Saturday 24 July 2021, 7.30pm
Nilufar Habibian is a composer of acoustic and electronic music, an award-winning qanun-player and an improviser based in London. Alongside concert music, her interdisciplinary collaborations have included scores for contemporary dance and film.
She has received her diploma in music from Tehran Music Conservatoire and studied Persian classical music in Iran under the supervision of the most prominent Iranian Maestros. She has received her bachelor in music from the Royal Holloway University of London and her master in composition from Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
As a composer, she tries to investigate and express human conditions through sound and explore new sounds that carry and convey multiple meanings, emotions and characters.
Her pieces have performed at different venues such as The Place, Wigmore Hall and Milton Court in the UK and Kennedy Center Millennium Stage (Washington DC) and Roulette Hall (New York) in the US.
As a qanun player, Nilufar performs a variety of musical styles ranging from Persian classical and Middle-Eastern music to avant-garde and experimental contemporary Western music. In her solo performances, she tries to offer new interpretations of the Persian classical repertoire approaching it from a new and modern (technically and aesthetically) viewpoint. She has performed at venues and concert halls such as Vahdat Hall, Rudaki Hall, Milad Hall in Iran and Purcell Room, Cadogan Hall and Cafe OTO in the UK.
Some other collaborations include a storytelling project with City University and Tiny Owl publisher called “The phoenix of Persia”, for which she made incidental music. She also composed an electronic track for “These Are Our Friends Too”, an album that highlights the work the charity FORWARD does towards ending female genital mutilation. In March 2021, her recent electronic piece was released in a compilation Album by Iranian label Noise A Noise.
Poulomi Desai's unique, modified sitar embraces elements of chance, challenge and subversion - industrial, noise influenced improvised, art performances. Her prepared / bowed sitar is extended with modified cassette decks playing her field recordings, circuit bent toys, optikinetic instruments, kitchen knives, axes and massage tools. It is a conscious response and reaction to the idea of 'authenticity' seeking to break the rules and expectations of how a 'sacred' instrument should be played, the strictures upon the player, the guru-shishya approach, and the assumptions made upon the identity of the player herself. Her sitar is the primary basis for sonic improvisation and exploration; an allegorical antidote to the objectification of the 'South Asian woman's body' in 'Bollywood' cinema / 'popular culture' and, in a broader sense, affirming her idea of 'Noise' as protest. She runs the Usurp Art space in the suburbs and is currently the Curator of the Grunwick strike exhibition.
Beachers is the electronic music project of London based Daryl Worthington. He works in the crossovers between accidental and composed sounds, hi and lo-fi audio, with a particular interest in the beauty to be found in the mundane.
He has released music on labels such as Fractal Meat, Czaszka (rec) and Never Anything Records. These take in an array of approaches, mixing analogue synthesis, field recordings, cassette tape collages and sample-based music. His approach is rooted in DIY and homemade approaches to music making. He co-runs the Bezirk tape label, and has regularly organised experimental music events in London.
Latest release “The Interview” is Beachers’ playful exploration of the physicality and movements of radio transmissions. Conversations half heard in the static void, rhythmic patterns emerging through the interference.
The eight tracks are built on samples collected using a cheap, second hand and perilously unreliable hand-held radio, the weird quirks of medium and object the heart of the album. The connection between tactile movements of hand on device, and how these are reflected in sound, shape all of the tracks, smooth glides between stations mixed with abrupt drops between broadcast and noisey ether. Radio’s potential to be immune to absolutes and instead reside in spooky inbetweens. #
The radio sounds are augmented with electronics, samplers and synths, arranged in an attempt to capture the same indeterminacy and odd epiphanies possible with fingers on a radio tuner. The title of the album is reference to an evening spent switching between two separate talk radio shows, to the point something approaching a new conversation could be created between radio programmes. The title track itself focuses on a snippet of one of these broadcasts, and the weird musicality that can be found in our speech.
Cerpintxt is an electroacoustic post-ape progress report from the cosmic madhouse, through the medium of voice, auto-destruction, wind-guided experiments in protoconversation. Her work is concerned with generating an invented language of a particular strain of softness through phonetic entropy and augmented instrumentation. While the textural counterparts rely on seismic detectors, broken turntablism, artefact-based interdependent generative sampling, prepared Kacapi, and hydrophones. The hauntological element of her work explores a form of sonic activism against the weaponization of love in Egypt. Where misogyny is a cultivated form of political distraction, intergenerational ideological mutations perpetuate a hypernormalized limbo of collective detachment from fragility. To interfere with these accumulative distortions, she stitches chopped up fragments of what might have been, as prosthetic sentiments.
Some of her projects underway include a noir-jazz album of interpretations of Egyptian ballads, a semi-improvisational synesthesia-inducing musical game system on the fragmentation and decontextualizion of memories, site-specific works in the mountains of the Sinai Peninsula and Serabit El Khadim, ethnic heritage projects documenting music of the East Sinai Bedouin tribes, and neuroscience research on an interactive-music consciousness intervention for comatose patients.
'Asian R&B and hip-hop, Ambient are wrapped up in a hazy chopped and screwed fog. Home calls out to you but she is obscured from vision. You close your eyes and rely on sound to take you back. Birds chirping, the buzz of a radio fading in and out, the hiss of an old cassette tape. That longing for home seems to stretch on and on. That distance stretching on and on. Nostalgia can feel so slow sometimes. Lose yourself in it, recall those memories. Fall asleep and dream of home.' text by Miles Oyasumi