festivals in many countries in Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand and the Americas. In 2007 she received the Polish Composers’ Union Award for her outstanding and comprehensive compositional achievements.
Lidia Zielinska currently holds the post of professor of composition and head of the SMEAMuz Studio of Electroacoustic Music at Poznan’s Music Academy; she also was a professor in sonology at the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznan (1989-92 and 2001-10).
She has published and lectured extensively on contemporary Polish music, electroacoustic music, the history of experimental music, sound ecology and traditional Japanese music, on the invitation of universities in Europe, Americas, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. She has conducted summer courses, workshops and seminars in Poland and abroad. She serves as a juror, curator, expert and consultant to many musical, intermedial and educational enterprises in many countries in Europe.
For many years, Lidia Zielinska has fulfilled many official functions; she is currently Vice-President of the Polish Association for Electroacoustic Music and (-2013) Vice-President of the Board of the Polish Composers’ Union. She has served as a member of the programme committee of the Warsaw Autumn Festival (1989-92 and 1996-2005), of the ISCM World Music Days in Warsaw, of the Musica Electronica Nova in Wroclaw, as artistic director of Musical Spring Contemporary Music Festival in Poznan (1989-92), Child and Sound international festival in Poznan After the political breakthrough of 1989 she was the initiator and co-founder of the BREVIS Music Publishers (1990), Child and Sound Foundation (1991), music quarterly Monochord (1993), Friends of Warsaw Autumn Foundation (1998), “Zachęta“ Greater Poland Region Fine Arts Society (2004), Polish Society for Electroacoustic Music (2005) and other associations.
12. Voyage Foog, Phat Moog No.1 – Simon Hall
In Summer 2015, Supersonic Festival, in conjunction with Birmingham City University, hosted the Mooglab, a vast Moog modular synthesis system comprising multiples of every unit that the company has ever produced. The system currently tours the world. I spent some time with this analogue monster, setting up and experimenting with patches, and harvesting the often ridiculously unpredictable results. I came away from a very intensive day with a vast array of Moog-generated sounds.
The piece presented here is the first output from my Moog material, and forms part of what will become a larger 47 minute work of the same title. It is, in many ways, quite dark and static, being essentially underpinned by an extended broadly harmonic sequence of drones generated by analogue sequencer driving a system of oscillators, filters, envelopers, delays and resonators. From the drones emerge melodic figures, glitch material and aggressive gestures that meander and coalesce in various ways, the pure eventually triumphing over the dark. It was mixed into 5.1 in the studios of Birmingham Conservatoire.
Simon Hall is a composer based in the UK. He studied at the University of Birmingham with Jonty Harrison and Vic Hoyland. An ex-member of Birmingham Electroacoustic Sound Theatre (BEAST), his compositional interests are primarily, though not exclusively based around electronics.
Stylistically he draws on an eclectic cross-section of sources and techniques combined within the electroacoustic genre. His works have been performed internationally by a variety of artists and organizations, as well as receiving recognition by a number of international competitions and promoters including the Institut International de Musique Electroacoustique de Bourges, Communaute electroacoustique Canadienne and Sonic Arts Network (UK). A number of his acoustic works are published by Warwick Music.
Simon Hall’s non-compositional musical interests are wide-ranging, which is reflected in his variety of work: as well as being an active composer, he is also producer, sound engineer, bass trombonist, and educator. He has worked with artists as diverse as Karlheinz Stockhausen and Heiner Goebbels to Barry Manilow and Johnny Mathis; and organisations ranging from the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, to the BBC Big Band and the Royal Shakespeare Company. He is currently Head of Music Technology at Birmingham Conservatoire.
13. WARIDI – A conversation between the environment and Technology – Esther W Kiburi
Waridi, a Swahili word- meaning flower, is an electro-acoustic soundscape composition that combines elements of electro-acoustic music and soundscape composition and uses the broad spectral map of the grand piano, to further link the two. Just like a flower, the composition blossoms and unfolds revealing a journey through the lush and tropical environmental soundscape of my hometown Nairobi coupled with sweeps of gestural and electronically generated and manipulated sounds. A reverse odyssey of a typical day in my life when I went back for my December Holiday, the composition takes you on a somewhat sound walk of my experiences supported by other environmental sounds and generated technological sounds that further amplify this and give the listener a sense of my reactions and perspective of that particular day.
Esther Wairimu Kiburi is a composer, sound artist and currently a student at the University of Kent studying a masters in music composition. She holds an undergraduate degree in Popular Music from the University of Kent where Waridi was created and conceptualized. She got the opportunity to diffuse the musical work in a electroacoustic concert in honour of Denis Smalley, who was in attendance, 70th Birthday Celebration using the MAAST System (a custom made portable and flexible 40 speaker sound diffusion system designed for the performance of electroacoustic music and research in spatial sound).
Research interests: electroacoustic soundscape composition, psychoacoustics and the audiovisual correlation, multichannel composition, spatial sound.