26 Feb 24

Artist interview: The Fleet - Jason Singh

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Jason Singh

This March, sound artist, nature beatboxer and composer Jason Singh performs his live soundtrack to John Grierson’s monumental silent documentary film Drifters.

What initially drew you to agreeing to soundtrack Drifters (1929)? What do you love about this film? / what is special about this film?

It was actually an out of the blue (no pun intended) request from the BFI. They asked if I would be interested in creating a soundtrack to a silent film. It felt like a challenge and I said yes. The BFI sent me a copy of the film and after watching it through once, I fell in love with it. I loved the pace of the film and the graphic struggles of the fishing communities. There was also so much joy and togetherness. Yep, it felt epic! It’s a film that still speaks today in terms of the movement of people, climate change, technology, economics and the effects of capitalism.

Can you tell us a bit about your creative process and the vocal techniques and effects that you use for this soundtrack?

I wanted to create something which was generated entirely by the human voice. Drifters is a silent film and I wanted to somehow give voices to the people, place, fish, technology. So I sample my voice by recording it into machines and then processing it. I also layer my voice to create rhythms, melodies, textures and sound effects. Everything is created vocally and enhanced using music technology.

What makes you excited about performing this soundtrack live?

That it’s mostly live and improvised. I am not only responding to the images but also the venue and the vibe of the audience. We are all in it together. Pretty much like the film.

How would you sum up the live show experience and the sounds the audience will hear? What’s your kit set up?

It’s subtle and also intense. Audiences can expect to hear the sounds of machines, the sea, birds and whole manner of music genres and vocal sound effects.

My kit set up is pretty simple. It comprises of a reverb unit, loop station and sampler for live processing.

What are you most looking forward to about touring this project to village halls and smaller venues in the South West?

Meeting new people and sharing an important piece of art that documents the life and struggles of communities that moved around the country and the sea.

As part of this project, you’re running beatboxing and electronic workshops for Year 7s and 8s across the South West. What would you like the students to take away from the workshop and live show?

That they don’t need expensive equipment to be creative. They have incredible potential within themselves and they are able to access it when shown a few techniques.

Tour dates

Opening each performance, landscape writer, Sarah Acton presents a newly commissioned piece. Weaving ghostly fragments of the south west seine fishing heritage alongside atmospheric visuals by Common Ground, Sarah and local guest artists Emily Burridge (Dorset), Julie Macara (Cornwall) and Becki Driscoll (Devon) premiere new poetic and musical work Seiners.

Image credits:
Jason Singh, credit Julian Fraser
DRIFTERS (1929) dir John Grierson, film stills - Courtesy BFI
The Fleet project image, IWant Design


23 Nov 23

Sound Generator: Spotlight on Caitlin LM

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Sound News

A photo of Cailtlin LM.

Sound UK’s artist development programme, Sound Generator, supports early career artists and the work they present.

In this series of Spotlight interviews, we find out more about the artists on our 2023 artist development programme, delve deeper into their Sound Generator project and discover what the process has meant to them.

This week, we talk to Caitlin LM.

Caitlin LM is an electronic producer, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist from Manchester.

Please tell us about your Sound Generator project. What is it and where did the initial inspiration come from?

This project is a musical guided mushroom forage/funghi exploration. Recently I’ve become really interested in the world of funghi and how funghi interact with our world, and there is so much to learn, it’s fascinating. So I was really excited to create an immersive music and funghi experience in response to this!

How has your idea developed during the programme so far? And what have you learnt?

It’s been really exciting looking at how it would work practically - I want the project to be partly outdoors, so alongside thinking about how I am responding musically, I have also been looking at how this actually works!

What has this opportunity meant to you?

As an independent artist, there’s often a lot of pressure to have things finished and ready, but there are so many components to creating work, and so much development that people don’t see. It’s such a huge relief to be given the time and space to develop things at a pace that feels right.

Has it helped you to develop your creative practice? If so, how?

I’ve learnt a lot about field recording, and I’ve started to experiment with lots of ways to incorporate sounds from nature into my music!

Who are your key artistic influences for this project?

I’m really inspired by artists who use nature either as inspiration or literally use recordings as part of what they do. Jon Hopkins’ ‘Music For Psychedelic Therapy’ comes to mind in particular, as his use of nature not just in terms of recordings but also as spaces for sound processing is really exciting.

What have you been listening to recently? Any new music recommendations?

Redivider by VLMV is on repeat for me at the moment! Incredibly soothing and beautiful, a gorgeous cross over between production and live instrumentation.

What are your hopes for this project? How do you see it developing beyond this initial 6-month award?

I’m hoping that I can secure funding to develop the whole project and take it on for a run of shows as part of a rural tour, which will also include foraging and talks about funghi.

Photo credits: The pictures are all from the guided forage I went on with David Winnard of Discover the Wild - a local funghi expert who took me round for the day and introduced me to all sorts of weird and wonderful specimens. 

We look forward to sharing more details about Caitlin LM's Sound Generator project as it develops. Visit Caitlin's Instagram and follow to find out more about her work.

Sound Generator is Sound UK's artist research and development (R&D) programme that supports early-career artists and seeds the development of an ambitious new project. Following an open call, a panel of leading figures across contemporary music, chose six early-career artists working at the forefront of sound and music.

Sound Generator supports artists in the first 5-10 years of their career. Over the six month programme, they each receive mentoring by a range of professionals to develop an innovative project ready for showcasing to the industry.

To be the first to hear about our latest projects, news and artist interviews, join Sound UK's mailing list and follow us on social media.


23 Nov 23

Sound Generator: Spotlight on Heledd C Evans

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Sound News

Photo of Heledd Evans.

Sound UK’s artist development programme, Sound Generator, supports early career artists and the work they present.

In this series of Spotlight interviews, we find out more about the artists on our 2023 artist development programme, delve deeper into their Sound Generator project and discover what the process has meant to them.

This week, we talk to Heledd C Evans.

Heledd C Evans is an artist and facilitator based in Cardiff, working with sound as both medium and subject matter – from site specific installations and performances, to multi-layered soundscapes.

Please tell us about your Sound Generator project. What is it and where did the initial inspiration come from?

In Spring 2023 I had been part of a project, Organ@Soar with Ty Cerdd and Theatr Soar in Merthyr Tudfil, where 6 composers/sound artists were commissioned to create a new work for the recently restored mechanical organ in the Theatre, which was then performed by James McVinnie. It was such a wonderful project and gave me a lot of direction in my practice, in that working with acoustic instruments and exploring ways of composing is something I really want to pursue.

I found the organ so fun and accessible to work with, which surprised me as I didn’t think it would be. Organs are essentially the first synthesizer – you can create a whole orchestra of sound with just a few buttons. But not many people have access to them, be it by physical barriers (like not having open access to an organ), or a lack of confidence and know-how from no musical training or experience. I really wanted to share the organ with more people, especially in Merthyr Tudfil where the mechanical organ is at Theatr Soar, so my project stemmed around finding ways of connecting people with any range of musical experience to the organ and what it can do.

My project follows Community Music Wales’ creative model of community music – that creativity is a human right, but not everyone has the support needed to exercise this right. Finding ways to create and facilitate creative outlets that are accessible and engaging for people is vital for wellbeing, and what I wanted to achieve ways of working with through my Sound Generator project.

How has your idea developed during the programme so far? And what have you learnt?

Ideas always work very differently in real life to in your head, so having the time to try them out and learn this has been very useful! Creating my own composition tools like key weights (to hold notes down) has been a difficult process, but I now know what sort of shapes work well and how to make them. I’ve also experimented with simple text scores and game-like instructions for how to use these composition tools, and it’s been very valuable testing them out myself and with others to reflect on how they work.

What has this opportunity meant to you?

It’s been wonderful to have extended, unpressured time to work through ideas without the demand to create a final outcome simultaneously. It’s also created the space to equally balance the importance of research and developing with creating, and helped me to understand the role of research in my creative practice as a whole. The mentoring especially has been invaluable to help me achieve this, as well as logistical advice and support from the sound generator team.

Has it helped you to develop your creative practice? If so, how?

This time has helped me to identify and separate different facets of my practice between making art for ‘arts’ sake’, and my practice in facilitation and engagement and a connector of people and ideas, which has been extremely helpful to my process.

Who are your key artistic influences for this project?

I really admire my mentors, Claire M Singer and Kathy Hinde for their invaluable advice and ideas, and how they work with communities in their practices. Exploring fluxus scores and games, as well as deep listening practices from Pauline Oliveros as well as been an integral part of the project.

What have you been listening to recently? Any new music recommendations?

I’ve been to some great gigs recently - I saw Fiona Monbet perform a new orchestral commission, which was amazing! I’ve been loving her album Maelstrom since, especially her track Cantus Carminis. I heard Brìghde Chaimbeul perform at Hidden Notes festival recently as well, and have been listening to her albums non-stop since!

What are your hopes for this project? How do you see it developing beyond this initial 6-month award?

I hope to create more physical composition tools from the natural surroundings in Merthyr and host formalised events to bring different groups to the organ and get people making music! The main aim is to connect people to the organ and sustain relationships with it, from people who currently have no musical outlet, to artists working across different mediums! I would also love to finalise a body of work I have created for this particular organ through a printed score and recording, to mark my time working with this instrument.

We look forward to sharing more details about Heledd C Evans' Sound Generator project as it develops. Visit Heledd's Instagram and follow to find out more about her work.

Sound Generator is Sound UK's artist research and development (R&D) programme that supports early-career artists and seeds the development of an ambitious new project. Following an open call, a panel of leading figures across contemporary music, chose six early-career artists working at the forefront of sound and music.

Sound Generator supports artists in the first 5-10 years of their career. Over the six month programme, they each receive mentoring by a range of professionals to develop an innovative project ready for showcasing to the industry.

To be the first to hear about our latest projects, news and artist interviews, join Sound UK's mailing list and follow us on social media.


17 Nov 23

Sound Generator: Spotlight on Chizu Anucha

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Photo of Chizu Anucha. Photo by Julia Bauer.

Sound UK’s artist development programme, Sound Generator, supports early career artists and the work they present.

In this series of Spotlight interviews, we find out more about the artists on our 2023 artist development programme, delve deeper into their Sound Generator project and discover what the process has meant to them.

This week, we talk to Chizu Anucha.

Chizu Anucha is an audio-visual artist working with music and its relationship to the moving image. Their practice meets at the intersection of music composition, video and site-responsive performance.

Please tell us about your Sound Generator project. What is it and where did the initial inspiration come from?

The project – may the townspeople rejoice! huzzah!! – is an audiovisual botanic flower bed of music, ambient sound, video and writing that centres black and indigenous POC perspectives through the lens of spiritual practices, beliefs and rituals.

I’m inviting a group of creative practitioners to explore notions of ancestry, belonging, the collective voice, healing, pleasure and desire in response to a series of prompts.

It was initially inspired by a radio series called Two Way Dreaming. One edition of the series centred a conversation between black practitioners who spoke quite intersectionally and academically about nuanced experiences.

It was soundtracked by a mix of ambient, RnB and experimental music and this format of communicating ideas really resonated with me. Sort of part-podcast, part-music mix. It's so simple and just made a lot of sense.

may the townspeople rejoice! huzzah!!, 2023, collage of video stills.

may the townspeople rejoice! huzzah!!, 2023, collage of video stills.

How has your idea developed during the programme so far? And what have you learnt?

I started with a very strong intention to relearn the bass clarinet. It feels good knowing I have access to a woodwind instrument again, because without Sound UK's support I'd never have considered it to be realistic for me.

I've had a bunch of studio visits and mentoring with people I really admire. I've had conversations I never thought I'd have with people and I feel like my eyes have widened so much.

To the sound and music elements of the work, I've introduced video as a natural progression of this language and I'm looking into coding. I'd like to not pigeonhole the project into a film or installation so I'm looking into coding to see how it could maybe exist as a website or experiential archival database.

I'm growing more comfortable in embracing vulnerability in my work. The subject of it is deeply personal and it's sensitive, so there's a lot of trust involved in taking people's responses.

People have been so generous with what they have shared and with their time - so there's a responsibility to honour them with further work that does justice in service to what they have offered to it.

I'm accepting chaos and uncertainty and letting that inform and guide the work as opposed to adhering to rigid milestones I set for myself or for contributors.

What has this opportunity meant to you?

It's meant that I can freely experiment and fail. Normally there's no room for failure and there's a strong expectation to produce a material outcome.

Having this kind of support is huge for me because there's a level of trust that has been granted to just do what I want to do and pursue genuine curiosity. To have that accepted and genuinely valued means a lot.

Has it helped you to develop your creative practice? If so, how?

Just generally in my practice and in my life, I'm much more clear in what I want to do and how I want to go about doing it.

I feel much less uptight and rigid about things, whereas before I felt quite hardened by the art world and the competitive nature of the music industry.

I took it all really seriously and thought of things quite hierarchically. Now I feel warmer and more open to chaos, failure, rejection and these inevitable things I'd try to avoid completely.

It's a feeling I can't unfeel. I feel like I'm seeing something other people saw years ago and I'm quite new to it.

may the townspeople rejoice! huzzah!!, 2023, Video still..

may the townspeople rejoice! huzzah!!, 2023, video still.

Who are your key artistic influences for this project?

Going back to the feeling of being offered support and time which has given me more headspace and a feeling of trust. I feel softer in the mind and in my body and I hope it's reflected through a way of working which is new for me.

I'm allowing a lot of good habits, routines, departures, stillness and more running and cycling to influence my thinking and energy.

Some video art on Eternal Family TV: a comedy series by Simple Town called Livestock; and part documentary, part experimental fiction, La Roche.

Strong influences are so vast and can't really be pigeonholed. I listen to The Early Bird Show on NTS and the Breakfast Show pretty much everyday.

I'm a massive fan of The Blindboy Podcast, and recently there's been a lot of knowledge sharing surrounding Greek and Irish mythology and how they intersect with simulation theory. Also a lot of Limmy on Twitch too - he helps me do admin.

What have you been listening to recently? Any new music recommendations?

Some of my favourite music over the last couple of months has been:

- Slauson Malone 1 - Jasper Marsalis is my favourite artist alive today. No question. Multi-disciplinary magic.

- Tara Clerkin Trio - they always soundtrack the nights I'm on tour and I blissfully wander around cities at night.

- KMRU - I saw him at Sonica in Glasgow recently and that was a real highlight of the year.

- Headache - their album with Vegyn is perfect for riding around the city on your bike at night time :) very surreal, dark, funny spoken word over ambient flangey, wobbly beats. Stunning.

- Chanel Beads - they have a song called Ef that I always listen to halfway and restart, then repeat about 2-3 times and then queue again as a treat for later.

- Sessa - they had a really good show with Zakia on NTS which put me onto them and resparked my love of Brazilian guitar music, sort of psychedelic bossa nova. It's really beautiful.

- underscores - simply great for thrashing.

...and then lots of stuff on the radio.

What are your hopes for this project? How do you see it developing beyond this initial 6-month programme?

I'm developing it into a linear video at the moment, just as a way to communicate it in a way that makes the most sense for the elements that make it up.

I'm taking it to a residency in southeast France at the beginning of 2024 for about 8 weeks so I'm interested in how this same methodology will translate in Nice. I'll take a music kit and a couple of miniDVs and just keep making.

I'm interested in archival and anecdotal research of black experiences within the institution I'll work from; social movements documented on video and through sound; and in built environment structures and architectural/landscape design. The way that this work can sit in those contexts is really exciting to me.
___

We look forward to sharing more details about Chizu Anucha's Sound Generator project as it develops. Visit Chizu's Instagram and follow to find out more about their work.

Sound Generator is Sound UK's artist research and development (R&D) programme that supports early-career artists and seeds the development of an ambitious new project. Following an open call, a panel of leading figures across contemporary music, chose six early-career artists working at the forefront of sound and music.

Sound Generator supports artists in the first 5-10 years of their career. Over the six month programme, they each receive mentoring by a range of professionals to develop an innovative project ready for showcasing to the industry.

To be the first to hear about our latest projects, news and artist interviews, join Sound UK's mailing list and follow us on social media.


03 Nov 23

Sound Generator: Spotlight on Marco Woolf

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Photo of Marco Woolf. Photo by Stewart Baxter.

Sound UK’s artist development programme, Sound Generator, supports early career artists and the work they present.

In this series of Spotlight interviews, we find out more about the artists on our 2023 artist development programme, delve deeper into their Sound Generator project and discover what the process has meant to them.

This week, we talk to Marco Woolf.

Malawian-born musician and storyteller Marco Woolf’s work has been described as light, complex, rich and immediate, swarming with micro-details that multiply with each new listen. He creates layered music with a deepened sense of narrative through improvisation and stories.

Please tell us about your Sound Generator project. What is it and where did the initial inspiration come from?

Stories play a huge role in the music I make and the way I present it, and I’m always seeking to expand the role that stories play in my work.

Recently, I have been working on a new body of work that explores the theme of how communities heal from collective trauma. For this project I wanted to incorporate dance/movement in my work.

My Sound Generator project is exploring two things; firstly, the different ways that dance can influence my performance and songwriting and secondly, how I can take my music and this new performance out of traditional music venues and into community spaces.

Sara Marques warming up for an exploration session focusing on how movement can influence the texture of the music/sounds we make. Featuring Carmel Smickersgill on acoustic and electronics and Manon McCoy on lever harp.
Sara Marques warming up for an exploration session focusing on how movement can influence the texture of the music/sounds we make. Featuring Carmel Smickersgill on acoustic and electronics and Manon McCoy on lever harp.

How has your idea developed during the programme so far? And what have you learnt?

Well initially I was hoping to use the time I spent with a dancer to develop new musical ideas but I soon realised that what I wanted to achieve with the live performance needed more attention and after a super inspiring chat with one of my mentors I decided to focus on that.

What has this opportunity meant to you?

This has been so valuable for me, Sound Generator has definitely helped me take my career to the next stage.

Being able to dedicate time to my craft in this focused way alongside the amazing mentorship has done wonders for my confidence moving forward and I’m so excited about the direction this project will take.

Has it helped you to develop your creative practice? If so, how?

As an independent artist, sometimes it feels like you have to move a million miles per hour to make the most of the opportunities that you get but with Sound Generator I was able to slow down and really think about what I want to achieve with my creative practice and how to best go about that.

Marco, Sara and Tom discuss story shaping.

Marco, Sara and Tom discuss story shaping.

Who are your key artistic influences for this project?

Ooh loads, where to start:
- Pina Bausch’s ‘Rites of Spring’ (specifically the Sadler’s Wells and École des Sables performance)
- Francis Bacon’s ‘Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion’
- MF DOOM
- Partita For Eight Voices by Caroline Shaw

What have you been listening to recently? Any new music recommendations?

- The Omnichord Real Book by Meshell Mdegeocello
- We Get What We Get & We Don’t Get Upset by Carmel Smickersgill
- Massive Sunray by Diving Station

What are your hopes for this project? How do you see it developing beyond this initial 6-month programme?

The next stage is to secure support for an extended tour in 2024. I then hope to use this project to write new music for a new body of work.

Exploration session 1. Finding more ways to inject movement in the music we share.

Exploration session 1. Finding more ways to inject movement in the music we share.

We look forward to sharing more details about Marco Woolf's Sound Generator project as it develops. Visit Marco's Instagram and follow to find out more about his work.

Sound Generator is Sound UK's artist research and development (R&D) programme that supports early-career artists and seeds the development of an ambitious new project. Following an open call, a panel of leading figures across contemporary music, chose six early-career artists working at the forefront of sound and music.

Sound Generator supports artists in the first 5-10 years of their career. Over the six month programme, they each receive mentoring by a range of professionals to develop an innovative project ready for showcasing to the industry.

To be the first to hear about our latest projects, news and artist interviews, join Sound UK's mailing list and follow us on social media.


26 Oct 23

Sound Generator: Spotlight on Nikki Sheth

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Sound News

Photo of Nikki Sheth.

Sound UK’s artist development programme, Sound Generator, supports early career artists and the work they present.

In this series of Spotlight interviews, we find out more about the artists on our 2023 artist development programme, delve deeper into their Sound Generator project and discover what the process has meant to them.

This week, we talk to Nikki Sheth.

Nikki is an internationally recognised sound artist and composer. Her practice involves field recording, multichannel soundscape composition, multimedia installations, sound mapping and soundwalking. She uses sound as a medium to bring a voice to the environment and encourage a wider awareness of the natural world.

Please tell us about your Sound Generator project. What is it and where did the initial inspiration come from?

My project is called 'Immersive Soundscapes for Well-Being' and explores the use of environmental sound as a tool for well-being and fostering a deeper connection between people and the natural world.

I am using 3D sound technology to create an immersive listening experience using field recordings that I have taken on a recent trip to the Azores. I am collaborating with movement artist David Kam, bringing my sounds to his yoga and mindfulness practice in a view to collaborating for public sessions in the future.

I have been commissioned in the past to present binaural listening sessions for well-being by We're All Bats and The Space to Come, so the inspiration came from these sessions where I started to think about how these sounds could work in other well-being contexts.

Image of Nikki Sheth wearing headphones and looking out at a harbour full of sailing boats.
Nikki Sheth recording underwater sounds in the Azores. Photo by John Lucy.

How has your idea developed during the programme so far? And what have you learnt?

My idea has been really well received by everyone I have spoken to about the project. I think it's become a bigger project than I anticipated as I was initially planning to record sounds in the UK but combined this opportunity with a trip to the Azores.

I wanted to explore the way sound could be used in yoga and mindfulness sessions and David Kam has been amazing to talk to about this. We spent a few hours listening to the sounds, discussing ideas about how the sounds could be used in sessions and the types of movements we would imagine with each sound.

We are hoping to turn this into a series of sessions in the future, which would be amazing.

What has this opportunity meant to you?

I have been sitting with this idea for a long time but never had the support to start developing the idea, both financially and in terms of mentoring opportunities, so this means a lot to me.

It's amazing to have the time and space to develop your idea and have Maija (from Sound UK) there to share ideas with, help with any uncertainties and guide me with the project.

I have especially enjoyed the mentoring sessions and getting input, feedback and advice from all of my mentors who helped me to think about the project in new and exciting ways.

Nikki Sheth recording frogs at a pond in the Azores. Photo by Nikki Sheth.

Has it helped you to develop your creative practice? If so, how?

It's given me the opportunity to try something new, collaborate with other practitioners and forms of well-being practices that I have always thought my work would fit in well with. I'm taking my sounds to new spaces and new audiences which is really exciting. Talking to my mentors has also given me a lot of insight and information on how to move forward with my practice.

Who are your key artistic influences for this project?

The field recordings I took and my experience in the Azores hugely influenced this project as it is a very natural and wild place with lots of beautiful environmental sounds and landscapes. Also, looking at yoga, meditation, contemporary dance and mindfulness artforms.

What are your hopes for this project? How do you see it developing beyond this initial 6-month programme?

I'd really like to see this turn into a series of sessions that could be presented in many different locations across the year, bringing these wonderful sounds to people who are interested in well-being practices but have never thought of how environmental sound could benefit them.

Nikki is wearing headphones and sitting next to a stream or river.
Nikki Sheth recording in the Azores. Photo by John Lucy.

We look forward to sharing more details about Nikki Sheth's Sound Generator project as it develops. Visit Nikki's website to find out more about her work.

Sound Generator is Sound UK's artist research and development (R&D) programme that supports early-career artists and seeds the development of an ambitious new project. Following an open call, a panel of judges including leading figures across contemporary music, chose six emerging artists working at the forefront of sound and music.

Sound Generator supports artists in the first 5-10 years of their career. Over the six month programme, they each receive mentoring by a range of professionals to develop an innovative project ready for showcasing to the industry.

To be the first to hear about our latest projects, news and read our latest artist interviews, join Sound UK's mailing list and follow us on social media.


