Zbigniew Karkowski in Sonic Arts Network

programme from BBC

Sonic Arts Network, BBC Radio 3 and the ICA present:
Cut and Splice: Acousmonium

about SAN:
Sonic Arts Network is a national organisation working exclusively with sound and technology in creative, innovative and experimental ways.
Every year we support British artists through a series of new commissions and by providing platforms for their work through performance and exhibition; we realise creative projects with people of all ages through educational workshops; and we build the profile of electronic music and sound art by bringing the best artists in the world to show their work to British audiences.

ICA, London, May 5-7 2006

In 1958 Pierre Schaeffer, François Bayle, Pierre Henry, Luc Ferrari, Iannis Xenakis and others formed the Groupe de Recherches Musicales (GRM) in Paris.

In the aftermath of the 1968 Parisian riots, Bayle commented, “Poetry threw us onto the streets. No doubt spurred on by the circumstances, my project received a great breath of fresh air before plunging airless into the abyss of the studio.”

Six years later he emerged to premiere his project, the epic masterpiece L’Expérience Acoustique on a sound system that changed the direction of experimental music – the Acousmonium. Created in the labs of GRM by Bayle himself, the Acousmonium is an orchestra of over 80 loudspeakers of differing size and shape; triffid-like tweeter trees grow amongst spherical sound projectors with stacks placed across a stage at varying heights and distances. “It puts you inside the sound.” Bayle comments, “It’s like the interior of a sound universe.”

Cut and Splice, the UK’s premier annual festival of radical electronic music and sound art, brings the Acousmonium to London for the first time in its 30 year history. Sonic Arts Network and BBC Radio 3 provide a rare chance for audiences and artists alike to experience this performance machine first hand. The festival presents some of the leading international names in current experimental electronic music performing alongside the great figures of the GRM.

The intimate surroundings of the ICA will play host to the immersive sound journey of Bayle’s L’Expérience Acoustique, a visionary work “unique in Western Art and of a beauty that suspends time” (Le Monde), through to the dense sculptural noisescapes of Zbigniew Karkowski whose music “holds the auditory nerves fully in its thrall”, by way of the stunning and elusive elegance of the work of Eliane Radigue, “infinitely discrete…next to which all other music seems to be tugging at one’s sleeve for attention.”

The festival audience will also be treated to an ultra-rare performance from leading British electroacoustic composer John Wall. “Sheer, brutal, but weirdly welcome, acoustic sound…amidst a sparse electronic outerzone.”

Further exploring the limits of machine and man, Cut and Splice presents specially developed new work from both Mego records’ laptop noisenik and hardcore computer musician Hecker, and Krautrock pioneer Hans-Joachim Roedelius. “One of the true originals of modern music” (Brian Eno)