News from the Sonic Arts Network

29 September 2020

Sonic Arts Network presents The Agents of Impurity - a Night of Sound, Poetry and Sound Poetry

Sonic Arts Network invites you to The Agents of Impurity, a special free broadcast benefit event for Resonance FM on Sunday 17 October at 7.00pm
, The Museum of Garden History, Lambeth Palace Road, London SE1

SAN is honoured to present an exclusive presentation of the work of Henri Chopin. Chopin has been a tireless explorer of the grain of the voice since the 50s and his work opens new ways of listening beyond the separation between music and language. Kenneth Goldsmith will interview Henri Chopin prior to the presentation.

We also present an exclusive performance from Caroline Bergvall whose sound poetry represents the disintegration of speech in spoken performance and a meeting point between various languages; physical and verbal, French and English, live voice and ventriloquised technology. Bergvall will present a complete performance of "About Face", a project that uses the live, oral performance of a written text to explore speech residues, spittles, hesitations and micro-particles of sense.

Also performing will be Kenneth Goldsmith, mastermind of the epochal Goldsmith’s writing has been described as the most “exhaustive and beautiful collage work yet produced in poetry” by Publishers Weekly.

Sue Tompkins, another of our special guests, presents "More Cola Wars", performance poetry that moves from the page to the voice, from speech to song, from song to signal, from signal to pure sound. A process of writing and a process of thought revealed in poetic performance.

The evening is rounded off by the London debut of Birmingham’s Frank Cougar, inhabitant of a surreal and enigmatic world between music and the spoken word, cabaret and a half remembered Raymond Chandler novel, darkness and the void.

Soundscape ambience during the evening will be provided by John Levack Drever who will present a mix of audio recordings of Dartmoor cattle grids, fox hunting and vintage field recordings from the 1930s.

SAN will also be launching The Agents of Impurity CD publication at the event. This publication, curated by Kenneth Goldsmith, traces a history of sound and concrete poetry from the justified and ancient to recent and morally reprehensible. It features a wealth of mind-expanding material including audio and visual work from Artaud, Beckett, Eduardo Paolozzi, Vito Acconci, Neil Mills, Jaap Blonk, Ergo Phizmiz, Sue Tompkins and Caroline Bergvall. The CD publication represents a third of our set of tri-annual releases. It can be purchased separately or, for greater value for your hard earned cash, become a member of Sonic Arts Network and receive three curated CDs over the next 12 months.


Ongoing - 16 October
Zgodlocator by Herwig Weiser
Ritter/Zamet, South Bank, London

In the gallery-filling feat of engineering that is zgodlocator, these base materials include the reduced electronic components of the computer itself: crushed and granulated circuit boards, hard drives, processors, plug connectors etc. The purpose: to create a machine that restructures the basic magnetic principles of the computer’s hard disk to create instead a fluid, fully interactive synthesis of sound with the syntax of sculptural form and visual expression.

Within the raised platform structure, the magnetically sensitive computer-fragments are laid over supercharged electromagnetic grids beneath a circular, centrally illuminated panel. Attached joysticks allow the audience to manipulate the movement of the metallic particles over the magnets—shaping dynamic transformations of the materials into uncanny landscape-like abstractions. At the same time, contact microphones and sensors sample, synthesize and amplify the raw audio generated and convert it back into sound-patterns and shifting undulations in the surface landscape. Zgodlocator may well transform the computer into something reflective and ephemeral, yet its premise as a machine remains assuredly logical. It touches on the implicit human impulse to find meaning in the random and the nonsensical, safe in the knowledge that every action has an equal and opposite reaction.
For further information call 020 7261 9510.

Ongoing - 6 November
Radio 101 by Zoe Irvine
(Sound Installation and Performance)
BCA Gallery, Bedford

Visitors are being invited to embark on a sonic journey and revisit history through an art installation created by sound artist Zoe Irvine for the Radio 101 exhibition opening at BCA Gallery on Saturday 18 September. Radio 101 is an extraordinary exhibition that retraces the stories surrounding the R101 airship and its fatal voyage to Karachi through a sequence of sound recordings.

