Rediscoveries is a series of performances of electroacoustic music and sound art events, presented by SERG (Sound Emporium Research Group). A new iteration of the Discoveries series which dates back to the early 1990s, the series allows audiences to (re)discover works by staff and students at the University as well as emerging and established electroacoustic composers in Scotland, the UK and around the world. Join us for two online concerts in Summer 2021.

Rediscoveries 13

Programme Notes

Nathan Wolek: Mosquito Lagoon

Most people have never heard the soundscape beneath the surface of Mosquito Lagoon in Florida. On many days, you can hear irregular pops of snapping shrimp using sound to stun their prey. Some days, you can hear creaking from dolphins using sound to locate their next meal. For a few weeks in fall, you will hear a slow tonal pulse from toadfish in search of a mate. It's a dramatically different soundscape than the one above the water. The soundscape above the water can be active and eventful, while underwater it is calm or vice versa. Occasionally, loud events like thunder will penetrate the surface, but usually they are almost indifferent to each other.


Nathan Wolek (b. 1977) is a sound artist and audio researcher whose work encompasses electronic music, audio field recording, multimedia performance, and sound design. He is currently the Lydia Pfund Endowed Professor of Digital Arts at Stetson University in DeLand, Florida. His music and sound installations feature rapid edits, gradually changing textures, and environmental recordings of personal significance. Among many electronic musicians and sound artists, he continues to be best known for the Granular Toolkit and LowkeyNW package, both popular software extensions to Cycling74's Max environment. Wolek has presented his creative work across the United States, in addition to engagements in Korea, Germany, Norway, Switzerland, Canada and Brazil.

Gemma McGregor: The Fabian Strategy

The Fabian Strategy is a montage piece created from found sounds, based on a response to standing in a disused control tower at a wartime airfield in Orkney. The sounds evoke the experience of those engaged in sending and breaking coded messages during World War Two. The piece was  commissioned by Aberdeen Sound Festival and performed as part of an interdisciplinary installation by sculptor, Craig Ellis, and composer, Gemma McGregor, at Gallery17 in 2016. The exhibition included a reconstructed Faraday cage that was used for blocking radio signals. The title of the piece refers to a military strategy that involves wearing down an opponent through a war of attrition rather than direct confrontation. For this piece a message was specially keyed by a Morse code operator on a vintage device.

 

Gemma McGregor is a freelance composer, performer and curator whose work crosses the boundaries of musical genres and is often multi-disciplinary. Winner of the Ogston Postgraduate Scholarship and the W.R. Aim Memorial Prize, she was awarded a doctorate by University of Aberdeen in 2017. Gemma is interested in depicting consciousness and exploring images of time and place in sound. She has created many interdisciplinary performances and collaborated with visual artists, including Anne Bevan, Alan Watson and Craig Ellis, writer Pam Beasant and film-maker Mark Jenkins. She has created sound-art installations and written music for film.

Kata Bitowt: Cross Section

Cross Section captures the cross section of the wild life in Lithuania in spring, far away from any urban surroundings. Birds and frogs mating calls, as well as an anthill with numerous ants working and expanding their life forevermore. Meanwhile, the flora side of the composition consists of creaking pines, wind, rain and anything tangled in between them. Recording was made using a field recorder and hydrophones. Sound modification is kept to a minimum. It is used only to amplify and put certain accents on the transition between the vertical layers of space. Thus, creating a cross-section of life from the sky down to below the ground.

 

(Field) Recording engineer - Katarzyna Bitowt and Martyna Šulskutė

Editing, mixing, mastering - Katarzyna Bitowt

Recording locations: Antakščiai, Kalviai (Molėtai region) and Rokantai (Vilnius region), Lithuania

 

Kata Bitowt is a sound artist, based in Vilnius. In 2017, Kata has completed a Master's degree in Sonic Arts at the University of Aberdeen and has then worked mostly as a recording and mixing engineer. Kata also composes music for podcasts and visual material, as well as electroacoustic pieces. At the moment Kata is mostly interested in creating sounds from a mixture of field recordings, musical elements and noise, mainly working with OP-1.

Jamie Lawson: MachinicVoice-I

MachinicVoice-i is the first of 3 compositions that make up Machinic Voices II, a series of compositions which consolidate the concepts and methodologies explored in my PhD research, 'Machinic Voices: Observational Approaches to Sound Composition'. The series adopts a procedural and generative approach to sound composition using field recordings and digital sound processing where the rhythmic behaviours of one audio sample define spectral manipulations made to a second audio sample. Once the procedures are initiated, the subsequent pieces are composed” by an assemblage of the digital platform, recorded audio subjects, and myself. Each iteration of Machinic Voices II uses a different sample stereo recording, for MachinicVoices-i the selected audio sample was collected one evening on Union Street in Aberdeen.

