News from the Sonic Arts Network

23 June 2020

A big thanks to all who attended our SoundCircus Conference in Leicester

(Almost) all feedback we received was positive, in particular the broader range of practices being represented. The Friday night kicked off with sounds from the low-fi 8-bit club scene, and over the weekend we moved through electroacoustic and acousmatic concerts, audio-visual and sound installations, screen based works, contact mic experiments, sound sculpture, and improvised electronic performances.

SAN would like to thank all the people at DMU who worked hard and over a sweltering weekend to make this possible.

Our Max Summer School (18-24 July) is almost sold out. If you are interested in the few remaining places we advise you to contact COMA on 020 7247 7736 who will advise you on availability. The course is led by Martin Robinson and includes special sessions with Eric Oña and Nick Rothwell. The cost for tuition over the six days is £480. A full course outline is now available at the SAN website.


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.

24 June - 31 July
Bob Levene – Handmade
(Sound Installation/Performance)
1-2 Bear Gardens, London

Handmade is a cymbal, it is also a record, it is also a recording of itself and it’s handmade. Working with the artist Norbert Schliewe and Rob Gawthrop, Bob cut a record of the sound of a cymbal back onto a cymbal. Handmade does the opposite, to what recording technology normally does, which is to separate the source of the sound from the sound. Instead it marks, scars, engraves & embeds it’s own sound back onto itself, questioning what exactly is the sound of the cymbal.

Bob’s work is based on sound, playing with and exploring the definitions and experiences of speech, music, sound and noise through using installations, video, film, performance and recording technologies. She play’s with the ideas & processes of capturing, re-producing, re-presenting sound & moving image and how we experience them, The ‘magic’ of things like recorded sound, moving image, echo, reflection etc. using lo-fi instruments such as microphones, headphones, speakers, tape & record players.

Friday 25 June
King and Queen (Foley Street W1), London

A monthly social event with low key performances, organized by Mark Braby and Richard Sanderson. Short Live Performances from Iris Garrelfs (Vocals/Electronics), Sean O'Hagan (Nylon String Guitar/Voice), Gemma Ray & Mark Braby (Guitar/Vocal/Bass), Richard Sanderson (Computer/Melodeon/Voice), Richard Thomas (Vocals/Things). Interval Music provided by the Tapers. Computer Visuals by Mindlobster.

For Free Membership email or meet at the King and Queen before the performance. This is quite important!

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.

‘A Call For Silence’, the first in our series of specially curated CDs has been favourably reviewed in the Guardian. Read the article online by clicking (or cutting and pasting) the link below.,12102,1230763,00.html

The next CD in the series curated by Kenny G is expected to be mailed out to members by the end of July.

Sonic Art/Electronica in a Multimedia Context PhD
Bath Spa University College
Application Deadline: 09 July 04

Bath Spa University College is currently offering a number of full-time fees-only PhD bursaries subject areas including Creative Music Technology.

We will be looking for anyone making experimental sound work of whatever style or genre who is interested in exploring the possibilities of multimedia, either alone or in a collaborative context. We are particularly well placed for the latter, having strong links with the Bath School of Art and Design (part of Bath Spa University College) and the Watershed Media Centre (Bristol), the major media arts centre in the region. We also have much in-house expertise, with colleagues Dr. Joseph Hyde, Dr. Barry Moon and Mr. Graham Morgan being specifically engaged in this area.

Bath Spa is a vibrant, medium-sized, university-level college, with one of the most successful undergraduate music technology programmes in the UK, an exciting new MA programme in the field and a lively research culture. It is based in idyllic surroundings just outside of the beautiful historic city of Bath, and is only a few miles from Bristol, well known for its music and new media scene.

For further information visit:

For informal enquiries email:


MMus in Studio Composition
Music Department, Goldsmiths College, University of London

This course offers a stimulating and supportive environment for composers and artists whose work applies and explores audio technologies. Practice-based work is underpinned by a critical understanding of contemporary sonic art and its theoretical frameworks. Students develop their creative practice through a series of projects, supported by seminars, workshops and tutorials. A final portfolio of work may include studio-based composition, sound installation, audio-visual work, and technology-based performance/improvisation.

Course tutors: Dr John Drever, Dr Michael Young. Head of Studio: Ian Stonehouse.

Places are currently available for 2004-5; one year full-time two years part-time. For further information email:


Studentships at Sonic Arts Research Centre - Belfast
Deadline for applications: Wednesday 30 June at 5pm

The Sonic Arts Research Centre (SARC) is a newly established multi-million pound centre of excellence, dedicated to the research of music technology. SARC unites internationally recognised experts in the areas of musical composition, signal processing, software and digital hardware from schools already existing in the University.

Currently, the Centre is embarking on a collaborative project entitled “Multi-Modal Interfaces for Internet Access” with the Virtual Engineering Centre (VEC). This project aims to improve Internet navigation for partially sighted users. To achieve this aim, audio and haptic (touch) approaches to web site navigation and feedback will be researched. Two PhD studentships are available:

Internet Navigation with Audio Feedback
Applicants should have a good Honours degree (2:1 or higher) in one of Computer Science, Music Technology, Engineering, Physics or related discipline. Applicants should be familiar with C++/Java, Javascript, HTML/XML and have experience with web development. An interest in music and sound design will also be of benefit.