12 Oct 23

Sound Generator: Spotlight on Gwen Siôn

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Sound News

Photo of Gwen Siôn.

Sound UK’s artist development programme, Sound Generator, supports early career artists and the work they present.

In this series of Spotlight interviews, we find out more about the artists on our 2023 artist development programme, delve deeper into their Sound Generator project and discover what the process has meant to them.

This week, we talk to Gwen Siôn.

Gwen Siôn is an award-winning composer, producer and multidisciplinary artist working with sound, sculpture, video and installation. She creates multi-instrumental, vocal and electronic compositions, and her own hand-built instruments and electronic sound devices by recycling found objects and natural materials. Gwen is interested in the relationship between sound and environment, ecology, mythology, ritual and synaesthetic crossover.

Gwen Sion AKA catHead playing a live electronic music set with her experimental handmade instruments.

Image: Gwen Sion AKA catHead playing a live electronic music set with her experimental handmade instruments. Photo by Maxine Monaghan.

Please tell us about your Sound Generator project. What is it and where did the initial inspiration come from?

My aim is to create an experimental audiovisual project for concert venues that explores connections between music, landscape, tradition and ritual. I want to find ways of combining experimental electronic music, contemporary orchestral composition, choral composition (specifically informed by the North Wales working class tradition of Slate Quarrymen’s choirs) and moving image to create an immersive live performance piece.

The project is called Llwch a Llechi which translates as Dust and Slate. I am researching Celtic folklore motifs, socio-political histories and the important cultural relationship which exists in this area between music (especially quarrymen’s choirs) and landscape, and its deeper roots in Celtic oral tradition but by bringing this into a current space through experimental electronic music and contemporary composition.

I am interested in the juxtaposition of old and new, preserving culture by exploring new ways of expressing it and presenting it to new audiences in spaces where it has not traditionally existed. The quarrymen’s choirs traditionally existed in the workplace, and concert halls of orchestral music have often been spaces harder to access for working class people from rural areas, so I’m interested in connecting these things, especially through experimental electronic music and contemporary composition practices.

The initial inspiration for the project came from my interest in landscape and folklore. My practice is centred around the relationship between sound and environment and finding ways of interpreting landscape in musical terms. I make handmade instruments using found natural materials (including slate) and often use non-traditional composition methods, experimenting with ways of reading the landscape as a score.

2. One of Gwen's handmade electric slate harps
Image: One of Gwen's handmade electric slate harps.

I’m really interested in using composition to explore the cultural, ecological and socio-political significance of a particular place. Being a first-language Welsh speaker and having grown up in a post-industrial working class slate quarrying town in North Wales I feel very connected to this landscape of high mountain ranges, rugged coastlines and slate slag heaps and the socio-political and cultural histories which are bound to that environment.

Landscape photograph of North Wales - dry stone wall, mountain
Image: Landscape photograph of North Wales - dry stone wall, mountain.

How has your project developed during the programme so far? And what have you learnt?

My ideas have developed so much since the start of the programme. Having a focussed period of supported Research and Development (R&D) has allowed me to experiment, create and research and as a result I feel like I’ve learnt a huge amount about the choir culture of North Wales quarries and Celtic folk traditions in relation to experimental electronic music.

I’ve been able to explore ways of incorporating orchestral instrumentation into the work and to develop skills in both choral and contemporary orchestral composition and arrangement which are relatively new ways of working for me so it’s been a really enriching time so far and I feel like I’ve learnt a lot.

What has this opportunity meant to you?

This opportunity has meant a great deal to me – it’s given me the time and resources necessary to research and develop my ideas and take tangible steps towards realising my most ambitious project to date, which would simply not be possible without support.

The project involves lots of new ways of working for me, so I really needed an extended period of development time in order to learn new technical skills and extensively research the subject matter.

Having access to Sound UK’s networks and the opportunity to connect with incredible artists who are experts in their fields and to receive targeted mentoring from them to support the project has been both inspiring and transformational for my practice and has meant this project has been able to develop in ways which I couldn’t have imagined initially.

This support has enabled me to develop practical skills in orchestral composition and choral composition which has made realising the project possible. The Sound Generator programme has also given me the opportunity to connect with larger venue partners who will potentially produce the fully realised live project in its final stages, which is really exciting!

Gwen's slate harps
Image: Gwen's slate harps.

Has it helped you to develop your creative practice? If so, how?

This programme has felt like a significant turning point in my career as a composer and has really helped develop both my creative and professional practice. It has enabled me to further develop scoring and notation skills and develop new technical and creative skills in orchestral and choral composition using both software and real players and singers.

I’ve also been able to purchase professional scoring and orchestral software, which I wouldn’t have been able to afford otherwise. Allowing me to explore new ways of working and giving me the opportunity to develop these new skills has opened up a world of creative possibilities.

Sound UK has also given me access to support and resources, which has meant I could think about my work on a much bigger scale. This has been really refreshing as it’s allowed me to be more ambitious with my ideas.

Who are your key artistic influences for this project?

I haven’t thought about any specific artists as key influences for this project but what I think has really been a huge influence on the project is looking back at the kind of songs these slate quarrying choirs would have been singing when they were first formed and how that connects back to a much older Celtic oral tradition.

I’ve been looking a lot at Welsh folk music and the kind of traditional folk songs these choirs might have sung and also at broader Celtic folk motifs and melodic motifs in Celtic music, which I feel will really inform the project as I’m trying to find ways of exploring ritual and tradition through an experimental contemporary lens.

Quarrymen gather in a 'caban'.
Image: Quarrymen gather in a 'caban' - a small hut where workers would take their break and gather to sing, recite poetry, make tools, carve designs, debate politics and tell stories, a creative refuge where landscape, craft and music met to provide a moment of sanctuary from the extreme dangers faced as part of daily working life. Photo credit: Meirionnydd Archives, Gwynedd Archives Service 2023.

I want to consider how folk tradition can exist today, how we can celebrate cultural identity and history by bringing it to a contemporary space. How does culture survive and thrive – through modes of translation, by moving with the times, by constantly evolving and through people experimenting with new ways of experiencing it and presenting it to different audiences.

As a composer who works primarily in experimental electronic music, I am really excited about working in a different way for this project, exploring other forms of music and trying to combine elements of traditional Celtic music, choral composition and contemporary orchestral composition with experimental electronic music.

What have you been listening to recently? Any new music recommendations?

The new Loraine James album is absolutely amazing, I’ve really been enjoying it so would definitely recommend that.

What are your hopes for this project? How do you see it developing beyond this initial 6-month award?

The project will premiere at a festival in Cardiff in Autumn 2024. I am so grateful to the festival for their interest in my project idea and faith in me as a composer - having a partner now on board has really helped me see a way of realising the project in its final stages of live performance and has really given me the drive to develop my creative ideas further. My long-term ambition for this project after it premieres next year is for it to hopefully tour concert venues across the UK.

Gwen Sion AKA catHead performing live with her electronic instruments at Ara Deg festival 2023
Image: Gwen Sion AKA catHead performing live with her electronic instruments at Ara Deg festival 2023. Photo credit: Beverley Creddock Unit Pictures.

We look forward to sharing more details about Gwen Siôn's Sound Generator project as it develops. Visit Gwen's website to find out more about her work.

Sound Generator is Sound UK's artist research and development (R&D) programme that supports early-career artists and seeds the development of an ambitious new project. Following an open call, a panel of judges including leading figures across contemporary music, chose six emerging artists working at the forefront of sound and music.

Sound Generator supports artists in the first 5-10 years of their career. Over the six month programme, they each receive mentoring by a range of professionals to develop an innovative project ready for showcasing to the industry.

To be the first to hear about our latest projects, news and read our latest artist interviews, join Sound UK's mailing list and follow us on social media.


15 Sep 23

Recording the Forest - Part 2

A photo of artist Jez riley French standing in the Forest of Dean. He is a white man, wearing glasses and a flat cap, and wearing headphones, listening to sounds he is recording in the forest. He is surrounded by trees.

This month we invite audiences to step into the Forest of Dean and explore the inner world of the trees in a new audio-visual experience, The Secret Sounds of Trees.

Last month we caught up with sound artist Jez riley French to learn about his creative process, find out about some of the sounds he has recorded for this installation and how he is working with composer Lau Nau on this soundscape.

This is part 2 of the interview. You can read the first part of the interview here.

How has listening to the forest affected you? Can you describe your experience of listening to the forest?

Listening, if you give it time, can be transformative to ones sense of place, and across the scale; from being immersed in a single sound source, to perceiving more and more of all the sounds around us at any given time, and of course, to aspects that signify less positive change.

At Beechenhurst, and in other forests over the past four or five years, I’ve noticed a quite radical drop in insect activity for example. Of course there is also the now constant sound of flight paths and traffic nearby.

I know such sounds frustrate some listeners, but it is what is there and if, like me, you reject the divide that the word ‘nature’ implies, separating the human species from all others, then those sounds are ‘nature’ sounds also, it’s just that they are made by one species without consideration of any other.

I find thinking about such sounds in that way gives one a sharper sense of our impact. That said, listening to species sounds below the surface, without those human sounds is a remarkable experience, and that is what The Secret Sounds of Trees will allow the audience to do.

A photo of artist Jez riley French recording sounds in the Forest of Dean.

How would you like audiences to approach this experience? And what do you hope audiences will take away from this experience?

To get the most from this, or any listening experience, the key really is to give time and space to the listening. That sounds obvious, simple, but as a species we’re generally not that good at listening.

We tend to try to occupy the space we are in, physically and sonically, even if we think we’re being quiet. So find a comfortable position in the area of the forest the event will be taking place in and realise that being there means you are part of the piece also.

The willingness to let all the other sounds have priority for a while will, hopefully, give each person a more meaningful experience, shared with everyone else there and of course, the forest itself. It’s important to remember also that we are encroaching on all the other species, and accepting that can help with the listening, with finding space to listen.

Any tips for audiences on how to listen deeply during the installation?

It does tend to be different for each person, but I think with events such as this, where we’re not on our own, the key is to be aware of your individual role in the collective quietness that will enhance the experience. Allow time for the sounds to take us beyond our usual, short attention spans.

Deep, or active listening, at its core is really about allowing the place or situation to guide the process. You have to give up control in a way. At least give up the idea that you know what a forest sounds like in this instance.

For this specific location we are providing straw bales to help the experience. Not many of use can stay totally still whilst standing for more than a few minutes.

A photo of artist Jez riley French standing in the Forest of Dean. He is a white man, wearing glasses and a flat cap, and wearing headphones, listening to sounds he is recording in the forest. He is surrounded by trees.

How does being at Beechenhurst make you feel?

I tend to think, as I’ve already alluded to, that how we feel about a specific place takes time, and it should take time. I hadn’t visited this part of the forest before this project so I’m still processing my impressions, but, given that I was there specifically to listen, it did take me a couple of days to find my feet so to speak.

I think that’s one of the positive things about accessible spaces like Beechenhurst; you can go for a few hours or a day, but you can also keep returning and the closer you look, and listen, the more there is. Personally, if I keep returning to a place I have to allow it to influence my reason for doing so. Not to return with expectations, but with an understanding that I, we, have to do something more than use environments for our pleasure.

I spent some time around the borders of Beechenhurt also, thinking about the tension there is for any artist working in such places. We bring ourselves, our equipment and, hopefully, more people to them at times, but with work such as The Secret Sounds of Trees there is an important element of allowing audiences in to the sensory world of other species that isn’t normally accessible, so there is the artistic value but also a wider purpose that links to environmental knowledge and respect.

A photo of recording equipment and wires on the ground in the Forest.

The Secret Sounds of Trees is a new audio-visual installation taking place at Beechenhurst in the Forest of Dean from Friday 22 - Sunday 24 September. To find out more and to book tickets, visit the event page here.


17 Aug 23

Recording the Forest

A photo of artist Jez riley French standing in the Forest of Dean. He is a white man, wearing glasses and a flat cap, and wearing headphones, listening to sounds he is recording in the forest. He is surrounded by trees.

In September 2023 we invite audiences to step into the Forest of Dean and explore the inner world of the trees in a new audio-visual experience, The Secret Sounds of Trees.

This month we caught up with sound artist Jez riley French to learn about his creative process, find out about some of the sounds he has recorded for this installation and how he is working with composer Lau Nau on this soundscape.

Can you tell us about your creative process for this new soundscape and your time capturing sounds at Beechenhurst?

My practice involves working with what I tend to refer to as sound outside of our attention and a key part of this is developing specialist microphones and techniques for listening in different ways, for example to the internal sounds of plants.

My interest is in the listening itself, and how accessing these sounds allows us to re-think the narratives around our perception of place.

When I’m able to spend some time in a specific location, such as at Beechenhurst, I’m not interested in ‘sound collecting’ as a flat, technical process. Instead I spend the time engrossed in the listening itself, including through the microphones I build, and every now and then, if it feels right, I’ll press record.

I think you have to be happy to let sounds go, to not always try to document them as it can, if that is the only motivation, interrupt the listening. It’s perhaps subtle, but for me that is how I keep a creative connection to the act of listening. It’s an intuitive process, guided of course by research and creative impulses, but the personal, moment to moment experience is what has allowed me to question standard ways of both listening and recording, and in so doing, extend the practice.

A photo of Jez riley French recording sounds of the trees in the Forest of Dean.

For Feathered Pink Botanic, the sound piece that is part of The Secret Sound of Trees, I focused on the internal sounds of trees, moss, ferns and in soil horizons beneath the forest floor.

The material itself then takes time to reflect on, re-listen to and start to gain a sense of how a piece might form from it.

When I do record something it tends to be a durational process, often spending several hours listening to a single sound or a wider location as it evolves. So listening back can also take a long time. It’s a gradual process; some days you have to step back, wait, and come back to a recording with fresh ears, find new ways for it to work in a piece.

As the installation for Beechenhurst is multi-channel, involving spatialisation, it’s only completed when we’re back there, working with speaker placement and the environment itself of course.

How have you collaborated with Lau Nau to create this soundscape?

I’ve known Laura (Lau Nau) for many years now and one thing that I find interesting about her work is that it uses melodic material in ways that pull you in to the music with apparent ease but without compromising its strength.

As with any collaboration there’s an important element of trust involved of course, and I think that’s been there since the first time we worked together. This means we can each connect to the material being shared with more of the ‘space’ that is needed.

Laura is based in Finland so we’ve been sending each other recordings and talking through ways to maintain the central point of the piece, which is to reveal the forest in a way that invites as wide an audience as possible to listen differently, connecting in new ways to the other species around them.

A photo of Jez riley French recording the sounds of the trees in the Forest of Dean. Photo by Camilla Adams.

Can you tell us about some of the sounds of nature that we will hear within your new soundscape?

Describing the sounds in the piece is difficult, partly because many of them have not been recorded before.

The wider research is still catching up with these forms of listening and recording, and, to be honest, it’s not always clear what process is making the sounds. The cellular processes as plants draw in nutrients, or the microscopic signals in mycorrhizal / mycelium networks are all part of the work.

I think we’re also at a point now where we need to think carefully about how the language we use when talking about non-human life carries with it a degree of imposition, often unintentional but with some weight. That might seem overly senstive to some, but considering these questions is part of the responsibility we have when, in effect, we are using the sounds of other species as creative material.

What I can say though is that audiences will hear root systems taking in moisture, bark crackling as sap rises, the intricate sound of water storage in the moss blanketing the forest floor, insect activity and other vibrations in soil horizons (different layers of soil).

Is there a sound you captured that has really surprised you?

I’m always surprised, which is why I’m still finding new ways to listen, still fascinated.

Sometimes I might have a basic idea of the possible sounds from specific sources. For example the resonance of a building vibrating in its locale, or the root systems of plants early in the morning, but the point really is that these sounds never repeat and every inch of every environment is different, if you listen at the micro-level, even to vast landscapes.

The myriad combinations of sounds are always new, always evolving, so I’m constantly surprised. Constantly realising how much we can get from listening, and how much we still have to learn about what we hear, and how we translate the experiences.

A photo of Jez riley French recording the sounds of the soil in the Forest of Dean. Photo by Camilla Adams.

Part two of our interview with Jez riley French will be published on our website in early September. Sign up to our mailing list here to be the first to know.

The Secret Sounds of Trees is a new audio-visual installation taking place at Beechenhurst in the Forest of Dean from Friday 22 - Sunday 24 September. To find out more and to book tickets, visit the event page here.


14 Aug 23

Sound UK awarded funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund

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The Secret Sounds of Trees - a photo of trees in the forest.

We are delighted to announce a grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund to support our forthcoming project in the Forest of Dean, The Secret Sounds of Trees.

The Secret Sounds of Trees is a new audio-visual experience that invites audiences into the forest to explore the inner world of the trees at Beechenhurst, Forest of Dean. An atmospheric soundscape, feathered, pink botanic, by acclaimed artists Jez riley French and Lau Nau will immerse audiences in a hidden world, revealing microscopic vibrations and sounds inaudible to the human ear.

Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, the funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund will enable us to deliver activities that help a wider range of local people reap the positive benefits of their local national heritage. This includes local young people at risk and with long term health conditions, adults with learning difficulties and those suffering from dementia.

We are working in partnership with local organisations Cinderford Artspace and Wilde Earth Journeys to provide these opportunities to engage with the installation and to connect with nature at Beechenhurst. We look forward to sharing full details in the coming weeks.

Alongside this grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, The Secret Sounds of Trees is also gratefully funded by Arts Council England and PRS Foundation.

The Secret Sounds of Trees is a free, timed entry installation from twilight through the evening.

To find out more about the project, visit www.sounduk.net/trees

The National Lottery Heritage Fund logo


06 Feb 23

What is a broadside?

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Lisa Knapp at the Bodleian Library

Hack-Poets Guild is a new collaboration between three of the UK’s most innovative and prestigious folk artists, Marry Waterson, Lisa Knapp and Nathaniel Mann, inspired by broadside ballads.

The artists release their debut album Blackletter Garland on Friday 10 March, followed by a live tour from 17-26 March. Here we introduce you to a broadside and explain how they were used from the 16th - 20th centuries.

What is a broadside?

A broadside (also known as a broadsheet) is a single sheet of inexpensive paper printed on one side, often with a ballad, rhyme, news and sometimes with woodcut illustrations: a cheap format because there is no need for folding, collating, or binding.

When and how were they used?

Arguably the forerunners of our modern news media, from the 16th to 20th centuries the broadside was used for a variety of purposes: news of strange events, the texts of royal proclamations, and notices of auctions or trials and executions, among other things.

The most well-known use of the format, though, was for ballads. A ballad is a song that tells a story, usually in the form of short four-line verses. They were composed on a range of subjects from love affairs to murder and other extraordinary or historical happenings, often accompanied by woodcut illustrations.

Broadside ballads were displayed and sung daily in Britain's streets and inns. Although part of living traditions of folksong, popular art and literature, these illustrated printed sheets are now rare and preserved in only a few libraries.

Broadsides offer a vivid insight into Britain's muscial and political past whilst striking a chord with universal themes still relevant today. Songs about love, loneliness and kindness are interwoven with intriguing, humanist and dark stories.

Digital collections and catalogues have improved access to these fragile survivors of popular culture in print. The Bodleian Libraries holds nearly 30,000 broadside ballads, many of them unique survivals, printed from the 16th to the 20th centuries.

Digital facsimiles and an online database were first made accessible in 1999. In 2013, the Libraries launched Broadside Ballads Online, which is a digital collection of the Bodleian’s broadside ballads together with links to digital collections at other libraries and institutions. You can explore the collection here: ballads.bodleian.ox.ac.uk

Photo of Marry Waterson, Lisa Knapp and Nathaniel Mann

Hack-Poets Guild

The artists spent time at the Bodleian Libraries, researching, talking with experts, and handling the Broadside Collection.

Inspired by these historic broadsides, Hack-Poets Guild have rejuvenated and reinvented these stories. Delving into the inky archives at the Bodleian Libraries and beyond, Marry Waterson, Lisa Knapp and Nathaniel Mann lead a five-piece band bringing broadsides vividly to life for a new generation and offering a rare insight into Britain’s history.

Fascinating interpretations and original compositions tell intricate tales of birth, love, conflict and death, with all the imagination of the folklore from which they’re based.

You can watch the first two music videos from the forthcoming album on our tour event page and see all the March 2023 live tour dates at the link below.

Tour dates

For further reading about Broadsides, visit the Traditional Song Forum website.


11 Nov 20

New playlist tracks added

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New playlist pic 2

We've added a few new tracks to our home working playlist for you listen to. Ft. This Is The Kit, Donald Byrd, Duval Timothy + more.

Listen Here


11 Nov 20

Sonic Journeys autumn 2020

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Sonic Journey: Gavin Bryars + Blake Morrison

What are Sonic Journeys?
Sonic Journeys are soundtracks created for a specific journey. If there's a journey you love this autumn, why not create a piece of music inspired by it? All you need is your phone and access to GarageBand or voice recording apps. Once recorded you can then upload it to our Sonic Journeys website for others to experience. www.sonicjourneys.co.uk

Check out workshop leader and artist Tania Holland Williams’ Sonic Journey creating tips below.

1. Release yourself from worrying about how far along the line you are as a sound artist or composer. There is no right or wrong version of the journey you want to capture. The only thing you really need is a desire to communicate your journey through sound and technology that is found on most phones.

2. Consider a journey that you do everyday…
There is something about the accumulative weight of repeating the same journey that might be worth exploring in sound.

3. Some people start a creative sound piece with words, others with sound capture, some with a graphic design, others with a concept for what they are trying to build. It’s worth knowing your preference and trying out a number of different starting points - so that if you do get stuck in the creative process, you will have some other skills to draw on.

4. If you tend to create in a certain style - for example slow moving, calm pieces - set yourself a challenge of going on a journey that is more edgy and trying to capture that discomfort. The more you know about your preferred writing style the more challenges you can give yourself and the more you will grow as a creative.

5. Identify a journey where you have time to listen rather than one where you are with people you like to chat to or where you generally listen to music. We very rarely take time to listen to our world.

6. Listen in different directions - our ears help us by giving us a sense of the perspective and landscape of the world. See how much distance, depth you can hear when you listen up/down; left/right; in front/behind.

7. Set yourself the challenge of using a sound you’ve never used before when you are creating. Even if it ultimately is not the right sound for your piece - you will have added another sound colour to your palette.

YOUR SONIC JOURNEY
For those that would like to create and share their own Sonic Journey, we are inviting online submissions of music, or music and video, to local journeys that you find personally inspiring. www.sonicjourneys.co.uk

CREATE NOW


28 Sep 20

Interview with Sarah Nicolls

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Sarah Nicolls Inside Out Piano

Powerful new musical story 12 Years, named after climate warnings from the IPCC, tours online with 12 streams from 8 – 25 October 2020.The innovative composition is inspired by activist Greta Thunberg, wild fires, melting ice and how differently people are responding to the increasingly regular news. Sarah Nicolls combines music played on her vertical Inside-Out piano with recorded speech, tracing the emotional journey of two sisters, exploring their perceptions of global warming through fact and fiction.

Tell us about the inspiration behind 12 Years.

12 Years was written in 2018 following the IPCC special report about the impact of 1.5°c global warming on the planet. Climate scientists projected that annual emissions needed to be halved by 2030 stay within this level. In the same year Greta Thunberg initiated her school strike in Sweden and subsequently publicised her call to action as a TED talk.

What effect did scientific warnings about global warming have on you?

Giving the human race 12 years to halve emissions seemed like a pretty stark deadline to me, especially as my son would turn 18 in 2030, and I felt compelled to bring this information into my work. I felt an urgent response to the IPCC report and as a pianist this resulted in writing a new recital. I wanted to put the piano and the environment together to see what would happen.

Can you explain the narrative of 12 Years?

