News from the Sonic Arts Network

SAN CD: Frankfurter Ahnung Launch Party Tonight

The Frankfurter

"Zappa proposed an entirely new relationship between listener and record, one that rarely informs soidisant avant CDs. This compilation of unheard geniuses explodes divisions between art music, pop and real life, and uncovers Gamma's word surfing as the wellspring of music. "Unputdownable" commented Out To Lunch."

Tonight (24 January) join Sonic Arts Network and Militant Esthetix for the launch party of the latest instalment in the SAN CD series - Frankfurter Ahnung.. Curated by Ben Watson, critic, author, poet, polemicist...

The night will include a launch night special offer price on the new CD plus a second-hand bookstall; turns by authors, poets and improvisors; Lol Coxhill; complimentary glass of wine; Sean Bonney's Negative Poetix manifesto; slide show; Swamp Dogg Disco by Dallas Boner; Dancing at 8.30pm.

7.00-9.30pm Tuesday 24 January 2021
Purple Turtle, Crowndale Road (nearest tube Mornington Crescent); free entry.

We look forward to seeing you there.

For further Information visit:

Frankfurter Ahnung Launch Party Tonight

Expo Call Closed

The deadline for commission proposals has now passed and the SAN office is pleased to announce a record number of submissions, totalling over 250. Thank you to all those who contributed and we look forward to Expo Manchester in June.


14 – 28 January
51-53 Paradise Street, Liverpool
A portrait of Liverpool created through poetry, a surround-sound installation, artwork and sound games by young people working with sound artist Alex Decoupigny, acoustic ecologist Phil Morton and performance poet Trevor Gerard.
0151 709 5297

24 January
Sonicity 1: Electroacoustic Music from City University
Performance Area, Department of Music,
City University, London EC1V 0HB

Programme features: Soloist: Stefanie Liedtke (bassoon and baroque bassoon); Vessel@anchor (2005);  Aki Pasoulas - Sequenza 12 for bassoon solo; Luciano Berio - Fouram (2005); Ambrose Seddon - Nassama (2005); Guy Harries for baroque bassoon and electroacoustic sound; Bardo 5 (2005)- Chih-Hung Weng.

25 January
The ICA, The Mall, London SW1

Celebrating 10 years of the sonic art club Sprawl, curators Iris Garrelfs and Si-cut.db revisit one of it's big inspirations, The Electronic Lounge-resident monthly club at the ICA for 5 years, alongside the Lounge's founder Scanner and Lounge resident Tony Morley from the Leaf label.

31 January
spnm's The Sound Source: MTK
Cargo, London, EC2
Spnm’s new experimental music night ‘The Sound Source’, resident at Shoreditch club Cargo, presents trio MTK, who perform a programme of live electroacoustic music using modified and overdriven instruments and open source software. There’ll be laptops, decks, saxophone, voice, toys and live visuals.

3 February
Subvision@Bartok presents: INFANTJOY
(live performance)
Bartok, London NW1

Infantjoy present a live electro-acoustic re-interpretation of the music of Eric Satie for the 21st Century. Featuring Paul Morley (ex-Art of Noise) - Narrator; James Banbury - Electronics
Mark Lodge - Piano; Guest vocalist: Sarah Nixey (ex-Blackbox recorder) + DJ: Richard Lannoy (Subvision).


Opportunity for Sound Artist
Deptford Green School, Lewisham.

An innovative comprehensive school with Humanities College status is seeking to appoint an experienced sound artist to produce an original ‘Soundscape’. The finished piece will encapsulate the values and ethos of the school. Their ‘Humanities’ specialism is built around the school’s excellent work in English, Drama and Citizenship.

The finished ‘Soundscape’ will be produced in collaboration with a small group of mixed-age pupils and be created from both the voices of pupils and the sounds of the school. Once burned to CD the ‘Soundscape’ will be placed within a unique, new 3D installation in an internal courtyard of the school. Designed in neon light by artist Tony Stallard this work is sound sensitive and will change colour in response to activity within the school. The ‘Soundscape’, once complete, will only be accessed via the school web site where a casual cursor click on the live image of the 3D ‘Think Tank’ installation will result in the transmission of the recorded sound.

