Soundscapes of the Past: Historical Imaginings (published by the International Computer Music Association, 2022)
This article was published in the proceedings of the ICMC 2022 conference at Limerick, Ireland. The abstract is below:
Histories are primarily documented in visual or written form. Our ‘Sonic Palimpsest’ project seeks to subvert this occularcentric focus, exploring the potential of sonic perspectives, to unlock alternative understandings of our past.
Chatham dockyard, our case study site, was founded in 1547 and closed as a working yard in 1984. During the 400-plus years of its operation, tens of thousands of people were employed (or forced to work) in building construction and in launching more than 500 warships and repairing thousands of others. Countless stories have been collected throughout this period, some through diaries (the 17th C. diary of Samuel Pepys is a notable example) others found in oral history archives, books and papers. Our team has explored these sources and conducted new oral history interviews, applying anthropophonic perspectives to see if we can unpack new insight through sound.
Our research has demonstrated the rich potential of musical and sound-based knowledge frameworks to inform human, embodied and affective understandings of history which foreground people and place across time. This paper gives an overview of some of the salient sounding histories uncovered, focusing on three selected areas: the life of convicts in the dockyard, Samuel Pepys’ diary, and our own interviews with former workers of the yard.
Wetlands (binaural version published by Gruenrekorder, 2021)
Wetlands is a multichannel acousmatic composition. It was commissioned by the SoundLapse research team, funded by the Chilean National Agency for Research and Development; SoundLapse seeks to highlight the acoustic heritage in wetlands in the south of Chile. The composition explores a dialogue between sounds living, moving and interacting in urban wetlands, creating tension and release moments when these meet with human-made noise and activity. Wetlands has been performed so far in St Petersburgh (Russia 2021), Valdivia (Chile, in various concerts 2021), at the Festival Ecos Urbanos in Mexico and at Stanford’s CCRMA (2021) and at the Sound Stage, Bournemouth (2022).
Irides (original version is published by Stolen Mirror, 2021)
The original stereo version of my acousmatic composition Irides is published by Stolen Mirror. The composition is included in the collection Tides, which comprises selected pieces representing the history of activity in electronic and acousmatic music, soundscape composition, live performances and sound installations.
Livestream première is on YouTube on Friday 23 July 2021, and the launch party with artists discussions is taking place the next day.
This article explores timescales within absolute and psychological times, and identifies the many factors that affect our perception of time passing and estimation of durations, which inevitably influence our perception of musical structures; in particular, it discusses listening experiences, and theoretical approaches to psychological states and emotional responses. It proposes a process according to which the time-influencing factors operate between listener and music. The discussion is approached through the lens of the electroacoustic composer and makes references to short excerpts from the author’s work and related repertoire. However, as the paper discusses time in relation to sound structures, it is also relevant to other time-based sound art and music.
The article is published in Organised Sound Vol.25 (2), in the issue with the thematic title Time in Electroacoustic Music. Date of publication August 2020.
This article has been commissioned by the ENT & Audiology News magazine for their January/February 2020 special issue on The Weird World of Science. The article is addressed to an audience that have not necessarily had any previous knowledge of acoustic ecology. It provides a short background history, an overview of current scientific research and a discussion on the creative approaches to acoustic ecology.
ENT & Audiology News magazine is a bi-monthly publication that forges links between the ENT and audiology specialties, combining articles, conference news, book and journal reviews and information on latest developments. ENT & Audiology News is an international magazine with a readership of 35,500 in over 140 countries.
Irides (A binaural version of Irides is published by Sonos Localia, 2018)
Irides is a stereo electroacoustic composition. literally means rainbows. In Greco-Roman mythology, rainbows were thought to be bridges made by the goddess Iris and connected heaven and earth. Irides are multicoloured arcs caused by diffraction and dispersion of light by water droplets in the air. Similarly, in this composition, momentary sunny spells and droplets of rain give rise to spectra, bands of colours, arcs that form double, triple and multiple sonic rainbows that permeate the scenery of the piece.
In terms of research and compositional method, the composition explores the relocation of the visual, gustatory, olfactory, and haptic environments into the aural space. It also examines interrelationships between music, time perception, timescales in different senses, memory and the listening environment.
