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 2022 programme, delve deeper into their Sound Generator project and discover what the process has meant to them.
This week, we talk to Loula Yorke.
Loula Yorke is a composer, sound artist and improviser with a specialism in modular synthesis. As a composer, Loula uses electronics and participation to create sonic artworks. Releasing work since 2019 that dances in the spaces where the personal meets the political, she’s been described by Electronic Sound magazine as a ‘DIY noisenik champion’ and recognised with a special commendation by the 2020 Oram Awards.
Please tell us about your Sound Generator project. What is it and where did the initial inspiration come from?
My aim is to create a project that engages mothers and daughters in a collaborative sonic activity.
A series of workshops will form the basis of the creation of a new work for spatialised sound and lasers on the theme of mothering and daughtering – about care, separation, projection, love, expectations, and probably a tussle over the narrative!?
My inspiration comes from my own experiences of mothering and daughtering, and builds on my work of 2020 'Atari Punk Girls' where I led a group of teenagers in synth-building and then threw them their first rave!
How has your idea developed during the programme so far? And what have you learnt?
Yes! The project now incorporates lasers, which I'm learning to programme myself.
At first I was more thinking about the sonic aspect and workshop activity ideas, but I've been really encouraged by the project to think bigger and be more ambitious, so now the visual aspect I want to create out of the material has come to the fore.
What has this opportunity meant to you?
It's allowed me to see if I can take it from a thought bubble into something solid, which has meant a lot. I've been thinking about this for years.
Has it helped you to develop your creative practice? If so, how?
Yes! I'd never tried to programme lasers before (I'm only just beginning in that endeavour though to be fair!).
I've used mentoring time to talk to Leon Trimble at Chromatouch about lasers and noise, and as well as thinking through the design of a 'synth ensemble' box with audio electronics specialist Dr Tom Richards (so lots of people can play my noise synths at once in sync).
I also had the incredible opportunity to go into the Dome Room at the music school at the University of Birmingham, and be set up on their 3rd order ambisonic sound system to play live with my modular set-up. I'd only ever heard my stuff in mono or stereo before.
It was so special to have those days in that space, with such a high level of support from Head of Music, Dr Annie Mahtani.
Who are your key artistic influences for this project?
The chaotic circuits of the late Rob Hordijk, 90s raves, lissajous figures, Teleplasmiste, and as ever the freedom of live art and noise!
What have you been listening to recently? Any new music recommendations?
Um I mean I've got a new album out, 'Florescence' that I've been listening to constantly for about 2 months while it's been finalised haha – but also I just came across Tyshawn & King, Tyshawn Storey and King Britt's improv collab that I'm loving, Colleen's The Tunnel and the Clearing, Aura by Hatis Noit - erm I could go on!
What are your hopes for this project? How do you see it developing beyond this initial 6-month programme?
I'd love to get a residency in a big space that can accommodate my technical requirements so I can develop the audio-visual side properly, and I'd love to get the 'synth ensemble' machine made and useable for workshops.
We look forward to sharing more details about Loula Yorke's Sound Generator project as it develops. Visit Loula's website to find out more about her work.
You can listen, download and buy Loula's new album, Florescence, here: https://loulayorke.bandcamp.com/
Sound Generator is Sound UK's artist development programme for bold creative ideas. 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.
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Photo credits: Jeff Scott, Ross Harrison and Sofi Nowell.