Interested artists should apply in writing to

Seema Sharma,
Head of the Specialist School
Deptford Green School,
Amersham Vale,
New Cross,
SE14 6LQ

or electronically via by Midday on Monday 30th January detailing

- The artist’s preferred approach to the commission
- The extent to which their previous experience would prepare them for the task.
- An outline budget.
- Two relevant professional contacts who could act as referees

For further information please telephone Seema Sharma (0208 691 3236) for an exploratory chat.

Any samples of work submitted will be returned after the selection procedure is completed. Interviews will be held on Wednesday 8th February and the successful candidate will be expected to undertake recordings at mutually convenient times between the 20th February and the end of March. The finished CD will be required by the 2nd May, for launch alongside the 3D art work in early June.



FINISHING FUNDS provides individual artists with grants up to $2,000 to help with the completion of diverse and innovative moving-image and sonic art projects, and works for the Web and new technologies. Eligible forms include media as single or multiple channel presentations, computer based moving-imagery and sound works, installations and performances, interactive works and works for new technologies, CD ROM, multimedia and the Web. We also support new media, and interactive performance. Work must be surprising, creative and approach the various media as art forms; all genres are eligible, including experimental, narrative and documentary art works. Individual artists can apply directly to the program and do not need a sponsoring organization. Applicants must be residents of New York State; students are not eligible. The application requires a project description, resume and support materials, including a sample of the proposed project. Selection is made by a peer review panel. About $25,000 is awarded each year. Announcement is made in late May.

The program is supported in part by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a public agency, and by media The foundation.

Postmark Deadline: March 15, 2021

Guidelines and applications are available on the web at in the ETC News Section or by mail or email.

IRCAM Position in Speech and Signal Processing


IRCAM is a leading non-profit organization dedicated to musical production, R&D and education in acoustics and music, located in the centre of Paris (France), next to the Pompidou Center. It hosts composers, researchers and students from many countries cooperating in contemporary music production, scientific and applied research. The main topics addressed in its R&D department are acoustics, psychoacoustics, audio synthesis and processing, computer aided composition, user interfaces, real time systems. Detailed activities of IRCAM and its groups are presented on our WWW server,


Synthesized images invaded many multimedia fields, animation, video games and films in particular. Parallel to this phenomenon, the voice remains today under-studied: most of the time, it is simply recorded by actors, synchronized often in a "manual" way with the movement of the characters and does not use any synthesis technique, except with rare exceptions.

The goal of the project is thus to allow the use of voice synthesis in multimedia in general and in other artistic applications like theatre. Among the principal research problems:

- Very specific voices must be produced,
- Synthesis must be of very high quality
- The creative and artistic destination necessitates at will modifications of the characteristics of the voices according to the particular or artistic effects desired.

The objectives that this project fixes require a certain number of conceptual and software means without which the production chain of synthetic voice could not function, and who are complementary:

- Transformation of voice identity
- Transformation of type and nature of voices
- Synthesis of expressive voice
- Text-to-Speech Synthesis
- Synthesis from corpus of actors and characters
- Interactive graphic user interfaces

- Simple Doubling, or with effects and expressivity
- Text-to-Speech Synthesis, with effects and expressivity
- Post-processing

This project of the RIAM-ANVAR French network will be carried out in collaboration with France Telecom, IRISA, the Chinkel Studio and the BeTomorrow company.


Two positions are available on February the first 2006 in the Analysis/Synthesis team. The positions are planned for an initial phase until the end of 2006 and can be renewed for a 18 months total duration.

The candidate will perform the following tasks:

o Participation in the analysis of the needs and the establishment of the workplan
o Participation in the development of high quality speech synthesis
o Participation in the development of expressive synthesis
o Creation of software for voice transformation and effects
o Participation in the definition of the graphic interfaces
o Addition of new treatments and functionalities
o Participation in evaluations


Fluency in both read, written and spoken French

o Excellent experience in speech research and signal processing
o Experience in Matlab and C/C++ programming.
o Good knowledge of Unix environment.
o High productivity, methodical work, excellent programming style.


