News from the Sonic Arts Network

09 June 2020

And don't forget...

SoundCircus 11-14 June
De Montfort University and Phoenix Arts

Sonic Arts Network and De Montfort University invite you to the audio big top. Experience the travelling aural carnival that is SoundCircus: Your ears will bear witness to, and be amazed by, a disarmingly diverse range of experimental sound practices from across the UK and beyond…

SEE and HEAR new commissions from Kaffe Matthews and Pete Batchelor!

EXPERIENCE the untold delights of performances, installations, presentations and papers from a host of established and emerging artists!

MARVEL at the sheer quantity of work with over 60 artists presenting at the event including:

Adaadat, BEAST, Codec/X, Peter Cusack, John Levack Drever, Iris Garrelfs, Jonty Harrison, Modified Toy Orchestra, Adrian Moore, Pippa Murphy, Seed Records, Daniel Schachter, Volcano the Bear, David Zicarelli


Each year the SAN Conference showcases the best work from artists in the UK using experimental approaches to sound and technology. It also provides a platform for artists to meet, listen and respond.

SoundCircus will focus on new cultural trends and aims to highlight the broad range of approaches and thinking that surrounds the sonic arts through a variety of performances, installations and research presentations.

Friday 11 June
SoundCircus kicks off with a live spectacle featuring the talents of Leicester’s very own iconoclastic avant-post rock/jazz/folk improvisers Volcano the Bear. Circuits bend double and scream for mercy in the hands of Birmingham’s extraordinary Modified Toy Orchestra. Asbestos deliver live multi-channel noise mayhem and we present exclusive breaks, bleeps and beyond showcases from London’s Adaadat and Seed labels. The 5 piece electro-improv group *paul kick of the proceedings in style whilst Sonic Arts Network DJs and artwork from Nick Mott provide the mood for the evening.

Saturday 12 June
If you want rigour - we’ve got it!

SoundCircus continues with a hardcore day of concerts featuring multi-channel performances of the best in contemporary electroacoustics. Highlights include a long anticipated new 8-channel piece from BEAST’s founder and ringmaster Jonty Harrison; live and tape work from this year’s international guest composer, Argentina’s Daniel Schachter; a live performance from the extraordinary Quartet Electronische; a chance for genuflection with rare pre-concert talk from the founder of Cycling74 and guru of interactive music software David Zicarelli, and an exclusive Sonic Arts Network commissioned site-specific performance from the queen of British laptronica Kaffe Matthews. The pace is relentless. You love it!

Sunday 13 June
We crack the whip and you skip, but you deserve it…

No let-up here as the congregation gathers for Sunday morning worship at the church of noise. Today’s service offers up a mixed program of moving image and sound works, improvised performance, concert music and sound installation. The day will feature a new Sonic Arts Network multi-channel screen and sound commission from Pete Batchelor titled Studies on Canvas. Clear the sleep from your ears with morning coffee and cacophony in the company of the UEA live electronics gang and SoundCircus goes pink with Forgotten Fairytales, a sound and image documentation of Northamptonshire’s gay community compiled by Iain Armstrong and with illustrations by Jayne West.


Ongoing - 15 August
Amazing Sound Machines
(Sound Installation)
Millennium Galleries, Sheffield

Sound sculptures and installations by Johannes Bergmark, Lawrence Casserley, Hugh Davies, Simon Desorgher, Max Eastley, Peter Jones, Dan Knight, Helmut Lemke, Kaffe Matthews, Martin Mayes, Will Menter and Matt Rogalsky.

Ongoing - 27 August
The Dark
(Sound Installation)
Magna Science Adventure Centre, Rotherham

The Dark gives you an opportunity to explore a specially created three-dimensional audio environment in which the echoes of virtual ghosts inhabit a haunted soundscape.

Wednesday 9 June
Lifthouse, London

Last sprawl of the summer! Sprawl is the London based club featuring the best of today's cutting edge sounds, impro n' glitch and international electronic music, with live acts & guest DJs.

Line up: Digital Intervention (Paul Kendall, Mute label producer, and Olivia Louvel); Mask
(Marvyn Ayres - Mille Plateaux & Sonja Kristina - Ex-Curved Air); Bela Emerson (Radio 3 Mixing It/John Peel - aired cello experiments); Thorsten Sideboard (8bit Records and Highpoint Lowlife) Si-Cut.db (biphop/fallt/highpointlowlife); Iris Garrelfs (BitTonic)

9-11 June
Sensuous Geographies by Alistair MacDonald & Sarah Rubidge
(Sound Installation)
University of Chichester, Chichester

An interactive installation. "the piece is so inventive and original that you surrender easily to its infinite possibilities" The Guardian

11 June - 4 July
David Rodriguez - 08.14.03
(Sound Installation and Other Media)
space-twotentwo, London

Space-twotentwo is proud to present a solo show of recent work by New York artist David Rodriguez. The work is in response to the blackout in New York (and most of the Eastern Seaboard) during August 2003. 08.14.03 takes the form of an installation incorporating book design, typography, interactive sonic art and experimental music composition.