This show is a journey for both the audience and my fictional characters. It begins with the deadline – what does 12 (now 10) years feel like? I weave news headlines and interviews about environmental changes into a story about Lara, an Extinction Rebellion activist and her much less political sister Fran. We listen into their phone conversations and their different responses to climate change. As the story unfolds, we go on the journey with Fran as her perceptions towards global warming begin to alter. I wanted to discuss environmental themes (both climate-related and ecological) in a recital without being preachy.

How is 12 Years structured?

There are 12 tracks in the piece, which reflect the idea of a countdown to 2030. Each track has a different theme, and these include the Camp Fire, which blazed across California in 2018, destroying the town of Paradise. We hear the voices of survivors from this fire as they escape, which killed 85 people. One track focuses on the sound of a melting glacier and the penultimate track features Greta Thunberg. I was interested in how her voice and the urgency of her speech has changed since her first TED talk, with speeches at the DAVOS World Economic Forum and the UN. Finally, we’re urged to consider how we feel, striving for hope and action. My intention is to bring the climate and ecological emergency into an emotional space.

Describe your Inside-Out piano.

It is like a grand piano tipped up, so the strings are vertical. I play the strings, strum and pluck them like a guitar or harp. I also hit the strings percussively, using a glass ball to make amazing sliding sounds or a rubber ball to get the sound of a whale underwater. I’m always thinking in pictures and 12 Years is a multi-sensory experience: I considered how to make sounds so that you would feel like you’re near a wildfire or a glacier. Fortunately, the piano is so expressive and resonant that it can do all of these things!

There are some amazing people joining you for post-show Zoom chats. Tell us more about them.

I am so thrilled with the guest speakers and their input is extremely valuable. Following an hour of listening and thinking, my audiences will be able to have an open conversation with the experts. Speakers include Prof. Richard Betts MBE, leader of Climate Impacts at the MET Office, Prof Richard Pancost, Director of the Cabot Institute, Craig Hutton, Professor of Sustainability Science, University of Southampton, Dr Liz Bagshaw, School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, Cardiff University and Dr Sarah Mander from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research.

‘Sounds of hope’ emerge towards the end of the performance. How hopeful are you that the global climate crisis can be averted?

I feel that it is my job as a parent of two children to be hopeful and I believe in our capacity to be empathetic and caring. If people understand what scientists are telling us, and what our options are, along with what trajectories look like, then we can change our impact on the earth. I believe that what is good for the planet is good for us: walking or cycling more, sharing more, being community-minded, thinking local in terms of food production. I do think a fairer society is possible and necessary.

Tell us about your Future Piano.

This is an amazing lightweight piano that will be built this year. It will be the same shape as the ‘Inside-Out Piano’ but an entirely new piano constructed from lightweight composite materials with the help of extraordinary engineering. It will still be able to be played as a normal piano and give the sound of a grand piano, but in the space of an upright piano. What is revolutionary about Future Piano is that it will weigh less than 100kg and it will be possible to split it in half and easily reassemble it. I will be able to carry it upstairs with a friend!

What affect will Future Piano have for you personally?

It will make touring so much easier but also means the amount of venues where live piano can be played suddenly opens up. It also means people can choose to move a piano to different rooms in their home. My fantasy is that I will be able to put it in the guard’s van of a train someday: so touring has a much lower carbon footprint. I see my role as trying to make the piano less cumbersome and less historic. To keep this amazing instrument alive and acoustic – with strings – is my dream

BOOK NOW

Artwork: Kate Dressekie


17 Sep 20

The Power of Music

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ACIGC news size

Whilst we’ve been quiet over the past few months, we’ve been busy working out how best to bring extraordinary musical encounters to you and others across the country. Like many, the majority of our 2020 programme has had to be postponed - with exciting plans now afoot for 2021. However, this October we are delighted to bring Inside-Out pianist and composer Sarah Nicolls’ original 12 Years to you via a digital ‘tour’ announced last week. 

As a direct response to the world we now inhabit, we will soon be launching a new project that celebrates our communities through music. A Song for Us aims to capture the solidarity that emerged during the clap for carers, the extraordinary response to the NHS volunteer army and the small acts of kindness between neighbours. It will recognise the nationwide losses we have experienced, whether at a distance or personally. Above all it celebrates the power of music to bring us all together.

You can sign up to our mailing list for updates. Sign up on our homepage. 

More soon,
Polly, Maija, Chloe

Photo credit: Paul@framedog, A Change is Gonna Come 2019 - Carleen Anderson, Nikki Yeoh, Lady Sanity, Camilla George, Renell Shaw, Rod Youngs


07 Sep 20

Blog: Sarah Nicolls

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sarah trailer

Words by Sarah Nicolls 

What a lively time to be re-launching the tour of my #12yearspiano piece about the climate and ecological emergency! As XR fill the streets with protests on so many different issues relating to global heating, pollution and corruption, people are again talking about the planet in a way which for months we haven’t – hiding in lockdown bubbles or simply trying to survive the months of pandemic paralysis and personal traumas.

We are deliberately doing the rest of this tour online because none of us know how the next weeks will go. A doubling of Covid-19 cases in the last 2 days only highlights this but it is so important that we do get back to talking about the climate crisis and the ecological breakdown that’s happening.

I’ve seen over this summer many eminent scientists and activists arguing over just how severe the situation is. Will we reach 3 degrees or 5 by the end of the century? Will our children face food shortages, or will we? Are people already dying from human-caused climate change or not? The fact is, surely whoever is most accurate, these are troubling things to have to even discuss. We should surely want to stop any temperature rise for our entire planet, as it creates conditions which have never been seen in the times inhabited by humans. Isn’t that reason enough to cry for change? Shouldn’t we get on with doing everything we can to cut emissions? Just in case?

I have aimed in my piece to raise these kinds of questions. It is a piece which aims to involve you emotionally. It’s a piece of music and text which aims to get you actively thinking about where you stand, which asks you to consider the facts and what we should be doing about it. It’s a piece which listens in on different opinions and which seeks both to alert you but also to fill you with hopeful energy.

I would be honoured if you would listen in, watch online – see my incredible #insideoutpiano and hear the amazing sounds it makes. Listen to the words of experts and of two sisters talking on the phone. Audiences so far have found the piece challenging and provoking but also inspiring and uplifting. Book now to stream in October and thank you for the support – we are all facing massive uncertainty right now in terms of future careers, so your commitment to being an audience member is hugely valued!

Share with your friends and also come along to one of the discussion nights. I am thrilled to have expert scientists to help us unravel the truth and what to do about it. You can listen to Richard Betts on my podcast here to get started.

Thanks to SOUND UK, my producers and to all the venues for keeping the faith and supporting the tour.

sarahnicolls.com

DATES AND BOOKING INFO HERE.


30 Mar 20

New Playlist

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A new 'Home Working' playlist from us bringing together some of our favourite artists to help us through these times. Ft. Arve Henriksen, KOKOROKO, Dorothy Ashby and much more... 

Listen here


18 Mar 20

Coronavirus Sound UK update

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sound uk funding news

In response to the current evolving COVID-19 situation, we are working with Sarah Nicolls and venues and hope to offer a digital alternative to 12 Years ticket bookers in Gateshead and London. Unfortunately, Spiro & Synergy Vocals tour dates in London, Edinburgh, Bristol and Oxford are postponed. For any of our events affected by COVID-19, ticket bookers will be contacted by the venue box office.

We look forward to updating you on rescheduled dates and future projects when we can. For now, keep an eye on our social channels and sounduk.net where we hope to inspire, educate and entertain by sharing content from artists, labels, DJs we love and offer moments to escape in these uncertain times.

Keep well and take care,
Polly, Maija and Chloe


01 Mar 20

BLOG: Pee Wee Ellis

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PW Bambooka

Renowned saxophonist Pee Wee Ellis tells us more about Funk: A Music Revolution and working with James Brown...

Can you tell us a bit more about the project Funk: A Music Revolution who’s involved and the inspiration behind it?

Well the project is curated by myself and China Moses, and I am leading a fantastic band and guests, Omar, China of course, Daru Jones on drums, Dan Moore on keys, the ubiquitous Tony Remy on guitar, MBE Dennis Rollins playing trombone and bright young star of the London jazz scene Camilla George on alto sax, plus dancers and all kinds of funky stuff.

We feel it’s really important that a wider audience understands the fundamental influence of funk music in the history and development of popular music - and what more fun way to show that than with a show chronicling the great music that tells its own story.

Tell us about your time working with James Brown and co-writing Say it loud! I'm black and I'm proud

It was a very exciting time, a real pleasure and watching Mr. Brown work every night was a constant lesson in the art of live entertainment. It was hard work and a gruelling schedule, criss crossing the USA on a tour bus, recording, rehearsing every day, playing constantly, even travelling overseas. I had my own seat at the back of the bus where I wrote a lot of music and arrangements. I would rehearse the band on the way to the next gig so they had the next tune ready for Mr Brown when we got to the venue. A lot of iconic songs came out of those times, notably Say It Loud ......

In your opinion in what way has funk influenced popular music over the past 60 years?

From a technical perspective, you can follow it through the use of rhythmic horn lines, repetitive phrases and bass led focal points. For most listeners, it’s a feel, an energy, the way the that bass bounce makes you feel like moving. There are the obvious heirs - George Clinton and Parliament, Average White Band, The Ohio Players, Fred Wesley and the New JB’s to name a few – but then its influence has permeated way beyond that. We hear it in Prince, Kool and the Gang, Salt n Pepa, Tribe Called Quest, Arrested Development, Digable Planets along with so many other hip hop artists of the 80s and 90s. Sampling of funk riffs became such an intrinsic part of the sound of early hip hop and even pop, and we still hear and feel its presence now with songs like Uptown Funk. But alongside those musical structures that create an identifiable funky feel, it was a music that heralded a new attitude; a new and distinctive black culture, of street culture finding confidence and popularity outside and alongside the establishment. Sweeping into mainstream consciousness during the Civil Rights movement was unlike anything people had heard and its positive energy united a new generation making them proud of their musical, fashion and political tastes

At the shows the audience should expect to be reminded of some of their favourite music and will be surprised how present it still is in the music they love today.

Funk: A Music Revolution toured 29 Feb - 4 March 2020.  


29 Feb 20

Re-working 12 Years for 2020

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Sarah Nicolls Inside Out Piano

A re-post from Sarah Nicolls website sarahnicolls.com/blog

Sun 5th January: When I wrote this work, climate news was not part of our daily language or narrative. Currently, Australia is experiencing its worst ever bushfire season – most hectares burnt – and it is only the beginning of that season. It is thought 500 million animals may already have died. Massive floods have killed tens and displaced thousands in Indonesia. Flash floods in Israel have killed people. Fishlake in the UK experienced traumatic flooding before Christmas. The Amazon has seen a catastrophic increase in fires. The Thwaites glacier is retreating much faster than predicted. The planetary situation has already changed beyond recognition since we were first alarmed at the IPCC report, the one where they said we only had 12 years left to halve emissions, to stay within the possibility of 1.5 degrees of warming. 1.5 would now be a good news story. The climate scientists seem now to be saying 3-4 degrees is likely by the end of the century if we carry on as normal. And are our leaders doing anything about it? Trump is doing his own political assassinations. Boris Johnson is on holiday in the Caribbean. #scottyfrommarketing really seems to be doing almost everything he can to look the opposite to an empathetic human being, let alone leader.

So, what of my characters? What of my story? Last year, I was experiencing shock and discovery. I was going through utter surprise, disbelief and then, quite quickly, grief. Now I don’t feel surprised at all but I do still feel anxious as the numbers seem to rise against us. 4 degrees by the end of this century would seem to confirm my personal darkest fears that our kids shouldn’t have her own children. The world would just not be safe enough. So, no time to give up, then!

If the aim of my show is to move people along a notch, help them think, give them time, educate a little but also inspire, then how best to do that? In the first rendition, Fran goes on her own journey. She is quirky, funny, a bit ridiculous but ultimately just a normal woman, living as best she can and enjoying the current luxuries which seemed, until about 18 months ago, fair enough (if you could afford them) and spoken about without concern: flying to exotic locations, eating meat, buying luxury without questioning the provenance of it. Some of this almost seems old hat – but is that only to me? I read an unusual amount of environmental news. What is a ‘normal’ level of perception? Most people have surely now heard of Greta (apart from the actress who answered “Sharon” in the BBC quiz show!): when I first began writing her track, she was not the icon she is now, with her little book at every Waterstones’ Christmas till. Many in the UK probably saw David Attenborough’s Climate Change: The Facts and most will also have seen the Extinction Rebellion protestor being pulled from the roof of the tube train (how one man wrecks a movement.. but that’s another story).

So, don’t my characters need also to have moved on, then? Can Fran still exclaim that Extinction Rebellion sounds like a heavy metal band if even my mum has heard of them? And in a horrible parallel, even the Camp Fire in Paradise has found a new update as the Australian fires approach Eden.

So, how will I update the phone calls between Fran and Lara? How will their different levels of involvement in the climate crisis still ring true but in the newer context of 2020, not 2018? And will the new headlines that I insert sound even worse than the last ones, or more of the same slide into apocalypse?

One thing is sure. I now have a lot more experience of what happens after people decide to engage. Although many will have only seen the disastrous XR tube protest, I took days out to witness a lot of very thoughtful and passionately delivered protests in London, where people not only put their bodies on the line but also collected in groups meaningful to them: professionals for XR, scientists for XR, even nursing mothers for XR who blocked the Google offices. I’ve also experienced first-hand the very direct and personal connections which are springing from a new shared purpose. Like a crowd appearing from nowhere, the amount of people globally who are calling out the climate crisis and their demand that we face up to it and do radical things right now are all seeing and finding each other and this is creating an incredible connectedness. I have a lot of new friends, despite actually being a very reticent protestor myself (I prefer to interview people, make music and attempt to talk to strangers about it all, rather than directly face off to the police).

I hope I’ll do Fran, Lara and Aidan justice, then. But part of me just really isn’t ready to change Aidan yet. I don’t think he’s actually ready yet, either.

BOOK NOW


03 Feb 20

Funk Foundations Playlist

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Funk project image

Listen to Pee Wee's and China's Funk Foundations playlist ft. James Brown, Parliament, Teena Marie...

Listen now

Find out more about Funk: A Music Revolution here


12 Dec 19

JUST ANNOUNCED! FUNK: A Music Revolution

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China Moses

Curated by James Brown’s MD, renowned saxophonist Pee Wee Ellis and singer China Moses, FUNK: A Music Revolution celebrates funk’s influence from its early days to latest sounds.

“From 1967 when Mr. Brown and I wrote "Cold Sweat" until today, Funk has been woven into the DNA of popular music. We want to tell that story.” - Pee Wee Ellis

Originating in the mid ‘60s, funk was a natural permutation of the exhilarating jazz and soul scenes that had flourished over the previous decades. It drew on soul, jazz and R & B, but added bold syncopations and prominent bass lines that were to send the dance floors wild. In James Brown these tantalising musical developments found their perfect manifestation, and with his unique voice, charisma and unapologetic racial pride Brown signified a pivotal point in music. The mantel was taken up by the inimitable George Clinton whose doo wop band the Parliaments morphed into Parliament, adding gospel, rock n roll to the intoxicating mix and solidifying funk as a genre in itself. Through the ‘70s the movement continued via Stevie Wonder, Bill Withers, Le Chic, and many others, a soundtrack to the social evolution of black civil rights and a bridge between music and society. Whilst some – Prince amongst others – continued to progress the music, the earworms of the 70s also became the samples of the late 80s and 90s hip hop artists – think Eminem’s sample of Labi Siffre’s I Got The...

TOUR DATES 2020
29 Feb BRIGHTON
01 Mar LONDON
02 Mar COVENTRY
03 Mar NOTTINGHAM
04 Mar NEWCASTLE

BOOK NOW

Image credit: China Moses


03 Dec 19

Reflect Project Film now live

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In October 2019, two specially curated weekends of sound, light, music and art brought local communities, regional and international artists together to explore the connection between coastal living and wellbeing.

Through a series of briefings, talks and workshops running since early spring, REFLECT brought people together to discuss their own lived experiences and connections to the coast. These experiences informed an outdoor sound and light event, featuring new commissions and works by international and local sound and visual artists, plus community groups. REFLECT aimed to compare the impact of coastal living on resident’s mental health in two vastly contrasting coastal communities; Bude, North Cornwall and Gravesham, Kent.

This video was filmed at Reflect Bude. This event featured the following artists:
Sea Pool projection - Karma Seas by Ulf Pedersen
What Does the Sea Say? by Martyn Ware
Swirl by Timothy Crowley and Kate Ogley
Sonic Journeys by Bude Beats and James Dixon
Beach Hut singers - Bencoolen Wreckers
Bench - Neo by Granite & Glitter
Bench - Esedha by Ruth Purdy
Bench - Intertidal Blue by Josie Purcell
Bench - Worry Bench by Blend Community Group
Sea Song Walks with Seamas Carey
Flag artworks by Budehaven School Art Students

REFLECT is produced by Sound UK in association with the University of Exeter and LV21.
Funded by the University of Exeter, Arts Council England and Wellcome Trust.

Film credit: Steve Haywood, filmed at REFLECT Bude, Bude Sea Pool 2019. Music - Bencoolen Wreckers - Cornwall My Home

Find out more: www.reflectaamp.org


21 Nov 19

Reflect Bude in pictures

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neo

Worry bench

Chloe What Does The Sea Say

Ruth Purdy

Ulf Ali

Sea calms me

Tim and Kate Swirl

I find the sea really fun

Bencoolen Wreckers

Credits: 1- 3, 5 - 8 Steve Haywood, 4 Ruth Purdy
1) Neo by Granite & Glitter
2) Worry Bench by Blend 
3) What Does The Sea Say? By Martyn Ware
4) Esedha by Ruth Purdy
5, 6) Karma Seas by Ulf Pedersen
7) Timothy Crowley and Kate Ogley, Swirl artists
8) Karma Seas by Ulf Pedersen
9) Bencoolen Wreckers


08 Oct 19

‘Let’s take a Moment’ with Thread and Word.

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Artist Billie Penfold tells you a little more about her artist walk and bench artwork for Reflect Gravesham. 

Those of you who have visited my studio looking out at the sea over Tankerton slopes near Whitstable know that there are many benches along the slopes above the beach huts looking out to the sea. These give people the opportunity to create memorials for loved ones and also a place to take time to sit and stare at the sea. I have always been fascinated by these benches placed at regular intervals along the slope. So, when the call out came to take part in Reflect:Arts and Minds in Gravesend I jumped at the chance to be able to create a temporary installation on a bench as a shrine or memorial in response to this event. 

We invite you to walk with us on Saturday October 12th and Sunday October 13th at 3 pm. to celebrate coastal living and what the sea means to you through Reflect: arts and minds in Gravesham.

I will be delivering this walk through the arts group Thread and Word which I set up in 2014 . This group invites artists to collaborate in walking performative events. These walks also give participants the opportunity to record their feelings as they walk through a meditative knotting of ropes which are attached to a pole called a Vara at the end of the walk, to record the event.

We will be walking, with Thread and Word to celebrate all thing coastal in Gravesend, reflecting on what the sea means to us.

The artists joining this walk and offering poetry, performance and their own response to Let's Take a Moment are:

A. Bowman, L. Claire, V. Fitch J. Mckay, S. McClymont, C. Lovey, O. Lowery, S. Overall, E. Penfold, J. Riddiough, L. Shawyer.

Anna Bowman is sharing a personal anecdote of trips to the seaside as a child. She is also a talented film maker and photographer and will be photographing the event.

Lucy Claire is a composer and musician who works with soundscapes and will be collaborating with the group to create a soundscape of the walk. This will be available to download . The piece will commemorate our walk through a plaque on the bench in Promenade Gardenswith a qr code linking it to the soundscape.

"Soundscapes can transport the listener from one environment to another. Listening to a soundscape can calm the mind and encourage time for reflection. Let’s Take A Moment is a sound world reflection of a collection of poetry by Owen Lowery that focuses specifically on the coast and shoreline from With the fisherwomen of Nairn to the Mediterranean horizon of Pathos Sunset. I worked with sounds from the shore, the harbour, the hissing and sucking of the shore, the heady buzz of insects and the rhythmical sploshes of oars moving in and out of the water to bring another dimension to Owen’s words and help transport the listener from one place to another. "

Virginia Fitch will be reading a well know poem by Shelley to help us on our way.

Julia Riddiough is sharing two pieces, 'Windmills of my Mind' connecting with the story of the area with links to Don Quixote and his own inner daemons . Laura Shawyer will be enacting her second piece 'A Gesture of Harmony' a ritual devised by Julia using Palo Santo oil connected with well being, meditation and enacted through the holding of the knotted ropes as we end our walk.

James McKay has created three interventions using poetry, place and string. It might even involve some costume changes. Looking forward to a few surprises.

Susan McClymont will share her poem "Pocahontas and me" She has also created a fab mosaic for our bench. The design of the mosaic that accompanies the poem, is of an oak leaf overlaid by fern koru floating on the river. (Reflecting the oak trees of Pocahontas's Jamestown in America and the fern that emblematic of her native New Zealand).

Christina Lovey is offering a personal reading of the knots in the ropes through tap dancing. Looking forward to some Flamenco rhythms .

Owen Lowery has shared several of his poems read in his own voice for the soundscape. He has also helped with selecting the sounds he associates with the poems and the coast. We are delighted to take Owen's voice on this walk with us.

You can be transported to Owen's reading with a soundscape by Lucy Claire Listen here

Sonia Overall is joining us with pause/play
What is the quality of a moment? What do different pauses feel like? We will carry a bag of pauses with us as we walk, select one at random and enact it. Pause, play, repeat.

Elspeth (Billie) Penfold is inviting you to knot ropes to record the experience as we walk. These ropes have been made by hand by Elspeth for this event in her studio.The ropes will be attached to a Vara or pole at the end of the walk to create a document of the walk.

I am always amazed by the creativity and generosity of all artists who collaborate with me in these walks with Thread and Word. I hope you are able to join us on the day and do feel free to share any readings/ memories or rituals with us as we walk.

www.elspeth-billie-penfold.com/


16 Sep 19

How does living by the sea make you feel?

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Swirl v2

At REFLECT BUDE, step inside the Swirl beach hut to hear new interactive and generative sound installation by Cornish artists Timothy Crowley and Kate Ogley, created in response to the location and recorded experiences of those living in Bude and North Cornwall. Here Kate tells us about their experience interviewing and recording people for the project.

It has been a privilege for us to meet everyone and discover what it means for each person to live close to the sea and the coastline. We have interviewed people from many walks of life. The relationship with the sea for some participants spans an entire lifetime, for others it is one they returned to later in life or in some cases it’s a relationship that has been formed for the first time more recently.

Beautiful and powerful images of the sea have emerged from the interviews. For one interviewee the sea was likened to an ‘open door’; an invitation or perhaps a portal to another place or dimension. For another participant the sea was felt as an unbroken link between far away places bringing consolation and a feeling of connection with loved ones when overseas.

The sea was also experienced as a darker place of potential danger; large waves that might snatch young children away without warning, and a place where one might simply vanish and not come back. And yet for several people the sea’s uncaring and impervious nature offers them a great sense of freedom; the sea being an entity with no expectations or judgement. Reflecting on the interviews it became apparent that for many the sea embodied great contradictions.

For several participants the sounds of the surf heard at night, had almost imperceptively infiltrated into their consciousness over the years; becoming part of who they are. Some spoke of the comfort and reassurance this gave them. A sound that in some cases was ‘felt’ most keenly in its absence when they moved away from the sea.

Several people spoke of the sound of the chaffing pebbles in the undertow when walking on the beach as one that they associated most strongly with the sea. One participant used alot of ’s’ sounding words , swimming, sloshing, surfing……. sounding a little like the sea itself.

Encounters with the sea are woven into the participants daily lives and in all cases these encounters give them something vital. The sea and coastline was revealed as a place that inspires inner reflection, as well as offering individuals solace, sanctuary or respite from other aspects of life.