- The positions are available in the "Analysis/Synthesis" team in the R&D department on February the first 2006 for an initial phase until the end of 2006, and can be renewed for a duration of 18 months.


- In order to start immediately, the candidate should preferably have EEC citizenship or already own valid EEC working papers.


- According to background and experience.


- Please send your resume with qualifications and information addressing the above issues, preferably by email to: (Xavier Rodet, Analyse/Synthese team manager).

or by fax at:

(33 1) 44 78 15 40, care of Xavier.Rodet

or by surface mail to:

Xavier Rodet, IRCAM, 1 Place Stravinsky, 75004 Paris.

Vacancy: Digital Sound Engineer/Musician Required
Project WIRED!

Project WIRED, European Funded based within East Staffordshire Borough Council seeks a seriously committed digital sound engineer/musician to revamp a workshop within Project WIRED. This exciting opportunity will culminate in the launch of a new recording studio and delivery of music workshops across Burton on Trent and Uttoxeter for community and youth groups.

The successful applicant would be required to work to the following:


Month of February 2006 - set up workshop equipment into good working order and develop music programmes

You would be contracted to work: 12 days @ £150 per day - month of February 06

10.00 am - 12.00 noon 1.00pm - 4.00 pm

Total Artist Fee: £1,200.00 (starting wc 6th February 2006)

Your contract for the first month (February 2006) would be to set up into good working order a music recording studio and plan with Project WIRED Manager music workshop delivery.

Month of March 2006 - Develop and supervise music production
Programmes within new workshop

You would be contracted to work: 12 days @ £150 per day - month of March 06
10.00 am - 12.00 noon 1.00pm - 4.00 pm
Total Artist Fee: £1,200.00 (starting wc 6th March 2006)

You will have a proven track record in delivering community music projects and be an accomplished musician.

For the month of March 2006 you will be contracted to deliver development work and workshop sessions to an agreed set timetable.

Please send current CV, details of your participatory arts experience and any initial ideas you have for the project to the address below or email

You will be working with young people between the ages of 13 - 25 and therefore you will also require:
* Current CRB certificate or willing to apply for one. (Police check)
* 2 references

Deadline for Submissions: Monday 23rd January 2006
Selection Date: Wednesday 25th January 2006

Please reply to:
Judith Reid
Project WIRED Manager
East Staffordshire Borough Council
The Brewhouse Union Street Burton upon Trent, DE14 1EB

Interactive electroacoustic music course

Starting on Saturday 28th January, this course allows musicians to explore ways of working together to make live electroacoustic music.

Working in small groups, the course participants create various systems in which live performance can take place.

Issues such as gesture mapping, group control, sound spatialisation and instrument/ interface design are explored.

The course uses a base of specialised Max/Msp programs, and an assortment of interfaces which can be customised during the course.  Interfaces include the Icube, a blackboard sized touch sensitive screen. game controllers , keyboard and video.

Hardware consists of 2 macintosh laptops networked and 4 loudspeakers.

There is discussion of, and listening to, other branches of sonic art - including  Soundscape and Acousmatic - with consideration of how these relate to live music.

Although this course is not specifically about Max/Msp programming, it offers a basic introduction to its use. (An intensive course is planed in the Summer term).

The course takes place at the Mary Ward centre, a beautiful old building near Kings Cross in London, with an excellent Cafe. It occurs on 6 Saturdays (28/01/2006-11/03/2006) from 2pm till 5 pm. It costs £59 or £15 concs.

Booking can be made through the Mary Ward Centre:

The Mary Ward Centre
42 Queen Square
London WC1N 3AQ

Call for musicians and performers

Call for musicians and performers to submit materials and proposals for a performance at the launch night of MusicBrut, a new record label developing a roster of outsider and visionary musicians. The label is looking for musicians, artists and performers working on the margins of musical culture and genres to perform at a London venue in May 2006. We are actively seeking work outside the areas of avant-garde and improvisatory music, searching for expression and beauty beyond traditional, experimental forms.

