News from the Sonic Arts Network

Sonic Arts Network Special General Meeting

Further to previous notices, there will be a special general meeting of the membership on 18 March at the Jerwood Space from 2.00pm to 4.00pm for an informal discussion about the proposal to create a new contemporary arts organisation.

The idea grew out of a wish to base a number of contemporary arts organisations in a new building in King’s Cross.  In time, it became apparent that Arts Council England felt that these organisations would operate most effectively from their new base by merging.  Arts Council England has made substantial funds available for a range of studies on the viability of what is proposed.  These studies – and a considerable amount of work by both staff and Board members of Sonic Arts Network – are distilled in a Prospectus for the new organisation (which has the working title TNO). With the approval of the other organisations involved, the full prospectus is being made available to all members of Sonic Arts Network on our website. (Available here

The Sonic Arts Network Board feel that now there is an outline proposal (the prospectus) it is a good time to consult our membership more fully. Knowing the views of members will guide the Board as they pursue the process further.

If you wish to attend the meeting please email

The Meeting will take place:

Saturday 18 March 2021
The Jerwood Space, 171 Union Street, London, SE1

More information can be found at:

Other News...

Moog Criminal

On April 1st, Japan will be passing a new law called the "PSE Law" which will illegalise the resale of synthesizers, music amps, recording gear, analogue / digital tape recorders, juke boxes, turn tables, game components and other electronic devices (259 items in total) with AC adapters that were manufactured before 2001.

Petition online here:

BBC's wildlife archives released

Content from the BBC's Natural History Unit has been made available free of charge over the internet. The Open Earth Archive will include previously unseen clips from new wildlife series Planet Earth.

Footage can be viewed, downloaded and edited into personal projects as part of the Creative Archive Licence. The scheme, which released the BBC's news archives earlier this year, allows the material to be used for non-profit programme-making in the UK.

High-tech paint will block cell phone calls

Playing to the backlash against ubiquitous communication, a company called Natural Nano is developing a special high-tech paint that locks out unwanted cell phone signals on demand. Newsday reports.

"NaturalNano has found a way to use nanotechnology to blend particles of copper into paint that can be brushed onto walls and effectively deflect radio signals.

NaturalNano will combine this signal-blocking paint scheme with a radio-filtering device that collects phone signals from outside a shielded space, allowing certain transmissions to proceed while blocking others.

It appears to be legal - jamming devices that emit radio signals to prevent cell phones are not - The radio filter would allow all emergency radio communications to pass through the shield with all other signals, like cell phones, the filter would act like a spigot to block or allow them to pass through—say, only during intermission."


17-19 March
BEAST presents Voyages Sonore
CBSO Centre, Birmingham

A weekend of acousmatic events performed on BEAST's sound system, featuring guest composers Françoise Barrière and Christian Clozier (Institut International de Musique Electroacoustique de Bourges, France) and Robert Normandeau (Montreal, Canada).
tickets: 0121 767 4050

20 March
Darwin's Dream
Royal Albert Hall, London

Darwin's Dream is a music theatre piece about the history of life on the planet - from the Big Bang to the present day, focusing on the travels, ideas and dreams of Charles Darwin. Includes sections composed by Graham Treacher and sections devised by Duncan Chapman working with school children. The performance also has an electroacoustic element as well as projected visuals.

20 March
Ryoji Ikeda
Barbican, London

First London appearance in six years from the Japanese electronic sonic artist.

20 - 25 March
Lovebytes 2006
Sheffield UK

The 10th Lovebytes Festival explores the relationship between physical and digital environments. Featuring live music and multimedia performances, film screenings, workshops and exhibitions of new media work from around the world. Performing Live: Francis Dhomont, Fennesz, Aoki Takamasa,CM von Hausswolff, Dfuse, Leafcutter John, Iris Garrelfs, Pixelwrangler, Si-Cut Db, Dave Clarke and many more.

23-28 March
Various, University of Huddersfield

University of Huddersfield presents GEM, a showcase of all genres of electronic music from acousmatic, live electronics and free improvisation to multimedia works. featuring Robert Normandeau, Christian Clozier and Francoise Barriere, Michael Clarke, Phill Niblock and more.