Perhaps more surprisingly we discovered that the sea also provides some of the same inteviewees with a strong sense of community, and the chance to be involved with a variety of clubs and groups often offering immersive and exhilarating encounters with the ocean. Or a place to simply gather and have fun with family or friends. We were very struck by the powerful sense of belonging that many of the interviewees felt towards the sea as well as a sense of great pride in their surroundings.

Find out more and BOOK TICKETS

http://timothycrowley.org/swirl.html
http://www.kateogley.com/swirl.htm


12 Sep 19

Notes from an artist

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Ulf v4

Ulf v3

Bude school

Reflect artist Ulf Pedersen took a trip to Bude in the summer in preparation for his new artwork Karma Seas at Bude Sea Pool.  Through a series of briefings, talks and workshops running since early spring, REFLECT has brought people together to discuss their experiences of living near the coast and their connections to their environment. These experiences will all feed into an exciting outdoor sound and light event, featuring Ulf Pedersen’s new work, as well as intimate pop up folk gigs, plus new artworks from local sound artists and community groups.

NOTES FROM AN ARTIST: ULF PEDERSEN, SUMMER 2019 

Arrived on site to the issue of getting near the site to offload the kit. Council not picking up phones. 

A short drive across the Downs felt like a funfair ride. All went well in the dry weather - could be a different story in Autumn!

Offload. Met Emily on the cliff top trying hard to compose a shot against a very unpicturesque chain link fence! Quick manoeuvre down to sea level - the cliffs and beach huts offering a far better backdrop.

Bring on the school group - plenty of commotion as we compose ourselves into an orderly group. Ahem. Students artwork in hand - so far so good.

Into the hub to meet Ethan & Issie - 2 fabulous collaborators assisting me with content for the project having been through many issues themselves.

A very inspiring, revealing meeting. Thank you both for your participation in this very exciting project.

REFLECT is happening in Bude and Gravesham this October.
Find out more: REFLECT BUDE REFLECT GRAVESHAM 

Photographs by Emily Whitfield-Wicks REFLECT BUDE. International artist Ulf Pedersen (who's work will be projected onto the cliff by Bude Sea Pool).

Photograph by Emily Whitfield-Wicks REFLECT BUDE. International artist Ulf Pedersen (who's work will be projected onto the cliff by Bude Sea Pool). L-R Isabella Morgan (one of the collaborators for the Reflect Project), Ulf Pedersen, Lucy Storry and Fern Paton from Budehaven School.


07 Sep 19

What's your favourite song about the sea?

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With help from the REFLECT team and artists we've put together a playlist. How Does the sea make you feel? playlist now live! Listen here

Some of the REFLECT artists tell us about their favourite songs about the sea below.

What’s your favourite song about the sea and why?
Ruth (REFLECT BUDE) - Lonely Drfiter by the O'jays came to mind straight away, love a bit of drama

Kate (REFLECT BUDE) - Blue by Joni Mitchell. I like this song because it expresses the elemental nature of love.

Tim (REFLECT BUDE) Don’t know the title of this folk song but it starts “Old Man Adams built a mansion where the ocean rose and fell, he said he’d spend his days there, and be buried there as well”. I like the words and melody, and that it is sung in a deep voice.

Billie (REFLECT GRAVESHAM) Surfin' USA - The Beach Boys one is a blast from the past, from the 60’s when I lived in Peru ( a lot of surfing there ) and I was 18 years old. I love the sea and spend as much time as I can by the sea walking and love swimming.


05 Aug 19

YOUR SONIC JOURNEY

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Sonic Journey: Gavin Bryars + Blake Morrison

What are Sonic Journeys?
Sonic Journeys are soundtracks created for a specific journey. If there's a journey you love this summer, why not create a piece of music inspired by it? All you need is your phone and access to GarageBand or voice recording apps. Once recorded you can then upload it to our Sonic Journeys website for others to experience. www.sonicjourneys.co.uk

As part of REFLECT project we’ve been running Sonic Journey workshops in Bude and Gravesend this summer. Check out workshop leader and artist Tania Holland Williams’ Sonic Journey creating tips below.

1. Release yourself from worrying about how far along the line you are as a sound artist or composer. There is no right or wrong version of the journey you want to capture. The only thing you really need is a desire to communicate your journey through sound and technology that is found on most phones.

2. Consider a journey that you do everyday…
There is something about the accumulative weight of repeating the same journey that might be worth exploring in sound.

3. Some people start a creative sound piece with words, others with sound capture, some with a graphic design, others with a concept for what they are trying to build. It’s worth knowing your preference and trying out a number of different starting points - so that if you do get stuck in the creative process, you will have some other skills to draw on.

4. If you tend to create in a certain style - for example slow moving, calm pieces - set yourself a challenge of going on a journey that is more edgy and trying to capture that discomfort. The more you know about your preferred writing style the more challenges you can give yourself and the more you will grow as a creative.

5. Identify a journey where you have time to listen rather than one where you are with people you like to chat to or where you generally listen to music. We very rarely take time to listen to our world.

6. Listen in different directions - our ears help us by giving us a sense of the perspective and landscape of the world. See how much distance, depth you can hear when you listen up/down; left/right; in front/behind.

7. Set yourself the challenge of using a sound you’ve never used before when you are creating. Even if it ultimately is not the right sound for your piece - you will have added another sound colour to your palette.

YOUR SONIC JOURNEY
For those that would like to create and share their own Sonic Journey, we are inviting online submissions of music, or music and video, to journeys that you find personally inspiring here. Previous Your Sonic Journeys have included music to journeys in Kew Gardens in London, Bregenz in Austria, South Western Transylvania and more. www.sonicjourneys.co.uk

CREATE NOW


05 Aug 19

A Change is Gonna Come news

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A change is gonna come v2

A Change is Gonna Come is part of FROM THE SOURCE festival produced by Serious at Warwick Arts Centre in November. We enjoyed touring this project in July to Walthamstow Garden Party, Bristol Old Vic, Reading Fringe Festival and WOMAD - check out our Instagram for the pics https://www.instagram.com/soundukarts. Can't wait to hear Carleen Anderson, Nikki Yeoh, Camilla George, Lady Sanity, Renell Shaw and Rod Youngs play live again!

Find out more about FROM THE SOURCE here


03 Jul 19

BLOG: Mental health and the coast

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From antidepressant effects of outdoor swimming, to the capacity of virtual sea-walks to reduce pain felt from dental surgery; the evidence is growing of the curative power of the sea. Valuing the ocean and the coast is also important for the future of humanity, and protecting it will benefit all of us.

But there are also downsides of living by the sea, that are less widely reported. Many people living in coastal communities report feeling forgotten and cut off next to their urban counterparts. Mental health services are hard to access and isolation and deprivation are rife. Cornwall has the third highest suicide rate in the UK and yet the longest coastline.

We urgently need to understand both the challenges and the benefits that living by the sea has in order to come up with solutions to build healthier communities by the sea. The REFLECT project aims to gather people’s experiences of living by the sea and its impact on their mental well-being in a variety of ways.

The REFLECT project team want to interview people, have people submit stories, art, film, poetry. They will look at these sources of evidence and explore themes – contact: reflect@exeter.ac.uk if you are interested in being a contributor.

They would like people to use the Urban Mind app (download from App Store or Google Play) Click HERE for further info. This is an anonymous record of the impact of nature, environment and social interaction and on your mental wellbeing. Find out more here: https://www.reflectaamp.org/research

OCTOBER EVENTS
Art and science unite to explore how Cornwall's and Kent's coastlines impact our mental health

REFLECT BUDE
4 - 6 October 2019
Find out more

REFLECT GRAVESHAM
11 - 13 October 2019
Find out more

Blog first posted by the REFLECT team at https://www.reflectaamp.org/research


13 May 19

REFLECT in Bude and Gravesham

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Just announced! REFLECT Bude and REFLECT GRAVESHAM.

The project launch on 13 May, during the national Mental Health Awareness Week 2019, kick-starts the build-up to REFLECT, a two-location project in October featuring international and local artists adorning the coast around Bude and Gravesend with art installations and innovative soundscapes, working alongside local communities. Interactive experiences, artworks plus walking and singing activities open to all accompany the event.

Running in Bude in Cornwall, and Gravesend, Kent, REFLECT is produced by Sound UK in association with the University of Exeter and LV21, a former service vessel in Kent that is now a performance arts venue. The project is funded by the University of Exeter, Arts Council England and Wellcome Trust.

www.reflectaamp.org

REFLECT BUDE
4 - 6 October 2019
Find out more

REFLECT GRAVESHAM
11 - 13 October 2019
Find out more

Image credit:
Top image - Lee Robertson
Bottom image - view from LV21


21 Mar 19

JUST ANNOUNCED! Ariwo UK tour

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"Dark, mesmeric, uplifting and danceable; you won’t hear anything else like it." ★★★★ Evening Standard

We're excited to announce Ariwo's UK tour. Their sets are arresting affairs, holding audience’s hostage to their hypnotic grooves as they invite them into a new sound world.

In Yoruba the word Ariwo means “noise”, which captures the band’s desire to combine traditional rhythms into a live electronic performance, challenging perceptions of ancestral music, and connecting diverse cultures from around the world.

Ariwo bring together Iranian electronic composer Pouya Ehsaei; 'percussion virtuoso' (Time Out) Hammadi Valdes; figurehead of London's Cuban music scene, Oreste Noda; award-winning Jazz trumpeter Jay Phelps and special guest saxophonist Camilla George.

New album Quasi out 15 April 2019 on MANANA Records

TOUR DATES 2019

22 May BRIGHTON, Brighton Festival
24 May NORWICH, Norwich & Norfolk Festival
25 May LONDON, Giant Steps
30 May, COVENTRY, The Tin
31 May, NEWCASTLE, Cobalt Studios
2 June, BRISTOL, Fleece, co-promoted with Worm Disco Club

BOOK NOW


11 Mar 19

Change in line up

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tippet Bourne lower gallery

In a change to the advertised line up, Keith Tippett will no longer be performing in Leeds and Bristol due to injury.

Matthew and Keith are delighted that Laura Cole will instead perform alongside Matthew Bourne at Sounds Like This Festival in Leeds (12 March) and Kit Downes at Bristol Jazz & Blues Festival (23 March).

Leeds-based pianist, composer Laura Cole joins Matthew fresh from her acclaimed solo double album 'Enough' (Discus) last year. “Cole succeeds in exploring divergent avenues of expression... revealing a quietly emphatic sense of space” – The Wire.

Kit Downes is critically regarded as one of the UK’s outstanding jazz talents and his ECM album Obsidian could have only been made by an improviser of subtle sensibilities. “A lightning musical intelligence” –The Daily Telegraph

If you have any questions regarding your ticket booking please contact:
Sounds Like This festival - Leeds 
Bristol Jazz Fest contact

 


06 Mar 19

Artist call out! 10 new commissions

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bude sea pool

lv21

As part of a major public event in Bude and Gravesend this October, we are offering no less than 10 new commissions to local Cornish and Kent artists to include:

• A new sound commission by a Cornish artist for a beach hut at Bude Sea Pool
• A new sound commission by a Kent artist for LV21, a unique ship arts venue in Gravesend
• 4 local Cornish artists to decorate benches in Bude
• 4 local Kent artists to decorate benches in Gravesend

The project will be announced as part of Mental Health Awareness Week w/c 13 May. WIth the commissions being presented in October 2019.

For artist briefs and full details please contact maija@sounduk.net

Commissions are offered on a paid, freelance basis.

DEADLINE FOR PROPOSALS: 3 April 2019

Timeline summary:
3 April 2019 - Proposal deadline
13 May 2019 - REFLECT project announcement 
October 2019 - REFLECT commissions go live

REFLECT is produced by Sound UK in association with Exeter University and LV21. Funded by Exeter University, Arts Council England and Wellcome Trust.


28 Feb 19

A Change Is Gonna Come 2019 news

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camilla george top slider

lady sanity top slider

A Change is Gonna Come is heading to WOMAD Festival this July. We're thrilled to introduce Camilla George on saxophone and Birmingham based rapper Lady Sanity to the line up along side Carleen Anderson, Nikki Yeoh, Renell Shaw and Rod Youngs. 

On stage together for the first time, they will perform unique interpretations of iconic songs from the time of the civil rights through to today. This special set also features powerful new compositions by Anderson and Yeoh highlighting the ongoing fight for equal human rights.

Read More


18 Feb 19

Tippett & Bourne trailer now live!

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Inspired by Keith Tippett’s suggestion to ‘do some playing together’ in late 2016, this new and exciting musical partnership between Tippett and Matthew Bourne, two maverick pianists, a generation apart, is a meeting of like-minded but distinct individuals: both are mesmerising live performers, famous for their idiosyncrasy, virtuosity, and non-conformity.

TOURING SPRING 2019 

Tue 12 Mar LEEDS
Sat 23 Mar BRISTOL
Sun 28 Apr LONDON
Thu 23 May MANCHESTER

BOOK NOW


09 Jan 19

New trailer from The Paper Cinema

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GHOST STORIES: TALES OF THE SUPERNATURAL
By The Paper Cinema

A wintry show for long, dark nights of ghostly tales brought to life through hand-drawn illustrations, masterful puppetry, cinematic projection and live music.

On tour 25 Jan - 2 Feb.
BOOK NOW


19 Dec 18

Watch Letters I Haven't Written project film

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In the autumn we had the privilege of producing Gwyneth Herbert's life affirming Letters I Haven’t Written delivered by an exceptional creative team working across music, theatre and design. Watch the short film to find out more about this special project exploring how we communicate and connect.

Line-up:
Gwyneth Herbert – voice, french horn, ukulele
Tom Gibbs – piano, voice
Sam Burgess – bass, voice
Rob Luft – guitar, voice
Corrie Dick – drums, voice

Will Duke - Video Artist
Susannah Tresilian – Director
Tom Rogers - Designer

Co-commissioned by Snape Maltings and OCM

Produced by Sound UK

Funded by Arts Council England National Lottery, Hastings Borough Council and East Sussex Arts Partnership. Gwyneth Herbert is supported by PRS Foundation’s Women Make Music.


12 Dec 18

A Change is Gonna Come project film now live!

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In May we had the privilege of commissioning A Change Is Gonna Come  – check out the project film to get a taste of this incredible line up. On stage together for the first time, Carleen Anderson, Nikki Yeoh, Nubya Garcia, Speech Debelle, Renell Shaw and Rod Youngs performed unique interpretations of iconic songs from the time of the civil rights through to today. 


31 Oct 18

Incredible audience comments for Letters I Haven't Written

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gwyneth herbert live

Wow, what a truly wonderful, powerful and moving project by Gwyneth Herbert. A big THANK YOU to all who joined us on the Letters I Haven't Written tour. Gwyneth and her band were incredible! This was an ambitious new music theatre project with songs from her acclaimed new album at its heart. THANK YOU to the extraordinary creative team, video designer Will Duke, director Susannah Tresilian and designer Tom Rogers. And THANK YOU to all the community groups who took part in Gwyn's songwriting workshops and the performance. 

Gwyneth Herbert's new album Letters I Haven't Written is OUT NOW
https://open.spotify.com/album/4SiVcOmo4xccZJqJS6QkGv

WHAT’S TWITTER SAYING?
We’ve loved reading your Twitter comments. Here are a few we’ve picked out:

@AyannaWJ
The most extraordinarily moving show I’ve seen in years! @gwynethherbert is masterful songweaver and the duet with @KrystleWarren was beyond words. Thank you

@TitaniaKrimpas
Huge thanks to @gwynethherbert for massively cathartic, moving, big-hearted, content rich experience watching and singing along to Letters I Haven't Written #inspiring Go and see it!

@YWMPoxford
#lettersnotwritten what an experience! thanks to every young woman who was involved in thIs project and those who made it last night to share the stage with @gwynethherbert this has been a beautiful journey for all over the past 5 weeks!

@nicolsonbrooks
The splendid Gwyneth Herbert and her show 'Letters I haven't written'. Backdrop of screens with constantly changing stills and moving images reinforcing songs about suicide, Windrush, addiction and domestic abuse which ultimately cheered you up. So much going on. A real feast.

@piersford
Back with @Scandiandy from the launch of @gwynethherbert 's "Letters I Haven't Written" @snapemaltings - her best work yet: a concept album that resonates absolutely with our times. The performance ended in a collaboration with women from the Hope Centre - moving beyond words


23 Oct 18

The Planets 2018 audio now online

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“Holst orbits into the modern age… each piece fizzes with textural detail, the musical analogue of the sulphuric swamps, ice storms and metallic hydrogen clouds that characterise our solar system”
**** John Lewis, The Guardian

Following the sell out and critically acclaimed success of its recent live tour of planetariums, The Planets 2018 is now available to enjoy as an audio stream for one year.

LISTEN HERE

100 years ago, Holst’s The Planets was premiered. Shaped by an astrological understanding of the planets, this ground-breaking piece became a mainstream classic. Live Music Sculpture and Sound UK mark its centenary by asking: what would music inspired by current planetary science sound like in the hands of today’s composers?

Reflecting developments in astronomy and music, The Planets 2018 commissioned 8 leading composers, spanning contemporary classical, electronica and jazz, to create new works inspired by our solar system, performed in planetariums and available online. 

Composers Ayanna Witter-Johnson (Earth), Deborah Pritchard (Mars), Laurence Crane (Neptune), Mira Calix (Mercury), Richard Bullen (Jupiter), Shiva Feshareki (Venus), Samuel Bordoli (Uranus) and Yazz Ahmed (Saturn) each created a new 5 minute piece for string quartet that responds to both their chosen planet and the unique design of the live venues.

To inform and inspire them, each composer was mentored by one of the UK’s leading scientists, working at the forefront of astronomy and passionate about widening its audience. These included experts from Imperial College, Queen Mary College, Royal Astronomical Society and Open University who gave composers deeper insights into their planets and opportunities to visit their labs, handle artefacts and experience NASA’s Curiosity Rover’s adventures in Gale Crater on Mars.

The result is 8 distinct sound worlds with each new piece of music introduced by the recorded voice of comedian Jon Culshaw (Dead Ringers, Newzoids and Spitting Image), a lifelong astronomy enthusiast and part of The Sky at Night team.

Internationally renowned for pushing the possibilities of the string quartet, the Ligeti Quartet premiered The Planets 2018 in quadraphonic sound, alongside live visuals, in full dome planetariums including sell out shows at Royal Observatory Greenwich, Thinktank Birmingham, Winchester Science Centre and We The Curious in Bristol. The Planets 2018 audio is now available to experience online streamed from Sound UK and partner websites for a year.

The Planets 2018 is the latest in the Live Music Sculpture series, founded by Samuel Bordoli in 2011 with the intention of producing site-specific work for live musicians in unusual spaces. Since then, Live Music Sculptures have been produced in some of the UK’s most iconic buildings, including The Monument, St Paul’s Cathedral and Tower Bridge, which have been nominated for awards and admired by audiences and critics. The Planets 2018 expands the concept bringing in a range of other composers and working in collaboration with new music producer Sound UK. Once created the legacy for the commission is hugely exciting with potential to be presented in other UK and international planetariums, in mobile domes in schools and more.


10 Oct 18

Read Gwyneth Herbert's Guardian article

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Everyone has a letter they wish they’d written, says Gwyneth Herbert, who found that in the simple act of putting pen to paper she re-learnt how to communicate and connect

Read the full article here: https://www.theguardian.com/music/2018/oct/10/gwyneth-herbert-singer-letters-i-havent-written


03 Oct 18

FOUR-STAR REVIEW AND AMAZING AUDIENCE COMMENTS!

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planets live

We're back from flying around the solar system with Samuel Bordoli / Live Music Sculpture and the Ligeti Quartet and want to say a big THANK YOU to all who joined us on this planetary journey.

Cosmic Composers:
Richard Bullen - Jupiter
Deborah Pritchard - Mars
Mira Calix - Mercury
Ayanna Witter-Johnson - Earth
Samuel Bordoli - Uranus
Laurence Crane – Neptune
Yazz Ahmed – Saturn
Shiva Feshareki – Venus

With thanks to: Prof Sanjeev Gupta, Prof David Rothery, Dr Phillipa Mason, Dr Leigh Fletcher, Prof Carl Murray, Dr Sheila Kanani, Catherine McEvoy, Brendan Owens & Dr Greg Brown at Greenwich Royal Observatory, Mark Watson at Winchester Science Centre, Colin Hutcheson at Thinktank, Lee Pullen and Anna Henley at We The Curious. Zee Dinally at Immersive Experiences. Arts Council England and RVW Trust

BIG THANKS ALSO TO the amazing Ligeti Quartet, Samuel Bordoli and Tim Hand.

LISTEN ONLINE:
The Planets 2018 will be available to listen to online at sounduk.net soon.

ON THE RADIO:
Listen again to The Planets 2018 on BBC Radio 3 Music Matters and BBC Radio 4 Front Row

Composers - What planet are they on?
https://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/play/m0000kfl

Samuel Bordoli on BBC Radio 4 Front Row
https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0bkpjl9

READ THE PAPERS:
Read The Guardian feature and four-star review

Cosmic composers: how scientists helped reinvent Holst's Planets suite
https://www.theguardian.com/music/2018/sep/26/cosmic-composers-how-scientists-helped-reinvent-holsts-planet-suite

The Planets 2018/Ligeti Quartet review – Holst orbits into the modern age
https://www.theguardian.com/music/2018/oct/01/the-planets-2018-ligeti-quartet-review?CMP=twt_a-music_b-gdnmusic

WHAT’S TWITTER SAYING?
We’ve loved reading your Twitter comments. Here are a few we’ve picked out:

@SueTurnerQCF
#imaginative #stimulating #thoughtprovoking musical evening thanks to @wethecurious_ and @LigetiQuartet #planets2018

@LeahZakss
Swept away by #Planets2018 new music at @WinSciCentre planetarium (new favourite place). Loved hearing from Prof Carl Murray @QMUL on composer mentoring and the extraordinary qualities of Saturn. Congrats @soundukarts & all involved. A treat for the ears. Mind truly boggled.

‏@ITAMRocks
Mindblown - just back from #Planets2018 at @WinSciCentre. Sitting in the middle of a string quartet whilst whizzing around the Solar System. And being a total fanboi hearing from a Cassini imaging scientist about that amazing mission

#planets2018

Image credit: Lee Pullen, We The Curious


03 Oct 18

Gwyneth Herbert's manifesto for connection

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This is Gwyneth Herbert's manifesto for connection.

At a time when we seem to be communicating constantly, we seem to somehow be connecting less.

Gwyn invites you to her ambitious new project Letters I Haven’t Written. With songs from her acclaimed new album at its heart, Gwyn and her band collaborate with an extraordinary creative team, video designer Will Duke, director Susannah Tresilian and designer Tom Rogers, to explore how we communicate, and find more meaningful connections with ourselves and the world.

UK TOUR 12 - 18 October 
Letters I Haven't Written 

Fri 12 Oct SNAPE MALTINGS
Sat 13 Oct OXFORD North Wall Arts Centre, promoted by OCM
Sun 14 Oct LONDON The Albany
Tues 16 Oct, MILTON KEYNES The Stables
Weds 17 Oct, CARDIFF Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama
Thurs 18 Oct, HASTINGS Opus Theatre

BOOK NOW


01 Oct 18

LETTERS I HAVEN'T WRITTEN trailer now live!