Many of those we seek to engage with may not have access to this information. Please recommend performers who may be working in this unclassifiable and unpredictable area and feel free to forward this email to individuals and organisations who might have an interest or input into this venture. There will be limited funds available to assist with travel and expenses but not accommodation for the event.

Please reply to : Mark Webber at

Call for Works

Call for works: (multi channel environments + video)

Throughout Spring/Summer 2006 (Chicago, USA) will host a series of soundscape installations hosted in a NEW sound diffusion - video projection gallery space.

We are now excepting works for Sound Diffusion/Projection + Video.

Works are to be:

- ALL/ANY multi channel environments all the way up to 10.2

- DVD (AC3 and/or DTS format.)

- Computer data/file (For Nuendo/Quicktime (Preferred), Wavelab, SCPlay, MaxPlay, Kyma etc.)

-Multi-track TAPE works will be on ADAT/DA88.

//Sampling frequency and start of the work are clearly indicated.

//A plan of the layout of the speakers and the allocation of the tracks is to be enclosed.

//The multi-track master is to be accompanied by a stereo master of the work, which will be used for screening.

Digital Arts and Experimental Media
845 west fulton market
suite 304
chicago, illinois 60607

Call for Submissions

The SIGGRAPH 2006 Art Gallery is accepting submissions for artwork which uses digital technology in creative/innovative ways and explores new territories and crosses traditional boundaries.

DEADLINE Jan 27, 2021 5 PM Pacific time

The SIGGRAPH 2006 Art Gallery is considering (but not limited to) the following types of work:

• Interactive Art Installations and Environments Artworks that involve electronically mediated spaces, kiosks where the environment is part of the art, and art that expands beyond the frame.

• Fusion Works
Works that combine innovative technology and creative art expression.

• Interactive Electronic Art Sculptures, Objects, Robotics, Sensor-driven art, robotics, found-object art, constructed interfaces.

• Interactive Audio Installations
Experimental interactive music, digital sound environments.

• CD/DVD-ROM and Web-based Work (on the monitor)
Screen-based work, database art, web art, interactive programs.

• 2D Still Images
Digital painting, digital imaging, prints, and mixed-media works.

• 3D Still Images
Framed still-image artwork created using 3D software or algorithms.

• 4D Wall-hung Work
Works that reside in a frame or on the wall but move. For instance, a plasma screen with a slowly evolving image, or a projection onto a frame on the wall. These types of work typically require electricity and possibly special equipment.

• Interactive Electronically Mediated Performance
Digital art happenings, small-scale dance, music, theatrical, performance art and/or hybrid works that uses technology in a creative/innovative way.

• Art Animations (submitted to the Computer Animation Festival)
Artistically expressive, experimental, narrative or non-narrative.

• Art Talks and Sketches (submitted to Sketches)
Thought-provoking ideas, works in progress, ideas behind the artwork, theoretical paper presentations, "the making of" the artwork, etc.

• Art Papers
Theoretical papers that deal with contemporary, historical, and conceptual issues in digital art.

If your artwork is thought-provoking, explores ideas in innovative ways, address contemporary issues, interactively engages the viewer in the unfolding of meaning, and captivates the viewer's intellectual and creative self, then you should submit your work online at the SIGGRAPH 2006 website:

Call for Works
International Women’s Electro-Acoustic Listening Room Project
Postmark Deadline: February 1st, 2006

Voices on the Edge:

Fifth Annual
Women in New Music Festival
Cal State Fullerton

March 9th-12th, 2006

Concerts, Listening Room, Lectures, Master Classes, Workshops featuring:

PAMELA Z, voice and electronics
ETHEL, string quartet
CHEN YI, composer in residence
CSUF Contemporary Chamber Music Ensemble, Pamela Madsen, Director

With guest artists Shiau-uen Ding, pianist from the neXt Ensemble, Carolyn Beck, Contrabassoonist, premiering work by Alex Shapiro Erroneous Funk, free improvisational ensemble with Renee Coulombe.