25 March
Wild Dog 3: Interior Spaces
The Space, Westferry Road, London E14

Wild Dog presents a mixed media evening with sonic art and music from Gary O'Connor; Neil Webb; Lisa Whistlecroft; X.J. Scott and more, mixed media work by Donald Bousted, live musical performance from Rachel Barnes (recorder); Stephen Altoft (trumpet) plus films and live art.

28 March
The Sound Source: Harpsichord in a Club
Cargo, 83 Rivington St, London

Harpsichordist Jane Chapman and experimental DJ Anakonda investigate the outer and inner reaches of the harpsichord with effects pedals, electronics, and new pieces written especially for the event. With live video projection onto the harpsichord itself.

3 April
Sonic Arts 42: FURT
School of Music Concert Room, UEA, Norwich

Richard Barrett (Berlin) returns to UEA with Paul Obermayer in FURT- the duo formed in London in 1986. FURT’s work sits between free improvisation and systematic composition and uses concrete (sampled/processed) materials.

3-9 April
Leeds City Art Gallery, Leeds

Lumen present Evolution 2006, their fifth series of events, screenings and performances exploring avant-garde approaches to film, video and sound. Featuring expanded cinema performances by Jürgen Reble and Thomas Köner, Guy Sherwin and Tony Conrad. Workshops on video synthesis and Super 8 filmmaking with LoVid and New installations by Karen Mirza and Brad Butler and Michael Snow.

7 April - 3 June
Debris Field
Bolton Art Gallery

Debris Field, is an installation of found objects and sounds by contemporary artists from the UK and abroad featuring work by Max Eastley, Tom Philips, Keith Rowe, Russell Mills and Loren Chasse.

26 April
Sonic Voyages: Pictures in Sound
Bristol University

A concert of sound and video art curated by Neal Farwell. For this concert, video and live performance join with the dynamic surround sounds of BULO, the Bristol University Loudspeaker Orchestra.


Freelance Audio Producer

Discipline: Broadcasting
Location : Mappin House, 4 Winsley Street, London, W1W 8HF

The job

Emap Performance TV is looking for a freelance audio producer to work on a new project. The job involves editing audio, using Adobe Audition and tech-opping, using an audio mixer.

The ideal candidate will have a good ear for sound, a radio tech-opping background and can cut audio quickly and accurately. There is also the potential to produce and manage parts of a new programme for one of Emap TV's music channels.

Initially the job is on a freelance basis with varied hours.

Please send CV and examples of work to Matt Smith, Emap TV, 3rd Floor, Mappin House, 4 Winsley St, London W1W 8HF or email

Closing date 24 Mar 2021



As part of the Camberwell Arts Festival (June 24 Jul 02, 2020), Camberwell Arts is developing a live art programme which has two strands:

1. Live Art in external spaces in and around SE5

We are seeking existing and/or new work that interacts with the SE5 urban environment including its pedestrians and passer-bys. We welcome proposals which consider a specific location; interventions and incidental art making in urban spaces; and time.

2. Live Art for internal venues in and around SE5

We are seeking existing and/or new work which works with larger audiences in fixed venues. The remit for this is completely open and all proposals are welcome.

We have a limited budget for 2006 and will be operating within certain financial constraints when selecting work. If necessary, we will provide assistance to selected artists to secure further funding for their projects.

A maximum of 1 A4 page with budget details should be submitted by April 10, 2021 to

C6 Call for Submissions

C6 invite submissions for its forthcoming publication Diy Audio. The second in their DiY series, DiY Audio focuses on sound, its production, theory and practice. Its launch coincides with C6's curation of NuArt, the media art event within the Numusic festival (Stavanger, 6-10 September 2006).

C6 DiY books are divided into sections: theory, practical Do It Yourselves and case studies related to methods and tactics of projects or strategies employed by different groups. C6's publications are a mix of high and low brow commentaries on DiY production, useful, humorous and provocative, these tales of bedroom production are collated to inspire and inform.

Articles are requested from those working within the following fields: radiophonic work, community, experimental/interactive music, audio / sound art, evolutionary music, algorithmic music, broadcasting, Field recording, Environmental sonic intervention, Electroacoustic music, Hacktivism and circuit bending. Technical descriptions of processes or techniques for making instruments and sound are also welcome, as well as tactics for engaging the public through distribution, production or performance.

Your submitted texts will accompany entries from musicians and artists attending the NuArt event, to produce a unique festival catalogue that retains relevance after the curtain has fallen.