The work was premiered in 2017 at the Sound of Memory symposium at Goldsmiths Great Hall, London. It has been subsequently selected for performances at the ISSTA (Irish Sound Science and Technology Association) conference at Dundalk, Ireland; at the Sound/Image conference in London; at the ICMC2017 (International Computer Music Conference) in Shanghai, China; at the Helicotrema festival in Venice, Italy, in a concert curated by Hildegard Westerkamp; at the SMC2018 (Sound & Music Computing) conference in Limassol, Cyprus; at the CIME/ICEM MUSICACOUSTICA 36th General Assembly organised by the Electroacoustic Music Association of China, in Beijing; at the Electroacoustic Music Days in Corfu, Greece; at the San Fransisco Tape Music Festival (Jan 2019); at the ‘Electroacoustic Music in Great Britain: Past/Present/Future’ conference in London (Jan 2019); at the ‘Rediscoveries 11’ concert series in Aberdeen (Feb 2019); at the ‘Mapping Spaces, Sounding Places’ conference in Cremona, Italy (March 2019); and at the ‘Convergence’ conference at De Montfort, Leicester (Sept 2019).
The Listening Experience of Paramnesia (2016)
Chapter in the book Environmental Sound Artists – In Their Own Words, edited by Frederick Bianchi and Vincent J. Manzo, published by Oxford University Press. The chapter details the process of composing the acousmatic piece Paramnesia, the role of environmental sounds in the piece, and the power of associations that come through the richness of soundscape material.
The text focuses on the merging of the spectromorphological thought and soundscape composition. Sonic qualities, imaginative elements and extra-musical meanings coalesce into one connected whole, contesting a divergence between acousmatic and soundscape music, and between the role of abstraction and contextual immersion. The analytic text enhances understanding in the related composition fields, and considers our view of encoding and interpreting information; it suggests that environmental sounds are not necessarily tied to their interpretation in contexts where spectromorphologies make us unsure about the reality of the source and cause of sounds, or when memory distorts interpretation, thus presenting an enriched perspective on listening, perception and composing.
Available as a hardback, paperback and ebook. Published on 11 July 2016: Oxford University Press.
Electroacoustic short composition, published in the CD 54 Electroacoustic Miniatures by Hellenic Electroacoustic Music Composers Association (HELMCA, 2015). The CD is prefaced by Prof Simon Emmerson.
The piece was selected for a series of performances at the ICMC (International Computer Music Conference) in New York from 1 to 5 June 2010, for the 60×60 project. In addition to the performances at ICMC, ‘Seawater’ was played at concerts in Cambridge (Massachusetts), Carrboro (North Carolina), Wisconsin, Mercer Island (Washington), São Paolo (Brazil), London (UK), Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts, at the Centre for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA, Stanford, California), at the EMF, Stony Brook University and Parkside Lounge (New York City), and at Filkyngen (Stockholm, Sweden).
Inspired by Denis Smalley’s theoretical ideas on spectromorphology and Albert Bregman’s auditory scene analysis, I started an investigation into the formation and segregation of timescales in electroacoustic music. This research inevitably led me to an exploration of the factors that shape our perception of time passing and estimation of durations, where spectromorphological issues intermingle with extra-musical associations, autobiographical experiences, emotional responses, and the surrounding environment at the time of listening. Ultimately, time perception affects the structural balance of a composition. This paper examines how the perception of time is affected by the semantic meaning and the spectromorphological characteristics of sound events.
The article is published in Organised Sound Vol.16(1), in the issue dedicated to Denis Smalley’s influence on the theory and practice of electroacoustic music. Date of publication April 2011.
Acousmatic composition, published in ICMC 2010 CD by the International Computer Music Association. (ICMA, CD IC120, 2010)
Paramnesia is a condition that causes confusion between reality and fantasy, resulting in distorted memory. Patients fabricate imaginary events to compensate for loss of memory, and they also experience déjà vu. The piece consists of two connected movements (‘Promenade’ and ‘Repose’) that represent daytime and night respectively. It explores decomposition and recomposition of reality, worlds that spring from the sound of a car or from a bird call. In Paramnesia there is no story unfolding apart from the distinction between day and night and a narrative of musical relationships forming out of a collection of events, which are taken out of their original context and re-assembled. The first movement is based on a recording made in the promenade of Alghero in Sardinia, and it was commissioned by the research unit CRiSAP.
Paramnesia was shortlisted at the Concours Internationaux 2009 in Bourges, France, and was selected for the SAW electroacoustic symposium in Cardiff, ICMC 2010 in New York, Festival Futura 2011 in Crest, France, the WFAE 2011 International Conference on Acoustic Ecology in Corfu, and the EMUFest 2011 international electroacoustic music festival in Rome.
The Abyss, Supernaturalizer, Rising Fear (2010)
Three compositions and additional sounds, published by KPM/EMI in the CD Sound Design Tools (CD KPM752, 2010). This is production music, made specifically for film, TV and radio. The compositions and their related sounds have been used worldwide in various channels and programmes, such as Animal Planet, Discovery Channel, More4, Japanese Online, National Geographic, Singaporean Films, Spanish Broadcasting, Czech Republic Films, Canadian Films, USA (ASCAP) Television & Cable, Swedish Films, and Quest Primetime.
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