International Women’s Electroacoustic Listening Room Project:
The Women in New Music Festival features day-long playback of works by women in electroacoustic music During the 6 hours of the electro-acoustic listening room the listener’s mind is immersed in the sounds of diverse compositional voices of women composers in electroacoustic music from over 20 different countries from around the globe. The Women’s Electroacoustic Listening Room strives to present a diverse sampling of different approaches to electronic music, with examples from classical computer music, environmental music, and meditative music to works that expand acoustic virtuosity and improvisation with virtual instruments to sonic documentaries that capture the inner workings of the mind: horror, humor and the unfolding of human dramas. This year the Women’s Electroacoustic Listening Room focuses on VOICES ON THE EDGE, CROSSING CULTURES and will also go ON THE ROAD and be presented at various venues throughout the United States and Europe.
Submit your proposed CD recording of electronic/electro-acoustic work for inclusion in the listening room event. Maximum length 12 minutes. Please include: CD of proposed work, submission information: length of work, name of composer, contact information, program notes and short bio to address below. Also send all submission information by email to

Dr. Pamela Madsen
Music Department
California State University, Fullerton
P.O. Box 6850
Fullerton, CA 92834-6850

Call for Work


The Tank is currently accepting proposals for:
Bent 2006 : The Third Annual Circuit Bending Festival
April 19-23, 2006
Proposal Deadline: February 10, 2021

Each year the festival features daily workshops, art installations, and evening concerts from a wide variety of international performers and artists. This year we are working in collaboration with Harvestworks as part of their ‘Benders and Coders’ series to co-produce the festival.

We are looking for proposals for the following:

Workshop Leaders: each year we offer general circuit bending workshops for beginners and more advanced workshops on specialty topics for more seasoned circuit benders. If you feel you have a subject you would like to lead a workshop on, please provide us with a one-page description of that workshop, as well as links or examples of your current and past work in the field.

Installation Artists: We are looking for up to three artists who can commit to spending at least 15 hours in our gallery space over the course of the festival creating site-specific pieces of art that somehow incorporate circuit bending. We will provide space and as much materials and electronic equipment and tools as we are able. Please send a one-page proposal of what you would like to do and examples of your past work. Also, please be able to commit to spending time in the gallery during the festival and be prepared for a shared and at times hectic work environment - no white walls here.

Artwork: in addition to installation artists we are also interested in having artwork up on the walls that fit into the spirit of the festival from people who might not be able to join us in person or who can’t commit to working in the space during the festival. Artists are responsible for shipping/transportation costs, and should include special instructions for mounting and maintenance. Please submit digital images of your work and a brief description.

Performers: we will be having 4 nights of performances during the festival. Please submit a brief description of your work, an mp3 or link to audio online, and any visual documentation of your performance.

Those of you who have attended in previous years know that we are a homebrew, volunteer run organization fighting to maintain a foothold of experimental arts in new york city. Last year we were able to provide $20 stipends to performers and a few travel grants. This year we hope to be able to offer much larger stipends and more travel grants, but we will not know until late February when we hear back from our granting organisation. Please keep this in mind when applying.

Applications should be emailed to:

Or mailed to:
Mike Rosenthal The Tank
P.O. Box 2026
New York, NY 10013

Relevant Links:

Call for Work: Sound Works

209 Radio ( invite submissions from artists, musicians, writers working with sound for their RSL internet and FM broadcast to Cambridge City, February 12 - 18 2006.

There are two ways to contribute:

1. Sound works of any kind including: spoken word, field recordings and electro-acoustic composition that are exactly 2 min 9 seconds or 209 seconds in duration. More than one work may be submitted. All submissions will be broadcast providing they comply with Ofcom regulations - see the Ofcom website for details

2. Sound works of any length that respond to one of the daily broadcast themes for which are:

Past - Present - Future
Town & Gown

Works in this category will be selected for broadcast by the 209 Programming team - we do not guarantee to broadcast everything submitted.

TO APPLY: Send works on audio CD to 209 Radio, c/o 38 Stanesfield Rd, Cambridge, CB5 8NH include your name and a 100 word (max) description/statement about the work + SAE if you require returns.