Existing material is welcome as well as the submission of abstracts for further development.

Deadline for submissions is June the 15th 2006

To submit please email diy_audio [at] c6dotorg

DiY Audio will be a POD (Print on Demand) book, available to the attending audience and later online.

Editorial panel:
Martyn Reed - Numusic
Richard Whitelaw - Sonic Arts Network
Leon -

Numusic with over 50 live acts and dj's, debates, exhibitions and installations is fast becoming Scandinavia's leading festival dedicated to the advancement of electronic music.

Attending will be Pierre Henry b1927 - founding father of Musique Concrete, History of Hip Hop - Mad Professor, Dj Kool Herc, Dj Spooky that subliminal Kid and very special guests!

There are a number of calls for participation associated with the events in
September. For full details visit



Cybersonica is London's annual festival of music, sound, art and technology. Now in its fifth year, it's a leading international event for anyone interested in the theory and practice of how new technologies are shaping and changing the way musicians, DJs, VJs, digital artists, audiovisualisers and creative software developers make and present their work. The festival brings together a vibrant community of sonic and audiovisual innovation, nurtures new talent and showcases the freshest and latest work in the field. Cybersonica is organised by Cybersalon, currently artists in residence at the Science Museum's Dana Centre.


As part of Cybersonica 06, there will be a two-week exhibition of sonic artworks. These works will explore new forms of interactivity, moving away from the keyboard and screen and into the physical realm.

We are now accepting submissions of existing sonic art works from artists wishing to exhibit and present at this year's festival.

These works may be interactive installations, new electronic musical devices, physical audiovisualisers, tangible interfaces, modified game engines (for example).

Works should be playful, engaging and must use non-mouse/keyboard interaction.

Deadline: Friday, 31st March 2006.

Notification: Monday, 10th April 2006.

Details, entry forms and terms: available via []


£1000 Call for Spatial Audio Work


(submission deadline : 31st March 2006)

Spatial audio research is concerned with spatial aspects of the creation, recording, processing, reproduction, perception and analysis of music and other audio material. These spatial aspects include sonic attributes such as direction, distance, size, motion and envelopment. One aim of this research is to create systems which can synthesise complex three-dimensional virtual acoustic worlds that are indistinguishable from, or even better than, reality.

SpACE-Net <>, funded by the UK's EPSRC <>, has been set up to bring together a community of spatial audio researchers, practitioners and artists, drawn from the fields of science, audio engineering and the arts. By combining theoretical, experimental and creative approaches, it aims to identify and develop important new directions in spatial audio research and practice, and to encourage and promote work in these areas.

With a view to establishing a greater dialogue between engineers and content designers, and promoting the use of spatial sound attributes in composition, a call for spatial audio works is announced. The selected works will be performed at the first major SpACE-Net workshop event to be held in York in July 2006.

Practitioners in contemporary computer music, soundart, sound design or similar areas are invited to submit proposals for consideration as part of SpACE-Net s first commissioning process for new works.

The call is open to composers of any nationality, age, or career stage but works submitted must not have been previously performed or broadcasted. The maximum total budget to be awarded per selected commission, including fees, materials and consumables is £1000.

Full details of how to apply and an application form can be found at

The proposed works selected for commission will be announced on 13th April 2006, and completed works must be ready for delivery by 17th July 2006.

More information about SpACE-Net is available at

Call for Work

Pushing the Medium #2 - Nodar, Portugal

An international meeting of sound, video and other media artists brought together for a 10 day symposium centered in a small rural village located in the northern part of Portugal.

September 14-25, 2006
Proposal Deadline: March 10, 2021

Associação Binaural is a Portuguese non-profit artist-run cultural organisation dedicated to local and international cooperation in the fields of media arts, social and environmental research.

More detailed info here:

Call for submissions

Monitor will be running the next ‘Tunes In’‚ at the Brudenell Social Club in Hyde Park, Leeds on Friday 31st March.

Music and performances

Alongside screenings we programme a variety of performative work and live music. Previously we have had live improvisational music (electronic, classical and acoustic), spoken word, live art performances and live electronic music with visuals.

If you would like to do something then email proposals ASAP and NO LATER than

Monday 20th March.