Saturday 12 June
LMC presents Dustbreeders & Junko
The Spitz, London

French avant-turntablists going head to head with legendary noise artist Junko from Japan's Hijokaidan. Expect terrifying noise! Plus cutting edge improvisations from Broken Consort, the duo of harpist Rhodri Davies and electronics player Mark Wastell. Plus Static Tics, featuring Rotterdam electronics mavericks Lucas Simonisand Henk Bakker.

16-30 June
Luminae Natura by Matthew Sansom
(Sound Installation)
Ely Cathedral, Cambridgeshire

Recent world events have done much to emphasise differences between the three Abrahamic world religions - Judaism, Christianity and Islam. In contrast, this work is constructed around unifying aspects of these three religious traditions. Using recordings of choristers at Ely Cathedral singing declarations of praise, the piece gradually permeates through the cathedral's acoustic to evoke the idea of an angelic presence. Over a twenty minute period singing fills the cathedral through eight loud-speakers placed along the length of the nave. The layering and treatment of the material subtly evolves to form an ethereal but dense musical-angelic web of sound.

Sunday 20 June
COMA Birmingham presents BIOTA
Hexagon Theatre, Edgbaston

The World Premiere of newly commissioned works by Phillip Cashian and Pippa Murphy plus new works by the COMA Birmingham Composers. New musical director Tony Harris conducts this exciting concert of new music that combines acoustic and electroacoustic textures.

Monday 21 June
Taming the Beast: Learning & Teaching in Music Technology
(one-day conference)
De Montfort University, Leicester

Music Technology has emerged as a distinct discipline at all levels in education, with a huge impact on the HE sector. By its very nature, Music Technology is a magnet for the widest spectrum of music-making, from the most radical experimental musical iconoclasm, to the entertainment industry and the processes of disseminating music as a consumer product.

This conference aims to throw some light on the way educators are constructing coherent paths through this complex and exciting shift in context for music education.

24 June - 2 July
LMC/CMN Present Feedback: Order from Noise - UK tour
Leicester, Newcastle, Norwich, London, Colchester, Brighton, Exeter

Featured artists are: Alvin Lucier, Toshimaru Nakamura, Nicolas Collins, Billy Roisz, Otomo Yoshihide, Sarah Washington, Xentos 'Fray' Bentos and Knut Aufermann.

Saturday 26 June
Goldsmiths College, London

Featuring electronics within improvisation and interactive composition by: FURT (Paul Obermayer & Richard Barrett); John Tilbury, John Edwards & Sebastian Lexer; Phil Durrant & Mark Sanders; Ian Stonehouse & Graham Wakefield

Tuesday 29 June
The Klinker, London

Improvising around their recent Kaminari CD

MusM in Electroacoustic Music Composition
University Of Manchester

The taught programme culminates in the submission of a portfolio of original compositions and includes instruction in acousmatic music composition techniques, electroacoustic music aesthetics, repertoire study and project-based compositional research. Optional course units include interactive electroacoustic music composition, special topics in technical or repertoire research, and contemporary music and performance studies. Programme director and course supervisor: Dr. David Berezan

MPhil and PhD: Electroacoustic-based study in the MPhil and PhD composition programmes are also offered.

For further information on the programme contact:
For application information contact: or

Sheffield University Music Department
The University of Sheffield Sound Studios is still searching for PT/FT MPhil/Phd and Masters students in electroacoustic composition. You may apply at any time but if you wish to be considered for our fee waiver scheme, time is running out. The fee waiver scheme is competitive.

For more information on the studios please see

Electric Greenhouse

Electric Greenhouse is a three-month, project based, digital arts residency for three London ˆ based visual artists. Electric Greenhouse is designed for artists with a strong interest in the exploration of art through technology, offering:

_ Bespoke training and support
_ Free access to high grade hardware / software
_ Networking opportunities

The scheme will culminate in a showcase event of work produced during the residency.

For further information contact Sonya Dyer:

Environmental Artist Residency In Nottinghamshire
Fee: £10,000 per 12 months

The artist will be asked to respond to the natural environment to create a series of permanent and non-permanent installations that meet the needs of local communities and planners, leading workshops with groups of all abilities to facilitate community involvement.