Irvine is a sound artist and audio producer whose work often responds to a particular historic episode. Like the events she has explored in previous work, the R101 serves as a real and imaginative trigger for her sonic archaeology, a story for her to unravel with various strands to explore.

To commemorate the anniversary of the R101 crash BCA Gallery will be hosting a live radio broadcast as part of the Radio 101 exhibition. Radio 101 FM will air from 6.24pm the precise time that the R101 left Cardington and end at 2.04am the same time that the airship crashed. Visitors are invited to attend the broadcast at BCA Gallery or contribute their thoughts and memories via a live phone in.

Prior to the broadcast visitors to the exhibition will be able to get involved with the various audio work in preparation for the broadcast.

Thursday 30 September
The Music of Marcus Schmickler
CCA, Glasgow

The Paragon Ensemble with the RSAMD Chamber Choir present 3 pieces by Cologne-based composer Marcus Schmickler. The works to be performed include the semi-improvised aS/N; Demos for chamber choir, ensemble and electronics; and a new microtonal piece for quintet & electronics especially commissioned for this performance.

Friday 8 October
Red Rose Club
(Club night/Performance)
Red Rose Club, Finsbury Park, London

Black magik sonic wizards gathering with exponents of the ancient mystical art of harmonic alchemy: turning base notes into treble. An evening of performances, music and sound-art by: The Evil Demon of Images, Uniform, The Rebel, Terocal, Tiefenrausch Orchester

Wednesday 13 October
Charterhouse Bar, London

Sprawl, the experimental audio club, is back in action after a small summer break, at a new venue. Presenting another selection of oddbeats, soundscapes & eclectic sounds - it's a packed night of groundbreaking guests again, the un/usual sprawl sonic art buffet.

Live: Mike Cooper, Greg Headley, Un Caddie Renverse dans l'Herbe

7-23 October
Reel Times With Dr. Who
Tron Theatre, Glasgow

Directed by Katherine Morley, artistic direction by Tim Nunn, script by Nicola McCartney, music by Pippa Murphy, design by Moley Campbell, lighting by Malcom Rogan. Associated Music by Pete Dowling, Nick Fells, Zoe Irvine, Alistair McDonald, Drew Mulholland and Pete Stollery.

The extraordinary story of Delia Derbyshire - the ground breaking electronic music composer and member of the legendary BBC Radiophonic workshop who was most famously responsible for the incredible Dr Who theme music.

After the main show every night will be a different programme of music, including Delia's own work, new music commissions and electronic music from the 1920s to the contemporary.

Monday 1 November
Kettle's Yard, Cambridge

Christian Wolff is one of the most influential composers living and working in America today. A pioneer of experimental music, he will perform with the leading British avant-garde ensemble, Apartment House.

Works in the programme include the UK premiere of two of Wolff's works, 'Incidental Music' and 'Septet'. Wolff and Apartment House will also perform the piece he wrote for them 'Apartment House Exercise'. Alongside his own compositions will be Charles Ives' work 'Three Page Sonata' and various piano pieces by Erik Satie. Both composers had an oblique influence on Wolff's work.

There will be a pre-concert talk at 6.30pm by the composer. Briefly taught many years ago by John Cage, he is a frequent collaborator with Merce Cunningham. Christian Wolff continues to set a striking musical example by his radical pursuit of experimentation and change.

Pure Data (PD) Workshop - Birmingham

Malte Steiner ( will be leading a week-long intensive Pure Data workshop at Vivid in Birmingham, 18-22 October. The workshops will cover many aspects of this open source real time modular audio and video synthesizer software including; sound synthesis, video processing and realtime 3D.

Written by the same coders as Max/MSP, Pure-Data is a modular synthesizer system in software. It can be used as a virtual electronic instrument, in a midi studio context or live. It can process live or recorded material, and can be utilised to create sound and, with GEM, video installations.