Please note that there is a limited budget and we are looking for pieces that require minimal technical set up and equipment, however a PA, sound engineer and some equipment (2 x television monitors and 1x VHS player for installations, data projector, DVD player, slide projector) will be available. We also have the dimensions of the club, photos and a plan of the layout that we can make available to you.

More information, please see:

Call for Scores


DEADLINE: 14 April 2021

INSTRUMENTATION: flute, piano, cello and live electronics with optional video

DURATION: 10 - 15 minutes

The successful piece will be performed by Ensemble Interakt on 20 June 2020 at the Recital Hall, Birmingham

Conservatoire, UK.

The newly refurbished Recital Hall is a premier venue for performing works with live electronics thanks to its state-of-the-art surround sound and video projection system.


Ensemble Interakt is a collective of performers and composers who embrace cutting edge interactive technologies.

Whilst actively encouraging the performance and composition of new works which expand traditional performance practices, Ensemble Interakt aims to blur the boundaries between music and the other performing arts.


Acousmatic Music Competition: Metamorphoses

c/o Musiques & Recherches
Place de Ransbeck 3 - B 1380 Ohain, Belgium

Fax: 322 3510094 Email:

The biennial acousmatic composition competition «Metamorphoses» is organised by Musiques & Recherches with the aid of the Wallonie/Bruxelles Community.

The «Metamorphoses» composition competition will be held in two categories, and in two stages.

A. The members of the Screening Board will receive an anonymous copy of all the works submitted before the deadline to the competition secretariat, and will listen to them in their entirety.

This jury will meet in June at the «Metamorphoses d’Orphee» studio in Ohain (Belgium), to listen again to the best stereo pieces, as well as all the multi-track pieces in their original format, on eight speakers. The pieces chosen for the final will be recorded on CD.

This Board will also pick the winner in category A, whose piece will be recorded onto the same CD. This Board will then choose, among the finalists, a stereo piece which will serve as a compulsory piece in the context of the competition for spatial performance of computer music works which will take place in October 2006 during the «Espace du Son» festival in Bruxelles. Members of the preselection jury : Francis Dhomont, Hans Tutschku, Annette Vande Gorne.

B. During the finale of the «Metamorphoses» composition competition, which will be held on October 19th 2006, the composers who have reached the finale can give a spatial performance of their work in public. In this case two days of lodging will be paid. On this occasion, a jury different from the Screening Board will decide the ranking and announce the award of the prizes.

Acousmatic music :
Work on a medium composed in a studio, played via loudspeakers in concert, without the live intervention of instrumentalist.

1. This competition is open to any acousmatic music work according to the definition given above. It’s an international competition.

2. The finalists of « Metamorphoses 2004 » may not register at the 2006 competition.

3. Only one work by composer lasting between 8 and approximately 15 minutes may be submitted. Works must be in one of the following categories:

Category A: concerns only acousmatic music by students of composition or composers under 28 years of age.
Category B: concerns all acousmatic music works (even those meeting the conditions for category A, if the competitor prefers to enter them in category B). Category B is open to composers up to 50 years of age. Works may be submitted in two formats: stereo or multi-track (from 3 to 8 tracks).

4. Technical standards

Stereo works are to be:
- on DAT 44.1 KHz with indexation of the start of the work and absolute timing; it is recommended to place a 0 VU test signal before the start of the work.
- on CD-R.

Multi-track works will be
- on ADAT, on which the sampling frequency and start of the work are clearly indicated. It is recommended to place a 1 kHz at -12dB test signal before the start of the work. A plan of the layout of the speakers and the allocation of the tracks is to be enclosed. The multi-track ADAT is to be accompanied by a stereo master of the work, which will be used for the screening and, where appropriate, recording onto CD.
- on CD-R, each track must be separate and clearly indexed. Sd2, Aiff, wav format. A plan of the layout of the speakers and the allocation of the tracks is to be enclosed. This CD-R is to be accompanied by another, stereo master of the work, which will be used for the screening and, where appropriate, recording onto CD.

5. The work submitted may have been performed in concert. However, it must not have been released in recorded form and not have been awarded a prize before 17 April 2006.

6. There is no entry fee. The works will not be returned, except those in ADAT format, on request and on a cost recovery basis.

7. The works are to be sent by registered postal package before 17 April 2006. The postmark will serve as evidence of date of posting. Musiques & Recherches will not pay for any postage fees or custom duties.