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UK TOUR
Fri 12 Oct SNAPE MALTINGS
Sat 13 Oct OXFORD North Wall Arts Centre, promoted by OCM
Sun 14 Oct LONDON The Albany
Tues 16 Oct, MILTON KEYNES The Stables
Weds 17 Oct, CARDIFF Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama
Thurs 18 Oct, HASTINGS Opus Theatre

BOOK NOW


24 Sep 18

Uranus // Samuel Bordoli

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SB lower gallery

Composer // Samuel Bordoli
Scientist // Professor David Rothery
Planet // Uranus

It turns out Uranus is a fascinating planet because its rotation around the axis is tilted on its side creating an extraordinary effect on sunrise and sunset – essentially 42 earth years of a pale sun slowly revolving in the sky, the circle getting wider until it disappeared under the horizon leading to another 42 years of twilight then darkness. This is the journey Sam has tried to communicate in his new piece. Converting 84 years into 5 minutes is quite a challenge.

Samuel Bordoli is establishing a reputation as one of the foremost composers of his generation. His varied output continues to explore relationships between music, architecture, literature and theatre. He was appointed Composer-in-Residence at Scottish Opera in 2017. He has written chamber operas, instrumental and choral music as well as site-specific works for some the UK's most iconic landmarks including Tower Bridge, St Paul’s Cathedral and City Hall, where he collaborated with Foster + Partners. He studied composition at the Royal Academy of Music, where he held the Mendelssohn Scholarship, and the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. www.bordoli.co.uk

Professor David Rothery is mentoring Sam on Uranus. Professor of Planetary Geosciences, Open University. Author of: Planets: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford Univ Press 2010), Teach Yourself Planets (Hodder, now out of print), Mercury: From Pale Pink Dot of Dynamic World (Springer, 2015). On the science team for the European Space Agency orbiter probe to Mercury (BepiColombo, launching Oct 2018,arrival Dec 2026).http://www.open.ac.uk/people/dar4

Uranus Facts

1. Uranus is about 4 times as wide as the Earth. It has 27 moons all named after the works of William Shakespeare and Alexander Pope.

2. Uranus has its own set of rings! It has 13 in total that are narrow and dark close to the planet and brightly coloured further out

3. Uranus is a bit like Venus, in that it also rotates East to West, but it is unique as it rotates lying on its side.

4. One Uranian day is about 17 hours and one Uranian year is about 84 Earth years!

5. Uranus is an Ice giant made up of water, methane and ammonia. Its atmosphere is mostly hydrogen, helium and a small amount of methane. Hydrogen sulphide has also been detected high in the clouds of Uranus which would make it smell a lot like rotten eggs.

Ref: https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/uranus/overview/

 


24 Sep 18

Mars // Deborah Pritchard

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mars curiosity rover

Composer // Deborah Pritchard
Scientist // Professor Sanjeev Gupta
Planet // Mars

Having experienced the landscape of Mars through NASA’s Curiosity Rover, Deborah aims to capture our sense of the magnificence of Mars, our closeness to it, as well as the barren and cold reality at its surface.

Deborah Pritchard received a British Composer Award in 2017. Her work has been broadcast by BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 4, commercially released by NMC, Signum and Nimbus and performed by the London Symphony Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, London Sinfonietta and Philharmonia Orchestra. She is a synaesthetic composer and her violin concerto Wall of Water, after the paintings by Maggi Hambling, was held to critical acclaim by Gramophone as a 'work that will take ones breath away'. She studied composition with Simon Bainbridge for her MMus Degree at the Royal Academy of Music and was awarded her DPhil from Worcester College, Oxford where she studied with Robert Saxton. www.nmcrec.co.uk/composer/pritchard-deborah

Professor Sanjeev Gupta mentored Deborah on Mars. He is a geologist at Imperial College in London. He is interested in the processes that shape landscapes and how we can reconstruct these from Deep Time records preserved in sedimentary rocks. Since 2012 he has been exploring the evolution of Mars' landscapes. Currently he works with NASA's Curiosity rover to discover if the Red Planet could ever have been habitable for life, and is excited about future explorations with the European ExoMars rover due for launch in 2020. www.imperial.ac.uk/people/s.gupta

Mars Facts 

1. Mars days are only a little longer than a day on Earth but a year on Mars in almost twice as long as a year on Earth – 687 Earth days!

2. Mars has 2 moons called Phobos and Deimos.

3. Mars is known as the Red Planet because there are iron minerals in the Martian soil that have oxidized, or become rusty, and caused the soil and atmosphere to look red.

4. Mars is a rocky planet, like Earth, but its surfaces has been changed by volcanoes, and impacts, rushing winds and chemical reactions

5. Mars is much smaller than the Earth, about half the radius, but only a tenth of the mass.

Ref: https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/mars/overview/

Image credit: Mars Curiosity Rover


24 Sep 18

Neptune // Laurence Crane

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Composer // Laurence Crane
Scientist // Dr Sheila Kanani
Planet // Neptune

Fascinated - and also quite overwhelmed - by the facts and statistics illustrating the immense distance of Neptune in the solar system. Neptune is 4 billion kilometres from Earth. Laurence continued to think about the mystery…the enigma, of Neptune to create an overall idea about the sounds, structure and sonic character of his new composition.

Laurence Crane studied composition with Peter Nelson and Nigel Osborne at Nottingham University. His music is mainly written for the concert hall, although his output includes pieces initially composed for film, radio, theatre, dance and installation. His list of works predominantly consists of instrumental chamber and ensemble music. He has worked with many ensembles in the UK and abroad, including Apartment House (UK), Plus-Minus Ensemble (UK/Belgium), Ixion (UK), London Sinfonietta (UK), Ives Ensemble (Netherlands), Orkest de Volharding (Netherlands), Cikada Ensemble (Norway), asamisimasa (Norway), Ensemble Kore (Canada) and 175 East (New Zealand).

Dr Sheila Kanani mentored Laurence on Neptune. She is a planetary physicist, science presenter, secondary school physics teacher and space comedian, with a background in astrophysics and astronomy research from UK universities. Her experience includes acting as an ambassador of science, public speaking, events organisation, science journalism and school visits. Sheila is currently the Education, Outreach and Diversity officer for the Royal Astronomical Society in London. www.destinationspace.uk/meet-space-crew/sheila-kanani/

Neptune Facts

1. Neptune is about 4 times the diameter of Earth, but is the only planet in the solar system not visible with the naked eye.

2. In 2011 Neptune completed its first 165-year orbit of the sun (1 Neptunian year) since its discovery in 1846. However, a Neptunian day only takes about 16 hours.

3. Neptune has 13 confirmed moons and one awaiting confirmation. They are all named after sea gods and nymphs in Greek mythology.

4. Neptune has a dark vortex in its atmosphere, that causes some gases to freeze into methane ice crystals.

5. Neptune has 6 rings of its own

Ref: https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/neptune/overview/


20 Sep 18

Saturn // Yazz Ahmed

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Composer // Yazz Ahmed
Scientist // Professor Carl Murray
Planet // Saturn

Yazz has been inspired by sound recordings and images from the Cassini spacecraft mission, from lightening storms to plasma waves. Yazz wrote the piece in 6/4 time signature to represent the hexagon at the top of Saturn. 

Yazz Ahmed is a British Bahraini trumpet and flugelhorn player. Her music, through which she seeks to blur the lines between jazz, electronic sound design and the music of her mixed heritage, has been described as ‘psychedelic Arabic jazz, intoxicating and compelling’. In recent years she has led her ensembles in concerts in the UK and internationally. Yazz has also recorded and performed with Radiohead, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, amongst others. Her 2017 critically acclaimed album, La Saboteuse (Naim), has brought her to the attention of a global audience. Yazz is supported by PRS For Music Foundation. https://www.yazzahmed.com/

Professor Carl Murray is a Professor of Mathematics and Astronomy at Queen Mary University of London. He is a planetary scientist interested in the motion of all objects in the solar system, from dust to planets, and has co-authored the standard textbook on the subject, “Solar System Dynamics”. In 1990 he was selected as a member of the camera team for the NASA/ESA Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn and worked on the project until the demise of the spacecraft in September 2017. Carl is particularly interested in the dynamics of Saturn’s rings and their gravitational interaction with small moons.

Saturn facts:

1. Saturn is not the only planet with rings, but has the most spectacular ring system in the solar system. It has 7 rings and several gaps and divisions between them.

2. Without including Saturn’s rings, it would take 9 Earths to span its diameter.

3. Saturn’s days are about 10.7 hrs long, similar in length to Jupiter’s, however it has much longer years, taking 29 Earth years to orbit the Sun.

4. Saturn has 53 confirmed moon and 9 provisional moons that are awaiting confirmation

5. About two tons of Saturn’s mass has come from Earth. The Cassini spacecraft was intentionally vaporized in Saturn’s atmosphere in 2017.

Ref: https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/saturn/overview/


19 Sep 18

Read the story behind Letters I Haven't Written

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Since award-winning singer, composer, lyricist, record producer and multi-instrumentalist Gwyneth Herbert’s last project The Sea Cabinet in 2013, she's been on all sorts of creative adventures in all sorts of places, collaborating with artists, orchestras, brass bands, amazing young people and… puppets. After all that, when she finally sat down to create her new project she didn’t know where to start. "The world was full of so many stories”, she says, “and my voice suddenly felt so small on its own.” Then a close friend said: “if you were to sit down at your piano right now and write a song that no one else would hear, what would it be?” Terrified by the idea, she thought she should probably do it.

“My beautiful friend Sophie had just taken her life,” Gwyn continues, “so I decided I would write to her. And this was my first letter song.”

After that the songs came thick and fast: a thank you to her inspirational 6th form music teacher, Martin Read; a duet of friendship with her best pal Krystle Warren; a letter of love and separation inspired by time in the refugee camp in Calais; one to our government campaigning for a revolution in education and more.

Gwyn brought together her fantastic band and special guests to record the Letters I Haven’t Written album (her 7th) at Rockfield studio, Monmouth this summer, with engineer Sean Genockey.

Alongside the album Gwyn has also developed an ambitious new live show with her letter songs at its heart, collaborating with an extraordinary creative team including her band, video designer Will Duke, director Susannah Tresilian and designer Tom Rogers, “exploring how we communicate, and trying to find a more meaningful way of connecting with ourselves and the world.”

As part of the UK tour in October Gwyn is running Letters workshops with different groups from each community – in schools, vulnerable women and BAME elders – listening, learning and making together. The workshops will enable them to devise their own letter songs and Gwyn will compose a new song in response to her time with each group, to be performed with participants as an encore at some of the tour dates.

The single You’re Welcome will be available to download and stream on 28th September

The album Letters I Haven't Written will be available to download and stream on 12th October

UK TOUR
Fri 12 Oct SNAPE MALTINGS
Sat 13 Oct OXFORD North Wall Arts Centre, promoted by OCM
Sun 14 Oct LONDON The Albany
Tues 16 Oct, MILTON KEYNES The Stables
Weds 17 Oct, CARDIFF Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama
Thurs 18 Oct, HASTINGS Opus Theatre

BOOK NOW


17 Sep 18

JUPITER // Richard Bullen

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jupiter

Composer // Richard Bullen 
Scientist // Dr. Leigh Fletcher
Planet // Jupiter

Richard creates a sound world inspired by time-lapse videos of the auroras in Jupiter’s atmosphere, as well as images of the swirling clouds and rushing winds. He also makes a feature of the 4 Galilean moons of Jupiter, assigning one to each of the string quartet instruments.

British composer Richard Bullen studied at the Royal Academy of Music with David Sawer, graduating with a PhD in 2015. His works, which have been described as 'audacious' and 'astounding', often make creative use of the performance space to heighten perception of sound and thrill the senses. He has worked with several leading new music ensembles and orchestras including LSO, London Sinfonietta, BCMG, Orkest de Ereprijs and Psappha. His music has been performed across three continents from New York to Tokyo, and broadcast on BBC radio. He is a visiting lecturer in composition at the junior departments of Trinity Laban and the Royal College of Music. His awards include a 2011 BASCA British Composer Award. www.composersedition.com

Dr. Leigh Fletcher. Royal Society University Research Fellow (URF) and Associate Professor in Planetary Sciences at the University of Leicester specialising in the exploration of planetary weather and climate using Earth-based observatories and visiting spacecraft. He earned a Natural Science degree from Cambridge, a PhD in Planetary Physics from Oxford, and has since worked as a NASA fellow at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and as a Research Fellow at Oxford. He was the recipient of the 2016 Harold C. Urey prize for outstanding achievements in planetary science by an early-career scientist, awarded by the Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS) of the American Astronomical Society. He is a co-investigator on the Cassini mission to Saturn, the JUICE mission to Jupiter, and a passionate advocate for future exploration of the distance Ice Giants. He currently leads a planetary atmospheres team at the University of Leicester, funded by the Royal Society, STFC, and the European Research Council. planetaryweather.blogspot.co.uk

Jupiter Facts

1. Jupiter is the biggest planet in our Solar System – 11 Earths could fit across Jupiters equator

2. Jupiter has short days and very long years. 1 Jovian day is about 10 Earth hours. It takes around 12 Earth years to complete one obit of the Sun (a Jovian year)

3. Jupiter has 79 known moons. The four best known moons are Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto. They were discovered by Galileo (and are known as the Galilean moons) and are among the largest satellites in the Solar System. Some of these moons may be the mostly likely places to support life (other than Earth) in the Solar System.

4. Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is a gigantic storm that has raged for over 100 years and is about twice the size of Earth.

5. Unlike the 4 inner-most planets in the Solar system, Jupiter is a Gas Giant, so has no rocky surface. Its atmosphere is mostly Hydrogen and Helium.

Ref: https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/jupiter/overview/

Image credit: Dr. Leigh Fletcher


17 Sep 18

EARTH // Ayanna Witter-Johnson

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AWJ lower gallery

Composer // Ayanna Witter-Johnson
Scientist // Professor Sanjeev Gupta
Planet // Earth

Ayanna Witter-Johnson's new composition explores and wonders about the creation of Earth and how it has developed over time. The melody appears and re-appears in different ways to reflect a myriad of perspectives/thoughts that she had during her research and creative process.

Ayanna Witter-Johnson - Singer, songwriter, cellist and rare exception to the rule that classical and alternative r&b music cannot successfully coexist. Graduated with a first from both Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and the Manhattan School of Music, Ayanna participated in the London Symphony Orchestra’s Panufnik Young Composers Scheme and became an Emerging Artist in Residence at London’s Southbank Centre. She was a featured artist with Courtney Pine’s Afropeans: Jazz Warriors and became the only non-American to win Amateur Night Live at the legendary Apollo Theatre in Harlem, NYC. Since releasing her EP’s Ayanna has toured extensively in the UK and in Europe, gained a MOBO award nomination, and has been played on BBC Radio 1 & BBC 1Xtra. http://www.ayannamusic.com/

Professor Sanjeev Gupta is a geologist at Imperial College in London. He is interested in the processes that shape landscapes and how we can reconstruct these from Deep Time records preserved in sedimentary rocks. Since 2012 he has been exploring the evolution of Mars' landscapes. Currently he works with NASA's Curiosity rover to discover if the Red Planet could ever have been habitable for life, and is excited about future explorations with the European ExoMars rover due for launch in 2020. https://www.imperial.ac.uk/people/s.gupta

Top 5 Earth Facts

1. Earth is in the habitable zone around our Sun, where it’s not too cold and not too hot, so liquid water can exist. This is sometimes referred to as the ‘Goldilocks Zone’

2. The Earth’s atmosphere protects us from meteorites, which burn/break up before they can strike the Earth’s surface. Earth’s atmosphere is 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen and 1% other gases. This is the perfect cocktail to allow us to breathe and to promote life. 

3. The Earth has one natural satellite, the Moon.

4. Earth is a rocky planet with beautiful features such as mountains, valleys and canyons, but most of the surface is covered in water.

5. It takes the Earth 24hrs to rotate on its own axis and 365.25 days to complete one orbit around the Sun. That’s why every 4 years we add an extra day to February – to make up for the extra quarter day every year. 

Ref: https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/earth/overview/


12 Sep 18

GWYNETH HERBERT'S Letter Of Note

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****WARNING! This article contains very strong language****

Gwyneth Herbert's Letter Of Note

“JUST DO” - Sol LeWitt’s electrifying letter of advice on self-doubt, overcoming creative block, and being an artist

Artist Sol LeWitt: A spectacular 1965 letter to the trailblazing sculptor Eva Hesse, whom he had befriended five years earlier. Hesse, a disciple of Josef Albers and a pioneer of the postminimalist art movement of the 1960s, began suffering from creative block and self-doubt shortly after moving from New York to Germany with her husband. She reached out to her friend for counsel and consolation.

The masterpiece of a response LeWitt wrote on April 14, 1965 was later included in Letters of Note: Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience (public library) — the magnificent anthology edited by Shaun Usher.

In his impassioned five-page missive, which remains the closest thing to a personal creative credo LeWitt ever committed to words, the 41-year-old artist writes to Hesse:

"Dear Eva,

It will be almost a month since you wrote to me and you have possibly forgotten your state of mind (I doubt it though). You seem the same as always, and being you, hate every minute of it. Don’t! Learn to say “F*** You” to the world once in a while. You have every right to. Just stop thinking, worrying, looking over your shoulder, wondering, doubting, fearing, hurting, hoping for some easy way out, struggling, grasping, confusing, itching, scratching, mumbling, bumbling, grumbling, humbling, stumbling, numbling, rambling, gambling, tumbling, scumbling, scrambling, hitching, hatching, bitching, moaning, groaning, honing, boning, horse-s*******, hair-splitting, nit-picking, piss-trickling, nose sticking, ass-gouging, eyeball-poking, finger-pointing, alleyway-sneaking, long waiting, small stepping, evil-eyeing, back-scratching, searching, perching, besmirching, grinding, grinding, grinding away at yourself. Stop it and just

DO

From your description, and from what I know of your previous work and your ability; the work you are doing sounds very good “Drawing — clean — clear but crazy like machines, larger and bolder… real nonsense.” That sounds fine, wonderful — real nonsense. Do more. More nonsensical, more crazy, more machines, more breasts, penises, c****, whatever — make them abound with nonsense. Try and tickle something inside you, your “weird humor.” You belong in the most secret part of you. Don’t worry about cool, make your own uncool. Make your own, your own world. If you fear, make it work for you — draw & paint your fear & anxiety. And stop worrying about big, deep things such as “to decide on a purpose and way of life, a consistant [sic] approach to even some impossible end or even an imagined end.” You must practice being stupid, dumb, unthinking, empty. Then you will be able to

DO

I have much confidence in you and even though you are tormenting yourself, the work you do is very good. Try to do some BAD work — the worst you can think of and see what happens but mainly relax and let everything go to hell — you are not responsible for the world — you are only responsible for your work — so DO IT. And don’t think that your work has to conform to any preconceived form, idea or flavor. It can be anything you want it to be. But if life would be easier for you if you stopped working — then stop. Don’t punish yourself. However, I think that it is so deeply engrained in you that it would be easier to

DO

It seems I do understand your attitude somewhat, anyway, because I go through a similar process every so often. I have an “Agonizing Reappraisal” of my work and change everything as much as possible — and hate everything I’ve done, and try to do something entirely different and better. Maybe that kind of process is necessary to me, pushing me on and on. The feeling that I can do better than that s*** I just did. Maybe you need your agony to accomplish what you do. And maybe it goads you on to do better. But it is very painful I know. It would be better if you had the confidence just to do the stuff and not even think about it. Can’t you leave the “world” and “ART” alone and also quit fondling your ego. I know that you (or anyone) can only work so much and the rest of the time you are left with your thoughts. But when you work or before your work you have to empty your mind and concentrate on what you are doing. After you do something it is done and that’s that. After a while you can see some are better than others but also you can see what direction you are going. I’m sure you know all that. You also must know that you don’t have to justify your work — not even to yourself. Well, you know I admire your work greatly and can’t understand why you are so bothered by it. But you can see the next ones & I can’t. You also must believe in your ability. I think you do. So try the most outrageous things you can — shock yourself. You have at your power the ability to do anything.

[…]

Much love to you both.

Sol"

The following year, Hesse created “Hang-Up” — one of her most acclaimed and admired sculptures, of which she reflected: "It was the first time my idea of absurdity or extreme feeling came through… It is the most ridiculous structure that I ever made and that is why it is really good." This was LeWitt’s advice, made tangible and given form.

The two artists remained close friends and creative kindred spirits, exchanging ideas and influencing each other’s work, for the remainder of Hesse’s short life. She was slain by a brain tumor in 1970, at only thirty-four. Two days after her death, LeWitt created “Wall Drawing 46,” which he dedicated to his friend. With its minimalist multitude of textured non-straight lines — a graphic element he had never used before — the piece was a significant aesthetic shift for LeWitt, who would go on to incorporate non-straight lines in his subsequent work, crediting Hesse’s influence.

Link to full article here. Warning this article contains strong language: 
https://www.brainpickings.org/2016/09/09/do-sol-lewitt-eva-hesse-letter/

Image credit: Ian Wallman


12 Sep 18

VENUS // Shiva Feshareki

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SF lower gallery

Composer // Shiva Feshareki
Scientist // Dr. Philippa Mason
Planet // Venus

Exploring science/maths, spirituality, poetry and art, Shiva Feshareki's new composition is now called: Venus/Zohreh. Zohreh is her mother's name, which translates to Venus. Shiva takes scientific inspiration from EnVision, an international UK-led mission heading to Venus in 2029. 

Shiva Feshareki is an internationally acclaimed experimental composer, NTS radio DJ and turntablist. Her diverse output explores acoustics, perspective and the sound of electricity through wide ranging practises that incorporate classical methodology. In 2017, she was honoured with the British Composer Award for Innovation from BASCA. Upcoming major works include a commission from the BBC Concert Orchestra: a brand new composition for solo turntables and orchestra to be premiered at the Queen Elizabeth Hall during The EFG London Jazz Festival (late 2018). She will also be the Featured Composer at London’s Spitalfields Festival in December 2018, where she will be showcasing another new score, revisions of ‘GABA-analogue’ and ‘O’ and a new interdisciplinary collaboration with artist Haroon Mirza. 2018 will also see the exciting release of her debut album on ‘RESIST’ as well as a special release on Ash Koosha’s new record label ‘Realms’. https://www.shivafeshareki.co.uk/

Dr. Philippa Mason is a field geologist who specialises in using satellite imagery to study rocks, minerals, geological structures and tectonics, on Earth and other planets. Her teaching and research at Imperial College London takes her all over the world and involves the translation of terrestrial techniques in Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) and multi-spectral imaging to assist in the understanding of geological features and processes on other Earth-like planets, such as Venus and Mars. She is currently on the Science Team of EnVision, an international UK-led mission, which will be heading to Venus in 2029, aimed at understanding why it is so different to Earth, establishing whether it is tectonically active, and if it was ever hospitable to life. http://www.imperial.ac.uk/people/p.j.mason

Top 5 Venus facts:

1. Venus is about the same size as Earth (95% the radius and 82% the mass of Earth)

2. Although not the closest planet to the Sun, it is the hottest in the Solar System due to its thick atmosphere. It has a surface temperature of 465'C!!

3. A day on Venus lasts 243 Earth days while a year is only 225 Earth days. Venus spins backways so on Venus, the Sun rises in the west and sets in the East

4. Venus has been visited and explored by more than 40 space crafts! Many scientists believe that there was once water on the surface and future explorers will search for evidence of this.

5. Although the surface of Venus rotates slowly, clouds are blown completely around the planet every 5 days, by hurricane force winds!

Ref: https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/venus/overview/

Image credit: Ben Ealovega


05 Sep 18

Gwyneth Herbert's Letters Playlist

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Gwyn letters new pic

We asked Gwyn to put together a playlist of tracks that have inspired her Letters I Haven't Written project. Listen to her eclectic playlist of love letters, political letters, letters to a younger self from Al Green, David Bowie, Sarah Vaughan, plus many more.

Listen here

Image credit: Ian Wallman


03 Sep 18

Mercury // Mira Calix

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mercury

Composer // Mira Calix
Scientist // Professor David Rothery
Planet // Mercury

Check out a sneak preview of Mira Calix's new piece from our recent workshop session with the Ligeti Quartet here. Mira Calix has taken raw data from satellite missions to Mercury and turned it into music. The piece is simultaneously in 6/8 and 3/4 time signatures, representing its 3:2 orbit:spin ratio.