Cost for the week is £250. If you are interested in participating please email or call 0121 233 4061

Workshop: "Emergent Content Creation Using Simple Genetic Algorithms'
STEIM, Amsterdam - 21-24 October 2004. Instructor: Kim Cascone

For this workshop you will need to bring:
- a laptop (XP, Mac OSX, or Linux)
- an Ethernet cable or Wi-Fi card
- audio software you like to work with
- a web browser
- a chat client
- willingness to work in a group structure
- your imagination and enthusiasm

In this workshop each participant acts as a active node in a creative network using technologies such as TWiki and chat. Using software you normally use we will embark on an experiment to breed a piece of audio art. We will evolve a sound piece starting with a library of sound files provided by the microsound list and then will mutate and cross-breed them until a work of sonic art emerges. The final piece will then be performed for the public by the group at the end of the workshop.

Online Registration:

AlphaBETA Technology as a Slave to Art - Call for Submissions
30-31 October 2004 - Brighton, East Sussex
Deadline for submissions: Friday 8 October

The first BETA open showcase, bringing a diversity of technology based artworks to the public in a new and unique manner.

BETA calls for the submission of work for a two-day exhibition at Brighton Fringe Gallery. Our aim is to show self-selected art with technology work for a day and a night of interaction, demonstration, networking, gaming, sonic art, projection, music and beer.

We are looking for work that can fit within the space and be installed for two days only. We are attempting to expand ways of showing work and the audience that sees them. We would welcome submissions of anything that can fit within a gallery space and has a self-defined technology component.

We are hoping for a range of standalone screen based, network, interactive, installed, sound, light, experimental works where the creators bring along their own kit and install the piece on site. We will also be scheduling projected work and sound and performance works for the evening.

For further information visit

Fourteenth Annual Florida Electroacoustic Music Festival – Call for Works, Presentations and Papers
7-9 April 2005, University of Florida, United States of America
Deadline for receipt of submitted materials: Friday 15 October 2020

After thirteen years of service, the Florida Electroacoustic Music Festival enters its 14th year of bringing together an international rostrum of today's electroacoustic composers to present their cutting-edge music.

Each call is very specific and you are advised to read the full submission details at:

The Public Building West Bromwich Call
Deadline: 29 October 2020

The Public building, happening in West Bromwich in late 2005, will be the largest community arts development in Europe. Designed by Alsop Architects, the building will house an innovative new gallery which takes the form of a spiralling walkway descending through the building with attached pod-like exhibiting spaces. The gallery aims to offer each visitor a sense of the creative process through active engagement using interactive and digital artworks. 

Submissions are invited for the following:

The Drawers – a wall of curiosity - a flexible structure housing various interface and display devices in a number of different sizes. 

The Wunderkammern – a beautiful, intriguing or playful non-technological exhibit that will reflect the ethos of the experience within a unique display structure.

The Sound Corridor – a 20m long, 3D digital sound environment for visitors to walk through and interact with.

All commissions are open to individuals or groups. The Sound Corridor is an exclusive opportunity for artists and musicians working within the West Midlands.

For a brief and more information, please contact Jo Ford: Email: Tel: 0121 525 6861.

Lutz Glandien - Lost in Rooms: A Virtualelectric Story
ReR Megacorp

A 'melodrame concret' for the laptop generation, Lost in Rooms is a series of pieces in a wide range of electro styles, tied together by brief narrative interludes. There's a smattering of everything here, from Oval-esque loops made from skipping CDs, to urban industrial soundscapes, to noisy and pretty Fennesz-like melodies, to Aphex-on-amphetamines breakbeats. If some of this has been done better elsewhere, there's an ambition here that sets this disc apart. Glandien has tried to make a large-scale narrative work for laptop digitalia, something like what Symphonie pour un homme seul did for musique concrète.

Even if the narration is the distinctive feature of this disc, it's not altogether convincing. The narrator speaks with an indecisive qualtiy that makes him sound like a trainee college radio dj, and it's no surprise to discover that he's a dancer, not an actor. Given that Glandien has been working in radio drama and theatre for twenty years, one has to assume this uncertain quality is intentional, but it's hard to tell why. And the text is a bit underwhelming- 'The place where I grew up was really great... I shared a bed with my brother in one room; two of my sisters had another room; my older sister had a room; and my parents the last room..." 