8. Each work will be accompanied by a fully completed entry form, a commentary, a biography and a photo (free of copyright) of the composer. This dossier will not be passed on to the Screening Board. The medium must not bear any identifying marks. The copies the works are to be anonymous (identified by their category and a sequential number).

9. The works will be sent to the members of the Screening Board, who will listen to them in their entirety. The Board will meet to select, on the one hand the two winners in category A, and on the other hand, the finalists in category B. The multi-track pieces will be listened to in a studio by the Screening Board on a multi-channel system. The winners of category A and the six finalists of category B will be known on 17 July 2006. The decisions of the Screening Board are final.

10. The first prize in category A and the finalists short-listed in category B will be recorded on CD. Among the works in the final, the jury will select one stereo work as a compulsory piece in the spatial performance competition.

11. The six finalists works will be interpreted as part of the 11th International Acousmatic Music Festival «L’ESPACE DU SON» which will be held in Brussels from 19 to 22 October 2006. The works of the finalists will be heard twice: one hearing of the stereo/multitrack version, not a spatial performance, reserved for the members of the jury, followed by a public spatial performance by the competitors in a concert.

12. The final selection concert will take place on 19 October 2006. The prizes will be awarded at the end of the concert.

13. The winners undertake to mention in programmes featuring the prize-winning work that it is a winner of the «Metamorphoses Prize».

For category A
1st Prize : Release of the piece on CD. 10 free CDs
For category B
1st Prize : 2.500 Euros
Audience Prize: 750 Euros; after votes have been counted by one member of the audience and one member of competition secretariat.
M&R prize, residence at the composing studio «Métamorphoses d’Orphee», for the candidate chosen by M&R.
Works of the finalists on CD.
5 free CD for each finalist.
The stereo work chosen by the Screening Board will be played as a compulsory piece in the spatial performance competition, which will be held as part of the «Espace du Son» festival.

2nd Call for Works: ICMC 2006

Tulane University and the Tulane Music Department are proud to announce the open call for submissions to the ICMC 2006. The conference will be held on the Tulane University campus in beautiful New Orleans, Louisiana, USA from November 6 - 11, 2006 and will be a historic
collaboration between ICMA and SEAMUS (Society of Electro Acoustic Music in the US). The nature of the collaboration is part of a larger theme of the 2006 ICMC conference - multidimensionality.

We have updates on resources such as performers and ensembles in residence as well as on-line submission instructions. Please visit for details including deadlines.

Call for Works

The Electroacoustic Chilean Community (CECH) has organised for the last five years the Electroacoustic music festival of Santiago de Chile, "Ai-maako". The sixth edition of this festival will take place between the 10th and the 21st of October 2006. During the five years of existence of the festival, more than 300 works by creators from diverse countries have been played.
The CECH invites the community to participate la this festival. Musical works must be seat before the 31st of March 2006 (the post office stamp will be valid as a reference) to the following address:
José Miguel Candela  (CECH)
Casilla 104
Correo Villa La Reina
La Reina -Santiago de Chile
The works sent must fulfil the following conditions la order to be eligible:
A) Acousmatic or tape pieces (only 1 work)

· Format: Audio CD or DAT.
· CD-data, and technical notes or diffusion score, in case of multi-channel pieces.
· Pieces of a duration no longer than 10 minutes.
· Biography of the composer and programme notes. Spanish translations are welcome (paper and Word document)
B) Mixed Pieces (depending on the organizers‚ possibilities of available soloists; only 1 work):
· Works for soloist and electronics.

· Pieces of duration no longer than 10 minutes.
· Format: Audio CD or DAT.
·  CD-data, and technical notes or diffusion score in case of multi-channel pieces.
· The instrumental score must be seat by regular or registered post.
· Demonstration recording of the electronic part and another with the piece as a whole.
· Biography of the composer and programme notes. Spanish translations are welcome (paper and Word document).
Contact: Jose Miguel Candela
More info, french and spanish trad, in

ICEECS 2006 Call for Papers
Call for papers - preliminary

In the era of the digital world and the Internet, cross-media production, business models and distribution are being powerfully supported and pushed forward by the emergent technologies that help the industry to reduce the cost of media production and distribution, while optimising productivities. AXMEDIS2006 aims to explore all subjects and topics related to cross-media and digital-media content production, processing, management, standards, representation, sharing, protection and rights management, to address the latest developments and future trends of the technologies and their applications, impacts and exploitation. We are particularly interested in exchanging concepts, requirements, prototypes, research ideas, and findings which could contribute to academic research and also benefit business and industrial communities.

