Tuesday 26 September 2023, 7.30pm
"[B]irds appear to listen most closely not to the melodies that catch our ears but rather to fine acoustic details in the chips and twangs of their songs that lie beyond the range of human perception." - Adam Fishbein, Scientific American, How Birds Hear Birdsong (May 2022)
An evening of performance curated around avian biosemiotics, what birds listen out for, how humans perceive their communication strategies, and the poetry found in between meaning.
A Wren in the Cathedral
Birds - and their imitation by humans - is the focus of Sarah’s set, drawing on her research into human-bird communication over time and the deep connections between birdsong and the sound recording age. Recorders, theremin and carillon bring wrens, blackbirds, crows and nightingales into the room. Centre stage is the Ealing Feeder, Sarah's robotic carillon which she’ll be using to transport us to an Estonian dawn chorus. The chorus was transcribed automatically by bioacoustician Dan Stowell for species counting and identification purposes. Sarah’s own algorithms adapt it and replay it as a haze of metallic bell music.
Sarah Angliss is a composer and sound designer, creating new music and soundworlds for film, theatre, opera, dance, installations and her own live performance. Sarah’s work seamlessly combines voices and instruments with finely wrought, bespoke electronic effects. Her score for Romola Garai’s horror Amulet featured at Sundance 2020. Her original sound and music for Eugene O’Neill’s expressionist play ‘The Hairy Ape’ played at the Old Vic, London, and Park Avenue Armory, New York. Her new opera Giant, with a libretto by Ross Sutherland, opened Aldeburgh Festival in June 2023 to widespread acclaim. In 2021 she received an Ivor Novello Visionary Award for her body of work. “The power of Angliss’ work comes from its chilling atmospheric intimacy” Dan Schweiger, Film Music Magazine. “An utterly compelling soundworld…astonishingly beautiful…as music it’s miraculous”, Michael White, Gramophone Magazine. “The most inventive album I’ve heard in a long while”, Simon Reynolds, Four Columns.
Singing in the Dark
A brand new work paying homage to the Nightjar's nocturnal vocalisations. The piece will be performed in the dark and in surround sound.
Áine O’Dwyer is an multi-disciplinary artist whose work is informed by both the conceptual concerns of sound-art and traditional compositional techniques, embracing the broader aesthetics of sound and its relationship to environment, time, audience and structure. She has created works for large-scale and intimate settings which allow for both planned and chance compositions to co-exist in live situ. Often she listens out for the sonic touchstones of time and place to instruct and accompany her live compositions. Poems for Daedalus (2018), was a series of site-specific performances which O’Dwyer developed in Athens. The piece was based on the exploration of a building, its intimacies and the surrounding neighbourhood. Her book 'Poems for play' pays homage to the specificity of time and place. Similarly, the notion of the “holding space as extension-of-instrument” can be seen in O'Dwyer's realisation Accompaniment for Captives (Open Ear Festival, 2019) at Horseshoe bay, Sherkin Island, Ireland. The performance was centred around the intentional choreography of two local fishing boats whose horn signals heralded an “environmental sonic tapestry of land, sea, man and animal."
Music and Other Living Creatures is a series at Cafe OTO (curated by OTO Projects) dedicated to music about, with, or by other living creatures. Birds, tigers, chickens, insects and many other living creatures are explored through sound-walks, listening sessions, commissioned performances, live responses and discussions.
EnCOUnTERs is a series of inter-disciplinary events that reside at the intersection between inter- and intra-species encounter and the sonic imagination. Events direct attention to curiosity, the speculative as well as the scientific, and to notions of multiplicity of being, experience and philosophy surveying creative and research-based practices that reference aspects of ecology, ethology and other creature-ologies, bioart and bioacoustics, sound/scape studies, zoömusicology, ethnobotany, critical plant studies, and related fields.
EnCOUnTERs is curated by Helen Frosi (SoundFjord).