DEADLINE: 8 February 2021

Call for Sonifications
ICAD 2006 Concert

Title : Global Music - The World by Ear

A Concert of Sonifications at ICA London

The 'Global Music - The World by Ear' Concert will take place on June
21st, 2006, at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) London, as part of the International Conference on Auditory Display in London from 20-23 June 2006 (ICAD 2006). It is open to the general public and will be promoted and listed by the ICA.

The concert program will be sonifications based on global data. A basic dataset serving as a starting point for these sonifications is provided and you are invited to participate by submitting a piece of music driven by this data and your chosen additions to it.

Call for Work

Music, Art and Climate Change
In Association with Newcastle Science Festival
2006 &

You are invited to submit either an electro / acoustic composition or a visual art presentation lasting no longer than 10 minutes on the theme
of climate change.

The winning entries and a selection of runners-up in each category will be presented in a lunchtime concert in King's Hall, Newcastle University on Friday 17th March.

A CD/ROM of the best entries will be compiled by will be available at the concert and through the web site. The winners in each category will also be presented with prizes of £150.

Although the prizes are only available to students all submissions will be considered for inclusion on the CD-ROM.

The deadline is the 10th February 2006.

Any questions regarding performance requirements should be discussed with Alison Lewis on [0191] 222 6093 or

To submit, just send a link to your MP3 [don't send the actual file!]

or send a CDR marked 'Music & Climate Change' to -
86 Sidney Grove, Fenham,
Newcastle upon Tyne,
NE4 5PE.


Consider radio! It's all there: the greatest hits of classical music, the tops of the pops, news every 20 minutes, the church's most uplifting sounds, the edification of cultural radio, interactive call-in stations, pleasant dilettantism on public channels, sugar sweet ad spots, cozy talk radio, unmanageable play lists, non-commercial local radio from actively
engaged people, the free radio of converted pirates, public radio from society's upper crust, and more. It's freedom, format, experiment, balance, market, culture, target groups, messages, and sometimes a hint of subversion - democratic pluralism in full bloom! Could there be anything left to be desired of radio?



..street radio, pubescent radio, silent radio, world radio, rotational radio, mobile-casting, semi and non-participatory radio, highly participatory radio, entertaining radio, complicated radio, realistic radio, fictional radio, interstellar radio, erotic radio, perplexing radio, exploratory radio, body radio, deserted radio, absurd radio, handmade radio, subcutaneous radio, automatic radio, sovereign radio, flexible radio, temporary radio, eternal radio, subversive radio, neural radio, thoughtful radio, power radio, energy radio, FM radio, digital radio, net radio, future radio, and no radio!

What does the world want from radio? To explore this question, the exhibition RADIO REVOLTEN will be presented in Halle, Germany, from September 20 to October 18, 2006. We request submissions for projects regarding the future of radio, including concepts for installations, performances, interventions, presentations, programs, and workshops, among other formats.

Eligible participants include individuals, groups, institutions, public institutions, and commercial enterprises. Selected projects will be awarded between 500 and 1500 euros for installations and between 500 and 1000 euros for presentations or workshops. An additional budget is available for technical requirements. With this call for submissions, the festival would like to find at least five installations and five presentations or workshops, which can be presented at the exhibition location of KÃπhler Brunnen in Halle, Germany, on the marketplace, or at other public spaces in the city. For the duration of the exhibition, Radio CORAX has offered to make its technical production facilities available, as well as its UKW (VHF) station for temporary projects.

Please submit proposals and any accompanying materials in written form to RADIO REVOLTEN @ Radio CORAX, Unterberg 11, 06108 Halle/Saale, Germany. Proposals should include the following information: title of the work, name(s) of artist(s), contact data (address, telephone, fax, e-mail, URL), brief biographical information (max. 150 words), a clear and brief description for the purposes of program announcements, and a brief description of the artistic concept (max. 250 words). Please also send all texts in digital format.

Please also see the call for papers for the RELATING RADIO conference, which is also a part of the RADIO REVOLTEN festival and provides a context for theoretical, aesthetic, and practical proposals.

RADIO REVOLTEN @ Radio CORAX, Unterberg 11, 06108 Halle/Saale, Germany.