Recommended topics include, but are not limited to the following:

* Automatic cross-media production, collection, crawling, composition, formatting, P2P, etc.
* Formats and models for multi-channel content distribution
* Multimedia standards, e.g. MPEG-7, MPEG-21, DMP, etc.
* High quality audio visual coding
* Multimedia music representation and formatting
* Watermarking and fingerprinting techniques
* GRID and distributed systems for content production
* Real-time streaming media distribution
* Multimedia middleware
* Workflow management systems
* Web services for content distribution
* Semantic Web Distribution with P2P architectures
* Legal aspects related to digital content
* Collecting and clearing of rights and licences
* Business, payment and transaction models
* Digital Rights Management (DRM), models tools, and interoperability
* Formats and tools for Content Aware
* Archives managements for cultural and educational applications
* Synchronisation technologies and solutions
* Systems and approaches for content production/distribution on demand
* Digital content user interface
* Digital content accessibility
* Novel applications and case-studies of relevant technologies

Research Papers: Papers should describe original and significant work in the research and industrial practice of related topics. (i) Long papers: up to 8 pages, will normally be particularly focused on research studies, applications and experiments (ii) Short papers: up to 4 pages, will be particularly suitable for reporting work-in-progress, interim results, or as a position paper submission.

Applications and Industrial Presentations: Proposals for presentations of applications and tools, including reports on the application and utilisation of tools, industrial practices and models, or tool/system demonstrations. Abstract: 2 pages.

Panels, Workshops and Tutorials: Proposal for panels, workshops and tutorials are invited. Please contact for details. AXMEDIS and other Tutorials will be hosted at the AXMEDIS2006.

All submissions and proposals are to be in English and submitted in PDF format by email to on or before 18 March 2006. Document style is available at the conference website. The conference proceedings is to be published by the IEEE Computer Society Press. Selected papers from the conference will be considered for publication in special issues of one or more major peer-reviewed Journals in this domain.

Call for Works - Electroacoustic Video

The Department of Music at the University of Bristol, UK, invites submission of works combining electroacoustic music and video for concert presentation on 26 April 2006. Proposals that include a live solo performer will also be considered. Works can be of any stylistic or aesthetic orientation. We welcome especially pieces, collaborative or solo, that put sound and image on an equal footing, where there is a closely-worked integration, where the whole may be seen as much more than the sum of its parts...

The concert is in our regular electroacoustic series under the title Sonic Voyages, part of our season of weekly Wednesday lunchtime events. These concerts draw substantial audiences from a wide-ranging clientele, and are held in the Auditorium at the Victoria Rooms, a historic landmark for the city of Bristol, and home of the Department of Music.

Video will be displayed in large-screen projection. Sound will be performed on BULO, the Bristol University Loudspeaker Orchestra, a stereo-to-many diffusion system which can also be configured for n.1 surround and octophonic playback.

The preferred format for submissions is on video DVD (PAL or NTSC). Other media may be considered.

Submissions will be reviewed as they arrive, and should be received at the latest by Wednesday 22 March 2006. We regret that we cannot return materials unless they are accompanied by an SAE. In fact, we would much prefer to retain them: works that are not selected for this concert will be considered for future events and held as a teaching resource.

For further information contact, or send your materials direct to the address below.

Publicity wording from our concert brochure:


Mathieu Ruhlmann
Every Vein Leads to My Heart

Somne Recordings, 2004

Part I

Press play on Mathieu Ruhlmann’s ‘Every Vein Leads to My Heart’ and in a moment’s time you’ll feel like you’re stepping tenuously into a dramatic, cavernous monastery. Dreamily bowed cymbals and metals ring out through encompassing reverbs, their inharmonic frequencies drifting towards each other in vain attempts to find their equal, but instead reconciling their differences to form beating-oscillations. This vast drone crawls onwards for fourteen minutes before being intercepted in the final moments by some rather anomalous vocal-like shards which somewhat upset the balance of the previous material.

Part II

I’m assuming that the second track is supposed to emerge seamlessly from the first, but a track marker disrupts this continuity.

