Full of Noises - Remote Possibilities

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Full of Noises Remote Possibilities 2009-2015

All images are copyright of Full of Noises and the photographers. All Rights Reserved No part of this book may be reproduced in any form by photocopying or mechanical means, including information storage or retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the copyright holders and the publisher of this book. ISBN: 978-1-910846-03-2

First printing, March 2017 Edition of 50 copies

A PO Production Published by PO Publishing www.popublishing.co.uk

Hildur Guรฐnadรณttir residency, Lanternhouse, Ulverston 2010


Introduction Full of Noises started life in late 2009, within the sprawling ex-canteen building of Barrow’s shipyard complex. Our starting point for the project, a question that we are still trying to answer, was: ‘How can you make and show ambitious new work in a place that most people have never heard of ?’

Through a process of gradually refining what Full of Noises looks and sounds like, a number of core themes have gradually emerged. These include: - Producing sound work for public spaces, particularly parks. - The connections between early music and contemporary/experimental music. - Experiments in radio and broadcasting starting with Morsonata and running through to recent collaborations with Soundtent. - Creating new and lasting collaborations between artists that can continue beyond the festival.

Since Mobile Radio opened the first FoN with their broadcast piece Morsonata, we’ve gone on to produce many more events in Barrow and beyond, including four biennial festivals showcasing new work by over two hundred artists, composers and musicians.

Much of this book follows the format of a visual essay, accompanied by a series of short interviews in which some of the artists that have made the long journey to Barrow most frequently tell their FoN stories.

After seven years of continuous activity, we thought it was time to look back and start dealing with some of the thousands of images, texts, audio and visual recordings from our archive. This publication forms the first small step in that process, alongside two accompanying short films that rework a selection of festival footage.

Alongside this, we’ve provided a summary of each year and how various projects and programme strands were fitted together from the perspective of the organisers, Octopus Collective. The bulk of the images featured were taken by long-time FoN documenters Benedict Phillips and Mary Stark. Will Miners captured the first festival in all it’s glory whilst the other, earlier (and often blurrier) images were taken by us.

Though we’ve always called Full of Noises a festival, we’ve never been sure that this is the right word for it. At various times it has felt more like an artists’ convention, a musical jumble sale, listening party or sonic fairground. This is also one of the reasons that we’ve also never been able to settle on a single venue. One of the aspects that hopefully emerges from this book is the range of odd, unlikely and overlooked spaces around Barrow that we’ve been fortunate enough to be able to work in, from the obvious (a sprawling public park) to the slightly less so (a sinister nightclub).

With too many highlights to mention (John Hall has bravely picked a handful of his below), the book by no means tells the full story, providing a broad overview rather than a fully comprehensive catalogue of projects and people.


Instead, it forms a snapshot of the first four editions of FoN with a focus on the festival and orbiting residencies. Countless other side-projects, workshops and unrealised ideas will no doubt find their way into a future doorstep-sized volume.

And there have been other kinds of moments. Conversations, collisions and encounters whose significance sneaks up on you. Sometimes these moments occur during performances, spurred by the gentle power within the material, the relationship between the artist and the audience and the warmth and conviction behind the delivery.

We hope you enjoy following Full of Noises’ progress in and around Barrow-in-Furness and the stories of some of the artists that have made the project so memorable.

I found them in Mobile Radio’s broadcast of readings, music and morse code from the shipyard Canteen; in Lachenalia’s marriage of Stockhausen and Constant Billy at St James’, and in Charles Hayward’s hopeful and lifeaffirming songs at Art Gene.

Glenn Boulter The Shortlist is Pretty Long…

Thanks to our artists, audiences and crew, and to everyone who has contributed to these first four FoN festivals, for these moments and many others.

Faust brought out the gibbering fan in me; Felix Kubin at the Nines was like being given an exploding bag of Haribos. SoundNetwork’s Sonic Bouncy Castle and Crazy Golf Course got us into Private Eye and entertained a park-full of kids on a sunny day in Barrow. John Wall brought great music and great company. Helen Petts let us into Lol Coxhill’s sound and story with tenderness and respect in Solo Soprano.

John Hall Visit: fonfestival.org/films to watch two short films compiled from FoN archive footage by Helen Petts and Mary Stark.

Then there was Tetsuo Kogawa conjuring from the air in St John’s Church on Barrow Island; Jon Hering’s piece for voice, church organ and the re-discovered handbells of St James’ as well as Laura Cannell and André Bosman stalking the aisles on the same evening.


Jean HervĂŠ Peron / Faust performance at the Canteen, Barrow-in-Furness 2009


Full of Noises 2009 flyer design


2009 “Barrow . . . yes, Barrow-in-Furness really did do an experimental music festival. You may not have been there but I swear it’s true. And some kind of improbability sum must now be complete.”

plastic curtains to coax the audience away from the back of the cavernous performance space and tried to remove stains from a bank of suede-effect seating that had mysteriously been installed one afternoon whilst we were out (courtesy of a defunct bowling alley). Linden St John of Twilight Gatherers provided sketches of wormfaced heads that we printed out at AO and plastered over the holes in the venue walls.

The first Full of Noises took place amongst a rough-hewn assemblage of home-made banners, overactive dry ice machines and wayward power tools. With little clue of what we were starting, we took temporary custodianship of the Canteen, a crumbling building on the wind-blasted seafront of Barrow Island, bordered on two sides by BAE systems.

Then the artists started to arrive. From Glasgow via Tebay (Richard Youngs), the Midlands (Pram, Black Carrot), London (John Wall) and the North West (Fonik, Good Noise Bad Noise, Mark Pilkington) whilst Tonefloat, a MIDI-controlled milkfloat, parked up in a disused yard. Someone posted a facebook message that they were sitting behind Zappi Deiermaier and Jean Hervé Peron on the Transpennine Express.

The lineup was largely put together in the form of a wish list. Fred Frith was the first person to be used as a sounding board: “Experimental music in Barrow-in-Furness? Sounds totally exotic!” Though he didn’t make it in the end, the fact that he didn’t say ‘no’ gave us some hope... Our first four artists in residence, Haco, Mobile Radio (Sarah Washington and Knut Aufermann) and Susan Matthews (with Clutter) formed a stable core for the rest of the festival to build upon. Their pieces slowly accrued detail throughout the week with visits to the Dock Museum, near-arrests on the bridge to the island, improvised recording booths in toilets and morse code rehearsals with ex-submariners.

Owl Project had already launched the whole thing with a performance / talk at Barrow sixth Form disguised as career advice thanks to a stealthily obtained grant from Furness Enterprise. Though we didn’t like the idea of a hierarchy and any one artist being a ‘headliner’, the story of Faust, presented via Murnau’s film and a live (if not entirely related) performance from the band, was a convenient allegory for the history of Barrow.

Meanwhile, we scraped away at the chewing gum on the floor, made giant


“It’s hard to imagine what possesses a band of the stature of Faust to play Barrow-inFurness, a place about as far as it is possible to be from just about anywhere. And certainly far from London which is where most of the happening things happen to be. I would like to think it was the appeal of playing in a working shipyard that brought them. A shipyard that is building the nearest we have to anything very nasty and dangerous. I think that would rather appeal (...) And passing by the mighty Trident sheds, even their drummer, one helluva man mountain, would feel for once ant-size.” Other events that rounded out the year included a Christmas celebration deep below the Laurel and Hardy Museum with Volcano the Bear and a launch for the festival at Lancaster Storey Institute with Fuck Buttons and Zun Zun Egui. Glenn Boulter Quotes in italics from a review by Mike Cook

Following pages: Richard Youngs performance, the Canteen, Barrow-in-Furness 2009


Barrow Island image by Benedict Phillips, Barrow-in-Furness 2009


John Wall performance, the Canteen, Barrow-in-Furness 2009


This page: Haco residency, the Canteen, Barrow-in-Furness 2009 Following pages: Tonefloat the Canteen, Barrow-in-Furness 2009


Mobile Radio (Knut Aufermann & Sarah Washington) residency, the Canteen, Barrow-in-Furness 2009


Mobile Radio MORSONATA

alive after narrowly evading certain death on his scheduled submarine. Freel was a Charioteer – in effect a human torpedo – charged with riding a missile launched from a submarine, then detaching the warhead and placing it on the underside of a ship before riding the ‘chariot’ away again.

Mobile Radio (Sarah Washington and Knut Aufermann) were delighted to accept an offer by Octopus to work as artists in residence on the first FoN festival, alongside artists Haco and Susan Matthews. The brief was to develop a work which would in some way reflect the local area of Barrow-in-Furness, and ideally draw upon forging a collaboration with the other resident artists.

The haunting letter was brought vividly to life by local actor Damo Rose, who was introduced to us by Octopus. The team also found and put us in touch with some local morse code operators, so that we could try to convince them to take part in a recording session of the Ursonate. We were lucky that after some inevitable scepticism, ex-Navy and Merchant Navy hands Mike Cumming and Bill Jenkins approached this unusual and challenging task undaunted.

Mobile Radio proposed to develop a live radio broadcast to be performed for an audience at the festival and simultaneously transmitted on air in London and Lisbon. The initial idea for the work was to attempt to convert the sound poem Ursonate by exiled German artist Kurt Schwitters into morse code (Schwitters spent the last years of his life working on his final Merzbau a few miles away in Elterwater), and use this as a guide soundtrack to support the creation of an intimate portrait of Barrow-inFurness. In the week leading up to the broadcast we worked closely with the other resident artists, who joined us for the live performance of our piece titled MORSONATA.

We also asked a friend to record the sonnet Barrow-on-Furness by the Portuguese writer Fernando Pessoa to use as another element of the piece, threaded through layers of other recordings and a live soundtrack improvised by the four performers on electronic instruments, household appliances and harmonium.

During the radio performance we incorporated recordings made by other festival artists around the town during the preceding week, and included a documentary element discovered through a visit to the Dock Museum. This was a letter which became the defining text of MORSONATA, sent by a young local man James M. Freel while being held as a prisoner of war, informing his mother that he was still

Since that first bro adcast of MORSONATA from the old Shipyard Canteen we have played it as part of our work at the 30th São Paulo Bienal in Brazil in 2012, and have mentioned it in various talks on radio art. The piece was made available to visitors at an exhibition at Konsthall C in Stockholm in 2013. It is available for download on Soundcloud, which means it may well have been broadcast on other radio stations.


It is very rare to have the opportunity to both prepare thoroughly in advance and then immerse yourself fully in your surroundings as you work on your ideas for a performance. The collaboration with organisers, locals and visiting artists was a one-off, and enabled an untypical type of work to emerge. Working at FoN also enabled Mobile Radio to establish a working relationship with Haco, who became a regular collaborator and touring partner. The process also threw up new ideas for larger scale works which have been stored away for future opportunities should they arise. The down-to-earth nature and willingness of the organisation to mobilise local resources makes Octopus a joy to work with. The time given to artistic considerations and space created for work to develop are uncommon commodities, and are by no means a given elsewhere. Overall it is the personal touch and interest of the team that facilitates such a productive working environment. mobile-radio.net

Following pages: Faust and Pram the Canteen, 2009 Susan Matthews and Clutter residency, the Canteen, 2009


Mobile Radio & Haco residency, The Canteen, Barrow, 2009


This page: Flyer Design (image by Lucy May Schofield) Full of Noises 2010 Following pages: Hildur Guรฐnadรณttir residency, Lanternhouse, Ulverston 2010


2010 At the same time, we moved our offices into Piel View House, the former park keepers’ house in Barrow Park, and started to think about how artists might respond to working in a bandstand, boating lake or pitch and putt course. As a pilot, we held monthly installation and performance events on the bandstand.

“It’s definitely a trumpet” Paul Rooney, Spit Valve Following FoN 2009, we took a few months to recover and started to broadly think about what to do next. The Canteen had closed its doors shortly after the festival, and subsequently we were without a venue or office space.