Internet Navigation with Haptic Feedback
Applicants should have a good Honours degree (2:1 or higher) in one of Computer Science, Engineering, Physics or related discipline. Applicants should be familiar with C++/Java, Javascript, HTML/XML and have experience with web development. An interest in user interface design will also be of benefit.

The stipend for the successful applicants is £10,500 (2004-05) per annum plus payment of University fees. For further details email:

Low-Fi Commissions 04 - Call for Proposals
Deadline: 15 July

low-fi welcomes proposals for 5 commissioned art projects from artists working with networked technology/internet. We are open to international applications. A successful proposal could be realised either wholly online; or could be partially online and partially in some other media or event/performance based. However the internet will need to be an integral component. We are aiming to extend artists' current practice by offering financial assistance to the successful applicants. The fee for each commission will be £1,500.

low-fi will curate an exhibition of the commissioned projects collaborating with Iliyana Nedkova, the Associate Curator at Stills Gallery, Edinburgh ( Proposals should include details on how the proposed project would work in a gallery based installation. The show will run at Stills Gallery from April - June 2005.

Yves Beaupré – Humeur de facteur (2001)
empreintes DIGITALes IMED 0160

Christian Bouchard – Fractures (2004)
empreintes DIGITALes IMED 0474

The Compact Disc label empreintes DIGITALes currently numbers some 65 discs and embraces a diverse range of electroacoustic music. Yet there are many common motivating forces in this collection, the most notable being the ‘quest’ for sound. The variety of sounds on offer is well highlighted by these two discs, yet the techniques and methods used are remarkably similar and are rooted in this desire to search out the right compositional material.

Humeur de Facteur (The Maker’s Humour) is some 54 minutes in length and consists of six movements, each one an individual making up part of the whole. Beaupré, a harpsichord manufacturer and composer (in both cases a builder) seems to bring the same sense of attention to detail to his music as he does to his harpsichord construction. The work itself resides in the world of the harpsichord; mainly pitched material treated and resynthesised to offer new timbral worlds. Inharmonic drone-textures shelter granulated plucked strings whilst small metallic percussion hint at the delicate interior of the harpsichord. There is a highly fluid method of mixing, a delicacy often left behind when working with so many disparate sources. It would be all too easy to wallow yet Beaupré manages to create a polyphony that offers a unique combination of weight and power, with enough breathing room to take it all in. The polyphony relies upon submersion in pitch and mode and Beaupré creates transitions between modes through spatial dissolves and other ‘ethereal’ scenes. At times, Beaupré forces his sounds upon us through mechanical repetition, but we are quickly lured back inside his world through bell-like sonorities and other more ominous textures.

Without being in any way melancholic, the work hints at the solitary life of the instrument maker, alone (but at one) with his work. Perfectly mastered - if you want to hear some of the bass attacks you’ll have to endure a fair degree of midrange pitch material – Humeur de Facteur presents some wonderful sound-worlds. It seems apparent that after listening several times, the uniqueness of each movement is not as obvious as it might have first appeared. Moreover, the relationship between the movements becomes more beguiling as the work develops. It would not be naïve to assume however that no matter where in the 54 minutes the form became unfathomable, it is possible to ‘readjust’ ones hearing, enjoy the sonorities on offer, and quickly come back to the piece as a whole. In fact this work raises some of the most fundamental questions about so-called ‘old school’ electroacoustic music: Sound over form; a polyphony of disparate sources and pseudo-narrative structures (despite the abstract sound-world, the vast landscapes afford visualisation and to a certain extent, quantification). It is Beaupré’s mixing that offers us some answers. It is colourful and delicate yet purposeful and at times profound. In a dark corner, this is perhaps where the Humeur de Facteur can be found.

Fractures on the other hand finds itself rooted in a world of noise, chimeras born of real world sounds and synthetic noises. Whilst Beaupré placed emphasis on the vertical through mixing, Bouchard directs his attention to the horizontal, focusing our listening towards the passing of time: The montage here is timed to perfection.

Angle mort is a Kingdom hospital of sound, dealing with ‘the struggle between antibodies and viruses and the auditory point of view of the patient surrounded by machines in a hospital room’. Sounds are clear and well balanced; given their individual complexity, too much mixing would be inappropriate. At times, metallic drones provide a skin for the scars of glitch. But this is not really ‘glitch’. These small sounds, driven by dark rhythms possess a certain resolve. They are the right sounds at the right place at the right time. Whilst these small glitches could be heard as the sounds of mechanical error outside of the work, their contextualisation is definite; not only from sound to sound but within the sound itself. Each sound seems clinically prepared and the mastering is excellent. Bouchard draws you in to his dark and strangely impersonal world through a fairly frenetic opening section. We are suddenly made self-aware – and perhaps we are patient – as the sound world turns in on itself. As the piece draws on it becomes increasingly difficult to follow the pace of the music. The timbral invention of the first ten minutes loses some of its vitality, leaving one feeling slightly empty at the close of the work.