Mira Calix – is an award-winning artist, composer and performer. Music and sound have always been at the centre of her practice, which she continues to integrate with visual media and technological innovation to create multi-disciplinary installations and performance works. Mira has been commissioned by many leading international cultural institutions, festivals and ensembles including the London Sinfonietta, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Aldeburgh Festival, the Melbourne Recital Centre, Performa, Institute of Contemporary Art, Garage MCA, National Portrait Gallery, the Manchester International Festival and The Mayor Of London among others. Mira Calix is signed to Warp Records and published by Mute Song/ Music Sales. http://www.miracalix.com/

Professor David Rothery is mentoring Mira Calix on Mercury. Professor of Planetary Geosciences, Open University. Runs planetary science course. Author of: Planets: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford Univ Press 2010), Teach Yourself Planets (Hodder, now out of print), Mercury: From Pale Pink Dot of Dynamic World (Springer, 2015). On the science team for the European Space Agency orbiter probe to Mercury (BepiColombo, launching Oct 2018,arrival Dec 2026). http://www.open.ac.uk/people/dar4

Top 5 Mercury facts:

1. Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun, about 36 million miles from it.

2. Mercury is the smallest planet on the Solar system, only a little larger than our Moon.

3. At Mercury’s closest approach, the sun would look 3 times larger from Mercury as it does from Earth!

4. Mercury has very long days and very short years – one day on Mercury takes 59 Earth days. One day-night cycle on Mercury takes about 176 Earth days. Mercury’s year (a full orbit around the Sun) is just 88 Earth days.

5. Mercury has an elliptical orbit and because of its long days and short years, the morning Sun appears to rise briefly, set, and rise again from parts of the planet’s surface. The same things happen in reverse at sunset, causing double sunsets.

Ref: https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/mercury/overview/
Image credit: David Rothery


15 Aug 18

A Change is Gonna Come on BBC Radio 3, Jazz Now

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We are very excited to hear A Change is Gonna Come on BBC Radio 3, Jazz Now. Soweto Kinch presents the show recorded earlier this year in Birmingham Town Hall. Leading an incredible sextet, are supremely talented queens of their trade: the soulful Carleen Anderson, jazz virtuosos Nikki Yeoh and Nubya Garcia and Mercury Prize-Winning rapper Speech Debelle. The band also features the awesome talents of bassist Renell Shaw, plus drummer Rod Youngs.

On stage together for the first time, they performed unique interpretations of iconic songs from the time of the civil rights through to today. This special concert also features powerful new compositions by Anderson and Yeoh highlighting the ongoing fight for equal human rights.

Listen again here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0bf1wx5

Find out more about the project here: http://www.sounduk.net/events/change-gonna-come/


15 Aug 18

Meet the string quartet playing new music in planetariums

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ligeti quartet lower gallery

Internationally renowned for pushing the possibilities of the string quartet, the Ligeti Quartet will premiere The Planets 2018 in quadraphonic sound, alongside live visuals, in full dome planetariums.

At the forefront of modern and contemporary music since their formation in 2010, the Ligeti Quartet have established a reputation as one of the UK’s leading ensembles, breaking new ground through innovative programming and championing of today’s most exciting composers and artists. They have commissioned many new works and have collaborated with artists such as Anna Meredith, Kerry Andrew, Seb Rochford and Shabaka Hutchings. They have played at landmark venues around the world and also regularly escape the stage to play museums, pubs, galleries, and on iceberg sculptures as part of a Greenpeace campaign. The Quartet are Ensemble in Residence at the Universities of both Sheffield and Cambridge and regularly take part in education and community outreach work. https://ligetiquartet.com/

Mandhira de Saram (violin 1), Patrick Dawkins (violin 2), Richard Jones (viola), Val Welbanks (cello)

The Planets 2018 is touring 29 Sept - 02 October 
BOOK NOW


14 Aug 18

Planetary Playlist

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The Ligeti Quartet choose some of their favourite planetary tracks ahead of The Planets 2018 UK tour this autumn. Listen here: https://spoti.fi/2Plergg 


06 Jun 18

A Change is Gonna Come art print

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Screen printed posters of A Change Is Gonna Come illustration by the amazing Annette Becker Design are now available to buy here: https://www.etsy.com/…/6…/a-change-is-gonna-come-hand-screen


30 May 18

Four-star reviews and amazing audience comments!

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a change is gonna come audience photo

We are overwhelmed by the audience reaction to A Change is Gonna Come. Thank you for all your amazing comments. We are completely in awe, proud and inspired by this incredible line-up of talented artists. THANK YOU to Carleen Anderson, Nikki Yeoh, Speech Debelle, Nubya Garcia, Renell Shaw and Rod Youngs. THANK YOU to our production team and to the venues we’ve toured to so far in London, Brighton and Birmingham. We know this won’t be the end.

ON THE RADIO:
Keep an ear out for A Change is Gonna Come on BBC Radio 3 Jazz Now soon.

READ THE PAPERS:
Read the four-star reviews! 

The Guardian - A Change Is Gonna Come: Music for Human Rights review – musical depths in cliche-free protest songs 

Evening Standard - A Change Is Gonna Come: Music For Human Rights review - a powerful evening of protest songs

Brighton Source - Brighton Festival Review: A Change Is Gonna Come

The Arts Desk - A Change is Gonna Come, Brighton Festival review - lively, winning jazz adventure

WHAT’S TWITTER SAYING?
We’ve loved reading your Twitter comments. Here are a few we’ve picked out:

@JimbleJay
Phenomenal. @speechdebelle reciting Hughes’ ‘Harlem’, then in to Gil-Scott Heron. @nubya_garcia & co. opening with Coltrane’s ‘Alabama’... Then came Dead Prez... #AChangeIsGonnaCome

@1953eagle4ever
A great evening of protest songs last night. Thank you @CarleenAnderson @speechdebelle @NikkiPianoYeoh and @nubya_garcia for giving them new life. Some of the songs may be old but are are still relevant today. A Change Must Come.

@jeanmcameron
When you see artists at the top of their game perform from the depth of their souls it truly is an extraordinary blessing. Tonight @southbankcentre @CarleenAnderson, Nikki Yeoh, Speech Debelle, Nubya Garcia, Renell Shaw and Rod Young reminded me of that. #AChangeIsGonnaCome

@jojcast
What a night! Jazz, folk, afrobeat, hip hop, soul & more... @speechdebelle
@CarleenAnderson @NikkiPianoYeoh & @nubya_garcia at @BtnDome absolutely killed it - fantastic musicians & people

Image credit: Dan Shelley 


14 May 18

Inspiration playlist by Carleen Anderson

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Carleen Anderson has put together a playlist representing her inspiration for A Change is Gonna Come project. Some of these tracks will feature in the live shows 21 - 29 May. The playlist features John Coltrane, Woody Guthrie, Nina Simone, Sarah Vaughan and more. Listen here 


12 May 18

Inspiration Playlist by Renell Shaw

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Bass player Renell Shaw has put together a playlist representing his inspiration for A Change is Gonna Come project. The playlist features Stevie Wonder, Lauryn Hill, Femi Kuti, Mos Def, Erykah Badu and more. 

Listen here: A Change is Gonna Come (No Change without Disturbance)


11 May 18

Blog: Music, as ever, can be, and is, a mighty tool

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Carleen Anderson - The Importance of Artists Expressing Activism in their Work

A tremendous spark ignited within me when the Sound UK Arts curators, Polly Eldridge and Maija Handover, inquired of my interest in participating in a music project addressing social and political inequalities.

Although the torch of artists expressing activism has stayed lit throughout the generations, the superficial economic shift in society’s landscape has dimmed its light.

The shouts of ‘No Justice, No Peace’ are countered these days with ‘But there was a Black U.S. American President’, and, ‘What about all the Women that are now included on various platforms’, and, ‘Homosexuals can even get legally married now’. As remarkable as these community progressions are, worldwide disenfranchisement remains in abundance.

The acquisition of material gains that even the poor can obtain, such as smartphones, Wi-Fi and the like, distracts the focus in the mainstream of how much levelling of the playing fields is still needed globally. And this is where artists vigorously campaigning to bring about change to a system that feeds off the disadvantaged proves its worth.

Old and new protest songs/poetry to be performed in this program are but a commentary and taste of what is still happening in even the supposedly more enlightened countries on earth. Sanctioned murders of certain types of people, politicians advocating hate in their speeches, organised chaos to benefit only the few whilst the majority, mislabelled as the minority, are unjustly assigned lives of despair.

Modern civil rights campaigns carry an ongoing disparity between the anxiousness in the young and left-out that’s imbalanced against the measured strategy of the older and privileged ones which continues the rope pull amongst even those championing the same cause. Add to that, in our futuristic environment, the element of anger that can escalate into pandemonium much quicker than ever before.

False rumours routinely spread faster than the reality that has time to take hold. Art, especially music, can be a band-aid, that plaster to keep things from erupting into immediate bedlam. What might have taken hours or days to develop into mayhem in times of yore, is now only a finger-tap away from causing cataclysm within a heartbeat.

Artists, even at the risk of commercial career damage, are paramount in every culture to organise themselves to draw attention to widespread injustices. In doing so, this can galvanize people to change our outdated and unfair pandemic practices. Music, as ever, can be, and is, a mighty tool to show how we are far more the same, than we are different.


10 May 18

A Change is Gonna Come trailer now live!

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02 May 18

Inspiration playlist by Rod Youngs

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Rod Youngs new pic

Drummer Rod Youngs who has played with Gil Scott Heron, Hugh Masekela, Courtney Pine and Jocelyn Brown, amongst others has put together a playlist representing his inspiration for A Change is Gonna Come project. The playlist features James Brown, Gil Scott-Heron, Public Enemy, Billie Holiday and more. Listen here


25 Apr 18

Blog: Kevin Le Gendre on protest music

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Oh, yes it will.

A Change Is Gonna Come is a timeless melody with one of the great opening lines in pop. It evokes the river, symbol of Mother Earth’s riches, that does not stop running, just like the disenfranchised, those born ‘in a little tent’ on its banks, who look forward to the dawning of a new day, or, more specifically, a brighter tomorrow.

When Sam Cooke wrote the song in 1964 the right to vote for people of colour in America, still commonly referred to as Negroes, was yet to be granted. Dr. Martin Luther King jnr, had delivered his landmark I Have A Dream speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, the previous year. Both men were slain at a young age, at crucial junctures in the Civil Rights movement, but their bold statements have still retained an inspiring permanence that outweighs the transience of their precious lives.

Protest music is a term that can be applied to all manner of genres, from soul and jazz to folk and rock, but the defining feature of any work that might be deemed the sound of resistance is its awareness of the all-consuming nature of struggle and desire to stay the course, all the way to King’s ‘mountain top’, the promised land of equality.

Which is something that can also be identified in many different areas of art other than music. Song and speech, melody and oratory have long been entwined in African and black Diasporan culture. If musicians such as Cooke and religious leaders like King, the archetype of a preacher who often became singer when he performed a sermon, stood bravely in the vanguard of the war on oppression, cruelty, poverty and the presumed superiority of one race or class over another, then writers and poets were no less remarkable. For example, Langston Hughes was a monumental figure of the ‘30s Harlem Renaissance who saw the literary value of the blues as well as the dignity, beauty and humour of the second-class citizens of ‘the Colored Section.’ His What Happens To A Dream Deferred? is one of the great flights of rhetoric in modern literature, an urgent summary of what the downtrodden feel that is lifted up by the threat of what they can do, as the verse comes to ‘explode’ in its graphic finale.

The prospect of hearing these amazing musicians put their own spin on these and other iconic works by such as John Coltrane, Woody Guthrie, Nina Simone and Odetta, in A Change Is Gonna 'Come, is cause for celebration. They will also play their original compositions that remind us of their firm commitment to making music that duly addresses the subject of injustice. Anderson’s recent Cage Street Memorial project was a dazzling evocation of the unbreakable bedrock of the black family set against the backdrop of ‘Freedom marches’ in America as well as Anderson’s own path as artist and mother in Britain.

Creating continuums between one generation and the next, cementing the links of community while smashing the chains of slavery and the shackles of segregation has always been a priority for these exponents of protest music. The recognition of elders who made sacrifices for youngers and fought valiantly for equality on either side of the Atlantic - potently epitomized by Rosa Parks, Medgar Evers, Claudia Jones and Marcus Garvey - galvanizes countless melodies written against the abuse of power. Acts of remembrance thankfully counter those who would seek to deny real history.

In the church, one of the essential safe havens for the wretched of the ‘New world’, and the concert hall or nightclub, those arenas of popular music where a message can reach the masses by way of a golden horn or black vinyl, any songs that give people the precious commodity of hope are an integral part of the human condition. They are an earthly token of the sweet chariot swinging low from heaven. They instill courage in the most extreme circumstances, be it the sight of a Klansmen’s pointed hood or a policeman’s billy club. Amazing Grace is both weapon and anthem. As activists said when they were faced with state sponsored violence; ‘If in doubt pray… and sing.’

The tone of protest music can vary enormously from one artist to the next. However there is a recurrent theme in the seminal entries of the canon: the look to the future, the peremptory affirmation of what will, rather than might come to pass. It is as much in Gil Scott Scott-Heron’s stark warning that The Revolution Will Not Be Televised as it is Sam Cooke’s soothing promise that A Change Is Gonna Come. Oh yes, it will.

- Kevin Le Gendre, broadcaster, writer and journalist whose book Don’t Stop The Carnival – Black Music In Britain (The Peepal Press) is published on 24 May.
@k_le_gendre


14 Feb 18

New project announcement! A Change Is Gonna Come

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carleen anderson news article image

We are delighted to announce A Change Is Gonna Come - Music for Human Rights, which sees four of the most gifted soul, jazz and hip hop artists explore the power of protest songs in this not to be missed collaboration. Leading an incredible sextet are supremely talented queens of their trade: the soulful Carleen Anderson, jazz virtuosos Nikki Yeoh and Nubya Garcia and Mercury Prize-Winning rapper Speech Debelle.

This special concert also features powerful new compositions by Anderson and Yeoh highlighting the ongoing fight for equal human rights. The band also includes awesome talents bassist Renell Shaw and drummer Rod Youngs.

Touring May 2018 

TICKETS


07 Feb 18

Video game soundtracks performed live and loud by a 40-piece orchestra

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play news article

We are thrilled to be working with The British Paraorchestra on their PLAY! project.

Dust off your SNESs, N64s and boot up your PlayStations as Charles Hazlewood takes us on a musical adventure into some of the gaming world’s most memorable soundtracks.

18 March, Barbican Centre, LONDON
20 March, Leeds Town Hall, LEEDS
BOOK NOW

In association with Sound UK


24 Jan 18

Sound and light magically transforms Prior Park

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15 Jan 18

Alight! delights visitors in Bath

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through me flows water

lysarp

apparition alight

droplets

piano migrations alight

music box migrations alight

luminous birds alight

Image credits:
1) Through Me Flows Water, Wayne Binitie. Credit Joshua Gaunt 
2) Lys*arp, Ulf Pedersen. Credit Joshua Gaunt
3) Apparition, Ulf Pedersen. Credit Joshua Gaunt
4) Droplets, Ulf Pedersen. Credit Joshue Gaunt
5) Piano Migrations, Kathy Hinde. Credit Kathy Hinde 
6) Music Box Migrations, Kathy Hinde. Credit Kathy Hinde
7) Luminous Birds, Kathy Hinde. Credit Joshua Gaunt 


11 Dec 17

Sell out success for Alight!

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luminous birds kathy hide news pic

Tickets have literally flown out for Alight! our new festive sound and light experience in Bath.

We can't wait to open gates to Prior Park Landscape Garden after-dark for visitors to enjoy beautiful lit artworks inspired by nature. There's the chance to discover illuminated birds, mysterious musical boxes, atmospheric ice vapour, a ghostly fish and more.

What to wear: If you are joining us this week, please dress for the weather, and wear sturdy footwear.

Getting there: The #2 bus provides a regular service from Bath bus and train station to Prior Park Landscape Garden (last few services on Sunday will stop by the entrance at 6.51, 7.21 and 7.51pm). Alternatively, it is a steep 1 mile walk from Bath Spa train station. Please note there is no parking.

Tickets are for a timed entry, please refer to your ticket confirmation.

15 - 17 December 2017
Prior Park Landscape Garden, Bath


27 Nov 17

Meet Alight! Artist Ulf Pedersen

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ulf droplets news image

Visitors to venues that Ulf works with find themselves immersed in an amazing play of light and colour, as the space changes into something unique and magical. Often architectural in scale Ulf’s work transforms the act of looking into a physical experience.

In addition to working closely with the raw materials of the site, Ulf use light and colour as his essential tools, often combining these natural or artificial elements with the new architectural forms he has designed. His work exploits both hi and lo-fi technologies and aims to highlight the poetic potential of place.

He has shown his work at Arts Festivals in Sydney, Hong Kong, Hobart & Wellington, as well as at national attractions including Kew Gardens and historic properties.

“Mind-blowingly brilliant. An unforgettably beautiful and resonant experience” — George Monbiot, journalist, on For The Birds

ulfpedersen.com

Image credit: Droplets, Ulf Pedersen


22 Nov 17

Keld: Freshwater Songs project film now live!

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20 Nov 17

Meet audio-visual artist Wayne Binitie

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ice wayne finite

Currently undertaking his PhD at Royal College of Art, Binitie’s work explores the perception of glacial water through audio-visual art. He creates immersive soundscapes and installations which transform field recordings made at the British Antarctic Survey ice core archive, to reveal the significant role of glacial water within the wider global climate change challenge.

Through Me Flows Water, his new work created for Alight!, rethinks the landscape and water features of Prior Park, inviting audiences to experience the transformation of water in its three states of solid, liquid and vapour. The installation is anchored by the use of his own audio-visual field recordings made at the British Antarctic Survey ice core archive.

Wayne has participated in conferences, publications and exhibitions at the national and international level including Atmospheres, Denmark; Largo Sguardo, Rome, S:Future, London and as part of the Friday Late series at the V&A.

waynebinitie.com

 

Image credit: Wayne Binitie 


13 Nov 17

Discover more about our extraordinary Alight! artists

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piano migrations kathy hide news pic

luminous birds kathy hide news pic

KATHY HINDE audio-visual artist — inspired by behaviours and phenomena found in nature and the everyday — working with sound, light, image, sculpture, location.

Drawing on inspiration from behaviours and phenomena found in the natural world, Kathy creates work that is generative; that evolves; that can be different each time it is experienced.

Kathy frequently works in collaboration with other practitioners and scientists and often actively involves the audience in the creative process. She has created light and sound installations in public spaces, including urban streets, woodlands and forests.

She has shown work extensively across Europe, China, Pakistan, USA, Canada, Colombia, Mexico, Brazil and New Zealand. She became a Cryptic associate in 2015. Kathy received an Honorary Mention at Prix Ars Electronica 2015 for Tipping Point and Piano Migrations was runner up for the Sonic Arts Award 2014 and listed for the Aesthetica Art Prize 2014. Kathy received an Oram Award in 2017 for innovations in sound and music.

“There is something poignant about the delicacy of Hinde’s flock of origami birds… Lights rush in perfect harmony with the wash of sound creating a unified sensorial experience.”
The Times **** on Luminous Birds

kathyhinde.co.uk / @birdtwitchr

Image credits: 1) Piano Migrations, 2) Luminous Birds


06 Nov 17

Sound UK Emerging Artist Award 2017 announced!

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wayne binitie

Congratulations to Wayne Binitie on receiving Sound UK Arts’, Alight! Emerging Artist Award 2017!

Wayne Binitie - Through Me Flows Water

Currently undertaking his PhD at Royal College of Art, Wayne Binitie’s work explores the perception of glacial water through audio-visual art. Wayne has participated in conferences, publications and exhibitions at the national and international level including Atmospheres, Denmark; Largo Sguardo, Rome and S:Future, London.

Through Me Flows Water rethinks the landscape and water features of Prior Park, inviting audiences to experience the transformation of water in its three states of solid, liquid and vapour. The installation is anchored by the use of his own audio-visual field recordings made at the British Antarctic Survey ice core archive. Through Me Flows Water will be presented alongside work by Kathy Hinde and Ulf Pedersen as part of Alight! 

Find out more about Wayne here: waynebinitie.com

Book tickets for Alight! here

Image credit: Wayne Binitie


30 Oct 17

Public acclaim for KELD

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news image keld

We loved touring KELD: Freshwater Songs with Kerry Andrew and her band You Are Wolf. We took the project to a Cornish town hall, a church in Devon, a community centre in London and a village hall in Wiltshire. You Are Wolf performed a new set of songs inspired by freshwater stories and folklore from the tour locations. Local music students, dancers and a local poet were also part of the live performance. Look out for our project film coming soon. In the meantime read some of our brilliant audience comments below: 

"Fabulous, fresh, innovative."

"Beautiful & wonderful. I wasn't sure what to expect but it was amazing!"

"It was really exciting to have contemporary art happening in the village (!) and to be able to attend an event like this locally, relating to our own environment."

"Amazing and inspirational."

"It is a wonderful model for an event. Beautiful sound quality. Innovative, fresh, sparky, edgy." 


02 Oct 17

KELD trailer now live!

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Touring 18 - 21 October
Cornwall, Devon, Barking in London and Wiltshire
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27 Sep 17

KELD picture gallery

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devon swimmers

devon for blog

cornwall arthur

cornwall poet

pasty

Cornish tortoise

kerry and flags barking

boat barking

school barking

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holt image for blog


25 Sep 17

Blog by Kerry Andrew

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By Kerry Andrew 

This month I have visited all of the areas we’re coming to on the tour. It’s been lovely to get a feel for each place, learn about the water there and most importantly meet people! I recorded people telling me about the local water and have been making texts out of them.

She said, ‘swim between the rocks.’
I said ‘you can’t do that, it’s far too dangerous.’
And she said ‘no, you go in with the tide,
and you just keep going.
You go up up up up
and you go down down down down.’

And it was lovely.

We started in North Devon, just at the bottom of Exmoor, on a very rainy day. I met the local teenage musicians who will be writing songs with their ex-teachers Carol and Sam, and we had fun making new loops and speedily arranging a version of a traditional tune, As Sylvie Was Walking, which I loved hearing sung by a great female pop voice!

Highlights of this visit were the excellently hearty grub in North Molton’s pub, and the all-female trip to Sherdon, in the moors. Sadly, the formal communal swim had been cancelled, as incessant rain had made the river swell a little dangerously. However, especially hardy locals Anya and Lucy stripped off, and I have a competitive streak when it comes to getting in water, so had to join them, wading through the fierce brown water, past a spiky gorse bush or three, to get in via a rock ledge. The water was, of course, freezing, pretty fast-flowing, taking us through a jagged wire dam and back into the main pool. It started raining heavily, which made everything more hilarious. You always feel brilliant after a swim, though, and I glowed in the back seat of Polly’s car whilst we steamed it up.

My own experience of the river was as a child.
We would have a lot of fun.
There was a nice deep area Bath’s Field off Under Lane
so we had our own swimming pool during the war.
You got a jam jar and a bit of string
and you’d go catching tiddlers.
It was a lovely restful time.
The water was an important part of your life.
We used to have some smashing fun.

The weather brightened for our trip just over the border to Launceston in Cornwall, where a whole host of meetings had been set up for me following the morning’s secondary school workshop. Octogenarian and local history expert Arthur filled me in on the history of the river and told me about his ‘dear friend’, the local poet Charles Causley. Jane read me some Causley in the old abbey ruins. The town crier, who’d been roped in for one day in the 1970s and ended up staying for 40 years, read me some more on the old bridge over St Thomas Water before the local nursery kids turned up to feed oats to the ducks. Two sisters who do regular long-distance sea-swims came to chat and one gave me recordings she’d made that morning of the stream at the bottom of the garden. I’m planning to use recordings of local water in each concert. She sings in the local choir, who hopefully will sing with us when we come back!