A forlorn piano appears in the distance, its notes dripping onto the drone-canvas. Several minutes later, these drips accumulate into ebbing crescendos, the omnipotent drone intensifying its cyclic breathing pattern. Field recordings taken from the remote location of Bowen Island, which lies off the west coast of Mathieu’s hometown Vancouver, provide a sense that we are on our journey away from this heavy procession, up to an open outside location. But what the final track holds is nothing of the sort…

Part III

By far, this creates the bleakest soundscape on the album. The openness which emerged in part two becomes abruptly shut off, swallowed up by tinny groans and screeching springs. Upper frequency scrapes and interjections reverberate through desolate tunnels, providing points of aural interest outside of the perpetual drone.

Mathieu is an artist who first began to compose music to accompany his visual art, which is largely based on found materials. Indeed, this CD came packaged in a wonderfully tactile assortment of materials. From his website (which is in serious need of content development!), we manage to discover that this new album was recorded over a three year period with each track representing one year, and for something composed over such an expansive period, it certainly holds its stability.

If you have a certain penchant for Dark Ambient works, then check this tome out.

Album out now on Somne Recordings

Reviewed by DJC de la Haye

- Canopy New Music –- helping emerging musicians to flourish in their field - Email me for details


Peter Cusac
Baikal Ice (Spring 2003)


Although I’m a compulsive environmental sound recordist, I confess to having an inherent suspicion of soundscape CDs.

The value of environmental recordings as archival or scientific documents, or as source materials for electroacoustic compositions, is clear enough. But I’ve never really appreciated the artistic purpose of a CD of simple ‘framed’ field recordings, and even less so when the recordist’s voice plays a central role, as in the now-standard ‘soundwalk’ form.

Perhaps that’s why I had Peter Cusack’s Baikal Ice (Spring 2003) on hand for review for many months before finally finding time to listen to it.

Cusack’s work needs little introduction; his output ranges from stringed instrument improvisation to environmental sound recordings, and also includes the monthly radio series “Vermillion Sounds” on Resonance FM.

This CD is of “location recordings” made by Cusack on a trip to “the world’s oldest and deepest lake” during the spring season when the lake’s metre-thick ice breaks up. The Siberian location is unique, and idea of making these recordings is captivating.

And indeed many of the recordings are mesmerizing, particularly those of the ice movement itself. The sound of ice-against-ice is attractive at any magnitude (which, for many of us, means in a glass), but when heard on this vast environmental scale, it is magnificently sensuous.

Other tracks briefly document daily life in the area, such as children playing with a village loudspeaker system, a local electrical generator, distant and close trains, and an underwater recording of a man falling through the ice (fortunately unharmed - Cusack had tea with him later!)

These tracks do help to contextualize the ice recordings, but are often rather baldly presented, with little shaping, and sometimes without an obvious logic to their order of presentation. Perhaps that is simply part of the aesthetic of this kind of work, but it also seems to be a missed opportunity to enhance the listener’s journey.

Fortunately, and contrary to my fears, Cusack’s own voice intrudes very little in these recordings; one track (“in tent – getting up”) did suffer from some of that soundwalk awkwardness, but it also served very well in setting up a main group of the ice recordings.

The packaging of the CD is very attractive, though slightly flawed: the tracks on the enclosed information sheet were misnumbered, which required the reader to cross-check numbering with the CD jacket. Hopefully this has been corrected in later printings. There are also surprisingly few technical details about the recordings, particularly about the hydrophones used to capture the extraordinary ice and water sounds. Given that this CD will likely appeal to those already interested in field recording, some additional information would have been welcome.

Cusack’s experience recording the ice of Lake Baikal was clearly exceptional; many of the recordings are truly beautiful, and I’m very glad to have had the opportunity to hear them. Baikal Ice (Spring 2003) is a worthy addition to any environmental sound lover’s collection - I simply wish that a little more care had gone into the overall shaping of its presentation.

Reviewed by Steven Naylor
Steven Naylor is a Canadian composer and a SAN member. He offered this explanation for what finally motivated him to review this CD for us: “I’m now living beside a lake, which has recently frozen. It’s nothing like Lake Baikal, of course: the lake is shallow (not the world’s deepest) and the ice only 8 inches thick (not a metre). But in a modest way, the sight, feel, and particularly the booming sound, of shifting ice has become part of my personal reality. Thus, Baikal Ice was finally given enough context to bring it to the top of the pile.”