 

Jamie Lawson is a sound artist and musician whose approach to composition can be best described as observational. Jamie's music predominantly employs field recordings and digital sound processing techniques to explore the materiality of sound, and foreground the aural identities of places and things. A University of Aberdeen graduate, Jamie is currently based in Sydney, Australia.

Pete Stollery: Pandemonium

Pandemonium (2021) Fixed Medium - Ambisonic

In late March 2020, I set up the COVID-19 Sound Map (tinyurl.com/covid19soundmap), a crowd-sourced sound mapping project where the public is invited to consider everyday aural environments which have changed as a result of restrictions put in place around the world during the various periods of lockdown following the COVID-19 outbreak. The main aim of the project is to capture the sounds of a particular period of time, to document these sounds and preserve them on a sound map, available in perpetuity, so that these sounds can be (re-)listened to at any point in the future as a sonic memory of this unique period in our history.

Pandemonium is made entirely from sounds from the COVID-19 Sound Map and I wanted to reflect the many changes that have taken place to our everyday sonic environments, whilst playing with connections that might be discovered between sound references and sound types…

 

…a train pulling into a deserted station in New Jersey almost apologetically sounds it horn, whilst the birds in the background are joined by others from all over the world; the metallic, bird-like squeaks of a swinging pub sign gradually flock and morph into the creak of a swing in a garden…

 

…badly sung Bob Marley and Lipps Inc. battle each other from Spanish balconies, joined by a variety of sonic thankyous to front-line workers around the world with the Belper Moo suddenly interrupted as we hear a sick motorbike out for its first run for a while fading into the distributed heterophony of the Lords Prayer over Zoom…

 

I imagine a pandemonium” to be some kind of instrument which emits sounds recorded during a pandemic, but which also has the power to transform them and create new sounds.

 

With grateful thanks to the following for the use of their sounds:
Anon, Chris Barlas, Caroline Boe, Duncan Chapman, Michael Competielle, Phillip Cooke, Tim Cooper, Andrew Davidson, Liz Dobson, Kerstin Ergenzinger, Val Forsyth, Rob Godman, Hanja Hains, Jonty Harrison, Angus Hawkins, Jo Hinson, Ian Macilwain, Alistair MacDonald, Andy Moore, Martina Sabariego, Daniel Simpson, Donna Smith, Chris Whitty and Ross Whyte.

 

Pete Stollery is Professor of Composition and Electroacoustic Music. He composes music for concert hall performance, particularly acousmatic music and more recently has created work for outside the concert hall, including sound installations and internet projects. His main interest is in how humans respond to sounds in their immediate surroundings, in particular sounds that are not necessarily intended for listening purposes, as well as how an engagement with sound relates to the idea of place. His creative work exists as electroacoustic compositions, sound installations, web-based sound art, as well as instrumental/vocal compositions. His music is published by the Canadian label empreintes DIGITALes with further information at Électroprésence and tracks available for streaming at Electrothèque.

Tobias Patrick Wolf: Message in a Bottle

Message in a Bottle (2018) 
For centuries the idea of a message in a bottle has inspired generations of poets, writers, artists to bring mysterious and intriguing love stories to life. This composition takes the listener on the journey of such a message, but not less mysterious, it follows the story of the sender too. If I wrote a letter, stuck it into a bottle and threw it into the ocean, Id ask myself What is the journey of this bottle? Where does it go?’ — In our dreams, this bottle can wander through time, to places all over the world, it can visit the deeps of the ocean, pass by creatures of our imagination. Just to find out it will be another rainy day when we wake up, another day waiting for that unlikely reply that we are so desperately waiting for.

 

Tobias Patrick Wolf is a German conductor, composer, and director of a number of ensembles across Europe. Following his graduation with a Master of Music in Composition with Distinction, he moved on to study for a doctorate degree in Music at the University of Aberdeen, specialising in contemporary composition and exploring augmented and hybrid performance practice as well as performance art. Alongside other awards, Tobias received the Professor Ogston Postgraduate Research Scholarship for his studies. Twenty-nine years old, he has taken part in a Top 3 Chart Album, appeared on radio and television and has performed around the globe. (www.tpwolf.com)

Eden Mikula: Quadrivium

Quadrivium (2020) is an immersive sound piece that brings together the themes of space, music, number and geometry into one. Based on Clay Taylors artwork on harmonic geometry, the piece musically and mathematically maps the circle of fifth into space using 3D audio techniques, leading to a spectral piece that develops timbre over time.