For further information email:

LabCulture 2004 - Belfast
The week long lab in Belfast will offer artists an intensive period to engage with new tools and work within a critical environment. The focus is on production of new material and time out from regular work. Artists have time to experiment with new ways of working, to practically research or take an idea further, or to pursue their creative process without the pressure of having to realise a final outcome.

The scheme is open to artists based in Northern Ireland. A small number of places are offered to artists resident in the EU.

Labculture is open submission. We encourage applications from artists and creatives operating across the cultural industries spectrum whose work pushes the boundaries of contemporary artistic practice. In particular we welcome applications from musicians, writers, dancers and innovative artists beyond categorisation and all spaces in between.

Sound Designer Required for Mapping4D
Mapping4D, a company of London-based theatre artists are developing their Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust award winning show, which will explore History, and how it is manufactured, distorted and used. The show will be performed at Riverside Studios, London, November 2004.

We are require a Sound designer/ sound artist to act as a collaborating artist as we devise the piece.

We will create a total environment (design/sound/light) within which the audience will experience the performance, and we are looking for a sound artist who will become an integral part of our team during the process of developing, devising and realising the show.

A commitment to creating exciting, challenging devised theatre is essential.
Experience of designing for wireless headphone systems would be an
advantage, but is not essential!

For further information email:

Music Beyond Performance: SoundImageSound II
University of the Pacific, California, USA


Call for work of artists who cross boundaries to combine the aural and the visual. For 2004 this event will again feature new works of 'fixed media' which in some manner combine multi-channel sound and visual images without 'live' performance.

Works in all media and style will be considered. Preference will be given to concert works but sound/image installations are also possible.

The audio portion of the work may be composed for two to eight channels of sound. Preference will be given to work which exceeds normal stereo presentation. The visual elements may be projected image (DVD, miniDV, VCR, still image, etc.) or three dimensional objects within the space. Works requiring multiple projections will be considered.

Artists selected for presentation are encouraged but not required to attend.

For further information contact:

Most Significant Bytes - Call For Multimedia Works And A Guest Artist
18 November 2004, Mount Union College In Alliance, Ohio, USA


Artists are invited to submit up to three works:

_ Multimedia Video Works (VHS, DVD, mpeg-4)
_ General MIDI works
_ MIDI/Live works for the Korg X5 or X5D
_ Sound sampling/digital audio works which include visuals
_ Electronic works with Live Performers
_ Electronic Sound Works

For further information email Jerome Miskell:

Symposium/Harvest Moon Festival on Multi-speaker Works
22, 23, 24 September, Concordia University, Montreal, Québec, Canada

Papers, Panels, Presentations: Preliminary Call
Artists / researchers / thinkers interested in presenting a paper or participating on one of the panels related to multi-speaker applications are invited to send a 100 - 250 word Statement of Interest and summary at this time. The general theme of the Wednesday afternoon is ‘Current Practice’ that of the Friday being ‘Future Practice’ and Planning for the 2005 Conference.

This is a preliminary Call for Works created specifically for multi-speaker systems, 4.1 to 8.1. Works of any duration will be considered although pieces of under 30 minutes will be given preference. Works are required to have a technical note on how the multi-channel format was integrated into the piece.

Composers / sound artists are invited to send completed pieces, or notification of work in progress for consideration. The medium of performance is ADAT or DA-88.

While the composers of the selected works are encouraged to attend the Symposium/ Festival, attendance is not required for a work to be presented, or a paper presentation to be published.

For further information:

Katherine Norman - Sounding Art
Eight Literary Excursions Through Electronic Music
Hardback Book and CD (Ashgate)

Ok, I’ll be honest with you. Ever since pawing over my own newly purchased hardback copy of The Language of Electroacoustic Music alone in the dark of my student bedroom, the unreformed academic in me has to admit to having a slight fetish for the Ashgate books. Everything about them screams academic rigour; the sense that the reader is being introduced to a secret and exclusive cult with its own exciting neologisms; the feeling that ownership of the product is, in itself, an initiation through financial flagellation to an elite at the apex of the cultural food chain; the repulsive nature of the dust covers, surely deliberately designed to repel frivolous and less dedicated readers than yourself from discovering the sublime black and gold hardcovers within and the hermetic wisdom they contain.

Anyone recognise themselves in this? Katherine Norman surely does as she sets out from the very start of Sounding Art to confound and confuse these expectations with a timely and provocative book from the intellectual nerve centre of traditional acousmatic music.