Tel. 0049-(0)345-27981810

Fax 0049-(0)345-27981811

The deadline for submissions is March 31, 2006. The curators will make the final selections. Participants will be informed no later than May 15.


Music from SEAMUS #14
Various Artists

A CD that includes a selection from a festival, or multiple composers presented together only because they are part of the same organisation, always worries me. This time I was really happy with what I heard on “Music from SEAMUS #14” edited by the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States. The listener is presented with different approaches to the use of technology in composition in today’s commercially infested music world. It shows multiple approaches to the problem of generating a coherent sound world that validates personal ways of thinking about music and strategies to re-use the sound world that we are exposed to in creative and suggestive ways.

The beginning of the CD is impressive. Craig Walsh's “Terma” is a soprano and electroacoustic music piece performed by Stella Markou (lyric-coloratura soprano) with sounds and some percussion-like elements that generate interesting textures that support the piece. I felt the piece is somehow fragmented into various different sections, defined mainly by the processes employed to transform the voice. However, the intense and active initial sections work fine with the slow, long-evolving, contrasting sections where the voice clearly triggers the gestures and materials that build towards the last segment of the piece.

I was amazed to find out that Paul Rudy's “Thema: Omaggio” was included on the CD. I heard the piece live recently at the "Visiones Sonoras Festival" in Mexico City and was shocked by the result. This is one of those works that clearly make your mind go to incredible places. Throughout the work the sound sources are always playing with the possibility of being recognized but, to a certain limit, where they quickly change into staggering artificial gestures full of energy that move around the space in a way that shows the power of diffusion. “Thema:Omaggio” starts with a vocal improvisation and then evolves into sound worlds that evoke the inner space of the human body. I felt that the reverb and human-like gestures are powerful enough to take the listener through an electroacoustic homage to Berio's way of using a musical theme.

An Oboe and piano take the first stage on the next piece by Michael Drews called “Broken Symmetry”. The work has a couple of very nice moments where the gestures between elements are interesting enough to guide the piece. After a few minutes of the piece I started to feel the need for a different kind of relationship between instruments and the electroacoustic part. The constant action-reaction scheme felt a bit to simple for me. Although the harmony and structural ideas of the piece gave me the idea of a duo that could work without the electroacoustic part, I enjoyed the creation of a sound world which does not avoid tonality but smartly incorporates it into the piece.

Greg Beyer's refreshing “Bahian Counterpoint (Homage to Steve Reich)” uses musical ideas that are seldom emphasized in electroacoustic music. Repetition is an art that could work against you very easily. Beyer generates an interesting rhythmic texture that shows an evident link with Reich’s music but it also explores the amazing timbre of the berimbau and caxixi, which are two of the most interesting Brazilian instruments.

“Surrender” by the Argentinean composer Luis Maurette is a slow evolving work clearly showing the composer’s interest for an introspective approach to working with sound and interest in noise based synthetic elements. I had the feeling that the layers could have eventually become more interesting, rather than only appearing and disappearing.

Immediately afterwards we have Scott A. Wyatt’s piece “On a roll”, that shows how the art of Foley can be a very useful element for a sound artist. The piece felt almost programmatic with amazing textures and gestures that kept my mind awake searching for detail. However, a few techniques were far too obvious and distracted me from the deeper and more powerful blocks of sound.

"L’Horloge imaginaire" by Jon Christopher Nelson is a perfect example of concrete sounds turned into abstract textures. Throughout the work I missed a more complex set of sound layers that could go beyond the simple repetition of short transposed sounds to generate fast sections of contrasting activity or long sounds with short clock-like sounds on top. Being an eight-channel composition this brings to life the old discussion of the limitations of stereo versions that kill most of the interesting ideas when a piece relies on the spatial possibilities.

Russell Pinkston’s “Lizamander” shows an impressive performance by flautist Elizabeth McNutt framed in a world of basic reverb plus rhythms. I am sure that the Max/Msp patch is far more interesting than the resulting sound. By this I mean that after a few minutes of the rhythmically based computer generated background, I started to miss timbre integration and the appearance of other types of relationships that help to break, the far too common strategy, of using interesting patches to create a sonic background for a good instrumentalist, which in my own view is usually not enough to make an interesting piece.