 

Eden Mikula is a percussionist, composer and music psychologist. Born and raised in rural Argyllshire, Eden was accepted into the Junior Conservatoire of Scotland at the age of 14 and has since received tutorage from the likes of Elspeth Rose, Antti Rislakki and Dr Lisa Nicol. In 2016, she was accepted to study at the University of Aberdeen under the Derek Ogston Music Scholarship, during which time she discovered her interest in music cognition. She has since taken courses in the subject at Radboud University Nijmegen and the University of Jyväskylä. Now pursuing her master's, her research specialises in musical enculturation and cross-cultural perceptions. Eden is currently undertaking a Summer research internship surrounding music, algorithms and artificial intelligence at the University of Oxford.

Suk-Jun Kim: Solaris_sketch_b

Solaris_sketch_b (2021) is one of the sketch pieces based on my reading of Solaris, a 1961 science fiction novel by Polish writer Stanisław Lem. This sketch has something to do with beings or the Being that transcends our capacity of knowing. Play it loud, just enough to be uncomfortable.

 

Suk-Jun Kim is Senior Lecturer in Electroacoustic Music and Sound Art at the University of Aberdeen, UK. A composer and sound artist, Kim has received first prizes at Bourges Electroacoustic Music Competition, Metamorphoses in Belgium, and CIMESP. He was a resident composer at the DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Programme in 2009. He is the author of Humming (A Study of Sound) by Bloomsbury and Hasla by Kehrer Verlag Heidelberg and published his solo CD Humming by Vox Regis.

Maja Zeco: In Search of the Sun

In Search of the Sun (2021) is a fluid work that can take the form of a live performance, audio and visual work. In this iteration, sound and moving image support a loose narrative interweaving personal and historical migrant narratives. The work draws upon 'Eastre (Hymn to the Sun)' by JD Fergusson in the collection of Aberdeen Art Gallery. The sculptor depicted Eastre as a Saxon goddess. By expanding this interpretation, I engage with creative strategies of demodernising museum objects. The piece was developed during a residency with Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museum with the support of Aberdeen City Council, National Lottery Heritage Fund.

 

Credits: Camera-Elodie Baldwin & Maja Zećo; Opening poem Le Coq d'Or Opera - Hymn to the Sun Act II by Rimsky Korsakov, libretto by Vladimir Bielsky; Footage of the Sun NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center; Indoor venue - The Anatomy Rooms Studio (All in Ideas), Aberdeen; Special thanks to Jon Blackwood, Griffin Coe.

 

Maja Zećo [maya zecho], originally from Sarajevo, is an interdisciplinary artist whose practice spans performance art, sound and moving image. Many of her works explore the identities and personal narratives that constitute our stories of self, in the context of her experience of displacement and diaspora. In 2019 Maja obtained a practice-led PhD based at Grays School of Art (RGU) with the support of the Sonic Arts Programme at the University of Aberdeen. She presented her work at CRiSAP (UAL-London), Goldsmiths (University of London), and CCA (Glasgow), amongst others. She recently completed a 3-month residency with Aberdeen Art Gallery.

Kwangrae Kim: Teles

Teles (2019) is a work of first order ambisonics for tape. Most of the sounds are recorded by ambisonics microphones (first order) from many places to allow a feeling of telepresence for the listener. The sound of an object as a compositional element plays specific roles in this piece. First of all, it is a clue for transportation to be given to the audience as the feeling You are there” when one reads a book, calls someone or experiences VR/AR content. As in immersive technology, Teles gives the listener various spatialities and an object presented in the piece such as a telephone, car, door, elevator or dialogue is the gateway to transportations for the audience. Secondly, the objects link among the spaces. The listener can infer space as the centre of a busy city from a car horn or engine, and the chatter and acclamation of crowd sounds which can also be a component of another area. A car horn sound presented in this piece, for example, plays a specific role to connect a city (outdoor) as well as a car space (indoor). The work shows a similar constant change in spaces to chord progression in traditional music. Each space has its own emotion and feeling (to say schemata) for individual listeners, sometimes similar or different from one another, which can produce a certain meaning derived from the spatial transformation, i.e., it is a progression of perspectives.

 

Kwangrae Kim is a composer based in Seoul, Korea. His research interests lie in spatial sound fields and real-time sound visualisation based on the study of human perception and cognition. His works have been played at various countries including Korea, Japan, France, the US and UK. He holds B.M. and M.A. in composition and music technology degrees from Chugye University and Korea National University of Arts. In 2021, he completed a PhD in Musical Composition at the University of Aberdeen.