The river was rather too shallow to swim in, so some of us waded in up to our knees, watching our toes go blue. We checked out the Town Hall where we’ll be performing, and met a man and his tortoise, Zola, in the castle grounds. Most importantly of all, I ate a Cornish pasty.

Marshy silt on the edge of the river.
We get the most amazing big sky here.
The A13.
The Ford factory.
Pylons.

To Barking! For this trip, we joined the Silk River walk, which stretched over about 10 days from the Thames out to sea, in a large artistic and community exchange with a town in India. Locals came to hold massive community-made silk banners and walk along the River Roding.

We had a bit of historical information from a chap in the 11th-century St Margaret’s Church before we went, and watched two of the banners float down on a raft past the barges. I loved chatting to Johnny, a local barge-owner and the heart of the river community, who was joined by his gorgeous dog Millie.

In the afternoon, we worked with Year 7-9s at the local secondary school, who were a mad, fun bunch with body percussion rhythms up their sleeves. I’m really looking forward to seeing what all the schools come up with for their own water-inspired songs, which they’ll be performing as my support act in each venue.

It makes me feel alive. Simple as.
Nothing else matters.
I use it as a psychological tool:
if I can do this, I can do anything,
so I make myself do it.
I get a real buzz.

The village of Holt in Wiltshire was our last stop, a very cute village with a really swanky café/business centre, the Glove Factory, at its heart. I worked with the Year 6s at the primary school, getting them to beatbox and make up riffs, before we had a walk to find some river sounds. This meant semi-trespassing over fields to a noisy weir, and getting over my fear of cows on the way back.

We met Cat and her dog Molly for an exclusive early-evening swim in the Glove Factory’s amazing members’ pond. Soft grass, milky clay, and subdued blue-green water. If I lived here, I’d be there every day. Cat was a brilliant, vivacious personality and talked happily about the effects of the water. Polly’s hands went alarmingly blue and I took about three hours to thoroughly warm up, but it was worth it.

It always is.


25 Sep 17

Freshwater Playlist

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playlist image for blog

With the #keld tour happening in a few weeks, we asked Kerry Andrew (You Are Wolf) to put together a playlist inspired by freshwater. Her selection features Wildbirds & Peacedrums, Audrey Hepburn, M.I.A, Nick Drake, Sons Of Kemet plus many more. 

Enjoy listening here

If you have any of your own freshwater favourite songs tweet us at @soundukarts

Catch You Are Wolf on tour in Cornwall, Devon, Barking and Wiltshire this October. Full details here


18 Sep 17

Listen Again: Irma on BBC Radio 3

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Tom Phillips in his studio

Tom Phillips and Netia Jones on BBC Radio 3 Music Matters.

Listen again: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09569t7

The artist Tom Phillips is a true creative polymath - a painter, gallery curator, singer, quilter, opera composer, set designer and much more. His seminal 1969 opera Irma is all sourced from passages in 'A Humament' - his life's work - and is largely left to the performers to interpret it however they choose. He talks to Tom at his home in Peckham about how he wrote his 'chance opera' and how to decipher the clues found within the libretto. Plus Tom talks to the acclaimed opera director Netia Jones, who is about to stage it in Peckham, about how to start piecing together the puzzle of the opera.


06 Sep 17

The Wire preview Tom Phillips Irma: an opera

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wire preview


01 Sep 17

Irma performances: Sold Out

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Irma score for news article

Irma intermedia artwork performances have now sold out. Don't miss out on the daytime installation bringing Phillips’ intricate visual score to life through an evocative combination of soundscape and video. This exciting weekend of events celebrates Philips’ extraordinary artistic output in art and music in his 80th year.

Irma installation
16, 17 Sept
11am - 6pm
South London Gallery 
Free


30 Aug 17

Discover more about Tom Phillips RA

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About Tom Phillips: Phillips attended art school during the 1960s and was swept up in the free exchange of art forms these institutions encouraged. He was instrumental in bringing composers like John Cage and Morton Feldman to the UK, and introducing Brian Eno to cross-art work. To name just a few of his artistic achievements, Tom Phillips was the second artist to have a retrospective of his portraits at the National Portrait Gallery in 1989 and was commissioned by the Royal Mint to design the first UK kilo coins to mark the occasion of the London 2012 Olympic Games. His design for the Benjamin Britten 50p piece in 2013 was the first to feature poetry. Phillips is also a judge for the Man Booker Prize 2017.

In 1966 Phillips resolved to dedicate himself to making art out of the first secondhand book he could find for threepence on Peckham Rye. Thus began A Humument, longest of Phillips's extended serial projects. A Humument is a radical 'treatment' of a forgotten Victorian novel by means of collage, cut-up, ornament and other techniques. On the fiftieth anniversary of its inception, in 2016, Phillips completed the sixth and final version of this work – each version with successively more pages reworked, until his original work had itself been completely transformed. Watch the video...

tomphillips.co.uk

News image credit: Tom Phillips, Bellenden Renewal Scheme, Rima Street Lamps, We Love Peckham mosaic


29 Aug 17

Irma: Creative Team

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Irma mouth

Irma: an opera
Director / Designer - Netia Jones
Music Director / Sound Design - Anton Lukoszevieze

About Netia Jones / Lightmap:
led by director and video artist Netia Jones, Lightmap is a critically acclaimed creative and technical studio working internationally in live performance, music, film and installation projects. Jones recently directed / designed for a new production of Midsummer Night’s Dream at Aldeburgh Festival 2017. Other projects include works by Georg Haas and György Kurtág at the Royal Opera House, Alice in Wonderland by Unsuk Chin and Where the Wild Things Are by Oliver Knussen at the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Barbican. Site-specific installations include Curlew River for Lincoln Center’s White Light Festival and the Barbican, London and Everlasting Light, a large-scale installation at Sizewell nuclear power station for Aldeburgh Festival. netiajones.com

"Sharply conceived technology, remarkable depth and invention...dazzling" - The Independent on LIGHTMAP

About Anton Lukoszevieze / Apartment House:
Apartment House was created by cellist Anton Lukoszevieze in 1995. Under his direction it has become an award winning exponent of avant-garde and experimental music from around the world. Their performances have included many UK and world premieres of music by a wide variety of composers. Notable portrait events have featured composers Jennifer Walshe, Luc Ferrari, Laurence Crane and Richard Ayres to name just a few. They are a regular feature on the European music scene and have ventured as far as Australia, Russia and USA. In 2012 they received a Royal Philharmonic Society Award for Outstanding Contribution to Chamber Music. They were the featured ensemble for the 2016 London Contemporary Music Festival, performing works by Julius Eastman, Frederic Rzewski and the UK Premiere of Arthur Russell’s Tower of Meaning. apartmenthouse.co.uk

"Apartment House’s [performance of] Femenine [...] hit the audience with an almost overwhelming force" - The Spectator

 


16 Aug 17

Irma: full cast announced!

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irma score news article

We are delighted to announce the Irma cast who will be working alongside director / designer Netia Jones, music director Anton Lukoszevieze and Apartment House as:

Grenville - Benjamin O'Mahony  

London born actor currently filming 'STRIKE BACK' for Sky1/HBO Cinemax & 'ONCE LOVED' for Warner Bros/Sky1. Currently appearing as a season regular in 'RIPPER STREET' on BBC 2/Amazon & 'KAJAKI: KILO TWO BRAVO' (BAFTA Nominee) on Netflix/BBCiPlayer.

Irma - Josephine Stephenson

Josephine Stephenson is a Franco-British composer and performer based in London. As a soprano, she regularly performs with groups such as EXAUDI, Tenebrae, The Erebus Ensemble, The Tallis Scholars, The Erebus Ensemble, Philharmonia Voices and Britten Sinfonia Voices.

Nurse - Elaine Mitchener
Elaine Mitchener is an experimental vocalist and movement artist whose work encompasses improvisation, contemporary composition, sound art, music theatre, physical theatre and performance art. She has performed at Venice Biennale, White Cube, London Contemporary Music Festival, Café Oto and ICA, London.

Chorus - Alastair Putt

Alastair Putt has a particular interest in performing new music, and sings regularly with the BBC Singers, EXAUDI and Synergy Vocals, alongside being a member of the choir of St Margaret's, Westminster.

Chorus - Francis Brett

Increasingly well known in the field of contemporary music, Francis sings regularly with the vocal ensemble EXAUDI with whom he has given numerous world and UK premieres, their Proms debut and many recordings. 

Chorus - Jon Stainsby

While working with several of Europe's foremost vocal ensembles, including the Choir of the Academy of Ancient Music, Dunedin Consort plus many more, he has appeared as a soloist at Wigmore Hall and the Barbican. Jon has extensive experience in the field of contemporary music and has had numerous appearances with EXAUDI.

Find out more about Irma: an opera here


16 Aug 17

New project announcement!

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held new image

KELD: Freshwater Songs
By You Are Wolf

Kerry Andrew – vocals, electronics / Sam Hall – bass guitar, cello / Peter Ashwell – percussion

18 - 21 October 2017

Keld - an old northern English word meaning 'the deep, still, smooth part of a river'

We are very excited to be working with award-winning singer and composer Kerry Andrew for our latest project, combining Kerry's passion for wild swimming with a love of gathering songs. Keld seeks out lesser known traditional songs, alongside myths and folklore from rural and urban locations, to inspire new material played by her trio You Are Wolf.

'Imagine Bjork working her magic on the English folk scene' – Uncut

Book tickets


14 Aug 17

Drop Pipes

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DROP PIPES: The Drop Pipes are designed to be used as part of a larger structure such as the cladding around a treehouse. They are played by dropping/throwing down the pipes onto a rubber seal which creates a wave of sound. An alternative way to play this instrument is by lifting the pipe off the seal and using the flat of your hand on the top hollow.

Part of Sounding the Wood.


14 Aug 17

Tom Phillips talks to The Guardian ahead of Irma next month

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Tom Phillips in his studio

'He’s now in his 80s but the man who painted Beckett, illustrated Hell and made art out of beard trimmings, is still fired up. As his half-backwards opera Irma returns, we join the great experimentalist for a boozy lunch of artisanal bubble and squeak.'

Read the full interview here: bit.ly/2vu9SaQ


07 Aug 17

The Making of Irma

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Irma mouth

Delve more deeply into this unique artwork: https://opusxiib.com 


07 Aug 17

Tongue Drums

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The Tongue Drum is one of the oldest instruments in human history, the drum is of Aztec origin. Early Tongue Drums were made of hollowed trees which were hit with sticks to create percussion tones. The Tongue Drum was used for storytelling and as a "battle cry" instrument in warfare in early African history.

Part of Sounding the Wood.


02 Aug 17

A pop up musical playground

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tongue drum bottom gallery

speaking stumps bottom gallery

hollow pipes bottom image gallery

The instruments that you will find in the woods are the result of a research and development project for TouchWood Play in collaboration with Sound UK and The National Trust - TouchWood are a Bristol based playground design and build company.
The instruments in Sounding the Wood respond to the beautiful natural environment of Prior Park using natural and local materials. 

Discover more about Sounding the Wood.



20 Jul 17

Emerging Artist commission opportunity

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piano migrations kathy hinde

ALIGHT!
Emerging Artist - commission opportunity

Sound UK is offering a new commission opportunity for an emerging artist to create two exciting new pieces of work to be exhibited alongside highly experienced, pioneering artists Kathy Hinde and Ulf Pedersen in a major public event at National Trust’s Prior Park from 15 – 17 December 2017.

A landscaped garden in the style of Capability Brown, Prior Park in Bath provides an inspiring manifestation of man’s interaction with nature.

Sound UK is looking for early stage artists that can create new works in the mediums of sound, light or projection that explore this context in a compelling and innovative way.

The award package will include support in the creation of new works, advice and support on developing their career and artistic practice as well as press and marketing coverage and an opportunity to show their work to national producers of outdoor work.

The brief: The artistic brief is to create an imaginative and high quality piece of work using sound, light or projection for an outdoor setting within budget. The artist will be asked to take nature and the landscape as the inspiration following the Trusts maxim, of ‘A Sense of Place’ and to create work that is accessible for a wide age range. They will have the opportunity to also spend time with Hinde and Pedersen to benefit from their experience and skills to ensure an effective, well designed, innovative piece and will need to be available for site visits, meetings with the producers, National Trust, funders and press.

The Award: The award of £1500 will include: the opportunity to exhibit two pieces of innovative art at a public event, the opportunity to work in an inspiring National Trust property, professional production support, extensive marketing and press for the event, showcase opportunity for artist and work to be seen by other promoters of outdoor work.
Selection Criteria and requirements: Applicants will have exhibited work in a professional setting at least 3 times in the last two years.

To apply please submit by post or email by 15 August 2017:
- examples (photographs, publicity material) of at least three pieces of work exhibited professionally
- two references from previous commissioner / exhibition producer
- a one page outline of proposed artistic idea
- 3 key objectives for professional development

Application assessment: The applicants will be reviewed by Kathy Hinde and Ulf Pedersen, Sound UK, and members of the Prior Park team.

Production of work: The Fresh Sparks will meet with Alight’s production personnel to work through any technical challenges in installing it and will be assigned their own production manager to install their work during the set up in Prior Park the week before Alight!

Email applications should be addressed to polly@sounduk.net, postal applications to Polly Eldridge, 22 Stanley Avenue, Bristol, BS7 9AH

Information on Alight! artists:
Ulf Pedersen Through a kind of light-based alchemy, Pedersen’s work transforms outdoor spaces into something magical. Working with the raw materials of the site, he also uses light and colour as essential tools. His practice exploits hi and lo-fi technologies and highlights the poetic potential of place. He has shown his work at Arts Festivals in Sydney, Hong Kong, Hobart & Wellington, as well as at national attractions including Kew Gardens and historic properties. Ulf delivers presentations and professional development workshops in conjunction with shows, most recently as part of Spectra in Aberdeen.

Kathy Hinde Kathy Hinde’s work grows from a partnership between nature and technology expressed through installations and performances that combine sound, sculpture, image and light. She has created work in public spaces, including town high streets and nature reserves across Europe, Scandinavia, China, Pakistan, USA, Colombia, Brazil and New Zealand.
Hinde has given presentations at events such as KIKK festival 2016; NESTA FutureFest 2013; TED Global Edinburgh 2012; TEDxAldeburgh 2011 (https://youtu.be/2jtFXfl2_l8). She is regularly invited to speak and run workshops at various institutions including Goldsmiths University, Bath Spa University, Brunel University, and Prague Academy of Performing Arts. Kathy Hinde previously led the Sound strand on the ‘SISE’ (Sound Image and Sensory Experience) Module at the University of the West of England in Bristol.

The connection of both artists’ works to nature and site, together with their teaching experience make them the perfect choice as mentors for this project.

Information on Sound UK: Sound UK Arts (Sound UK) is producer of new music and sound projects. Since it was founded in 2001 it has delivered a large number of new commissions and collaborations including new music tours, commissions for rural communities, museum installations and digital art projects.

At the heart of Sound UK’s work is a passion to provide new opportunities and a supportive context for artists creating imaginative high quality work which extends their practise and presents engaging experiences for audiences. It uses its projects to offer artists professional development through new commissions and collaborations, often working with partners to give artists contexts and ideas that push the boundaries of their work to present extraordinary art in unexpected places.
Sound UK is fascinated by how artists respond to conceptual, social or environmental provocations to their work and has worked with the National Trust, Somerset House, Horniman Museum, Opera North, Barbican and others to create high profile, innovative projects.

“Sound UK has given me the opportunity to collaborate with musicians I’ve not worked with before and venues I’ve not played in. A very rich and enhancing venture both creatively and in terms of my future career.” Lisa Knapp, singer (on Broadside Ballads and Canal Music)

“The installation was perfection. I’ve done many more elaborate ones in the past 40 years. But this, for its utter simplicity and powerful delivery in a dedicated space, is amongst the best. Congrats on all you’ve done. It’s really quite exceptional.” Bernie Krause (on Great Animal Orchestra at the Horniman Museum)

Find out more about Sound UK’s work by exploring the website


18 Jul 17

Shop: Limited Edition Tom Phillips print

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irma print for sale image 3

Irma: Our Lamplit History

Year: 2017
Medium: Digital print with silkscreen
Dimensions: h28.4cm x w21cm
Edition Details: Edition of 50 
All prints are sent signed and numbered by the artist

£ 360 VAT, postage and handling included

A unique print created by Tom Phillips in support of the first performance and installation of the new, full Irma score at South London Gallery, September 2017, directed / designed by Netia Jones, musical direction Anton Lukoszevieze, performed by Apartment House featuring Josephine Stephenson and Elaine Mitchener with video by Lightmap. 

Find out more about Irma: an opera here


05 Jul 17

Crowdfund update

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Irma mouth

Thank you very much to those who supported Irma: an opera. We raised over £2000 pounds!

Thank you for all donations and to the following people who chose a reward: Tansy Spinks, Alex Handover, Trish Brown, Henry Meyrichughes, John L. Walters, Patrick Wildgust, Robert Caunt, Joel Hernandez, plus all anonymous donations. 

The donations will help towards rehearsal costs and the creation of the video for this extraordinary artwork. We look forward to celebrating the artistic output of Tom Phillips and his 80th birthday in his home of Peckham this September.

If you haven’t yet bought tickets to the performances you can do so by visiting our web page: http://www.sounduk.net/events/tom-phillips/.

The performances take place on Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th September from 7.30pm at South London Gallery. During the day the installation (free admission) brings Phillips’ intricate visual score to life through an evocative combination of soundscape and video.

We look forward to seeing you there.

With best wishes,
Maija, Polly & Chloe


28 Jun 17

Sounding the Wood install

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jono and drum

drop pipes

talking stump

sounding the wood sign

On Tuesday 27 June we installed a pop up musical playground at Prior Park Landscape Garden. Sounding the Wood, made by TouchWood, is part of Forest of the Imagination this weekend. A four-day playful and contemporary arts event and creative learning programme - free for everyone of all ages.


Check out www.forestofimagination.org.uk for full programme of events from 29 June - 2 July. 

Sounding the Wood will be installed at Prior Park Landscape Garden until December.
Find out more

The photos show a taster of some of the instruments we've installed.


19 Jun 17

Making of Sounding the Wood

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touch wood drawings

bamboo touchwood

carrying bamboo

holes touchwood

posts resized

trunk touchwood

Next week we launch our musical playground project Sounding the Wood produced by Sound UK and TouchWood in partnership with the National Trust at Prior Park Landscape Garden in Bath. Our musical playground will also feature as part of Forest of the Imagination festival. Watch this space for more information coming soon... 

Photos by TouchWood, Making of Sounding the Wood...


08 Jun 17

Tom Phillips RA

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About Tom Phillips: Phillips attended art school during the 1960s and was swept up in the free exchange of art forms these institutions encouraged. He was instrumental in bringing composers like John Cage and Morton Feldman to the UK, and introducing Brian Eno to cross-art work. To name just a few of his artistic achievements, Tom Phillips was the second artist to have a retrospective of his portraits at the National Portrait Gallery in 1989 and was commissioned by the Royal Mint to design the first UK kilo coins to mark the occasion of the London 2012 Olympic Games. His design for the Benjamin Britten 50p piece in 2013 was the first to feature poetry. Phillips is also a judge for the Man Booker Prize 2017.

In 1966 Phillips resolved to dedicate himself to making art out of the first secondhand book he could find for threepence on Peckham Rye. Thus began A Humument, longest of Phillips's extended serial projects. A Humument is a radical 'treatment' of a forgotten Victorian novel by means of collage, cut-up, ornament and other techniques. On the fiftieth anniversary of its inception, in 2016, Phillips completed the sixth and final version of this work – each version with successively more pages reworked, until his original work had itself been completely transformed. Watch the video... 

Our project Irma: an opera is drawn from A Humument. Be part of Irma and support our crowdfunder campaign. Check out the unique rewards including a limited edition Tom Phillips print. Support now. Thank you! www.crowdfunder.co.uk/tom-phillips-irma

tomphillips.co.uk

An exhibition of Tom Phillips' work Connected Works runs at Flowers Gallery from 26 May – 1 July 2017.

News image credit: Tom Phillips, Bellenden Renewal Scheme, Rima Street Lamps, We Love Peckham mosaic


24 May 17

We have just launched our first crowdfunder campaign!

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We have just launched our first crowdfunder campaign!

Help us create a unique artwork that marks Tom Phillips RA’s 80th birthday and celebrates his extraordinary output in art and music.

We need your support to produce the first multimedia production of Royal Academy artist Tom Phillips’ Irma: an opera, happening in his home of Peckham this September.

Set within the South London Gallery, where Phillips first showed his work as a student, Irma is inspired by his most famous artwork A Humument. This exquisite miniature opera and audio visual installation brings together one of the UK’s most imaginative opera designer / directors Netia Jones and her company Lightmap, with music director Anton Lukoszevieze and his leading ensemble Apartment House.

YOU can play a key role in Phillips’ new artwork. We need to raise £5,000 to help pay for rehearsals and the creation of the video for this unique artwork.

To thank you for your invaluable support, we have put together a selection of unique rewards based on Irma characters, including an exclusive limited edition print created by Tom Phillips and mementos of his work.

To support or choose a reward visit:
www.crowdfunder.co.uk/tom-phillips-irma


04 May 17

SONIC JOURNEY Hull2017

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Discover the Sonic Journey commission from composer Gavin Bryars and poet Blake Morrison available to download again as part of Hull2017 (1 May - 1 July 2017).

Sonic Journey: Gavin Bryars + Blake Morrison
The Stopping Train

Download for free here sonicjourneys.co.uk


20 Apr 17

Sound UK Live

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Photos from Broadside Ballads Oxford show with OCM at Holywell Music Room.

Photo credit: Ian Wallman


20 Apr 17

Review: Quercus at Turner Sims

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Review Jazz Journal: Quercus at Turner Sims - "one of the most compelling concerts I've heard in quite some while"

Read in full: www.jazzjournal.co.uk/jazz-latest-news/1201/

Hear Quercus live in Oxford with OCM at SJE Arts and in London at Kings Place next month! http://www.sounduk.net/events/quercus-uk-tour/


12 Apr 17

The Height of the Reeds

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If you're in Hull head on over to the Humber Bridge for an extraordinary sound adventure. We recommend The Height of the Reeds produced by Opera North for Hull UK City of Culture 2017.

Music by Arve Henriksen on trumpet, guitarist Eivind Aarset and electronic wizard Jan Bang gives way to the vast sound of the Orchestra and Chorus of Opera North; threaded through with the deep music of the Bridge itself, captured by Hull based sound artist Jez riley French.

Now until – 31 Apr 2017
Tickets: Free, but should be booked in advanced
Find out more

Image credit: Tom Arber


08 Mar 17

Tyondai Braxton on BBC 6 Music

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Tyondai Braxton recently chatted to Stuart Maconie on BBC 6 Music's Freak Zone.

Listen again: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08gj672

Tyondai also created a Freakier Zone BBC 6 music playlist. His picks include Ben Vida, Glenn Branca and Kara-Lis Coverdale.

Check it out: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08gj2zc


20 Feb 17

Discover more about broadsides

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Blog post by Dr Meraud Ferguson Hand

The Broadside Ballads Project brings together three contemporary English folk artists, giving them access to the Bodleian’s printed ballad collections, online digital ballad archives, and hands-on experience of past printing techniques. The aim was not to reconstruct ballads as they were originally sung, but to allow the artists to respond to the physical archive, the songs, and the history of how they were made, in whatever ways their own creative interests led them.