The last track on the CD was refreshing and felt great. Jomenico’s use of the always-controversial “pulse” is interesting. Repetition as I said before is a dangerous thing within contemporary music. Schedel, Young and Collins do a piece that can easily be heard on an experimental music lounge but the Jomenico’s “Iteration 31” is described by themselves as a “way to groove out any regularities we geeks may have”. After listening to the CD I felt a renewed energy and a fresh panorama of the multiple approaches to integrating technology into the creative process we call composition but also with a good overall view of what SEAMUS is about and the amazing number of different tendencies that the organization embraces.

Reviewed by Rodrigo Sigal
Rodrigo Sigal is currently the director of the Mexican Centre for Music and Sonic Arts ( and the “Visiones Sonoras” festival of electroacoustic music ( He has a PhD from City University in London and is member of the Latin-American Sonic Arts Network ( Information about his activities is available at


Talking Drum
Chris Brown

Talking Drum - Chris Brown

Pogus Productions

San Francisco based composer Chris Brown is a co-director at the Centre for Contemporary Music at Mills in Oakland, California. His diverse approach to composition covers working as a field recordist, improviser, installation artist and computer music networker. He has produced several collaborations and CD releases including Lava and Rogue Wave for John Zorn's Tzadik label.

Talking Drum, as the title suggests, compiles rhythm recordings from around the globe. The drums and rhythms all communicate in their native tongue, offering a menagerie of multi-lingual beats to the listener. The recordings for this CD gather together almost a decade of work and have produced an immensely dense tapestry of sound. The initial recordings have been made through binaural microphones attached to Brown's sunglasses as he wandered through places in Cuba, Bali, The Philippines, North America, The Netherlands and Turkey. However, this CD is not purely a documentation of field recordings or musique concrete. Talking Drum has been written for performance using networked laptop computers and interacting musicians in a collaboration Brown describes as "human-machine duets". During these performances, listeners can move between musicians and speakers and listen for their desired mix of the performance.

The CD starts its journey with rumba drums in Cuba. This flurry of activity continues through various performances juxtaposed against field recordings, including a cremation procession in Bali. The orgy of rhythm gives way for reflection with recordings of exotic birds, insects and tranquil waters from the Philippines before bursting back into life again with some loaded improvisation.

It is one of the great strengths of these recordings that you can listen and gain a connection with a place. I have not visited many of the locations on this CD and yet it stimulates my visual senses - conjuring up images of places around the globe. I don't always find this the case with field recordings but here you can happily travel to cities, lake-sides and tribal ceremonies within the comfort of your own home. Much of this has to do with the quality and editing of the recordings which are rich and detailed. The production is also spatially orientated allowing the juxtaposition of recordings and instrumentation to flow in and out of focus. This creates one frustration with the CD format. Personally I would like to move around an installation or performance to gain full advantage of the spatially designed work. In such an environment the physicality of the space would orientate you and manipulate your perception more dramatically than the closed off world within your headphones.

Talking Drum works like a global radio moving between real approximations of places and artificially constructed soundscapes. This radio thankfully doesn't have channels full of advertising and phone-in chat shows but offers a culturally and musically diverse experience. You are aware that the world is an extremely noisy transmitter and that everything is in competition to be heard. The CD allows you the head-space to effortlessly travel between tribal song before reflecting in places away from human intervention. The Hawaiian bird park offers as complex a field of communication between birds and insects as any busy street. Whilst the frogs in irrigation canals operate organic Morse codes when the humans have disappeared.

Talking Drum is a complex and dense listen with its 27 tracks but extremely rewarding. Chris Brown has compiled work that will not only be rewarded by repeat listens but will also appeal across the spectrum. The diversity of this work would interest field recordists, composers, anthropologists, filmmakers and artists. The listener has been given space to make his or her own journey. This in turn empowers the listener and allows them to be fully engaged throughout.

Reviewed by Neil Webb
Neil Webb is a practising artist based in Sheffield.