‘Placemaking’ refers to a method of urban regeneration where former industrial and inner-city areas are regenerated by increasing commercial yield through accommodation prices. Thus, the populations that have historically existed in these areas are displaced, as they are replaced with new, faceless collectives of ‘well-heeled’ working professionals. It is a barbaric and violent practice which causes the destruction of cultures, communities, and the erasure of locational histories.
This double album is a journey through the east London docklands in Deep-Time, with compositions rooted in the sonic history and modern soundscapes of each location. Starting in the canals of Limehouse, following the meandering thames to the glassy cityscapes of Canary Wharf, through maritime Greenwich and up to the expansive waterworks of Royal Albert Docks. Each track is an attempt to distill the character and history of the location into an ambient atmosphere for the listener to occupy.
The clean version of the album allows the listener to establish a connection to each of the spaces, to hear them and appreciate them in all their complexity and clarity, before listening to the second half of the project. The second half of the album was recorded onto tape and then bleached. This act represents an aural exploration of the loss of cultures, histories and communities in these areas. The duality of the two iterations of the album evokes the impact and destruction wrought by aggressive gentrification and regeneration across East London. The lush, expansive and intricate sounds of the clean half are marred, mottled and contorted on the second, bleached version. The listener is faced with the loss of these locations’ character and heritage, and this act of listening will hopefully incite empathy and connection to those who have truly experienced this loss first hand.
Beauty Beyond is an audio-visual project spanning the disciplines of collage, sound, and AI generated art and music. The two track album, two fine-art pieces and book explore themes of iteration, temporality & creative destruction, as well as Human-Machine relations and machine learning.
Inspired initially by love for disused billboards on the London underground, the collage was created using cuttings from newspaper adverts to cover an A1 poster-board and then ripped up using a large kitchen knife. This method would produce one iteration of the collage, which would then be covered up by repeating the method over the top of the previous iteration.
This process of creation and covering up was mirrored in the creation of the sound piece ‘Human’. The room would be recorded as the collage was being made, whilst simultaneously playing the recording of the previous session into the room. This aspect of the project not only compliments and deepens the work’s themes of temporality and transformation through iteration, but brings in themes of space and place.
Once thirty iterations of the collage were completed they were compiled to create a dataset that was fed into Playform AI, a Generative Adversarial Network which uses machine learning to generate images based on input data. Thirty of the total 2500 images produced by the AI were selected to constitute the AI’s visual aspect of the project. These thirty images were then converted to audio by an image to audio software, and the resultant audio files were arranged into the finished composition by Wotja 22, a generative music system. The resulting album & book is an exploration of the juxtapositions, as well as the similarities, of human and machine learning and creation, and of human-machine collaboration in a creative setting.
The ECOLOGICAL FLANEUR
The Ecological Flaneur is a collection of work spanning multiple mediums and forms. It is a collection of text scores for listening, as well as video and audio work.
This project was a response to a brief that called for work exploring sustainability in artistic practice.
In David Wallace-Wells' book The Uninhabitable Earth he writes of how unresponsiveness towards the climate crisis is mostly due to a belief that “It is a crisis of the natural world, not the human one"
Taking influence from Baudelair's notion of 'The Flaneur', one who wanders the city streets and immerses themselves in metropolitan life, I sought to subvert this concept and create a practice based in immersing oneself in nature and ecology in hopes to reconnect the 'human' and 'natural' worlds.
Text scores for listening seemed the perfect medium for this - individual acts of listening generate no waste, use no fuel, are entirely and unquestionably sustainable.
The sound and video elements came later, as I began to incorporate some generative music practices into performances of the scores using a skin-response midi generator. this, combined with filming a performance of one of the scores, led to the body of work you see here.
NOT LOOKING AT THE SCREEN
In my second year at London College of Communication my class should have had the opportunity to create an exhibition at Gallery 46 in Shoreditch. Unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic prevented this, and so we were tasked with creating work for an online exhibition instead.
The concept for this piece came simply from a frustration of finding myself in a completely screen dominated world due to the pandemic and everything being forced to be online, with the same fate sadly befalling our exhibition. I wanted to disrupt the expectation that this would be another instance in which we were being forced to look at our screens as a replacement for a tangible real world experience, and so wanted to do something in which the participant would be turned away from their screen and focused on the space they were occupying in reality. This gave me the idea of using the computer screen as a light to influence the quality of a room.