Fortunately, the music is often good, and much of it mixes in the speech more effectively, fragmented and distorted. Track 2 (Four Bedrooms) is probably the best of the lot, a very catchy loop of resonant percussion, slowly building with layers of reverberant breaths and unintelligible vocal fragments, punctuated with surprising bursts of distorted analog synths that sound straight out of Chion's Requiem. The open, surging dynamics work well, and it's hard to get the thing out of your head after hearing it twice.

The packaging advertises 'beats', but there's no drumkit anywhere before track 9 (Two of my Sisters), even if there's a lot of pulse and loop. Two of my Sisters is a coked up drum-machine piece, with about a dozen percussive sounds a second, but it doesn't stand out against the drum programming that every kid with a laptop is doing these days. It's the impression one gets throughout the disc - Glandien is a jack-of-all-trades, and only master of a few. The diversity is interesting, but some of the tracks sound like another artist's B-sides.

Despite the range of styles, there's a consistency throughout, which makes the whole work more compelling than some of the pieces are separately. The overall form, which moves from gentler melodic materials through aggressive industrial sounds, then back to something close to the opening, mimics the progression of the narrator, from his quiet house in the country out into the world, and finally returning to see his childhood home in a new light. The fragments of voice and percussion scattered through the disc tie everything together, as does the spatial processing, an exaggerated reverb that's a bit overdone.

There's a lot here that's usually considered the province of sonic art- spatial work, soundscape abstracts, narration- and a lot that's usually found in experimental electronica- glitches, pulses, and beats. Glandien tries to negotiate a meeting ground, adding in something like a story as well. Even if the work sounds very much of the present day, the ambition may be ahead of its time. I expect we'll see more productions that are part sonic art and part something else in the future.

Reviewed by Ian Stewart.
Ian teaches electroacoustic composition at London's City University. He also works as a film critic for Contemporary Magazine.

Weightless Animals - Kaffe Matthews, Mandy McIntosh and Zeena Parkins

Weightless Animals’ (12 " picturedisk) is the first vinyl project release from a collaboration of 3 artists. Zoologist, shopkeeper andelectronic gadget hex Kaffe Matthews, BAFTA nominee filmmaker Mandy McIntosh, and electric harp pioneer and Bjork collaborator Zeena Parkins.

This is the accompaniment to the beautifully constructed website A website of interactive sonic space cartoons selected from two years of work following a research trip to NASA,Texas in 2002 armed with question for the NASA staff like "What would be your soundtrack for space?"

The raw research (Columbia’s wake up music transmitted from mission control, samples from the official NASA jukebox, live electronic activity from space transmitted from huge radios and even the inspiration of zero gravity hair styles!) was forged together to make a stunning and engaging body of work.

The opening track ‘Locating’ is a non-human vacuum with surges of a broken hearted pulse from a minimal keyboard drone. The static from the vinyl itself only makes the piece seem more desperate and distant.'Humans Are Here' splatters a disjointed honky-tonk piano with a rave crowd crushed by stars in blink-sized chunks as if the void is claiming back human attempts at knowing their own creator.

The fear of human loneliness expanded on with ‘Scary Landlady’, David Keen's slide guitar sounds like our collective cries lost in the heavens ignored by starsand angels alike.‘Still Here’ seems to replicate the meeting point of a dictaphone that has been thrown into a red shift. The abstract thought of humans sending their own species up there is summed up on the vinyl’s last track the sublime and dram like ‘Wake Up Crew' - made up from transmissions from mission control.

As a piece of work it addresses some key cultural questions. Why are we investigating a void when we do not understand our own hearts, this female perspective and their incredible use of sound deconstructs they earning of men to dominate space, the vanity of nothingness chased by millions of dollars of investment, boys with toys.

We are not able to hear in space but this trio have presented an answer, a soundtrack that mirrors mans empty heart. One of the most challenging gauntlets to be thrown down between the sexes in the creative and cultural community in a long time and one that will take a longtime to answer.

Reviewed by Justin Wiggan
Justin Wiggan is a phonic artist who works with Dreams Of Tall Buildings, robotti nu se pot ruga and as Geography of Nowhere.