The ICAD 2017 concert will be held on the evening of Wednesday, June 21 in the School of Theatre’s Playhouse Theatre. An 8.2 channel sound system will be available.



Stephen Roddy - Sonification: The Good Ship Hibernia (audio)

The Good Ship Hibernia is an Embodied Soundscape Sonification. It explores the impact of the world-wide financial crash on one of the harder hit nations in Europe, Ireland. It uses both soundscape and harmonic materials and employs sonification techniques to reflect the World Bank's figures for Irish GDP growth rate from 1979 to 2013. The piece is structured around a number of embodied metaphors (as defined by Lakoff and Johnson 1980) and an embodied balance schema (as defined by Johnson 1987). It uses the metaphor of maritime journey where “smooth sailing” and “good weather” represent “good times” and “rough seas” and “bad weather” represent “bad times”. While the growth rate is strong the sailing is smooth and weather is good. When the growth rate shrinks the weather becomes stormy and seas become rough. The sense of balance in the soundscape shifts in accordance with the data. Harmonic material also sounds throughout the journey. This material was performed in response to the soundscape of the sea journey with the perceived fidelity and timbral character of the performance determined by the GDP data. 

Alfredo Ardia - Rami (video)

The idea behind Rami came during a study about beats phenomenon: an acoustic interference, produced by two or more sine waves with slightly different frequency, which results in a periodic amplitude modulation. Looking at a naked tree I imagined it as a score where a set of frequency moving near and away, crossing each others, following the branch’s shape and creating complex beats patterns. In Rami, the sound is created by a sonification process of shape and movements of the tree showed in the video component. 

Julius Bucsis - Portraits of Nine Revolving Celestial Spheres (audio)

Portraits of Nine Revolving Celestial Spheres was inspired by Gustav Holst’s composition The Planets. However, unlike The Planets, in which Holst intended to convey concepts related to astrology, Portraits of Nine Revolving Celestial Spheres utilizes the sonification of astronomical data derived from scientific observations as the basis for the musical elements. Each section of the piece represents one of the planets of the solar system and is built from a set of data corresponding to each planet respectively. Among the included data are measurements related to albedo, atmosphere, distance, diameter, gravitation, magnetic field, orbital factors, pressure, relative abundance of the most common elements, and temperature. There are nine sections because as of this writing, there is considerable evidence based on orbital anomalies suggesting the existence of an undiscovered planet. Since there is no data about this hypothetical planet, its corresponding section in the piece employs a nebulous process in the selection of musical materials in order to suggest a broad range of possibilities. The title pays homage to Nicolaus Copernicus’ seminal work, On the Revolution of the Heavenly Spheres, which challenged the widely held view of the time that the earth was at the center of the universe.

Roberto Zanata - After Images (video)

After Images is an audio/video work generated by a given pattern using various node data. An afterimage is a non-specific term that refers to an image continuing to appear in one's vision after the exposure to the original image has ceased. It hase been realized with a patch in Max/Msp that it allows to use jitters visual effects for high quality 2d images. 

Antonio D’Amato - Körper (multichannel audio)

Körper is an acousmatic piece entirely based on the elaboration of an acoustic pulse sequence which was produced in the course of a MRI diagnostic test. The aesthetic idea implied in the composition refers to the topical and controversial theme known as "global control and censorship”. Through the examination of the constant and continuous information flow, which is either consciously or unconsciously produced by everyone, it is possible to accomplish a condition of control; that condition ought to benefit the national and global security. 

The question is: How deep or intrusive should the control on individuals be in order guarantee global well-being and security? 

At the moment, there is no univocal answer. Control is not only coercive - it can take the pleasant and subtle appearance of a custom-tailored set of information, directly injected into the communication flows usually employed by individuals. As the occasional intrusion into the personal communication flow is barely noticeable, could the large mass of information, imposed to the users of digital devices, produce a sort of control on the behavior and habits of the individuals? Has that sort of control only a commercial intention? 

If nowadays cameras and sensors constantly watch movements of the individuals in cities and buildings, can we assume that in the future cells and chemical reactions in our bodies will be scanned and examined in order to gather information to be collected, stored and processed? 

Technically speaking the composition uses exclusively a short audio recording of a MRI test. A large number of processes and signal elaboration modules are applied in order to subdue the crude audio sample to the compositional requirements. Spectral editing and resonant filters are chained in order to isolate restricted areas in the whole sound object. The foundation material is clearly revealed only at the very end of the piece. The piece was composed at ZKM studios in Karlsruhe. 

James Cave and Ben Eyes - Eonsounds: Fiamignano Gorge (voice and tape)

This piece is directly inspired by James Cave’s experience of the 2016 Central Italian earthquake. At 3:36am on 24th August 2016, a massive earthquake, measuring 6.2 on the Richter scale, hit the mountain-towns of Amatrice and Accumoli near the Lazio-Abruzzo border. Reverberations buffeted the walls of the house where Cave was staying in Spoleto, some 40 km away from the epicentre, causing walls, floors and furniture to shake violently. After this catastrophic event, Cave became interested in the fact that Italians use the word terremoto for earthquake, but they also use the word sisma, which contains the idea of a wave or vibration. True to their name, earthquakes or sisme are giant reverberating waveforms. They are also, he learnt, the epitome of a complex system in action: each major incident precipitates a complex echo-pattern of aftershocks. These aftershocks are typically less intense that the main event, but vary in their exact force and distribution according to the fractal arrangement of the fault-lines that cause them. 

