Cyborg Soloists: Uncanny Bodies

IKLECTIK presents,

Cyborg Soloists: Uncanny Bodies

Thursday 18 May 2023 | Doors: 7:30pm | First Act: 8pm
Our Kiosk opens 1 hour before doors.

Tickets: Advance – £8 Standard / £6 Concession | OTD – £10 Standard / £8 Concession

Cyborg Soloists presents a vibrant programme of musician-technology interactions in which performing bodies, musical instruments and novel hardware and software collide, offering three manifestations of the modern-day musical cyborg.

Drones and tones merge with the human pulse, both heard and imagined, in ‘Fourfold’ by flautist Kathryn Williams and composer Ed Cooper. Using Soundbrenner’s vibrating metronomes and their own heartbeats, the duo weave a dreamy soundscape with alto flute, electric guitar and fixed media. Active listening combines with performance and spoken word, constructing an augmented, bodily instrument.

Composer-guitarist Ben Jameson and composer-pianist Harry Matthews’ ‘Aeolian Fantasy’ forms a digital aeolian harp as they feed Vochlea’s audio-to-MIDI software Dubler 2 with prerecorded and live wind sounds. Beautiful and uncanny microtonal harmonies fill the space from small speakers, augmented by live performance on acoustic guitar and synthesisers.

Celebrated Canadian clarinettist Heather Roche presents a poignant set of works for low clarinets and electronics. ‘Droning falsities (for one’s self)’ (2019), composed by Mark Dyer, uses unstable performance techniques and prerecorded murmurs to conjure the ghost of Renaissance composer Guillaume Dufay. In tribute to Robert Phillips, who tragically passed away recently, Heather will perform ‘Rutaceae’ (2015) in which the distinction between live instrument and tape part is held, beguilingly, at a knife’s edge.

All the new works were commissioned and developed as part of Cyborg Soloists.

Cyborg Soloists is a UKRI-funded Future Leaders Fellowship project led by Director and Principal Investigator Dr Zubin Kanga. Hosted at Royal Holloway, University of London, it explores interdisciplinary interactions between music, the other arts and new digital technologies, connecting composers, performers and sound artists with industry partners to develop artistic and technological innovations.

This event is made possible with the support of our funders, UKRI and Royal Holloway, University of London, as well as our industry partners, Soundbrenner and Vochlea.

Ben Jameson and Harry Matthews
Kathryn Williams and Ed Cooper
Heather Roche

Ben Jameson

Photo by Eleanor Judd

Ben Jameson is a composer and guitarist based in Bristol. His work has been performed by musicians including Plus-Minus Ensemble, Mark Knoop, Huw Morgan, and the Percussion Ensemble of the Freiburg Hochschule für Musik. Ben also performs as one half of a duo with pianist Harry Matthews, and as a member of OUT-TAKE Ensemble, a group that he co-directs. Ben’s work integrates diverse elements and influences, including popular music (particularly rock and metal), just intonation and alternate tunings, field recordings, and exploration of the physical and gestural elements of musical performance.

Harry Matthews

Harry Matthews is a UK-based composer who employs socially engaged techniques to prompt listeners to contemplate issues such as noise, interruption, and environmental concerns. He is currently pursuing an AHRC-funded PhD under the supervision of James Saunders and Matthew Shlomowitz, focusing on music that combines field recordings with instruments to examine social dynamics within live performances. Harry’s works have been performed and recorded by musicians including Decibel Ensemble, Caitlin Rowley, Juliet Fraser, Jane Chapman, Nebula Percussion Quartet, and Ensemble Paramirabo. He is also involved in the OUT-TAKE Ensemble and frequently collaborates with Ben Jameson.

Kathryn Williams

Photo by Sam Walton

Kathryn Williams is a versatile flute soloist, orchestral player, and researcher. Her solo work has recently been focused on creatively overcoming her experiences of chronic respiratory conditions through commissioning pieces limited to a single breath for her project, Coming Up for Air. The project was released in a “strangely fascinating” (BBC Music Magazine) album by Huddersfield Contemporary Records. Kathryn has also recorded for All That Dust, Another Timbre, NMC, and RVNG International. In addition to performing, Kathryn works part-time as a research and policy officer in equality, diversity, and inclusion for the Independent Society of Musicians.

Ed Cooper

Photo by Tom Wright

I am a composer, artist, and researcher based in Leeds, UK. My practice considers the listening body as an intermediary, simultaneously acting as both a boundary and transmitter to itself, exploring various musical liminalities. In practical terms, this manifests as creating compositions in which the aural attention (of performers or listeners) is constantly disrupted, through physically cumbersome, extremely quiet performance techniques or unusual ways of listening, such that a sense of suspension within one’s self is felt.

Heather Roche

Photo by Sam Walton

Referred to as “The Queen of Extended Techniques” on Radio 3, clarinettist and new music specialist Heather Roche appears regularly on concert stages around the world as a soloist and chamber musician. She plays with Apartment House, and in a duo with accordionist Eva Zöllner. Chamber music and close collaboration with composers are her jam. She has solo CDs on NMC and Métier, and records regularly for Sheffield’s Another Timbre label. She lives in Woolwich with her partner and their cat, Vera.

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