composer, performer and sound designer

The Ealing Feeder

Polyphonic robotic carillon


The Ealing Feeder is a 28 note robotic, polyphonic carillon. This table-top instrument appears in my live set and features on many recent tracks including Needle (from Air Loom) and Camberwell Beauty (from the album Ealing Feeder). It also featured in the chamber opera Giant.

I built the Ealing Feeder to play complex, algorithmic patterns at speeds beyond the envelope of human performance. I wanted those patterns to be played by something tangible, rather than by a sample library on a laptop. I’m interested in the way this machine spatialises sound and has subtle irregularities in timing, as its made from moving, sprung parts. I find these attributes very appealing sonically – and I think they would be very hard to mimic with a sample library.

The Ealing Feeder is a gigging instrument and a central part of my current live set. While I perform on other instruments, I trigger it to play automatically using software I’ve created in Max. This instrument has been through many versions. Originally I made it as an outdoor exhibit as part of a commission to celebrate the re-opening of The Royal Festival Hall. I then mounted it in a lightbox for the Kinetica exhibition. Since then, I’ve stripped it down to the essential moving parts and mounts to make an instrument that will fit into a flightcase. I rebuilt it from scratch over lockdown to give it a few more years of life.



These two tracks both feature the Ealing Feeder. Part-way through Camberwell Beauty, you can hear it perform a ‘double’. This is an routine I’ve created to play an echo of any note, on the half-beat, a set interval above the original. The double helps to transform a simpler melody into a haze of metallic sound. You can also hear a variant of the double at work on the track Needle – and you can see it in action on the video.

You can also see Ealing Feeder playing automatically transcribed birdsong, for International Dawn Chorus Day, 2016.

The Ealing Feeder