Author / Sarah

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  • Needless Noise

    The Hairy Ape – noise and modernity

    Some discoveries from the archives about the earliest European productions of The Hairy Ape, including the first London production which featured Paul Robeson as Yank. Even before electric sound, the stokehole scene in this play was evidently a feat of endurance for the actors.

  • All Ears – the art of making music machines

    Alongside their annual festival of adventurous music, Supersonic producers Capsule have recently been working with Birmingham Museums Trust to present an exhibition of mechanical instruments. This took place at Millennium Point, Birmingham,…

  • Trace – building the first prototypes

    There’s a celebration of all things uncanny (Unheimlich) at Spike Island, Bristol, on Friday 21 November, when I’ll be performing a live score to Anna Franceschini’s film from 2010, shot in the Pianola…

  • Fort Process

    Fort Process is a one day festival of sound and art, responding to the history and acoustics of Newhaven Fort, a labyrinthine coastal defence overlooking the English Channel. I’ll be joining musicians…

  • Midwich Cuckoos Live

    Music and foley for a live reimagining of John Wyndham’s science fiction masterpiece. An event for Cinecity Festival 2014, in partnership with Film Archive South East, for the BFI season Sci Fi – Days of Fear and Wonder.

  • The Fall of the House of Usher (Webber and Watson, 1928)

    Gothic at the BFI

    An evening of live music for silent gothic treasures from the BFI National Archive. Performed at the BFI, Southbank, for the nationwide season Gothic – The Dark Heart of Film, this event included an electroacoustic score for Webber and Watson’s 1928 expressionist masterpiece The Fall of the House of Usher.

  • Trace: poetic robotics, music and the uncanny

    I’m excited to be embarking on a new part-time residency at the Pervasive Media Studio, Watershed, Bristol, where I’ll be exploring poetic approaches to robotics on stage. Thanks to the National Lottery…

  • Foghorn Requiem

    South Shields meets the sublime

    A report on the Foghorn Requiem When sound escapes the confines of a building, it takes on an unusual caste. At myriad outdoor festivals around the country, we’re in denial about this…

  • The Effect – National Theatre

    Electroacoustic composition, created from sounds of the laboratory, for the 2012 play by Lucy Prebble about a love affair that develops on a clinical trial. At The National Theatre (Cottesloe), directed by Rupert Goold – a co-production with Headlong.

  • Daphne Oram

    Happy Ada Lovelace Day 2011

    This must be how it feels to see a unicorn. Six months ago, I came face to face with a machine I’d read about often but never expected to see. A one-off…

  • The Bird Fancyer’s Delight – background notes

    For those of you who would like to know more about The Bird Fancyer’s Delight, the topic of my recent Radio 4 documentary, here’s a bumper crop of references I’ve found over the last few months. These include transcripts from the British Library, music excerpts, photographs of a serinette and details of contributors to the show. I hope you find them interesting…

  • Sound ‘recording’ before the Edison phonograph? (BBC Radio 4 doc 1:30pm Tues 5 July)

    We know we can teach birds to talk and sing. Here, for example, is an astounding recording of Sparkie Williams, champion talking budgie, 1958. But were birds ever used as primordial, feathered music recorders? Did we use them to bring popular music into our homes on command before the advent of the phonograph, the gramophone and radio?…