Paul Rooney produced an early highlight in the form of Spit Valve, a monologue about a man trapped inside a trumpet. Also braving the wintry bandstand were Noise Club, Mark Vernon with Xmas Rewind, C97’s sound map of Barrow, and following in the Spring, Dan Fox’s Boom Bike and Mary Stark and Ellie Chaney’s phonebox recording project. Chris Watson also dropped into the Dock Museum during this time to give a talk.

Help arrived in the shape of Grizedale Arts who were an early source of advice and inspiration, partnering with Ulverston’s Lanternhouse to support a year-long programme. With a new venue at our disposal, we started to programme a series of smaller events ranging from film screenings to introductions to turntablism and deconstructions of country music. Alongside this, FoN team member Alex Oxley was able to briefly turn Ulverston into a nexus for contemporary electronic music, inviting the likes of Lorn, Hype Williams, Zan Lyons and others to the barn-shaped performance space.

As part of PRS for Music’s New Music Plus programme, we co-produced a series of events with FACT and the Liverpool Biennial, including the first UK screening of the Boredoms film Boa Drum 77 with a live intro by Mark Pilkington, Stephen Cole and Andy Hunt and a show in the wooden amphitheatre Rockscape with a.P.A.t.T, Noise Club, Aurelie, Samizdat and a magician. Biennial-linked performances came from Hildur Guðnadóttir and Naomi Kashiwagi and a series of talks included Resonance FM’s Ed Baxter.

Residencies seemed to be the most potentially fruitful strand of the last festival so we were eager to develop this. From a very long longlist, we invited Hildur Guðnadóttir and AGF. Antye has written at length about her time at Grizedale Arts’ Lawson Park residency centre elsewhere in this book, looking at ways of presenting electronic music in the environment with no power or sound system. Hildur joined us fresh from opening the Liverpool Biennial to work on a performance, sounding out Cathedral Cave along the way and playing a sold-out show at Lanterhouse.

During all of this we started to piece together the 2011 festival which would attempt to bring these various strands together into a harmonious whole... Glenn Boulter


Hildur Guรฐnadรณttir performance, Lanternhouse, Ulverston, 2010


Hildur Guรฐnadรณttir & Philip Jeck performance, Liverpool Never Records, 2010


AGF residency, Grizedale Arts, Coniston 2010


Antye Greie-Ripatti (AGF) Sonic Wild{er}ness

The FoN crew and I did experiments with a powered PA system in the woods, which were fun but turned out to inherit the human arrogance I was trying to dismantle. Andrew Deakin from Octopus introduced and supplied FM radio technology with 12 radios and aportable radio FM transmitter to distribute sound in the woods. This battery powered system was a starting point of understanding how subtly and differently I wanted to work within a sonic ecology. Since then I have used FM radio transmission in numerous outdoor installations, field trips and workshops.

In 2008 I had relocated with my artist family to a northern Finnish island called Hailuoto after ten years of techno practice in cities, primarily Berlin. I was about to find out how my own practice, (digital music & sound art) could exist in contexts other than clubs and urban environments. In May 2010 I received an email invitation from Glenn Boulter asking for my availability to participate in the FoN Festival residency in a remote off-the-grid location in northern England.

I was invited back twice, for the 2011 FoN Festival and in 2016 for research. Staying and witnessing the pioneering arts program at Grizedale arts was the other input at that time and conversations with the artists and curators built a foundation for the next several years of developments.

I replied to Glenn saying that I would like to pursue my ‘fantastic’ new idea of wilderness performances and also that I would have to bring my 4 year old daughter with me. Looking back I can say that the residence with FoN Festival and Grizedale Arts changed my artistic life and helped steer me confidently towards the hybrid practice I am working on now.

To try and untangle how my ideas emerge, develop and sit, become actually a “thing”. I went back to look at the timeline of my artistic and personal journey.

This was the starting point: Whenever I am in nature alone, I feel truth. Whatever truth means. I am curious about how it feels to connect nature with digital technology, which is an essential part of my art form. The relationship(s) between digital society and nature is the core concern of this project. How do they coexist, communicate and interact?

The romantic concept of the ‘wilderness performance’ or what we could more simply call ‘outdoor music making’ is essentially a sonic intervention into different ecologies. Originally a computer musician or electronic music recording artist and performer, over time my practice has expanded to include curation and facilitation of group based outdoor interventions, and more recently including instrument development.

So, in the following summer of 2010 my first ever artist residency in the Lake District happened.


Timeline 2004 - 2 months during summer spent in the Finnish woods without electricity

2013 - Solo album SOURCE VOICE, label Line Imprint, US

2006 - Invitation from Interferenze in Southern Italy, a remote rural arts festival

2014 - Curation and Hai Art production of Organum, acoustic sculpture by Lukas K체hne

2008 - Permanent move from Berlin to north Finnish island Hailuoto

2015-2016 - Foundation of #SOCCOS network as main partner Hai Art. EU fund

2010 - Residency with FoN Festival & Grizedale Arts

2015 - Curation & facilitation of #SOCCOS micro-residence Hailuoto (10 young sound artists)

2011 - One year full artist grant, Finnish Arts Council

2015 - Curation & participation Hybrid Matters, Field_Notes camp, Sonic Wild Code, Kilpisj채rvi

2011 - Residency for Bioart Society Finland Kilpisj채rvi, sound and ecology 2011 - FoN Festival, Siren, Wind & Schwitters

2016 - Lecture on Sonic Wild{er}ness at Goldsmiths, University London

2011-2013 - Kaiku, community sound choir Hailuoto (imitating the field)

2016 - Facilitation of sound camp SAMA for university Uniarts Helsinki

2012 - Foundation of remote arts centre Hai Art with EU rural agricultural grant support

2016 - PAPER: Instrumentality in Sonic Wild{er}ness by Antye Greie-Ripatti, Till Bovermann

2012 - Conference on Wind as Context remote & rural arts

2016 - Curation & facilitation of #SOCCOS micro-residence Hailuoto (10 established artists)

2012-2014 - Curation and facilitation of 10 artists residencies with artists including Kaffe Matthews, Mark Fell, Grizedale Arts, Carsten Stabenow, Ryoko Akama and Juan Duarte Regino

#Soccos = Sound of Culture and Culture of Sound www.soccos.eu

2013 - International arts & activism camp: Case Pyh채joki, On Radioactive Influence


performed in St John’s church by children and women. The pieces were Siren, Wind and Schwitters.

After the FoN residency I wrote a grant application to the Finnish Arts Council and was granted a one year artist grant in the following year 2011 to pursue the following proposal:

The experience at the FoN residence in 2010 had not only encouraged me to pursue the idea of outdoor music but the actual stay and observation of a rural arts organisation, Grizedale Arts, made a lasting impact.

Research and Practice: The relationship between digital society and wild nature is the core interest of this project. How do they coexist, communicate and interact?

By the end of 2011 I had founded the remote arts practice Hai Art with the intention of looking at art’s relevance to community, place and the landscape. I received a rural and agricultural development grant via the EU and was able to initiate a 2 year sound-focused arts programme on the island I was living on. I became artistic director and curator of the project which is still ongoing.

During this time I applied and was granted another remote residency with the Bio-art Society of Finland in Kilpisjarvi, Lapland. In June 2011 I drove to the most northern point of Finland. The aim was to look at sound and biodiversity and outdoor site specific sound practice. In this extraordinarily sparse and minimal landscape, the overwhelming spirit of the place, the cold and rough landscape and at the same time the airy-ness is manifest in the compositions. The wind was both incredible and impossible to record. So I retreated to imitating the wind and conducted vocal improvisations alongside the wind and recorded that into a MAX patch. I also spent time with a Finnish artist Leena Valkeapää who lives up there with an old Sami reindeer family. She pointed out to me that the practice of humming on the mountains into software is not that far away from the Yoik, a vocal art practiced by the stateless Sami tribe which I was subsequently immersed in.

In this context I invited Glenn Boulter and Adam Sutherland (from Grizedale Arts) to come to Finland and share their practice at the conference on Wind as Context - remote & rural arts. I also curated and facilitated 10 artist-In residence which engaged with the place, its socio-political circumstances and where everything took place in public and social spaces. Many sound projects grew into working with children, youth, school and kindergarten which led to the formation of an iPad Orchestra and the development of a field recording-based sound app for iOS called ‘Sound Map Hailuoto’. Hai Art’s practice intersected with another remote arts camp called Case Pyhäjoki, a hybrid camp on arts and activism in the context of a nuclear power plant built near to Hailuoto.

Inspired by this residency, I came back to the 2011 FON Festival and for the first time rehearsed and staged group vocal imitations of field recordings which were


AGF residency, Grizedale Arts, Coniston 2010



The artist Ryoko Akama and I undertook a 62km sonic boat journey from the island to the site of the planned power plant playing a Geiger counter based score to the sea. This camp was really important to appreciate the impact which occurs when interdisciplinary arts are mixed with academic research and political activism.

... had I not been sitting on a mountain unable to record wind... There is one instrument one always carries. It embodies identity, and many consider it the most personal instrument. The voice is part of the human body and, if you go outside you have a strong self-powered instrument right with you. The human voice is a source for melody, rhythm, and acoustic intervention which can also imitate sounds like wind or dripping water. Whether solo or in groups, it easily becomes part of the environment and a natural source to work with. Acoustic scenes can change the expressive impact quite dramatically. For example, screaming in a valley manifests itself differently than when shouting against a powerful waterfall or humming in a cave.

After that I took some time to explore the vocal practices I had developed in a recording for the respected minimal music label LINE Imprint (run by Richard Chartier). The record was solely based on abstract voice recordings which were inspired by Yoik, landscape and wind. In 2015 Hai Art became part of the international network SOCCOS. Other partners are the pioneering grass-root sound organisation QO-2 in Brussels, DISK Agency and CTM Festival in Berlin, Binaural Nodar in rural Portugal and A-I-R Laboratory residencies in Warsaw.

Composing vocal pieces in the landscape brings us to the Yoik. Yoik is a vocal practice developed and used by the Sami people and, while the Sami culture has a poetic approach to language, Yoik is wordless.

This program eventually has led to a European-wide network of sound artists and practices exchanged in urban and rural contexts. During that program I curated and facilitated a sound camp with 10 young sound artists which led to numerous revelations regarding the potential of group outdoor music practice. I have subsequently organised camps in this manner with the emphasis on listening, outdoor music improvisation and interventions and instrument building for sonification of the environment.

Our voice is a powerful instrument, especially when used without words or language, it can contribute immensely to an outdoor intervention, communicating with the sonic environment. Using the voice without words can also remind us of a more animalistic, ancient thread within us and our subconscious. It leads to intriguing and sometimes amusing results.


- 2014-July-18, JAP, Sapporo, Sound Poem Sapporo Opening SIAF 2014 - 2014-Jun 7, DE, Bayrischer Rundfunk ‘Nachtmusik’live 2014-Feb 5-8, FIN, Pori Art Museum “Sound Map Hailuoto” - 2011-Dec-4 World, [l58}, online performance for Annie Abrahams - 2011-Oct-28 GER, Berlin, HKW, Sound Studies 6pm - 2011-Aug-1-6 UK, Barrow, Piel Island, FON Festival - 2011-July-30 FIN, Hailuoto, C, performance - 2011-July-4-8 FIN, Hailuoto, Work with Agit Cirk - 2011-May-31-Jun-6 FIN, Kilpisjarvi, Artist in Residency - 2010-Aug 25-29 UK, Lake District Residency, FON Festival

Since that first meeting with Octopus, working with field recordings as source material in my composition has led to many of the recordings made during outdoor interventions finding their way into my releases. These include: - AGF, Kon:3p>UTION to: e[VOL]ution, 2016, AGF Producktion, CD - AGF & Various, A Deep Mysterious Tone, 2015, AGF Producktion, CD Book - AGF & Various, Kuuntele, 2013, AGF Producktion, CD Book - AGF, Source Voice, 2013, LINE Label, CD - AGF, Beatnadel, 2011, AGF Producktion, CD - AGF, Gedichterbe, 2011, AGF Producktion, CD Book - AGF & Craig Armstrong, Orlando, 2011, AGF Producktion, CD

Following the work with FON and Grizedale Arts. I am left with many questions:

Shows and broadcasts which are directly connected to the practice of outdoor interventions include:

Does a stone field listen?

- 2016-Aug-22-28, FI, Hailuoto, #SOCCOS micro-residencies, Sonic Wild{er}ness - 2016-June-9, DE, Berlin, panel sound & activism w DAAD Berlin - 2016-April-26, UK, London, Lecture @ Goldsmiths London University - 2016-Feb-04, DE, Berlin, CTM Festival Collaborative Networks #SOCCOS 2pm-6pm - 2015-Nov-1, DE, Berlin, AGF Sounds Outside Introduction To Field Recording - 2015-Sep-14-20, FIN, Kilpisjarvi, Field Notes - Hybrid Matters - 2015-Aug-14/15, FI, Turku, presentation Saari Residence - 2014-Nov-17-20, Belgium, Brussels, Sound research partner meeting SOCCOS

What does it mean to communicate with birds and wind? Are we still Nature? Can we deepen our understanding of ourselves by making music in sonic wilderness? poemproducer.com haiart.poemproducer.com


This page: AGF performance, Lanternhouse, Ulverston 2010 Following pages: Paul Rooney, Spit Valve Barrow Park bandstnd, 2010


Noise Club (Simon Jones & Mike Loftus) performance, Barrow Park bandstand 2010


C97 (Pete Dent & Davydd Pattinson), Barrow Soundmap Barrow Park bandstand 2010


‘Spit Valve’ by Paul Rooney installation, Barrow Park bandstand 2010


‘Spit Valve’ by Paul Rooney installation, Barrow Park bandstand 2010


This page: Poster design (image by Takayo Akiyama) Full of Noises 2011 Following pages: Re:Dock & Dave Lynch - Swan Pedalo Broadcasts Barrow Park boating lake, 2011


2011 meditative performances, both later returning for residencies in 2012. We also started a move toward shorter performances, influenced by John Wall’s masterfully concise twelve-minute set at the previous festival.

The process of making connections with new artists, initiating conversations, seeding commissions and finding new spaces to present work in during 2010 proved essential for us leading up to the second edition of Full of Noises. As part of this process, we visited numerous other sound and music organisations, from SoundFjord to Islington Mill, Capsule, Tusk and Resonance FM who all provided invaluable discussion and advice. We made the decision to shift the festival to a Summer slot this year, in order to take advantage (we hoped) of Cumbria’s tiny window of dry weather. This allowed us to bring part of the programme outdoors for the first time and to develop a more playful approach, mirrored in the logo produced by illustrator Takayo Akiyama.

3. The park formed the unstable centre

of the FoN venn diagram. Crazy Golf Hack was a sprawling mass of drainpipes, sound sculptures, plastic toys and Bee Gees records created by Ross Dalziel, Chiz Turnross and Douglas Laing. A huge hit with local kids, the piece later warranted a mention in Private Eye courtesy of ‘Lunchtime O’ Boulez’. Dave Lynch and Re:Dock’s John O’ Shea strapped an FM transmitter to the back of a swan pedalo (or Grace the Open Source Swan Pedalo to use her full name) and cruised the boating lake, using the vessel as a platform for conversation between artists, local public figures (including the Mayor) and the public, with the results being picked up by portable radios secreted in pavilions, bushes and benches around the park.

For this second edition, we split the programme into three distinct strands:

1. An old club space on the fringe

of Barrow football ground provided an unlikely place to see performances from Dopplereffekt, Lone, Boxcutter, Anchorsong and DJ sets from cocurators Shengi and Mr. Sushi (Fern and Alex Oxley).

Also joining us from Japan was Ryoko Akama who performed a stark piece employing footage of the recent earthquake. Elsewhere in Lanternhouse, Tetsuo Kogawa instructed a band of local initiates in the art of transmitter building. The final event of the year was a co-production with Abandon Normal Devices and SoundNetwork taking place in Liverpool’s Norwegian Fishermen’s Church with a collaboration between Dopplereffekt and astrophysicists from the Max Planck Institute.

2. Commissioned work was premiered

in a windswept Mexican-style church on Barrow Island, an environment that allowed for a greater range of quiet/loud dynamics. Philip Jeck projected a new film onto the high ceiling to accompany his performance, AGF returned from a visit to Piel Island with a new piece for ‘wind choir’ and Tetsuo Kogawa gave a ritualistic performance of radio feedback. Tom James Scott and Lee Gamble rounded out the evening with

Glenn Boulter


Crazy Golf Hack - Ross Dalziel, Chiz Turnross, Douglas Laing & Mike Cook Barrow Park, Full of Noises 2011


Ross Daziel Crazy Golf Hack FoN gave me the opportunity to try out something new. I had run SoundNetwork since 2005 and had just picked up on the maker meme as it gained momentum in 2010. The Park at FoN seemed an ideal place to pursue something I was interested in, to engage with this ‘maker’ interactive-tech thing: but practicing it and learning interaction and coding, not sat at a screen. In the open air, in a park with non-artists surrounding you.

I also believe that working in a public space like this really challenges you and makes you rethink what you are doing, and that for me is what FoN does every time; not just a festival but a way of working and outputting research We also wanted it to have motifs from F0N and Barrow so elements were taken from Barrow’s industrial heritage and Coat of Arms (a Bee and an arrow): a ship, a bee hive, submarine sounds.

I thought it a chance to get artists who were not used to using technology to disrupt the often homogenous, shiny presentation of ‘interactive/digital’ work and engage with North West based maker, Mike Cook.

For me, the best thing about FoN is its community and the way it fosters this community in the local area of the park. Sticking to an artistic vision but being sensitive to the needs of the parkkeepers and cafe and the people who use the park. It still holds the participant record for anything I’ve done in public.

Crazy Golf Hack was a site-specific artist hackspace and site-specific physical computing workshop aiming to extend and support socially engaged contexts for art, technology and new music. Designed and curated by me but also considered a collaborative artwork.

It started a whole series of work for me and made me extend this into a programme called Fairground Frameworks for SoundNetwork and my own work.

This was a family-friendly event allowing artists to playfully hack an existing pitch & putt golf course in Barrow Park and bring out its ‘inner’ crazy golf course. A mix of fun and serious interaction design, it allowed artists to learn from each other and collaborate and respond to real world hands-on systems like golf courses.

For a while it became a calling card, ‘the crazy golf guy’, and it caused Sound Network to shift and change in the way it needed to. SoundNetwork is no more but crazy golf and FON made me take a jump and support me into the way I think of and distribute my work now. cheapjack.org.uk

It was also about bringing out and celebrating the community associated with parks and gardens, often forgotten about and taken for granted, with up to five hundred people of all ages turning up and playing a round.


AGF & Wind Choir Piel Island, Full of Noises 2011


AGF & Wind Choir St John’s Church, Barrow Island, Full of Noises 2011


Anchorsong the Bluebird Club, Barrow-in-Furness, Full of Noises 2011


Dopplereffekt the Bluebird Club, Barrow-in-Furness, Full of Noises 2011


(Above) Philip Jeck Station View House, Barrow-in-Furness, Full of Noises 2011 (Right) Tetsuo Kogawa workshop, Lanternhouse, Ulverston, Full of Noises 2011


Poster design Mobile Radio residency 2012


2012 We worked twice this year with FoN 2009 veterans Mobile Radio. In June we hacked all manner of radios to create a performance that was streamed live to the RadiaLx festival in Portugal, a 60 min piece also involving aeolian instruments, strange goings-on in the basement and an unironic rendition of a Coldplay song. Later in the year we joined Knut and Sarah to take part in their epic Mobile Radio BSP project - a continuous live broadcast from the Sao Paulo Biennial.

Another interim year, in which we started to rebuild the festival from scratch, reverting to to running smaller events and introducing new artists to Barrow. The year started with a co-production with Tusk that saw Maja Ratkje performing alongside Ikue Mori, recordings of which later appeared (with Laurel and Hardy assisted portrait and song titles) on their album Scrumptious Sabotage. Mr Underwood made the first of many visits to the park, sowing the seeds of a year long programme of hacking meetups with his Noise Box light controlled synth. Later events produced contact mics, GPS wearables with Nikki Pugh and recycled Shamisen with Ryoko and Yukihiro Akama (using some incredibly sharp Japanese saws).

We also presented at the Wind as Context conference, run by AGF and her new organisation Hai Art on the remote Finnish Island of Hailuoto. Other returning artists included Dave Lynch, who proposed a rather unusual project which we co-produced with Abandon Normal Devices (see Dave’s essay for more on this).

We ran a call out for radio works to continue our occasional radio project FoN Air with fourteen or so works being selected from a list of over a hundred submissions. Artists included: Andrew Anderson, Shaun Blezard, Danny Bright, Caro Churchill, Kinokophone Collective, Louise Harris, John Linden, Mark Marrington, Gretel My, Pablo Sanz Almoguera, Gregg Potts, Paul Stones and Mark Vernon with many traveling to Barrow to broadcast live. Content ranged from a record of a hitchhike to Barrow to singing stones and haunted monologues. John Eacott visited Piel View House to lead a broadcast of his piece Floodtide in which real time data of the tide is transformed into musical notation, played by vocalist Kirsten Taylor and guitarist Andy Halsey.

The residency programme returned in earnest, working towards the two main concerts for FoN 13, one entirely acoustic and another that explored the history of electronic music. Ryoko Akama worked with dancer Mariko Satomi, also developing a four channel piece and a version of Alvin Lucier’s Music on a Long Thing Wire whilst Lee Gamble created a piece for EMS Synthi A. Each drawing upon an aspect of Furness history, Lauren Redhead, Tom Scott and Jon Hering devised works around Barrow landmark St James Church, employing a monumental pipe organ (used at Queen Victoria’s wedding), tubas, piano, shelf brackets and a recently unearthed set of handbells. Glenn Boulter


Ryoko Akama residency presentation, Cookes Studios, Barrow-in-Furness 2012


Lee Gamble residency, Piel View House, Barrow-in-Furness 2012


Mark Vernon ‘Paper Cone Music’, Piel View House, Barrow-in-Furness 2012


Mark Vernon ‘Paper Cone Music’, Piel View House, Barrow-in-Furness 2012


Mobile Radio (Knut Aufermann & Sarah Washington) broadcast / performance, Piel View House, Barrow-in-Furness 2012


Mobile Radio (Knut Aufermann & Sarah Washington) broadcast / performance, Piel View House, Barrow-in-Furness 2012


Lauren Redhead residency 2012/13


Lauren Redhead vertical features / entoptic landscape In January and February 2013 I was an artist in residence with Octopus, working on creating pieces for the Full of Noises Festival that year. When I began the residency I hadn’t planned out which pieces I would write and how I would respond to the place and the spaces of the festival. This felt like a rather unique experience: the residency and commission came with no obligations except to create some work for the festival (a rarity these days) and the artistic freedom this allowed led to the exploration of some specific ideas in the pieces vertical features and entoptic landscape.

Some further experimentation resulted in the creation of a ‘manuscript’ template that implied a circular score that could be variously dissected, intersected, and ‘read’ in different directions. Combining this manuscript with the pitch and rhythm ideas I had tried in the brass band score, and with operations and interventions into the images I made of the columns (such as overdrawing, tracing, re-producing), provided me with the material for twelve individual graphic scores. Together, they were presented in the manner of points on a clock face in the bandstand, allowing festival attendees to view them and perform them if they wished.

vertical features turned out to be an installation of twelve scores created to be shown in a bandstand. When the bandstand was suggested as a possible space for a piece I had thought about many options, including making music that was somehow ‘circular’ and would involve music being played outwards from the bandstand in all directions.

I performed the scores at the festival, alongside musicians Sarah Gail Brand, Stuart Estell and Sam Underwood. This provided the opportunity to speak to others about the piece and encourage them to perform with me. The piece has since been shown at the Drawing Towards Sound: Visualising the Sonic exhibition (04.03.15-02.04.15), curated by David Ryan at the Stephen Lawrence Gallery. The original context of the piece was removed from this space, and the decision was made to display the scores as a 2-dimensional circle, thus capturing the circular nature of the work in a different way. Seeing the work in this context, alongside other pieces from the history of graphic notation, helped to contextualise the notation and draw parallels between these score and other familiar works.

After several experiments with pitch class sets and musical ideas, including a workshop of some of these with the Dalton Brass Band, I moved away from the idea of a traditional score: I wanted to create a piece that wasn’t a single performance event but was open to the possibility of interaction and future performance. I was also quite interested in pictures that I had taken at Furness Abbey of partially ruined and decayed columns: these reminded me both of such columns in Roman architecture and the structure of the bandstand.


I’m still hoping that future performances and presentations will be possible, particularly in other bandstands.

At the time of writing this piece I had been reading a lot about the nature and purpose of ice-age art. The piece itself is influenced a lot more by the intended performance circumstances than the specific landscape in Barrow. I was intrigued by the idea that ice-age art might stem from ritualised performance, enhanced by sound and repetition, and wanted to create a piece that might both re-create this state of mind and re-perform the symbols of this art. The word ‘entoptic’ refers to a phenomenon that is experienced by all human beings when all light is shut from their eyes: small flashes and patterns appear that are really the experience of ‘seeing’ the structure of the optic nerve. These patterns are common to all humans (including those in the ice age) and are thought to have informed the earliest artworks. This idea provided me with the starting point of one of the only experiences that could be thought to be truly universal.

entoptic landscape Perhaps the opposite of vertical features, what became entoptic landscape (version 1) was written solely as a performance event for the festival. I often perform music for organ and electronics, favouring a quadraphonic audio set-up. I decided to write for organ, trombone and four tubas. Not only did this allow collaboration with the musicians named above, but it satisfied my love of low notes and the special extended properties of brass instruments. The four tubas (the band ORE, joined by Taneli Clarke and Alison Griffiths) became the ‘quadraphonic’ set-up, using the architecture of St James Church, Barrow, where the piece was premiered, to direct their sound both towards and away from the audience. This allowed the music to blend well with the trombonist playing from the front of the church and the sound of the organ which is installed in the space.

After the Full of Noises festival, entoptic landscape grew into a much larger project. I created a second version for two tubas, trombone and tape, and a third version for organ and electronics that I performed on tour. Eventually those pieces were joined by a fourth, digital-only, version as part of the album entoptic landscape available on the pan y rosas discos label. Further performance versions have taken place, including collaborations with other improvisers, and a final, graphic-only score version will be available from my publisher this year.

entoptic landscape (version 1) is also a graphic score, albeit a linear one. A mixture of pitch material, graphemes, images and text offer the performers a strict time structure in which some flexibility of performance is permitted. The ability of the tuba and trombone to amplify whispered or spoken text is exploited, whilst the instrumental blend and slow process of similar graphic and pitch instructions creates a texture that is homogenous and differentiated, steadily moving and static.


In many ways, my residency with Octopus and Full of Noises provided a jumping-off point for the stages of my practice that began in 2013 including working much more often as an improviser and with other improvisers, developing very personal graphic scoring techniques, and a particular iterative way of working through performance and notation that began in entoptic landscape. I owe these ways of working to the openness of the residency: this certainly makes the argument, to me, about the importance of artistic freedom and the unstructured possibility of creating work without restraint in the development of artists and their practice. I’m still working through the lessons learned in this residency and will likely continue to do so for some time yet. laurenredhead.eu


Above: Poster design Full of Noises 2013 Following pages: Jon Hering Veil of Nightshade, Full of Noises 2013 Bohman Brothers performance, Full of Noises 2013 76

2013 Following all the fun in the park during the day on Friday we had a great night at Barrow’s Lynchian cabaret club, the Nines, a venue deeply embedded in the late-night psyche of generations of Barrovians. A heady cocktail of chrome, glass and velvet it really wa a special space, tailor-made for Herb Diamante who sang a selection of haunting songs from his catalogue of heartbreak and absurdity, a perfect blend of form and function. The evening was jam packed with wonders, opening with Two Lions by Ryoko Akama in which she played the Box of Obscure, an electronic device she developed from the body of a Japanese lute. Ryoko was joined by Shaun Blezard (who will pop up again later) and Fiona Ogilvie.

FON 2013 took a back-to-basics approach featuring artists working with analogue and acoustic sources, archaic and obscure instruments and technologies, responding to particular spaces and places alongside a series of talks and presentations focusing on some of the mavericks and pioneers of experimental and electronic music. Since moving to our current building in the centre of Barrow Park we’ve tried to show work in various parts of the park to offer local communities, festival-goers and artists the opportunity to share and explore family-friendly, though often ‘unusual’, performances and installations. This year SoundNetwork and Simon Jones brought Resonator, a haptic sound installation that uses a bouncy castle as an interface for controlling feedback and sound. It was big, black and LOUD. Oh, and fun! Perfectly sited on the traditional bandstand was Vertical Features by Lauren Redhead - a long, circular graphic score mounted on the inside handrail with an open invitation to all and sundry to bring any instrument and have a go. Many did.

ORE (Stuart Estell and Sam Underwood) literally lowered the tone: ‘We play slow music using two tubas and amplification. We are heavy but our heaviness comes from the way our bass, contrabass and sub-contrabass sounds hang in the air and relate to their surroundings natural echoes, natural silences’ They invited trombonist Sarah Gail Brand to join them for an encore of low-brass heaven, hinting at some of the joys waiting for us at St James on Saturday.

If you look out of our office window you will see a walled garden with rose beds, little alcoves and seats - a sanctuary. We asked Steve Symons to develop an interactive piece which would encourage people to work with each other and to ‘play’ music together. His piece Colpersys 4 was the result. By using their smartphone and an app with the most beautiful, simple interface, audiences selected and placed sounds in the space - played out over 4 loudspeakers hidden in the shrubbery.

The Bohman Brothers delivered a seemingly chaotic, absurd yet transcendental performance which entranced, and amused our diverse audience. Proof that art can make you laugh and cry, sometimes both at the same time. Howlround (Robin The Fog and Chris Weaver) appeared in their sextet format (four vintage tape machines, two people) taking up most of the dance-


floor with their unfeasibly long loops of 1/4inch audio tape - imperceptibly, beautiful, fragile and half-remembered sounds were being woven into an exquisite and ephemeral cloud of ‘aural ectoplasm’. Enchanting music-theatre. Situated next to Howlround was a table on which stood another piece of old technology, an EMS Synthi AKS analogue synthesiser which Lee Gamble pushed to it’s limits in a performance which was as rhythmically physical as it was cerebral. And just a little bit scary. Finally Felix Kubin, that lovechild of the home recording era, gave us Tape Delinquents a sophisticated, playful and personal exploration of the joys and disappointments of magnetic tape recording.

early on Saturday morning on one of the hottest days of the year an intrepid and enthusiastic audience were treated to presentations by: Dr John Dack on Pierre Schaeffer drawing on his then recently published translation with Christine North of the classic text In Search of a Concrete Music; Dave Lynch and his ‘laser zoopraxniscope Mk4’ developed as part of the Nimbus project to display images onto clouds. He then joined Dr Mike Nix and Dr Vlad Strukov in conversation about the work; Settimio Fiorenzo Palermo gave a fascinating talk about table-top electronics pioneer Hugh Davies he even brought Davies’ SHO-ZYG to show us.; finally Felix Kubin shared his enthusiasm and an encyclopaedic knowledge of the German underground tape scene in the 1980’s, and the role played by the cheap and cheerful Compact Cassette.

Our first ever film premiere happened on Saturday and Sunday at Cookes Studios, a stones throw from the park. We had been thrilled to be able to commission artist film maker Helen Petts to make a film about her close friend Lol Coxhill. In the following pages you can read Helen’s account of how this came to be made but needless to say she produced something of rare tenderness and power which perfectly captured Lol’s many qualities.

Grizedale Arts offered the FON Meal Deal for artists and audience alike prior to the Saturday evening performances at St James Church: Hand Raised pie and sushi with miso soup or Bovril, A range of local produce restyled a la mode, seaweed and spam, hot crust and cold fish. Hedgerow cordials by Coniston Youth Club and their Sodastream. Yum.

In a rather derelict attic space at Cookes Ryoko Akama installed a version of Alvin Lucer’s ‘Music on a Long Thin Wire’ which perfectly suited this dusty bare space - it looked and sounded beautiful and was more than sufficient payback for those who walked up the longest flight of stairs in Barrow to get there.

It had felt risky to program acoustic only work in this concert and it wasn’t until the rehearsals during the day that it started to become clear that something very special was going to happen that evening. With an expectant audience sat in the pews trombonist Sarah Gail Brand started to sound-out the space from the back of the church,

We had wanted to make space in the programme for talk and discussion so


her beautifully rich and expressive tone filling the huge space, nudging us to listen to the subtle changes in colour and texture as the sound bounced around and decayed to silence. Sarah was showing us what the space had to offer. She played and walked slowly down the aisles until, having climbed the steps to the pulpit she ‘preached’ to us summoning the spirits of New Orleans in an unforgettable and moving distillation of the old and the new, sacred and profane. Still playing she descending the steps and disappeared through the vestry door making us strain our ears to the limit. Sarah had prepared us all for what was to come.

had moved the piano into place at the front ready for a wonderfully delicate and poised performance by Tom James Scott playing his typically spare and perfectly wrought melodies whilst a field recording drifted almost inaudibly, yet magically from hidden loudspeakers at the very back of the church. We were left in silence and stillness. The final piece was another world premiere - Veil of Nightshade by Jonathan Hering who arrived by coach earlier that day, along with 16 or so members the Liverpoool Experimental Orchestra who were to sing and play the rediscovered handbells. The sight and sound of 16 performers (now including Shaun Blezard who stepped in at the last minute) playing 30 odd handbells and singing with John playing the organ in a roof raising climax at the end of the evening will not be forgotten by those who were there. Perhaps we should do it again.

Laura Cannell and Andre Bosman gave us another promenade performance - both playing fiddles they wove their way through the space making a music which was impossible to place in time sometimes convincingly medieval and then like something from the future. Lauren Redhead was organist in the world premiere of her entoptic landscape for 4 tubas, organ and trombone developed as a result of her residency with us, the unusual instrumental grouping conceived during a rather bizarre conversation on twitter a few months earlier. With the four tubas placed at each corner of the audience, trombone (Sarah again!) in the centre of the choir stalls and Lauren in the organ loft, the stage was set for a truly surround sound experience which was almost primeval in its sound world and power.

We had a range of workshops on Sunday, on Field Recording with sound recordist David Chapman at the local Dock Museum and on listening/drawing with SoundFjord gallery founder Helen Frosi. Dirty Electronics held a workshop on Saturday where participants made their own delightfully named Noise Shadow and Filthy Lady Bracknell electronic instruments which brought the festival to a close as they performed from behind makeshift backlit screens. Moving shadows mixed with harsh and sometimes beautiful electronic sounds and the odd giggle was a fitting end to a great weekend.

During the interval our tireless stage crew (Shaun Blezard and Alan Jackson)

Andrew Deakin


Herb Diamante performance, The Nines, Barrow-in-Furness 2013


Howlround performance, The Nines, Barrow-in-Furness 2013 Following page: Ryoko Akama Alvin Lucier, Music on a Long Thin Wire, Full of Noises 2013



Ryoko Akama residency 2012/13


Ryoko Akama Ways of Strings Two Lions Music on a Long thin Wire When I moved to Northern England in 2012, Octopus kindly invited me to perform at the FoN festival, I think AGF had recommended me to them. Since then, I have participated in concerts, residencies and also co-curated several events with them.

The festival is committed to offering opportunities for local communities and artists, yet, does not compromise on the artistic quality and range of work presented, much of which is commissioned from artists from around the UK, Europe and beyond.

FoN festival was, and still is, a warm as well as innovative festival that should be celebrated in so many ways.

My first appearance at FoN was a brilliant experience. I had been away from the UK for nearly five years and this was the first event I performed at on my return.

It is a place where artists are taken care of properly in the most humanistic way. Food is treated as a part of the festival. They often have cooks who prepare lunches and dinners. This is great from an artists’ point of view, however, it is also clever from a curatorial viewpoint as it reduces costs and perhaps most importantly, each mealtime offers an opportunity for festival artists to mix and talk to each other.

My network has expanded and has given me the most wonderful opportunity to continue working with Octopus offering me many new insights and ideas in support of my sonic and curatorial practice. Over time I have realised that my experience is not unique and that the Octopus team always try to meet artists’ requirements and make them feel comfortable and welcome in their corner of Cumbria. I think the Octopus members are too nice and can not think of their own selves but only of others!

I like the fact that they ‘risk’ the choice of artists every time. They try not to ride on mainstream line-ups just because it may increase their audience numbers. On the contrary, they tend to support emerging artists as well as establishedyet-overlooked artists. The genres they cover are diverse and challenging. I find it rare in the UK to find a festival which still works in this way.



Resonator by SoundNetwork & Simon Jones Full of Noises 2013


Resonator by SoundNetwork & Simon Jones Full of Noises 2013 Following page: Lauren Redhead entoptic landscape, rehearsal, Full of Noises 2013


Dave Lynch Nimbus talk, Full of Noises 2013


Dave Lynch Nimbus As the sun was setting on Grace’s (the open source swan pedalo) pirate radio broadcasts of FoN 2011, myself and John O’Shea were on the long road home discussing projects which we had left unresolved. I spoke of the ‘hologram prophet’, a theoretical, non-lethal weapon from a 1980s US military paper which I had been thinking about since 2007. My idea was to make an open source projection from a 16mm projector modified with a laser light source with a view to mounting it in a helicopter. Before I knew it, John was inspired to action and the quest was renewed.

I was back in the lab to listen to Mike explain his idea, instead of a disc with 14 slits, we could use 14 hemispherical lenses which turn a circle of light into a line or slit! This in turn meant the majority of the light passed through the lenses as opposed to being blocked by the slits increasing the brightness tenfold. The only stumbling block to testing his theory was the £1000 price tag to get custom-cut laser grade lenses. Later that day, I received a call from Octopode Glenn Boulter, asking if we would like to continue the cloud projection research with a budget of £1,000!

A co-commission between Abandon Normal Devices and FoN - Chasing Nimbus, the pursuit of projecting moving images onto clouds using Muybridge projection technology redesigned with a laser was in progress and the research was presented at the AND festival that August.

Later that summer, myself, Mike Nix and cultural theorist Vlad Strukov presented a successfully redesigned, laser zoopraxiscope as part of the film and discussion strand at FON 2013 and the rest is now cinematic history. Showing the discovery was a complete analogue experience, our presentation made from 35mm slides supported with zoopraxiscope prototypes on OHPs. We quickly forget the comfort of digital immediacy - quickly running through that presentation beforehand, knowing which slides is coming up next was not an option! The whole presentation reflected the process of Nimbus - making it up as we go along.

Two years later, after an epic journey rediscovering the 1900s projection technology of Eadweard Muybridge’s zoopraxiscope with chemical physicists, Prof. Ben Whitaker & Mike Nix, I was sat in the underground laser lab at Leeds University, head in hands. A few days prior, the project had died, Muybridge’s method of projection using a rotating shutter disc made from slits worked beautifully, but only in complete darkness with the super-bright light 5w lab laser. Using my £20 laser bought on Ebay was simply ruled out by physics.

Being at FoN was so much more than simply showing the work, the experience of being present in Barrow, the park etc., accompanied the tactility of the projects made for something very different to


most festivals. Especially, I noticed for my collaborator, the scientist, not versed in festivals of this nature, he had quite an unexpected experience returning to a craft based cut and stick workshop on the Sunday. I think for the large part, our process and the festival had one great thing in common, the action of ‘doing’ over ‘thinking’, learning through action.

NIMBUS is responsible for breaking the 4th seal of Revelations and the dawning of the apocalypse, funded of course by The Illuminati.

On reflection, FoN gave me the freedom to be weirder than normal, which I so needed, to be able to comprehend the surreal nature of what we had begun and more importantly how to protect it. The experience of presenting enabled me to be a character in the story of the world’s first projection of moving images onto clouds from aircraft, posing as a somewhat lost inventor buffooning around with an idea whilst articulating a concise concept and methodology. Had this been any other space, festival or conference the degree of seriousness required would have not given me the wherewithal to use this character as a method to distract the onslaught of commercial requests and soulless competitors away from the inaugural act. Therefore protecting the moment of projection so it was about collaboration rather than commercial spectacle.

Nimbus manifested through many forms of activity, yet it’s the freedom of style which FoN encouraged, let flourish and celebrated when it was most needed which formed the backbone of the project’s success.

In 2016, Nimbus was nominated for the Ars Electronica STARTS prize and is now taking form as a model to inspire others in art, science and maker collaborations.


Since FoN 2013, Nimbus was reported in New Scientist as a world first and as has since been covered globally, including the Smithsonian, the BBC, wemakemoneynotart, Engadget and so many more. The conspiracy stories started when RT.com reported the projection as science over art and now from it’s humble beginnings,


Mike Nix Nimbus talk, Full of Noises 2013 Following page: The Aleph (Jon Hering & Ben Fair) Wray Castle, 2013


Helen Petts ‘Solo Soprano’ film still, commission for Full of Noises 2013


Helen Petts Solo Soprano

(and I think he knew who I was because the Wire had recently published an article about my films with musicians). He said ‘come and talk to us’.

I first met the Octopus Collective in 2012 when I was living in the Lake District, making an artist’s film exploring landscape, sound, improvised music, and abstract forms around Kurt Schwitters’ Merzbarns in Ambleside and Norway. I had made a few films with the free improvisation music scene in London, which started through filming guitarist John Russell’s Mopomoso concerts, and this new film featured musicians improvising merz-type sounds in picture.

I was really busy at the time making my film - for the Hatton Gallery in Newcastle (home of Schwitters’ Merzbarn Wall), then going to Abbot Hall Gallery in Kendal alongside their Schwitters’ collection. When I gave an artists talk in Kendal, John Hall came along and we had a chat afterwards. I think the rest of Octopus must have gone to see the exhibition as well, because Andrew phoned me soon after and invited me to come and do a residency. So six weeks later, driving up to Ulverston to meet them before taking down the exhibition, I thought about what I would do with this opportunity.

I was leading a very solitary life, editing and dog-sitting in Dacre near Penrith, when I saw an advert in the local paper for a concert in Ulverston with Ikue Mori and Maja Ratjke. Cumbria is not known for its avant-garde music concerts and I thought, “Blimey I’d better go to that!”. I had met Ikue a couple of times in London and Huddersfield when she played with John Russell and as far as I was concerned anyone who programmed a line-up like that in Cumbria had to be supported. I saw they were called the Octopus Collective - I’d never heard of them, but wanted to meet them.

My friend Lol Coxhill had just died and I was thinking about him a lot. I had just been to his posthumous birthday concert the week before, when John Fox from Welfare State International theatre company (who were based in Ulverston) told a funny story about Lol performing in the streets of Kendal, when he was their musical director in the 1970’s. It fascinated me that Lol had worked in Cumbria and now I was working there.

I went to the concert - a good hour’s drive South - and it was like a meeting of old friends when I met Octopus (who live in and around Ulverston which is a bit bohemian, but have their headquarters in nearby industrial Barrow in Furness in the far southern corner of Cumbria). I had a long chat with co-directors John Hall and Glenn Boulter after the gig. Andrew Deakin and I, both Northerners who had lived in London, knew people in common

Lol, on soprano saxophone, was a mainstay of the European free improvisation scene, but he had also played at Woodstock with prog-rocker Kevin Ayers and toured with soul legend Rufus Thomas (see him on Youtube playing on Walking the Dog on Top of the Pops).


He also acted in Derek Jarman’s film Caravaggio and Sally Potter’s Orlando. He had an amazing face and an extraordinary presence when playing. He was a gift for a film-maker as well as being a mesmerising musician.

in the centre of Barrow Park - with a massive portrait of Kurt Schwitters in the entrance. (Andrew said it’s their test for anyone who comes to visit - do they know who it is? I think I passed.) Barrow-in-Furness is a strange place. It’s where the nuclear submarines are made. It’s a pretty bleak looking place surrounded by the stunning mountains of the Lake District as well as the extraordinary light and shade of the vast expanse of sand that is Morecambe Bay. To choose to programme the Full of Noises Festival in this town is a very brave, yet totally inspired idea.

I had always been a fan, but in the last few years of Lol’s life I was fortunate to get to know him and to film him performing quite often, including in my flat. I knew his health was not great but he was playing better than ever, so I had filmed him whenever I could capture those moments. I particularly loved filming the solo improvisations. So for my residency with the Octopus I decided to make Solo Soprano, in which I re-edited and mixed five solo improvisations by Lol Coxhill from my own archive, along with more abstract images from Lol’s flat of all the stuff he had collected over the years, and archive footage from a documentary made in 1972. Part of F0N 2013, the film was showed as an installation with 5.1 surround sound.

Helen Petts is an artist film-maker who often works in collaboration with free improvising musicians, but who also makes very solitary work in the landscape. Her films explore rhythm, texture, sound and chance events and are distributed by Lux. She studied film at Westminster University then, after a career as a mainstream film and TV director, she studied Fine Art at Goldsmith’s College and now makes films as an artist for gallery installation and festivals.

FoN is an amazing festival of new music and sound art and huge fun to take part in. The Octopus Collective are wonderful curators. They manage to combine a love of great music and sound with a sense of the surreal, the historic and a sensitivity to place. I particularly loved the way they found extraordinary venues for the concerts. One night an old sleazy nightclub with a glitter ball and ropey velvet seats, the next a local church with a Victorian organ and an amazing acoustic. In and around the old park keeper’s house that is their headquarters, hidden in trees



Helen Petts ‘Solo Soprano’, Cookes Studios, Full of Noises 2013


Sarah Gail Brand performance, St James Church, Full of Noises 2013 Opposite: Laura Cannell & AndrĂŠ Bosman performance, St James Church, Full of Noises 2013 102

Image: FoN 2009 flyer, Glenn Boulter


Poster design Full of Noises 2014


2014 We were really pleased to host Laura Cannell’s Cumbria leg of her Medieval Uprising tour featuring improvisations on medieval music from the Vth to XIVth centuries. She was joined by Stuart Estell who we last heard playing tuba at FoN2013, this time singing and playing a minimalism-influenced version of folk staple Barbara Allen, and violinist Alison Blunt. The setting was Wray Castle, a stunning Victorian folly on the western bank of Lake Windermere, owned by the National Trust where the audience was transported to the castle by bus and across the lake by vintage launch. The following day Laura gave a workshop and performance at Dalton Castle, another NT property in Dalton in Furness.

The New Year opened with Full of Noises at Café OTO in London, where an enthusiastic and appreciative audience heard some of what we get up to in the North. Including: an expanded ORE on Saturday (tuba, bagpipes, tenor horn and ‘cello), Sarah Gail Brand, Ryoko Akama, the Aleph, Howlround and Lauren Redhead. Lauren also returned to St James Church in May with a programme of music for Organ and live electronics supported by Sound and Music. Following the rather bijou performance of Floodtide in 2012 we invited John Eacott back to lead a workshop and performance of Floodtide at The Dock Museum. Seven performers from around Cumbria sat surrounded by the damp, rough-hewn walls of the former graving dock which provided a perfect setting and acoustic for this fascinating piece. After the performance someone suggested that it would be interesting to hear a performance of a full tide cycle (ie 12 hours). The seed was sown for F0N 2015’s heroic performance on Barrow Park Bandstand.

John and Glenn left Barrow for a few days in August to deliver a small but perfectly-formed slice of FoN at the Beacons Festival near Skipton in the Yorkshire Dales. Live tape-loop improvisors Howlround, tabletop guitar ensemble Ex-Easter Island Head and mysterious duo The Aleph all made an appearance. The workshop exploring Glenn’s recently developed Breadboard Guitar (made from, you guessed it, wooden breadboards) proved a hit with parents and children alike.

In June, artists in residence Hear Th↓s Space (Simon Smith, Brona Martin and Andrew Hill) presented a Field Recording and composition workshop at Cookes Studios. The sight of a dozen or so headphone-wearing, microphone-toting people wandering down Abbey Road, recording railings, traffic, footsteps etc, caused no end of amusement and puzzled stares.

We hosted Digital Media Labs in September, a project led by Benedict Phillips, Glenn Boulter and Dave Lynch that invited ten artists to work in the park for a week in order to rethink their practice. This and the 2015 edition have been documented in two publications that you can find at digitalmedialabs.org.


We celebrated the work of Alvin Lucier one afternoon at Cookes Studios in an event curated by Ryoko Akama, which included a rare screening of No Ideas But in Things and a number of performances by flautist Alba Bru featuring the UK premiere of 13 degrees of darkness for flute and pre-recorded flutes (2013). The afternoon ended with a memorable performance of Lucier’s classic 1960’s I Am Sitting in a Room with the text read by a volunteer from the audience. Lovely.

which resulted in a limited edition CD for all participant to take away. We ended 2014 having sampled many of the artists and ideas which would form the core of next years festival and were beginning to get excited about the emerging programme. We had no idea of the time and effort we were going to have to put into making it a reality... Andrew Deakin

Hear This Space returned to Cookes in October with a van-load of Genelec loudspeakers, mixers, stands and enough cables to sink a ship, which then had to be carried up to the top floor of the building and painstakingly set up to provide a multi-channel sound diffusion system for our last public concert of the year. It was worth it participants from the workshop in June had the chance to hear (and in some cases diffuse) the pieces they had made whilst we were also treated to the premieres of new works by Brona Martin and Andrew Deakin all in front of a large and varied local audience. Later in the month our 2014/15 Curator-in-Residence (yes, we’re not quite sure what that means either) Helen Frosi brought sound artist and musician Rebecca Lee to present a workshop at Cookes Studios where she talked about her work and led us in a series of lo-fi and playful soundrecording and composing exercises

Stuart Estell, Alison Blunt, Laura Canell Medieval Uprising, Wray Castle, 2014 Following page: Hear Th↓s Space sound walk, Barrow-in-Furness 2014


Hear Th↓s Space (Simon Smith) residency, Barrow-in-Furness 2014/15


Hear Th↓s Space (Brona Martin) residency, Barrow-in-Furness 2014/15


Piel View House Full of Noises studio building, Barrow Park, 2010 - present


Piel View House Full of Noises studio building, Barrow Park, 2010 - present


Alba Bru & Ryoko Akama 13 degrees of darkness for flute and pre-recorded flutes (2013) by Alvin Lucier, 2014 Opposite:Alison Blunt performance, Wray Castle 2014


Following pages: releases on Tom James Scott’s Skire label produced at Piel View House


Tom James Scott

United by a preoccupation with modern composition, traditional music, improvisation and song, Scott's recorded work also draws inspiration from visual and literary sources, with certain titles often citing a now largely archaic form of dialect particular to Scott's home county of Cumbria.

Piel View House Studio holder Tom James Scott is a multiinstrumentalist, composer, and improviser who currently lives and works in Barow-in-Furness. In 2001 Scott moved to London to study BA Sonic Arts at Middlesex University. Graduating in 2004, he remained in London until 2013 (with a short stint in Southend-on-Sea) releasing music on various independent labels and performing regularly in both the UK and Europe.

About Piel View House Piel View House is the Full of Noises studio and office space formerly the park keeper’s house and originally a 17th Century farmhouse. The space has acted as a residency base since 2010 and Octopus are currently planning to refurbish the building in order to include accommodation and facilities for a permanent residency centre and events space.

2013 saw him move to his hometown of Barrow where he began using the studios at Piel View House to record, while also establishing his own Skire imprint, a platform which enables him to publish his own music and collaborations while also developing his skills as a designer and photographer. Scott's early interest in music was informed as much by a fascination with sound and improvisation as it was by traditional musical training, and his work continues to explore both lyrical and abstract means of sound making and composition. Since 2007's 'Red Deer', Scott's solo releases to date have seen a switch between guitar, piano and keyboard as their focal point (often with the addition of bowed objects and strings, field recording and electronics).


Andrew Chalk & Tom James Scott Wild Flowers SKR01 Format: 12” LP Wild Flowers was the first collaborative release from Tom James Scott and Andrew Chalk, and features source piano initially recorded in the development stages of Trace, a performance piece produced for 2013’s FoN. festival. The delicate surface of Scott’s hushed piano playing is occasionally blurred by Chalk’s sensitive and unique approach to production, unearthing a depth of feeling usually heard as an undercurrent to the muted, almost half-sounded surface notes. Evoking distant childhood summers, strings swell and vanish like flashes of light across a weather-beaten lens, enveloping the dampened rush of piano in a haze of elation and loss.

Tom James Scott Teal SKR03 Format: 12” LP Mostly recorded at Piel View house during summer 2013, Teal draws on a wider palette than Scott’s previous solo releases, moving between rich, densely treated atmospheres and lucid reflective moments. The tensions and ease of summer spent in a place haunted by distant memories and fading childhood sentiment.


Andrew Chalk & Tom James Scott Calluna SKR04 Format: 12” mini-album Calluna is the second collaborative release from Tom James Scott & Andrew Chalk, and was completed following the duo’s first live performance which took place at Ulverston during summer 2014. Recorded over a longer time period than Wild Flowers, Calluna sees the haze of their debut lifted to reveal a clearer, more expansive sound world. Scott’s sparse unadorned piano notes occasionally cluster into more elaborate, decorative phrases, delicately underpinned and enhanced by Chalk’s slow, carefully placed additions. Tom James Scott The Carousel SKR05 Format: C38 cassette + download “Then, from some primeval forest, comes a treetop-one such as the child has seen already thousands of years ago, such as he has seen just now, for the first time, on the carousel.” - Walter Benjamin A collection of twelve instrumental pieces for guitar, piano, and keyboard, recorded in England and Lithuania during summer 2015 and completed in winter 2015/16.


Selected recordings from Full of Noises concerts and commissions: Áine O’ Dwyer Locusts Fort Evil Fruit, 2016 Áine O Dwyer is a vocalist, musician, improviser, composer, performer and visual artist. Her performances can take the form of living sound sculptures or assemblages which often bring into play mythical and satirical characters of Irish decent. In recent years, the pipe organ has become an integral site for her experimentation, culminating in the new albums ‘Locusts’ and ‘Gegenschein’. Recorded & performed by Áine O’Dwyer in 2015 at St James’ Church, Barrow-in-Furness, England & The First Unitarian Congregational Society Church, Brooklyn Heights, New York. Sybella Perry Grey Ladies Hideous Replica, 2013 A series of attempts to resonate a stone circle with sine wave tones, amplified and unamplified vocals. Recorded in Grey Ladies stone circle, Elton, Derbyshire, UK, February 2013. Original recording commissioned by Octopus Collective for Fon-Air Radio. Risograph sleeve, glass mastered screenprinted CD, PVC sleeve. Risograph A3 poster, Acetate overlay. Released in an edition of 100 copies.


Philip Jeck Cardinal Touch, 2015 “… and they sparkled like burnished brass” Out of the depths of our complaints, it could be all so simple. To be never fooled by the finesse of a long-yearned for solidity, but in the momentary aplomb of a sleepy walk threading through familiar streets we’d hum our way, alto, baritone and tenor toward some harmonious end. Maja Ratkje / Ikue Mori Scrumptious Sabotage Bocian Recordings, 2013 “A recording of live performances which brought together two essential figures of the contemporary scene: an outstanding Norwegian composer and vocal artist Maja S.K. Ratkje and a celebrated improviser and composer, former DNA drummer, Ikue Mori. The common sound territory, created together by Mori and Ratkje, balances between quietly growing tension and powerful outbursts of unrestrained, relentless noise.” Lauren Redhead entoptic landscape Pan y Rosas Discos, entoptic landscape in its first and second versions, was commissioned by Octopus Collective in barrow in furness, for the 2013 Full of Noises festival and their 2014 residency at cafe OTO. much of the initial work for the piece was undertaken in January, February and March 2013 whilst I was an artist in residence at Octopus Collective.


Digital Media Labs Ben Dalton (left), Toni Buckby (right), Barrow Park, 2015/16


Digital Media Labs Publications available online at: digitalmedialabs.org


This and following pages: Mark Vernon & Jenn Mattinson Circular Thinking’, Full of Noises 2015


Mark Vernon Circular Thinking

Happily, I was one of the artists that Octopus contacted about the possibility of creating a new work in this context. They suggested teaming up with local oral historian and creative practitioner, Jenn Mattinson. Much of my work is centred on radio and speech, so with a mutual appreciation of the voice, Jenn, as an oral historian was a natural partnership and her enthusiasm, contacts and local knowledge proved invaluable to our project.

I started working with Octopus through an invitation in 2010 to create a new sound work for the Bandstand in Barrow Park. Christmas Rewind - the piece I made, was a composed soundscape of found sounds and field recordings I’d been collecting for years – mostly from tape recording clubs of the 1960’s, but also letters on tape to distant relatives and other home recordings. It was the first piece I ever made in surround sound and it used a 6-speaker set up, with a quad set above ground and a stereo PA beneath the floorboards for extra ‘oomph’ and bass. I had no way of previewing what the results would sound like at that time and so the first time I heard it as intended was in situ. Luckily I was really pleased with how it turned out.

The idea we came up with was tentatively titled Circular Thinking. Partially inspired by the flying saucer-like dome of The Hub and with a view to exploring its surround sound capabilities - we had in mind a piece that made use of circularity and rotation as elements in its composition. This ended up including interviews and field recordings relating to all manner of cyclical processes; circuits, loops, spinning things and rotating machines. Although it wasn’t our original intention, the piece also charts a timeline of sound that stretches from artisan handicrafts to the beginnings of industrialisation and present day factories - taking in machinery driven by manpower, natural resources and electrically dependent manufacturing.

Its debut as a public event was in Barrow park on a chilly December morning. People seemed to be drawn by the sound and it was great fun when they came up for a closer listen and a chat about the work - even if our feet had frozen solid by then! The hot soup helped. In 2014 Octopus introduced me to The Hub which is an outdoor ambisonic surround sound system in Workington town centre. Following its installation in 2008 there wasn’t really a sustainable infrastructure for programming new work for it. Aside from occasional community projects it fell into disuse or just became used as a sound system for playing music or adverts. Octopus forged relations with Allerdale Borough Council and proposed finding new ways of involving artists to make work specifically for this unique location.

All of the sounds and voices used in the piece were recorded in Cumbria. Sounds used in the composition of the piece included a potter’s wheel, a launderette, wind turbines, speedway races, a water mill, bicycle wheels, a clock restorer’s workshop and a tour of the Cranston’s sausage factory where they make the famous spiralled Cumberland ring


a spiral seating formation in the centre of the space. Although it was crucial to the success of the work, it is rare that you have the luxury of time to experiment and play with the diffusion of the piece and the set up of the space. Considering that we were trying something entirely new Octopus invested a huge amount of support and trust in us.

sausages. Being a public work, we were keen that the piece reflected the place and people in which it was situated. The sounds of the Workington speedway are one example – it’s a sound familiar to anyone living in that town but we were interested to see what happened when that sound was transplanted into a different context. All of the interview voices are those of people who live locally so the region of Cumbria is integral to the entire piece.

It has encouraged me to experiment further with the possibilities of surround sound. Having the capability to play back sound over multiple speakers has changed the way I think about recording sound. I’m keen to further explore the possibilities of recording from multiple perspectives that can then later be combined. I have set up my home studio for basic quadraphonic mixing and I hope to expand this in the future.

We narrowed down a list of places, people, businesses and locations we wanted to visit and went on a series of location recording trips over a 6-month period. All of the people we contacted were incredibly accommodating and kindly agreed to give up their time for us for free. It was only during this time that I realised what a massive and dispersed region Cumbria is. I was lucky to have Jenn to point out just how far we could realistically travel in a day. From this series of trips we amassed nearly 40 hours of voices and field recordings that were then used to create the piece.

I think the special thing that Octopus achieve is to create a sense of informality whilst still being incredibly organised. They are very attentive to the artist’s needs and requirements and give them the time and resources to create the best version of the work that they are capable of. As an artist you feel very well looked after and that your wellbeing is important to them. This allows the artists to focus on the really important thing, the work itself.

Although the piece was created for playback on The Hub, its debut was at the FoN festival in 2015. This was the first time either myself or Jenn had ‘diffused’ a piece rather than mixing it live. Having the ‘Hear this Space’ sound system to playback the work made for a truly unique listening experience. With an array of over 80 speakers the sound was incredible (even though we only made use of half of them). In keeping with our theme we also arranged the audience in

Over the FoN festival weekend a minicommunity of artists, performers and audience members builds up. Spending three or four days together in a relatively small town everyone gets to know one another. The informal conversations and


exchange of ideas that spring up out of this are really what it’s all about. Following the FoN festival the piece was played on The Hub in Workington as a special event which included another Octopus commission by composer Brona Martin. Excerpts of the piece have been played at ‘Inter’ (a surround sound listening event in Glasgow), Lights Out Listening Group (an ‘in the dark’ listening event in Glasgow), and on Resonance FM. Circular Thinking won the ‘Radio Art’ category at the Phonurgia Nova Awards in September 2016, hosted at the National Library in France. meagreresource.com


Poster Design (Tom James Scott) Full of Noises 2015


2015 For FoN 2015 Octopus was joined by guest curators Helen Frosi (SoundFjord) and Ryoko Akama, with Tom James Scott providing design and artwork for an expanded programme that included specially commissioned live performances, talks, installations and workshops by a broad spectrum of composers, musicians and sound artists from across the UK, Europe and Japan.

The organ was also used by Ingrid Plum before she moved into the nave to entrance us with her wide-ranging voice. During a break in setting up for the evening at St James in 2013, Stuart Estell (who played tuba with ORE and Lauren Redhead that year) sat at the piano and played a beautiful piece by Stockhausen, there followed a conversation which led to us commissioning him to write Billy Again, a monumental 12 movement piece for concertina and piano based on the Cotswold Morris dance tune Constant Billy. Stuart played the rare Jeffries duet concertina with pianist Michelle Hitchman.

Wanting to explore a new format for the festival we planned the weekend with a ‘traditional’ sit-down concert on Friday evening moving to active listening and participation on Saturday and culminating in a record-breaking durational piece that aimed to break down some of the boundaries between audiences, performers and composer.

Stephan Barrett offered a delightful and subtle interlude for piano and field recordings and the evening ended with a genre-shattering performance from Charles Hayward, Ralph Cumbers and Laura Cannell - collectively known as OSCILANZ. Fragments of music by Hildegard von Bingen were illuminated and transformed using trombone, drums, fiddle, recorders, voices, samplers and electronics in a way which bypassed all notions of correct ways-toperform early music. It was magic and we could have listened to them all night.

The festival opened on Friday evening in the Victorian splendour of St James Church preceded by an open air performance of John Eacott’s Floodtide with voices and handbells joined by the newly restored tower bells welcoming the audience, and after a while leading them into the church to prepare for what was to follow. Violinist Alison Blunt and soprano saxophonist Gianni Mimmo opened with an astonishing, freely improvised duet filling the space with gorgeously rich and blended sound. Irish musician Áine O’ Dwyer sang and played from the organ loft, only the surprising and very funny appearance of her outstretched hand tooting a car hooter confirming that she was actually there.

On Saturday we took over the wonderful Art Gene spaces at the Nan Tait Centre just across the road from the Cookes Studios for a day jam-packed with things to do, see and hear, mostly curated by Helen Frosi and Ryoko Akama.


In the morning Simon Pomery led a workshop exploring and making poetry and sound poetry and John Eacott prepared various local musicians and groups for Sunday’s 12-hour version of Floodtide. After lunch there was a semi-improvised performance for snare drum and gong by Patrick Farmer followed by an event situated somewhere between an artist’s talk, a performance and a group exercise as Lisa Skuret installed a fictional, temporary research lab in the Art Gene studio.

and Adrian McEwan) trialed their new crowdsourced soundsystem on the bandstand, navigating difficult ‘Donk‘ requests with aplomb. Opening the Saturday evening concert, Charles Hayward took to the upright piano and enthralled us with his songs and anecdotes. Clever, funny, vulnerable. Unforgettable. We were led into the stunning Art Gene gallery space which housed a multi-speaker diffusion system - a striking combination of vintage hi-fi (and some lo-fi!) speakers supplied by Octopus and the high-end speakers, mixers and DACs brought to Barrow by Hear This Space. We playfully referred to it as the ‘Charity Shop BEAST’. It looked and, more importantly, sounded fantastic.

In the main gallery Mark Vernon and Jenn Mattinson premiered Circular Thinking, their new multi-channel work on the Hear This Space acousmoniumlike sound system which also hosted work made during last years workshops by Stet, Elana, Runa, Rick Thompson, Carlito Juanito and Seo Bomi, Jessica Rowland and Andrew Deakin.

There were performances from Kanta Horio and Minoru Sato who share a common interest in natural phenomena and chaotic systems, each of them producing striking, and strikingly different sound worlds from deceptively simple self-made instruments. The trio of DunningWebsterUnderwood (turntable, saxophone and tuba) improvised a set which was notable for the quality of what they didn’t play as much as what they did. Impressive.

If this was too much there was an intimate all afternoon listening room curated by SoundFjord under the title ‘Place Anew!’ featuring work by Colin Black, Cathy Lane, Rebecca Lee, Anthony Kelly & David Stalling, Danny McCarthy, Robin Parmer, Dan Scott and Mark-Peter Wright. Meanwhile, over the road in Cookes Studios there were showings of sound-focused films by Mladen Kovacevic and John Grzinich and two startling and beautiful installations by Kanta Horio and Minoru Sato.

On the small stage was a table which held a number of very large wine glasses and various effect pedals from which These Feathers Have Plumes (Andie Brown) coaxed fragile and beautiful sounds, producing textures and structures of crystal clarity. Having asked the audience to turn their chairs to face the Charity Shop BEAST Hear

The Boomstand team (Hwa Young Jung, Brett Lempereur, Ross Dalziel


Th↓s Space diffused a programme curated by Brona Martin which included the premiere of her FoN commission Workington and Beyond’ together with multi-channel pieces by Cathy Lane, Annie Mahtani, Karen Power, Linda O’Keeffe and Virginie Viel.

small group started to read the notation being generated ‘live’ from tidal data displayed on smartphones and tablets. Over the next 12 hours an ever-changing band of musicians from the Furness area joined festival artists and audience members in a performance in which the usual distinctions between amateur and professional or audience and performers were meaningless.

Using processed field recordings, digital audio, vintage tape delay and manipulated images Leslie Deere conjured up a meditation on a James Turrell installation sited in a Botanical Garden in Nashville, Tennessee - her home State.

We were all in it together, trying to keep the thread unbroken - Kim Moore and the Barrow Steelworks Youth Band, harpist Mary Dunsford and two of her students, a large contingent of local singers brought together by Kirsten Taylor, a group of musicians from Furness Music Centre, Steve Benn on didgeridoo and many more joined in.

The evening drew to a close with a mesmerising performance by Mary Stark looking like the seamstress she is, as she methodically ordered and selected loops of 16mm film, carefully threading them onto her vintage film projectors producing a shadow play and industrial soundscape which seemed to summon absent voices and obsolete machines from the deep rooted traditions of textile production in the North.

As dusk started to fall we hacked together some lighting and Ulverston samba punk carnival drummers The Deatbeats brought the day to a gloriously celebratory conclusion.

It was now nearly midnight but there was time for one last listen to the Charity Shop BEAST as Simon Smith diffused a classic piece of Bernard Parmegiani just because he could. It had been a wonderful day but some of us had to be up early ready to play the tide at 9am.

Something very special had happened and it reminded us that sometimes all you need is an idea (however crazy!) enthusiasm and persistence and and you can turn the most improbable ideas into reality. Andrew Deakin

On Sunday morning John Eacott and his team had set up on the bandstand in Barrow Park ready for the marathon performance of Floodtide and at 9.00 a

Following pages (left): OSCILANZ St James’ Church, Barrow-in-Furness, Full of Noises 2015 Following pages (right): Charles Hayward Art Gene, Barrow-in-Furness, Full of Noises 2015 133

Minoru Sato Yo No Bi tour, the Tetley, Leeds, 2015


Minoru Sato Yo No Bi tour, Cafe OTO, London 2015


Kanta Horio Yo No Bi tour, the Tetley, Leeds, 2015


Kanta Horio installation, Cookes Studios, Full of Noises 2015


Helen Frosi / SoundFjord Curator in residence, Full of Noises 2015


Helen Frosi Guest Curator 2014/15 My relationship with Octopus has been a long one. It began in February 2012 when Andrew Deakin visited my gallery space in Tottenham. It was clear even from very early on in our conversation that we were people, and organisations, with many similar interests and concerns.

Having cemented professional and personal bonds at FoN 2013, I was delighted to be asked to participate as Octopus’ first curator-in-residency (20142015). What was most humbling was that neither parties quite knew what would happen in such as roll, so as my residency started to unfold it felt more of a quest for discovery and mutual learning - a means for us both to explore, question and experiment together.

My first invitation to work with Octopus proper was as part of their FoN festival in 2013 where I (as SoundFjord) was encouraged to create a workshop. I produced a sonic treasure hunt, and a workshop that focused on sensory engagement with sound art through expanded notions of drawing. The former had guests to the festival seeking out unusual sounds around Barrow whilst the latter invited workshop goers to interpret a varied palette of sound art works through a variety of fun activities and media. The idea here was to encourage active listening through inventive and inclusive means and to further open up the fascinating world of sound to as many people as possible.

The residency culminated in an invitation to co-curate FoN 2015. Always liking a challenge I accepted what would be one of the largest curatorial commissions I’d undertaken to date knowing there would be support, guidance and expertise along the way. I began in earnest, testing ideas with Octopus and soon I had a shortlist of performers who I was aching to work with and wanted to offer challenging new commissions that would stimulate them intellectually, challenge the artists’ practices in ways they had not thought of before and offer time and financial support to create new works without the usual obstacles and constraints.

In addition to working at the festival I was able to mingle with performers, audience members and curators alike during the rest of my time there. This was vital to me at a pivotal time in my artistic and curatorial career – a time when I needed professional confidence and new networks. I got to enjoy myself and also see the creativity in curating outside of London, and in unusual locations and alternative gallery sites, which had been a growing interest for me at the time.

It was also important that each artist I worked with would gain something from their meeting with fellow artists. FoN festival was the perfect platform to programme in such ways offering space, creative and professional support and a focus for that work with FoN’s audience and visiting professional networks.