Bouchard then presents us with his sketches in the form of Trois miniatures en suite. These short vignettes shed light upon the remainder of the disc and give us an insight into Bouchard’s working method.

Without conjuring an inevitable Deleuze & Guattari moment, it seems safe to say that in Parcelles, a work focusing upon sounds that seem to organize themselves from what appears to be chaos and ‘create a music I am often the only one to hear’, Bouchard is talking about the elusive rhizome. Both Parcelles 1 and Parcelles 2 (some 20 minutes in total, split into 7 and 5 movements respectively) draw naturally upon Trois miniatures but also incorporate the darkness of Angle mort. Dark however becomes bleak and impersonal becomes inevitable. The inevitability of sound pervades Bouchard’s music, as indeed does his compassion towards the recorded ‘scenes’ (something that transpired only after numerous auditions). At once a contradiction appears. We are borrowing Bouchard’s memories – it is wonderful but at the same time it is not enough. In Bouchard’s words these are ‘incredible moments’ he wanted to share but they are but ‘fragments of moments’. (I actually prefer the French, partager which doesn’t sound as personal.) We are continually invited to grasp at the moment but it is continually torn away.

These may sound like negatives but over a good pair of loudspeakers, one can almost touch these invitations of sound, such is the clarity of recording and mastering involved. So in a sense, one is offered a chance of being part of ‘the moment’, not too much so as to become overly attached and not too little so as not to recognise it.

Naturally one must go beyond the traditions and forms of the past: these are short movements of between one and four minutes. Must they have a form? Can they not just be structured? What is fascinating about these two pieces is the continuity between cuts and the bizarre concoction of real life (albeit filtered and edited) and a lurking synthetic residue. Try to focus upon the ‘moment’ and physically edit the cuts out of the work and this music becomes frustrating. Let it wash over you and you will be disappointed. In short, Parcelles (and to some extent Angle mort) require extended, attentive listening, preferably over a good pair of loudspeakers that can project the beautifully crafted full range sounds, glitches and hard edits. I particularly liked the energy of the penultimate movement in Parcelles 2, Boulevard Saint-Laurent. We are presented with some truly original work on this compact disc.

Review by Adrian Moore
Adrian Moore is a composer of electroacoustic music and he directs the Sheffield University Sound Studios.


Randy H.Y. Yau - Coagulation: Selected Works 1996-2000
Groundfault Recordings (2003)

This collection of recording was released on Yau's own Auscultare Research label and covers his work spanning over a four-year period. Compiling unreleased tracks and re-releases from some the planets most extreme and cult labels (RRRecords /Freak Animal etc.).

Being unfamiliar with Yau's recordings I wasn't sure what to expect when the mailman dropped off the package. However some clues were given away by the content of the CD artwork (More on that later!) As soon as the disc was on I realised I was going to be in for a tough listen when I heard some anti-vegetarian answer phone message. But by track three I was starting to realise that something was different with Yau's approach to noise and indeed to his recording style.

Yes, all the usual noise techniques were in there, keyboard stabs, tape manipulations, and pedal based noise washes but with one difference .YAU himself. Every track the composer uses himself in some way, primeval screams, grunts, his breathing and even YAU pissing into a metal bowl.

Comparisons could be drawn to fellow noise artists The Incapacitants, but Yau has much more human element to his sound that The Incapacitants and other noise contemporises seem to lack. Yes machines make Yau's sound, but throughout the listening of the CD you are very aware of Yau around you that gives the recording a visceral edge.

His visceral concept is not just limited to the sound. The beautiful shot artwork (taken by Yau) displays some undisclosed meat product swimming in blood on a lovely sleek dinner set, and the inlay art shows a sea of blood also shot with a high measure of skill with a camera.

Is YAU attempting to remind us of out own weaknesses and humanity? Well possibly. And never more so than track #18 (Intermission). When you hear five minuets of YAU making himself gag and eventually sick (at the time of listening this piece for the first time I was cleaning my teeth and found my self starting to wretch!). But what could the listener possibly gain out of listening to the nauseating sound of somebody forcing themselves to vomit? It this just pretentious sound art crap?

Without doubt Yau will have his critics, but he for that moment he was at his most vulnerable and in the end his most human, and for people who use machines some times we need to be reminded of that. Coagulation: selected works 1996-2000 is a wonderful introduction to Randy H.Y. Yau works and has barely left my stereo all weekend (to my girlfriend's absolute horror I may add!).

Well-done YAU! Check him at

Review by Lee Seafood
Lee Seafood has recorded with projects as diverse as Sodium Simon/The Chernobyl Five/Mansplat/Mangasm/Homes&Gardens and is a full time band member in Cannibal army and The U.F.O Crab

Currently co- running the mail order site "the low energy network" and runs Experimental Seafood Records. Lee is also a full time plasterer and father of nil.