The visual aspect of the work is rooted in colour theory and knowledge of the properties and influences of certain colours, while the sound consists of Isochronic Tones - a collection of frequencies which have different effects on the mind: Delta Waves (1 - 3 Hz) which promote deep sleep, Theta Waves (4 - 6 Hz) which promote reduced consciousness, Alpha Waves (8 - 12 Hz) which promote relaxation, and Beta Waves (16 - 24 Hz) which promote alertness.
Please view the video in full screen for full effect.
Architect Mark Alan Andre describes brutalism as a the most pure and honest form of architecture. Simplicity, versatility, starkness. Qualities which can be attributed to both concrete constructions and ambient music. Yes, when one thinks of a multi-storey brutalist tower block you could read it as imposing and inelegant. But when brutalism is done well, and likewise when ambience is done well, there is a tranquility and joy in directness and simplicity that can be found nowhere else.
There are few styles of architecture as divisive and schismatic as brutalism. Whether the sight of towering behemoths of bare concrete appeal or repulse the eye of the viewer, there can be, in my mind at least, no other form of building which so quintessentially captures the spirit of modernity and the mundane beauty of everyday metropolitan life.
Brutal is an attempt to celebrate this spirit - and the spirit of each individual location - through sound, field recording, and music. Picking from a variety of buildings across London - from the iconic terrace and tower blocks of the Barbican, to the H.G. Wells-esque space-age high-rise of the Ministry of Justice Offices - this EP seeks to present listeners with an auditory tour of some of Londons most celebrated, and in some cases most maligned, brutalist spaces.
With binaurally mixed music, binaural field recordings of each space and concrete sounds rooted in the history of each site, this EP is an encompassing and immersive effort to transport the audience to each space through its modern soundscape, its character and atmosphere through the artist’s lens, and sounds from its history rendered through creative reconstruction.
Brutal is to be released later this year through the label Castles In Space. Contractual obligations prevent me from platforming the music here, but you can listen to my field recordings from each location.
Re-scoring Stan Brakhage
During my second year of study at LCC we were tasked with redoing the sound for a film of our choosing form a selection offered. I chose Stan Brakhage's Fire of Waters.
To me, the film immediately suggested an atmospheric approach to the sound design. With the visuals of the film being very abstract and slightly hard to grasp and recognise, I wanted to represent that in my sound. When researching the film and Brakhage’s approach to sound I was inspired by his process of taking concrete sounds and manipulating them. I decided I would likewise take a musique concrete approach in homage to the original work.
Another inspiration I took from Brakhage’s sound design for the film was his intuitive, mosaic-like approach. In an interview I found he talked of letting the film suggest certain sounds to him, and in turn letting those sounds suggest other sounds. This led me to recording a bank of sounds that I used to soundtrack the film. This bank was comprised of sounds recorded in the foley studios in college, and field recordings from around London and my home in Devon. I then would then modulate these recordings, creating textures and atmospheres I found appealing and thought fitted the film and then insert them into my soundtrack in places that seemed fitting.
Music For Youth, 2021
SARN HOLIDAY COTTAGE SOUNDSCAPE
In the summer of 2019 I was commissioned by Sarn Holiday Cottages in Wallog, Wales to create a promotional soundscape piece for their website.
I was given a week to complete the project, and divided my time by field recording for the first few days, and then producing the piece in the remainder of the time. I would regularly check in and communicate with the project commissioner to ensure the work I was producing was to the standard they required and that the project was going in the direction they wanted. The finished work was then uploaded to their website, and can be found at the following link:
MUSIC FOR YOUTH REMIX PODCAST
In 2021 I was employed by the charity Music For Youth to host, record and edit their Remix Podcast. The role entailed attending their prom at the Royal Albert Hall, researching a selection of key figures from the event, composing questions and conversation points for each guest and then organising and carrying out interviews with them over Zoom.
After recording I then edited the interviews to a professional standard using Logic Pro and handed them in to my employer for confirmation of quality. I completed a total of four episodes, which can be found at the following link: