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Lead Belly was born in Louisiana somewhere around 1888. Living the often violent life of an itinerate musician he found himself twice imprisoned for murder. In 1933 his reputation reached the Lomax family, who, after no small personal tragedy of their own, were traveling the Southern states, recording American work songs, ballads and blues in prisons, penitentiaries, and brothels. Moving around the country in their Ford sedan, John, and his sons John Jr. and Alan, set about recording such artists as Woody Guthrie, Muddy Waters and Jelly Roll Morton. They came across Lead Belly in the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, and with their state-of-the-art acetate disc recorder they cut several sides together over the next few months. They soon parted ways; Lead Belly to a fifteen year career as a solo artist, and the Lomax’s continuing their collection of folk musics for the archives of the Library of Congress, and the Works Progress Administration. Despite the difficult relationship between the academic Lomax’s and the hard-living blues artist, it is through this short-lived collaboration that Lead Belly’s work reached a wider audience, of which I count myself a part. My father, following a period of time working in the Caribbean after leaving school in 1964, had become interested in what was still at that time called ‘negro music’. A Presto vinyl record (PRE 689, 1965) containing a selection of Lead Belly’s early Lomax recordings, is one of the earliest artifacts of any kind that I remember from my childhood. For this project, I was interested in engaging with a populist folk tradition, in the hope such a strategy would enable me to think about electroacoustic composition in a new way. The sound material selected, was by necessity, lo-fidelity (A short promotional film made by Lomax and Lead Belly, found on YouTube). The surface noise in the piece, the glitches, and crackles, are inherent to the source material, and are intended to reference the sounds of old blues records, and to address issues of the value of distribution of heavily compressed audio on the internet, thought of here, as a repository of cultural memory. The piece was entirely constructed from Lead Belly’s voice and signature 12-string guitar.

A talk/presentation to the general public. Sound Art and Digital Media.




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Year : 2008
Location : Germany
Worktype : Sound Installation
Materials : appropriated sculpture, digital recording, mp3 player, male to female conversation (failed)







Year : 2008
Location : Germany
Worktype : Sound Installation
Materials: stereo digital recording, microphones, grand piano, playback system.

Base Gesture

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Mid-Cycle

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End Cycle

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CCMR Sense of Sound Post Proceedings.(Computer Music Modelling and Retrieval 2007). Published by Springer Verlag 2008. Germany / Denmark. ISBN: 978-3-540-85034-2




A this article appears in Playing with words: The Spoken Word in Artistic Practice Edited by Cathy Lane

A collection of responses from over 40 leading contemporary composers and artists who were invited to represent aspects of their creative practice with words, and in particular, the spoken word, for the printed page.

The book concentrates on the kinds of creative play to be found in different sound based genres such as electroacoustic music composition, text sound composition, and sound poetry while reflecting artistic practices in disciplines of such as digital arts, electronic, concrete and experimental poetry, performance art and fine art.

The contributors have chosen to represent their work in a variety of different ways which include writing, graphics, poetry, photographs and through interview.

Playing with Words is designed by Colin Sackett and published by CRiSAP in collaboration with RGAP.



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Year: 2007
Location: Bargehouse Gallery, Oxo Tower, South Bank, London,England
Worktype: Puppet Performance / Immersive Environment
Materials: trumpet, loops, electric guitar, puppets, lights, candles, bare feet, voice, chocolate, oranges, slide projection, multichannel audio.
Info: with Barbara Fuchs

Work Details
A sound composition created for a multi-channel performance/installation which took place over three weeks in the Bargehouse Gallery. Visitors were asked to remove their shoes, and led into a darkened environment by candle light. The single female performer guided visitors through a multisensory immersive environment.

Initial Proposal
A micro-theatrical performance / installation that combines elements of puppetry, sound art, theatre and music. The artists create an intimate environment stimulating the audiences’ senses of smell, taste, touch, sound and sight. Leading the attention of the spectator towards small details. Talking suitcases, taste tests, feeling between your toes,

Taking a small audience through an experience and back to its beginning. The fragmented story conjures dreamlike images and situations that enthrall and the audience is magically drawn into the scene.

The piece deals with the themes of refinding childhood, and asking basic questions, inspiring the imagination of the audience. Taking them through a close, intimate, almost personal experience. Coming close, leading the audience around not just by touch, but also sound, smell and taste. A gentle path where they can focus on small things, and perhaps refind a long-forgotten part of themselves.

Being small in a big world. Being safe. Being able to be like a child, just to look and feel and letting experiences occur close to you, not having to act from your own account, just letting things happen.The small details and magical things.

The audience feels their bodies, their ears, their skin, all of their senses again. The piece aims to draw attention to all of their senses. To challenge their imaginations, they are given something to taste and they imagine something, they can smell something and imagine something. It makes them go inward somehow. Finding your senses again. A safe, womb-space. Warm and quiet and dark.

Very personal experience, everyone in the audience will have a personal experience. Leaving the performance with something in their mouth, each one different. A taste with a lable attached to it – and orange with ‘what does this sound like’. Noise and heat and power, an force and fire, the sun, heat again, running, fighting, shouting, strength. (B.Fuchs)

Performance time: 20min show. Audience of 2- 10.

A presentation at the Art of Immersive Soundscapes Conference, University of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.

I also participated in the Creative Forum studying with some of Canada’s most innovative composers, acoustic designers and audio artists:

Darren Copeland (Toronto): Independent audio artist and Director of New Adventures in Sound Art, Toronto.
Dr. Christos Hatzis (University of Toronto): Distinguished multi-award-winning composer, whose music utilizes multimedia and sound art.
Stephen Heimbecker (Montreal): independent audio artist, with exhibited installations in Europe and North America.
Ellen Moffat (Saskatoon): Independent audio artist, with sound installation presentations across Canada.
Gordon Monahan (Berlin): Independent audio artist, with exhibitions and performances across Europe and North America.
Barry Truax (Simon Fraser University): Internationally celebrated pioneer and teacher in audio art, technology, and electroacoustic composition.
Dr. Ellen Waterman (University of Guelph): Creative sound artist, music performer and improviser.
Hildegard Westerkamp (Vancouver), Independent audio artist, former faculty member at Simon Fraser University, with exhibitions world-wide.












Tula Centre for Contemporary Art, Russia April 2007
Moscow Book Arts Fair June 2007

For BBC Radio 4 Drama. Directed by John Dryden.