Formally, the book is organised into standalone chapters that can be read in any order, with each reflecting its subject matter in the way it is written and structured. These “excursions” are dedicated to “anyone who cares to listen” and a 34-track audio CD is also included, with points in the text indicating when to indulge. Different writing styles (academic, journalistic, anecdotal) rub shoulders, often on the same page. Contrasting typefaces articulate space as they jostle for attention. Empty spaces articulate rhythm and a visual equivalence of coloured silence. The opening chapter uses a discussion of Xenakis Concrete Ph as a starting point to explore the early history of recorded sound and fixed medium electroacoustic sound presentation. The influence of Walter Benjamin’s view of history as akin to a collection of meaningful fragments looms large here, the author diving for pearls in the sea of time, surfacing with gems encrusted with meaning accumulated through the living process of history.

Predictably some chapters are more effective that others. I found the appropriation of the Renaissance emblem book form in Chapter 2 a tad twee in a rather Schoenbergian way, and the least successful of the author’s experiments. There is a fitting analogy here to acousmatic music with so many contemporary pieces opening with a great idea and then getting a little lost upon exhaustion of the initial impulse and, make no mistake, this text is coming straight out of the classical post-Schaefferian tradition. Most of the works referenced are fixed medium and pride of place is given to highly successful interview based experiments in journalism with acousmatic stalwarts Francis Dhomont and Hildegard Westerkamp. The accompanying audio CD is used wonderfully during these chapters, particularly in the Westerkamp piece, which documents and extrapolates from a soundwalk enjoyed by the author and the composer in Lighthouse Park near Vancouver. The use of sound and text here brings the encountered environment and personalities of the protagonists most vividly to life in the imagination of the reader/listener and throws the very idea of the book as a fixed medium piece into question.

This book is not a history. It doesn’t directly set out to present any arguments, and it doesn't really posit any new ideas but, in its own way, it does throw down a fairly large gauntlet. "This book is a deliberate provocation" are the first words that Katherine Norman writes in her introduction, but a provocation to whom, and to what act should they be provoked? There aren't any ideas here that will be new or threatening to anyone with an active interest in sonic art. The average electronic music listener isn’t going to be catapulted into an apoplectic rage by a Mcluhanesque font fight about plunderphonics or even anecdotes about tapeworms being surgically removed from the gut of Maria Callas. The provocation is the product, or as Marshall would have it "the medium is the message". At £50, who is going to read this ridiculously expensive book? We are back in the student bedroom again, tucked up with an Ashgate. Within this context it becomes clear that the book alludes to the radical stylistic and aesthetic developments that the younger generation of academic electroacoustic composers must be bold enough to make to maintain the dynamic and validity of their art form. It is a challenge to them, a provocation to risk the scorn of the establishment through risk taking. To wander, as Katherine and Hildegard do in their woodland ramble, off the well trodden path.

Reviewed by Richard Whitelaw
Richard Whitelaw is a member of BEAST in Birmingham and is the Programme Director of Sonic Arts Network.

Utabi – Manchurian Candy

On 'Manchurian Candy' Japan’s Utabi Hirokawa gives us the feeling of computer game music sliced, diced and punched into modernity. If not an entirely original idea, Utabi however implements it very entertainingly.

When video arcades appeared on the scene in the late 70s and early 80s, part of their appeal was the impressive array of funny blips, beeps, zaps and silly little tunes. The manufacturers probably thought they were only providing a meagre form of audio entertainment to entice us to part with our 10ps, but their legacy was a combination of limited sound synthesis, great inventiveness in programming and a generation of over-stimulated kids. These days bands, and even orchestras, are being commissioned to record for games where the technology samples the tunes wholesale without any of that classic 8-bit crunchiness some of us love. So what happened to the arcade genre of electronic music? Albums like Manchurian Candy demonstrate that it is alive and well, and no longer confined to the arcade.

Although it starts off with a pretty good statement of intent on 'Windo05' and 'Crackbank Cheese', Manchurian Candy really gets going when it gets funky, 'Kmoizcarkt Shoimse Back' and shows its heart on the excellent 'Three Tennies'.

Utabi graciously allows us a few moments to breathe on 'Lightpotilution', where he, like Plaid for instance, explores the delicate balance between soothing, drifting randomness and rather incidental spikiness, though sometimes a tune needs to be played, not just played with. Next up, 'Doli-shape-automaton' and things take a distinct turn to the strange with a fantastic intro built around chrunchy vocal synthesis and left-angled funk.

The album continues through its melodic variations on attention deficit disorder until the last track, 'Cassia Angustifolia' when he is joined by some more traditional instruments at a much more reasonable pace to give us a very warm and becoming conclusion to Manchurian Candy. Sweet.

Reviewed by Michael Johnston
Michael Johnston, aka Mike in Mono, performs as a solo artist, as a member of the ZX Spectrum Orchestra and with Plone. His records have been released by Warp, Halfeaten Records and Warm Circuit.