What is a ‘broadside ballad’? A broadside is just a single printed sheet of paper: a cheap format because there is no need for folding, collating, or binding. The broadside was used for a variety of purposes: news of strange events, the texts of royal proclamations, and notices of auctions or trials and executions, among other things.

The most well-known use of the format, though, was for ballads. A ballad is a song that tells a story, usually in the form of short four-line verses. They were composed on a range of subjects from love affairs to murder and other extraordinary or historical happenings; they were often accompanied by woodcut illustrations which add their own layer of eccentricity to the overall effect.

Printed ballads were produced from the sixteenth century onwards (though the most recent ballads in the Bodleian collection date from the 1950s). For much of their history they were sold not just by booksellers but on street corners by itinerant peddlers, who travelled the country selling (and singing) the songs. The ballad-seller must have been a familiar character: Autolycus, the ‘snapper-up of unconsidered trifles’ in Shakespeare’s Winter’s Tale, roams the country in a peddler’s guise picking pockets, cheating the unwary, and cheerfully mixing this with singing snippets of ballads he seems to have picked up along the way.

Ballads seem to have been enjoyed by a broad social range: though they were cheap and non-literary in content, the majority of printed ballads survived because they were collected by relatively wealthy and well-read individuals (Samuel Pepys being the most famous).

Communal singing is an ancient practice; in the past, people would sing at social gatherings, but they would also sing while they worked. Many songs were passed by word of mouth, but it is human nature to be eager for novelty: printing a new song, a new story to sing, made good commercial sense. Though public literacy was increasing, in the early centuries of ballad printing many people would still not have been able to read the ballad themselves: access to them would have been aural, so they were a crossing-place, a permeable border between the printed word and the oral dissemination of traditional songs.

In the 19th century, industrialization changed England’s social fabric beyond recognition and thousands of families migrated from rural areas to find work in the expanding cities. Communities in cities came from dispersed traditions; jobs were found in factories where the din from the machinery made singing redundant. The rhythm of work became the rhythm of the machine, not of the voice.

It seemed that traditional songs were endangered as a result of these changes, so collectors set out to catch them while the traditions were still alive. The social trauma of the industrial revolution meant that these songs, which reminded collectors of a dying pace of life, became somewhat romanticized. Ascribing increased cultural value to these traditions was at the heart of English Romanticism: Wordsworth and Coleridge’s ‘Lyrical Ballads’ (DATE) attempted to rehabilitate the aesthetic of the popular ballad in the eyes of the cultural elite.

The process of collecting added to the mystique: collectors were mostly middle-class, and would have little personal contact with working-class people other than as servants or a distant ‘mob’. Travelling into the depths of the countryside (via the new railway system), seeking out elderly singers in small, smoky inns, was in itself a form of exotic activity, a transgression of middle-class (and urban) social norms.

As a result, traditional songs (christened ‘folk’ songs in the 19th century) gained a touch of mystery, and the opaqueness of some of the phrasing or subject matter encouraged folk-song enthusiasts to look for a deeper, older, pre-industrial wisdom in the material. Collectors were working with what appeared mainly to have been an oral tradition: songs passed down by word of mouth, sometimes over a number of generations. This, too, added to the sense of mystery and exoticism for educated, highly literate people whose schooling had taught them to venerate the oral sources of ancient Greek literary culture. Many ballads, however, turn out to have moved in and out of the printed and oral traditions at various points in their history.

Spending time among the ballads, seeing the broadsides themselves, you almost feel you can hear and touch the world that made them. This almost-ness, the alienation effect of looking into this sometimes forgotten world from a modern perspective can become a fascination in itself. Now that the broadsides are digitised and online, they are freely available to millions more readers: but fewer people than ever will seek out the real thing, and know how they feel to the touch, how papery they smell. 

Broadside Ballads tours 25 Feb - 01 March 


08 Feb 17

Broadside Ballads sneak peek

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Take a sneak peek into the Bodleian Libraries' printing workshop with Lisa Knapp, Sam Lee and Nathaniel Mann as part of the development of Broadside Ballads.

Don't miss their uniquely contemporary take on these songs on tour from 25 February - 1 March.

Book tickets 


18 Jan 17

The Paper Cinema project film

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Ghost Stories by The Paper Cinema

We've made a short film about the project and would love for you to watch it. 

Last year, The Paper Cinema brought to life local tales of the supernatural through live film and music. We toured to Devon, Cornwall, Shropshire, Wiltshire and London introducing new audiences to their fascinating and innovative world of witches, ghouls and ghostly apparitions. 


18 Jan 17

Broadside Ballads Artist insight

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Nathaniel Mann

Artist Nathaniel Mann gives us an insight into the Broadside Ballads project research... 

In what's become a bit of a folk tradition in itself, Sam, Lisa and I spent time delving into the Bodleian's ballad archives. Spanning more than 500 years of music and verse, it feels essential that each generation of folk-inspired musicians revisits these sources directly. To re-read a verse 400 years later is to re-write it with through the eyes and ears of today. As we touch, smell and breath-in these sheets we draw fresh meanings from these old pages, reinterpreting and revaluating them as we go. We're not at all interested in attempting to historically recreate these songs, we are excited about how we can make them resonant in completely new ways. – Nathaniel Mann

Touring 25 Feb - 01 March 2017

#broadsides


07 Dec 16

Broadside Ballads special guests announced!

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Seth Bennett

Pete Flood drums

We are very excited to announce Pete Flood (percussion) and Seth Bennett (double bass) and will join Sam Lee, Lisa Knapp and Nathaniel Mann on the Broadside Ballads tour. 

Pete Flood is a drummer, percussionist, composer. A member of Bellowhead, he contributed numerous arrangements to their output, and has written for other ensembles ranging from orchestras to jazz trios. Pete also started the Anglo-Japanese project Setsubun Bean Unit which mixed Bon-Odori dance music with electronica and jazz to great acclaim on their one, eponymous release on Matthew Herbert’s Accidental imprint.

'Pete Flood’s arrangements have already long given Bellowhead their left field edge, but here he enters darker territory entirely…hugely entertaining' - FRoots

Seth Bennett is one of the U.K.'s pre-eminent improvising double bass players. Currently based in London, his work involves free improvisation and composition for improvisers. Recent works include En Bas Quartet, a low string quartet for improvisers, plus CD releases by improvising sextet Sloth Racket, the Julie Tippetts/Martin Archer Ensemble, and the ensemble Six of One.


30 Nov 16

What is a Broadside Ballad?

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Lisa Knapp at the Bodleian Library

A broadside (also known as a broadsheet) is a single sheet of inexpensive paper printed on one side, often with a ballad, rhyme, news and sometimes with woodcut illustrations. Broadside ballads, from the 16th to 20th centuries, contain words and images once displayed and sung daily in Britain’s streets and inns. Although part of living traditions of folksong, popular art and literature, these illustrated printed sheets are now rare and preserved in only a few libraries.

Digital collections and catalogues have improved access to these fragile survivors of popular culture in print. The Bodleian Libraries holds nearly 30,000 broadside ballads, many of them unique survivals, printed from the 16th to the 20th Centuries. Digital facsimiles and an online database were first made accessible in 1999. In 2013, the Libraries launched Broadside Ballads Online, which is a digital collection of the Bodleian’s broadside ballads together with links to digital collections at other libraries and institutions. ballads.bodleian.ox.ac.uk


29 Nov 16

Tyondai Braxton | Dawn of Midi on UK tour

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Tyondai Braxton credit Grace Villamil

A don't miss double bill of electronic musician and former Battles front man, Tyondai Braxton and startling original trio Dawn of Midi - tour dates just announced!


23 Nov 16

Broadside Ballads tour announced!

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Lisa Knapp, Sam Lee, Nathaniel Mann 

Three of the UK’s most innovative folk artists reinvent a collection of British broadsides – low cost daily song sheets sold for pence - giving a rare insight into Britain’s music, literary and political history.

Delving into the collection of Broadsides at the Bodleian Libraries and beyond, Sam Lee, Lisa Knapp and Nathaniel Mann lead a five-piece band, and bring to life Broadside Ballads for a new generation.

Touring 25 Feb - 01 March 2017

#broadsides


05 Oct 16

Ghost Stories trailer now live!

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Ghost Stories by The Paper Cinema

With almost two weeks to go excitement is mounting about The Paper Cinema's fantastic new show Ghost Stories. To whet your appetite check out this trailer filmed at recent rehearsals at the Puppet Centre, Bristol.

Don't miss the live shows from 19 - 23 October in the lead up to Halloween. Waa ha ha!


20 Sep 16

Free live animation workshop with The Paper Cinema, Barking, 1 October

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Ghost Stories by The Paper Cinema

THE PAPER CINEMA – GHOST STORIES
FREE ANIMATION WORKSHOP FOR AGES 8 - 10
1.30PM – 5.30PM, SATURDAY 1 OCTOBER, FREE ADMISSION
STUDIO 3 ARTS, BOUNDARY ROAD, BARKING, IG11 7JR

Learn how to create your own hand drawn animation short live film in this workshop with internationally acclaimed live film and music company The Paper Cinema.

With the help of three Paper Cinema professional puppeteers and composer / musician, create hand drawn puppets and perform your own live animation show based on a local ghost story.

Participants also get half price tickets to The Paper Cinema’s Ghost Stories at Studio 3 Arts on 23 October, a stunning new live animation and music show that brings local ghost stories - including the Barking Boiler Explosion by local crime writer Linda Rhodes - to life.

Workshop spaces are free but need to be booked on a first come first served basis at hello@studio3arts.org.uk
More information about Ghost Stories at www.sounduk.net

Generously supported by: Arts Council England, Barking & Dagenham Community Music Service. Produced by Sound UK in partnership with Studio 3 Arts.


22 Aug 16

Beat post-Rio blues with this video!

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Kimmo Pohjonen 'Accordion Wrestling'

Beat the post-Olympic blues with this gem of a video from Kimmo Pohjonen's 2012 UK premiere of Accordion Wrestling. Featuring accordion adventurer Pohjonen set against 12 champion wrestlers, this extraordinary sport and music experience wowed UK audiences including Janet Street-Porter.


28 Jun 16

Huge fun with The Little Radio in Barking

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The Little Radio in Barking credit Camilla Greenwell 4

The Little Radio in Barking credit Camilla Greenwell 3

The Little Radio in Barking credit Camilla Greenwell 1

The Little Radio in Barking credit Camilla Greenwell 2

The Little Radio in Barking credit Camilla Greenwell 6

Here are just a few pictures of the amazing night that saw 150 Year 5 students from Gascoigne Primary School and Studio 3 Arts' community group, perform alongside workshop leader Paul Griffiths and saxophonist Iain Ballamy and accordionist Stian Carstensen from The Little Radio.

The concert on 22 June was the fruition of 5 weeks workshops undertaken by Paul and each group creating brilliant new songs such as Future Rock and The Time is Now, performed alongside The Little Radio's repertoire. A hugely inspirational night!

The Little Radio was produced by Sound UK in partnership with Barbican Centre, Guildhall School of Music and Drama and Barking & Dagenham Music Service. Supported by Arts Council England and PRS for Music Foundation.


28 Jun 16

Trailer for Sonic Journey: Gavin Bryars + Blake Morrison

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Goole station credit Sara Teresa

Gavin Bryars and Blake Morrison's evocative "symphony of stories" (The Guardian) is now available to download. Get a taste with this gorgeous trailer shot on the stopping train from Goole to Hull...


28 Jun 16

Fantastic press coverage for Sonic Journey: Gavin Bryars + Blake Morrison!

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Blake Morrison and Gavin Bryars on the Northern train from Hull to Goole

We've been thrilled with the coverage Sonic Journeys: Gavin Bryars + Blake Morrison has achieved so far. Journalists from BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio 3 and The Guardian have all taken the train from Goole to Hull to experience the piece and here's how they reported back:

BBC Radio 4 Front Row, broadcast 12 June

BBC Radio 3 Music Matters, broadcast 13 June

The Guardian, published 16 June


28 Jun 16

Chasing the Whale tour film now online

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Kings of the South Seas 3

Earlier this year we took a captivating musical voyage of with the superb Kings of the South Seas, Tim Eriksen and Philip Hoare which took us to venues as magificent as the Cutty Sark. Check out the tour film here.


16 Mar 16

Matthew Bourne interview about Memorymoog and more

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• Why the Memorymoog - what is the significance of that particular instrument over the piano with this project?

I’ve always had a love for analogue/vintage synthesisers of any kind and, the Moog Memorymoog was one of those instruments I’d only ever heard about so, when one came up on eBay, and local to me, I jumped at the chance. On collecting it, I met Phil Manchester - an amazing person and keyboard player with a vast musical experience. He’d owned the instrument for 25 years (from new), and occupied a special place in his life. It was then modified by Rudi Linhard in Germany a few years later, making it a Lintronics Advanced Memorymoog (LAMM). This project is all about that instrument, the human story of the people that have been involved with it, and places that have provided both direct and indirect inspiration of some kind. There’s no significance over the piano, here, it’s just a project centred around the narrative of what is now a LAMM.

• How did you and Michael first start working together? How did you become aware of his work?

Michael and I have known each other for a number of years, and had met through mutual friends in Manchester. I asked him if he would work on designing the cover for the moogmemory album (it was Michael who came up with the album’s title), and went from there. I’ve always loved his work; be it graphic, film or anything else - the majestic detail that goes into each piece of work is mind-blowing. We’d always wanted to work together on something and now, we’re finally getting round to doing something. Hopefully it’ll be the first of many things to come. He’s been a real inspiration to me...

• Location and place seem to hold a special significance to the moogmemory project. Can you tell us why?

Sure. As touched on above, it’s chiefly about the people involved: the engineering of Bob Moog and Rudi Linhard, the loving care bestowed on it by Phil James for half of its life, and its subsequent modification (by Rudi), and finally, to the present, where the album and live project has emerged. It was Michael who was excited by the idea of tying together a human/geographical narrative to everything - the design of the album, the photographs (taken on the moor above my home in Airedale - where all of the music was recorded), filming the reunion between Phil James and his old Memorymoog, my correspondences with Rudi whilst the instrument was undergoing repair; all of these strands will feed into the narrative of the show in one way or another. Michael was also keen to capture the place where my own personal musical turning point began in 2009: in Montauk, NY - and travelled there especially to capture footage for this show, as well as additional filming on the beautiful Yorkshire moors.

• How do you approach composition and has the process changed on this project?

I don’t compose in the traditional sense of the word. If I can’t capture something more or less as it emerges, subsequent repetition of the idea proves to be fatal, and the impulse/energy dies, and withers as I struggle to dissolve the consciousness that has arisen, the awareness of what I am doing. Personally, the more contrived something becomes, the less true it feels, to me. So, I have to trick myself into capturing these ideas by stealth - almost by accident, if you like. So, for the pieces on the moogmemory album, most of them are either first takes, or, were completed in ‘one hit’: finished within a very short burst of time, so as to not lose focus, or open the door to compositional contrivance and design. As a result, many ideas that arose in this period, died in the flames of repetition… Preparing to perform this music live has presented considerable challenges in that there is a tightrope to be walked between the specificity of already-established material and the familiar spontaneity that live performance affords. I have to practice performing the structural arc of the original, whilst retaining enough room for variation, difference, and the chance for something new to happen in the performance arena. Playing something in the exact same way, over and over again, is a false trail. I’m sure that, if I were a better musician, I’d make much lighter weather of it all...

• Which one moog / synth tune would you have loved to have written?

Theme from Fletch, by Harold Faltermeyer, and Spaced (from the album Gandharva & In a Wild Sanctuary), by Beaver & Krause.

• Are there specific tunes, tech or performers in particular that got you hooked on the analogue synth sound?

Musically, it was probably something from Herbie Hancock’s Mwandishi band. The albums Crossings, Sextant, Inside Out and Realization (the latter two are under trumpeter Eddie Henderson’s name), are all amazing - and made quite an impression on me - particularly the work of Patrick Gleeson (listen to Water Torture from Crossings), whose work is prevalent on much of this material (and who also first introduced Hancock to synthesisers). Gleeson is a much overlooked figure in the cannon of analogue synthesiser recordings. I started off with a Moog Prodigy (who I later sold to Glenn Armstrong, of Coup D’Archet records - and, incidentally, became great friends!).

• What can people expect from the tour?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i3Jxj41VwYw

• What are your plans for the rest of 2016 - involving / after Moogmemory?

Well, maybe a little live album of the moogmemory tour, as there’s a few new pieces, and very different/reworked versions of a number of the album tracks. We’ll see. I’ve already got another album (piano & cello) in the can, so to speak. It’s a much slower and bleaker sister to Montauk Variations. All of the tracks were recorded at home - most of them in very bad weather! You can hear one of them, here: https://soundcloud.com/matthew-bourne/isotach

*** Matthew Bourne and Michael England's Moogmemory tour continues with dates in Brighton (17 March), Southampton (18 March) and Glasgow (23 April). Click here for details ***


10 Mar 16

The Little Radio rural tour film now online

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We're delighted to share this lovely film about The Little Radio's recent rural tour and workshops in Wiltshire, Cornwall, Devon and Shropshire. It was our first project where we delivered our own workshop programme and heralds an exciting way for us to work in the future. We can't wait to get started on the Barking workshops culminating in a performance at the Broadway Theartre on 22 June.


03 Mar 16

Places of Worship - gallery of stills from Anastasia Isachsen's stunning video

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Places of Worship - Anastasia Isachsen

Places of Worship - Anastasia Isachsen 2

Ahead of the much awaited UK dates for Arve Henrksen's Places of Worship (11-13 May), we're delighted to share these gorgeous images from Anastasia Isachsen's video that form part of the performance.

Check out more and full details about the tour here


17 Feb 16

Moogmemory trailer now live!

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We're very excited to share the trailer for Moogmemory with you today.

UK tour dates for this special collaboration between genre bending pianist Matthew Bourne and his visual cohort Michael England kick off in just over 2 weeks from 4 March to 23 April.

Together they'll explore the resonant, spacey qualities of analogue synths taking audiences on an audiovisual journey from Montauk, New York to the Yorkshire Moors.

Hear Matthew Bourne's live interview and exclusive track on BBC Radio 3 Late Junction at 11.30pm tonight.


08 Jan 16

Moogmemory London premiere announced

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Matthew Bourne credit Michael England

We hope you had a great festive break and wish you a superb 2016.
The year gets off to a great start for Sound UK with the announcement of a special London premiere for Matthew Bourne and Michael England's Moogmemory at BFI Southbank on 5 March.

An evocative audiovisual journey, Moogmemory explores the spacey, resonant qualities of analogue audio and video synthesisers in this exciting first time collaboration.


17 Dec 15

Not cold enough for Xmas?

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Terje Isungset

Not feeling cold enough for the festive season?

Get your dose of wintry magic courtesy of the wonderful ice musician Terje Isungset.

Recorded in an ice cave underneath the amazing Nigard Glacier(Jostedalen) in Norway ... naturally!

Watch here

Happy Xmas!


16 Dec 15

Martyn Ware shares his seaside memories

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one and all

As part of our One and All coastline project with Trust New Art we have had the pleasure of working with the legendary founder of Heaven 17/ The Human League, renowned producer and sound artist Martyn Ware.

We put a few questions to him about his new work for One and All (available to experience here, and we are delighted to share these unique insights with you:

- What's your earliest memory of the seaside?

My earliest memory is riding on a donkey called Ringo on Cleethorpes Beach – and wondering where the sea was (it goes out about a mile), and being ecstatically happy…

- How do you think our relationship with the coast has changed over your lifetime?

We are all more familiar with the coast then when I was young – generally people can afford holidays or day trips now, whereas we were so poor (cue violins) that one day trip a year was all our family could afford

- What was your favourite memory left by a participant in the beach hut?

Definitely a father in Seaham talking to his small daughter – he was clearly embarrassed to be speaking, so he said to his daughter "come on then – hurry up – they’re your memories not mine” - she sounded about 5 years old so I don’t think she had many memories to share!

- Did any of the public's recordings particularly strike a chord with you, or stir up forgotten memories?

I think in general just the fact that so many people referred to the ‘peace’ they found being by the sea and looking at the sea – it’s kind of therapy for the working classes…

- How do you see the link between sound and memory?

Sound is a critical part of our memories, but usually we associate the senses with visual memories taking the lead role – all that is required is to point out to people how their memories would feeel without sound – then they realise…

Martyn's 3D soundscape work is best experienced with headphones for the full immersive effect. Go to www.nationaltrust.org.uk/oneandall to experience it and then share your thoughts with us on twitter using the hashtag #oneandallUK


17 Nov 15

The Little Radio on tour – last 2015 date 27 November

The Little Radio

We had a fab few days with Iain Ballamy and Stian Carstensen last week who touched the hearts of all ages across rural England. People of Shropshire don’t miss their show at SpArC Theatre, Bishops Castle on 27 November

Details of the tour and booking here


15 Oct 15

National Poetry Day

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National Poetry Day

As today is National Poetry Day we thought we would share a little bit more insight into our work with Owen Sheers as part of our One and All project with the National Trust – a digital voyage through sight, sound and sea.

Owen Sheers is a novelist, poet and playwright who has been commissioned as part of One and All to write a new piece of poetry about the coast of his Welsh homeland, which we can exclusively reveal will be called “On The Sea’s Land” (“Ar-for-dir”) and will be linked with a digital journey along the coastline.

Owen is an interesting figure in literature, working across various literary formats, from poetry to longform fiction, plays and even ballads. He also is Professor in Creativity at Swansea University and an accomplished TV host.

For One and All Owen undertook a two week residency on The Gower peninsula in South Wales. This beautiful coastal area was the first to be designated as an Outstanding Area of Natural Beauty in the UK in the 1950’s and hasn’t changed much since.

Owen spent time exploring the history, meeting local farmers and dialect experts, all the while was walking the land and immersing himself in the special atmosphere of the area, from Paviland Cave to Wurm’s Head – which you can see in the photograph taken by Ben Wigley of Artdocs.

The journey between these two locations has inspired his final writings for One and All, which you will be able to discover when the project launches nationwide on 4th Nov 2015. Follow us on facebook & twitter to find out more about the project, our exhibition at Somerset House and the launch.

Owen commented:
“Drawing upon local history, anecdote and dialect, On the Sea’s Land seeks to explore and excavate the internal and external geography of this ancient, yet ever-renewing landscape against which our presence, whether communal or solitary, is never less than fleeting.”

More details from the National Trust can be found here

 


20 Jun 15

SoundUK Arts awarded Strategic Touring funding!

sound uk funding news

SoundUK Arts awarded Strategic Touring funding!


sounduk is delighted to have been awarded a Strategic Touring grant by Arts Council England towards Soil and Concrete, a touring network for new music to rural and urban areas of low provision and engagement from 2015 – 18. 


Hedley Swain, Area Director, South East, Arts Council England, said: “We are really pleased to be able to support sounduk’s Soil and Concrete tour. This innovative and adventurous music programme will provide local communities with a really important opportunity to participate in the creation and delivery of new music, introducing them to what may be a new experience and also to variety of different music styles.” 


“Through this funding we are delighted to be able to develop our work in partnership with local communities to create excellent art and enable people of all ages to have access and enjoyment of new music ” Maija Handover, co-Director, sounduk.

sounduk will develop a network to commission high quality, innovative music projects in areas of low provision and engagement in the South West, Midlands and London. We are excited to be working in partnership with four rural partners; Beaford Arts in North Devon, Carn to Cove in Cornwall, Pound Arts in Wiltshire and Arts Alive in Shropshire, alongside one urban partner, the Barbican in Barking. Each project responds to place and engages local communities in its creation and delivery.

Alongside each live event a participation programme will be delivered to local people of all ages as well as professional development for local promoters, the majority of which are volunteers.

The first Soil & Concrete project will be Little Radio with internationally acclaimed saxophonist Iain Ballamy and accordionist Stian Carstensen in November 2015 (rural dates) and Summer 2016 (Barking).

 

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