Site-sensitivity is always of importance to me. Bringing a concept to a place should always have in mind the social, cultural and economic factors (etc) that shape a space/place. For FoN 2015 I had visited Barrow, walked its streets, spoken to locals/shop owners and learnt a little of the history of the town and its surrounding natural history. I wanted to bring artists to Barrow that would think carefully and sensitively about the work they might create with regard to such insights making use of the materials, architecture and contexts of Barrow and the surrounding area. This decision came from a prior understanding of the artists practice, conversations had with them about their initial interests, and then subsequent support offered to assist with the realisation of each artist’s new commission.

Working with FoN not only brought me into contact with many like-minded and inspirational people, it also gave me a chance to work in a new location with artists and musicians I’d admired for a while. FoN offered a framework that I could work with – a timescale, a budget and a freedom that I might, at the culmination of my residency, bring my new learning and interests together, working with respected organisations and curators that would expect a clarity of vision a high standard of work. Co-curating FON was a way to learn and to exchange ideas as well as to bring diverse audiences together. It was important for me to work cohesively, taking into account my interests in association with those of Octopus and my fellow co-curator, Ryoko Akama. As I am interested in the bringing together of people as well as ideas and opinions, it was necessary to curate in a manner than fulfilled my interests but was also complimentary (or jarring in interesting/provocative ways) to other artists and works also curated into the festival.

Specifically to FoN 2015, my interests were exploratory with sound, and not just experimental: teasing unusual and unexpected sounds out of familiar instruments and giving new life and insight into well-known and well-tested techniques and musics. I was fascinated by material – glass, light, air - and how technologies might extend upon (or hinder) artistic and musical palettes. I was interested in the voice and utterance beyond the spoken and understood word. I was fixated on the texture and shape of sound and also on its relationship to the world, by its ability to bring people together. I was fascinated by what happens between the performances and the installations and screenings: the conversations had between events, over meals, drinks; the friendships made; the new collaborations considered and so on…

I appreciated the confidence FoN had in my creative judgements and their openness when curating the artists and events as a whole. This mode of operation is refreshing and something to take note of. Taking part in the festival’s creative planning has offered me insight and confidence to continue in the direction of live events curation (in addition to my favoured expertise, installation curation).


I’ve had an amazingly positive experience working with Octopus/FoN. They put time and energy into our relationship so we could both get to know each other before working together on a project. Our relationship felt organic and was made stronger by Octopus’ genuinely collaborative nature of working. Especially as in my mind, commissioning is not simply an exchange of ideas or expertise, they involve collaboration via shared interests, communication and problem solving. soundfjord.org


(Above) Mary Stark performance, Full of Noises 2015 (Left) These Feathers Have Plumes (Andie Brown) performance, Full of Noises 2015 144

‘Floodtide’ by John Eacott performance, Barrow Park bandstand, Full of Noises 2015


‘Floodtide’ by John Eacott performance, Barrow Park bandstand, Full of Noises 2015



About the organisers Glenn Boulter is a Cumbria-based artist and curator. He graduated from the RCA in 2005, winning the Deutsche Bank Award. Incorporating print media, sound and text, his work has been presented in a wide range of settings from the ROH2 and Mobile Radio BSP at the Sao Paulo Biennial to Barrow AFC Football Club and village notice boards in Leicestershire. With Chris Maxted, he ran Earwig Books, an artists’ book workshop in Hackney between 2003 and 2007. As a founder member of sound art and new music organisation Octopus, he co-curates the biennial Full of Noises Festival, presenting work by over two hundred artists in underused spaces across the post-industrial town of Barrow-in-Furness. Most recently he has been exploring the idea of ‘interactive non-fiction’ with artists Ross Dalziel and Hwa Jung Young (Domestic Science) as part of a residency at a National Trust castle in the Lake District. Andrew Deakin. Born 1958 in Lancashire. Started playing with recording, electronics and musical instruments at 14 and continues to do so to this day. Played the French Horn from 1973 – 1995 and started using computers for both composition and performance in 1988. From 1993-2003 he developed and led the BA and MA Sonic Arts courses at Middlesex University (the first of their kind in Europe) and undertook research in various aspects of sound, performance and technology at the Lansdown Centre for Electronic Arts. For over 30 years he has been collaborating with choreographers and dancers including: Emilyn Claid, Rebecca Skelton, Andrew Fifield, Gaby Agis, Ch4apter and CanDoCo. He also produces music/ sound for installations, films and animations. He has held positions on the Boards of a number of organisations concerned with sound and New Media including Sonic Arts Network, UK and Ireland Soundscape Community and folly and became a founding director of Octopus Collective in 2009. In a previous life he worked as a civil servant, plumber and park keeper (not all at the same time!). He hasn’t given up yet.


John Hall is a director of Octopus Collective. Based in South Cumbria he was born in Chesterfield in 1959 and studied at Leeds Polytechnic and Sheffield Hallam University. John works as an artist in sound, text and visual media, producing drawings, sound pieces for performance and radio, DJ sets, multiples and records. His work as a performer has taken him to the Glastonbury Festival, The Sao Paulo Biennale, The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and a biker bar in Nashville. John also devises and delivers education and community projects in Cumbria with Artspace. With special thanks to: Our current board of directors: Linda O’ Keeffe, Chris Cresswell, Ailie Roberston, Taylor Nuttall Our advisory panel (2012-14): Fiona Ogilvie, Lisa Whistlecroft, Hwa Young Jung, Dave Mee, Ross Dalziel Chris Bye at Arts Council England Alex Oxley and Fern Oxley for their work on the first two Full of Noises festivals Barrow Borough Council and the parks department Brenda Pearce, Mark Latimer, Andy Pollock and all at St James’ Church. Our technical crew - Alan Jackson, Dan Fox, Simon Hanson Benedict Phillips and Mary Stark for capturing strong images in unpredictable environments Our funders past and present: Arts Council England, Sound and Music, PRSF for Music Foundation, Goethe Institut, the Japan Foundation, the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation, the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation, Natural England, the Sir John Fisher Foundation, the Hadfield Trust, Northern Rock Foundation, Cumbria Community Fund and Barrow Borough Council


Image credits Photographers: BP - Benedict Phillips MS - Mary Stark WM - Will Miners GB - Glenn Boulter JB - Jack Boulter PM - Pippa Martin JN - Jenni Noyes Cover - Train journey to Barrow, BP Inside cover - Hear This Space, FoN 2015, BP Page 2 - Hildur Guðnadóttir, Little Langdale, GB Page 5 - WM Jean Hervé Peron /Faust, FoN 2009, WM Page 6/7 - The Canteen, FoN 2009, WM Page 8 - FoN 2009 flyer design, GB Pae 11 - Barrow Island, FoN 2009, BP Page 12/13 - Richard Youngs, FoN 2009, WM Page 14 - John Wall, FoN 2009, WM Page 15 - Haco, Barrow Docks, FoN 2009, GB Page 16/17 - Tonefloat, FoN 2009, WM Page 18 - Mobile Radio, FoN 2009, WM Page 21 - Haco & Mobile Radio, FoN 2009, WM Page 22 - Zappi Deiermayer / Faust, FoN 2009, WM Page 23 - Pram, FoN 2009, WM Page 24/25 - Susan Matthews & Clutter, FoN 2009 WM Page 26 - FoN 2010 flyer, Lucy May Schofield & GB Page 28/29 - Hildur Guðnadóttir, Little Langdale, GB Page 30 - Hildur Guðnadóttir, Lanternhouse, GB Page 31 - Hildur Guðnadóttir & Philip Jeck, Liverpool 2010, GB Page 32 - AGF, Grizedale Arts, 2010, MS Page 36 - AGF, Grizedale Arts, 2010, MS Page 39 - AGF, Lanternhouse, 2010, GB Page 40/41 - Barrow Park bandstand, GB Page 42 - Noise Club, Barrow Park, 2010, GB Page 43 - C97, Barrow Park, 2011, GB Page 44/45 - Paul Rooney, Spit Valve, 2010, GB Page 46 - FoN 2011 poster, Takayo Akiyama & GB

Page 48/49 - Swan Pedalo Broadcasts, Re:Dock & Dave Lynch, FoN2011, MS Pages 50/52-55 - Crazy Golf Hack by Sound Network, FoN 2011, MS Page 56 - AGF, Piel Island, FoN 2011, GB Page 57 - AGF & Wind Choir. FoN 2011, MS Page 58 - Anchorsong, Bluebird Club, FoN 2011, MS Page 59 - Dopplereffekt, Bluebird Club, FoN 2011, MS Page 60 - Philip Jeck, Station View House, FoN 2011, JB Page 61 - Tetsuo Kogawa, Lanternhouse, FoN 2011, JB Page 62 - Mobile Radio poster, 2012, GB Page 64 - Ryoko Akama, Cookes Studios, 2013, GB Page 65 - Lee Gamble, Piel View House, 2012, GB Page 66/67 - Mark Vernon, Piel View House, 2012, GB Page 68/69 - Mobile Radio, Piel View House, 2012, GB Page 70 - Lauren Redhead, Barrow Park bandstand, FoN 2013, BP Page 74/75 - Lauren Redhead, Taneli Clarke, Alison Griffiths, FoN 2013, BP Page 76 - FoN 2013 poster design, GB Page 80/81 - Jon Hering, Veil of Nightshade, FoN 2013, BP Page 82/83- Bohman Brothers, 99 Club, FoN 2013, BP Page 84- Herb Diamante, 99 Club, FoN 2013, BP Page 85 - Howlround, 99 Club, FoN 2013, BP Page 86/87 - Ryoko Akama, Music on a Long Thin Wire, FoN 2013, BP Page 88 - Ryoko Akama, Cookes Studios, FoN 2013, BP Page 90/91 - Bouncy Castle Development Platform, Sound Network and Simon Jones, FoN 2013, BP Page 92 - Dave Lynch, Cookes Studios, FoN 2013, JN Page 95 - Mike Nix, Cookes Studios, FoN 2013, BP Page 96/97 - The Aleph, Wray Castle, 2013, MS Page 98 - Solo Soprano film still by Helen Petts Page 101 - Solo Soprano by Helen Petts, FoN 2013, BP Page 102 - Sarah Gail Brand, St James Church, FoN 2013, BP Page 103 - Laura Cannell & André Bosman, FoN 2013, BP Page 104 - FoN 2014, print ad, GB Page 107 - Laura Cannell, Alison Blunt, Stuart Estell,

Book design by Glenn Boulter & Benedict Phillips All works depicted are copyright of the participating artists.


Wray Castle, 2014, PM Page 108/109 - Hear Th↓s Space, Barrow, 2014, GB Page 110/111 - Hear Th↓s Space, Simon Smith & Brona Martin, Cookes Studios, 2014, GB Page 112/113 - Piel View House, 2014, BP Page 114 - Ryoko Akama & Alba Bru, 2014, GB Page 115 - Alison Blunt, Wray Castle, 2014, GB Page 116-119 - All images by Tom James Scott Page 122/123 - Ben Dalton & Toni Buckby, Digital Media Labs residency, 2014/15 BP Page 124/128-9 - Mark Vernon & Jenn Mattinson, FoN 2015, BP Page 130 - FoN 2015 poster, Tom James Scott & GB Page 134 - Oscilanz, FoN 2015, BP Page 135- Charles Hayward, FoN 2015, BP Page 136/137 - Minoru Sato, Yo No Bi tour, 2015, BP Page 138/139 - Kanta Horio, Yo No Bi tour, 2015, BP Page 140 - Helen Frosi, FoN 2015, BP Page 144 - Mary Stark, FoN 2015, BP Page 145 - These Feathers Have Plumes, Fon 2015, BP Page 146-147 - Floodtide, FoN 2015, JB Page 148/149 - Virginie Viel & Hear Th↓s Space, FoN 2015, BP Page 146 - Glenn Boulter WM / Andrew Deakin, BP Page 147 - John Hall, GB

Further reading: octopuscollective.org fonfestival.org Interested in hosting or co-producing an event or project with us? Contact: info@octopuscollective.org

Full of Noises is supported by Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation funding