At the time of the earthquake, Cave had been working on a new collaboration with a team of geologists, sound technologists, and musicians called Eonsounds ( The original impetus for the project came from Dr Tim Ivanic, a geologist based in Western Australia. Ivanic wanted to use sound and music as a means of enabling an audience better to understand the ways in which the earth itself acts like an organism, but on a vast scale and with significant events often occurring huge number of years apart. He was interested in finding ways that the earth’s lifespan, all 4.4 billion years of it, can be better grasped through the innovative transformation of geological data into sound and music. In order to do this, Ivanic and Cave convened an international team of creative researchers, including York based data-sonification expert Dr Jude Brereton, electronica artist Ben Eyes, experimental musician Daniel Patrick Quinn, Leeds-based composer Jake Thompson-Bell and Carnatic classical singer, Supriya Nagarajan. From Stornaway to Perth, Australia via Leeds and London, Eonsounds members have been working on new ways of turning geological field data into music and sound, using techniques ranging from graphic notation and structured improvisation, to real-time data sonification and manipulation using Max/MSP. You can here some of the initial results here: 

The work submitted here, Eonsounds: Fiamignano Gorge focusses on the Apennine mountains in central Italy, the site of the Amatrice earthquake. Using field data supplied by Dr Ivanic as our starting-point, we wanted to be able to create a representation in sound of this mountain range, to act both as a monument of remembrance for the earthquake, and a means of understanding the gigantic forces that power this fault-system. In so doing the composers, Ben Eyes and James Cave, have taken inspiration from artists such as the land-art pioneer Richard Long, and the Italian painter-sculptor Alberto Burri, in particular his Cretto di Gibellina. In 1981, Burri was invited to visit the town of Gibellina in Sicily, which had been decimated by an earthquake thirteen years earlier. Having visited the new city, Burri then asked to be taken to the ruins of its earthquake-stricken predecessor. Deeply moved by this experience, he determined to build a memorial to the town. He created the vast Cretto of Gibellina, which entirely covers the ruins of the town, being 300 by 400 metres in size. The cracked cement surface of the work, evokes both the landscape in which it is situated, and the vast geological processes which tore the town apart. Of this work the architect Alberto Zanmatti writes: ‘Old Gibellina, will remain for those who lived there a place of continual pilgrimage, in memory of their dead and their past life. The ‘cretto’ or crack [of Burri’s work] almost a figuration of the earth which shook, becomes a pathway where old roads meet up, a labyrinth of memory which proposes a new life…[it enables] the people of Gibellina…to rediscover themselves by remembering how things were and accepting how things are.’ 

This composition makes use of geological field-data relating specific to the Fiamignano Gorge in Abruzzo, extracted from a larger dataset relating to the entire fault-line system of that region. This dataset contained a large number of variables relating to the geology composition and history of the gorge: the composers limited themselves to working with a small number of parameters, specifically the downstream distribution of geological deposits, and stream power as measured at different locations. The data was used both to construct melodies by transforming data sets into pitch sets using MAX/MSP and also using the data to control synthesis parameters in real time. The piece makes extensive use of FM (frequency modulation) synthesis, employing a Korg Volca FM synthesizer, based on the popular Yamaha DX7 synthesizer. This synthesizer was chosen for its large range of tonal palettes and clear bell like quality. 

FM synthesis was employed in order to allow both melodic changes and very controlled timbral changes emanating from the data to be heard clearly. The ‘downstream distance’ dataset was used to control the pitch of the synthesizer and the ‘stream power’ dataset was use to alter the main parameters of the synthesizer. The melodic data was folded using Max 4 Live patchs in Ableton, allowing the data to be transmuted through various keys, ranges and scales. The synthesizer parts were recorded in real time through an analogue desk with various effects applied to them such as reverb and delay. Vocals were improvised by James Cave (countertenor) as a response to the synthesiser parts. Cave is a classically-trained countertenor with an interest in different styles and aesthetics of improvisation. He has a particular interest in classical Indian composition, and briefly studied with the Hindustani classical master Dhruba Ghosh as part of a residency at the Banff Centre, Canada. In particular, Cave wished to use the complex rhythmic patterns instantiated by the geological datasets as an equivalent in this piece to the role of the tabla in Indian classical composition, and hence as an effective counterfoil to his vocal improvisation. 

Andrew Litts - Singularity for trumpet and electronics

Singularity intertwines the individual with its role in society. Through live recording and manipulated playback, the solo trumpet is heard with alternate versions of itself, as if the digital medium distorts, misconstrues, and turns the original voice on its head, much as is done on social media. Certain portions of the trumpet part are recorded into buffers in the MAX patch and the computer plays back myriad versions of these recorded segments in transposition, with time stretching, aleatorically, and micro-polyphonically to alter the original voice and propose commentary on the sense of belongingness digital space allows for an individual. 

Digital media allows for the dissemination of ideas and conversation at an ever increasing rate and ease. Singularity joins in dialogue with other "augmented instrumental" pieces in that the computer acts both as an extended voice of the original instrument and an allegory for society that conflates the role of the individual (the layering of trumpet voices even mimics the writings of Gabrieli and his use of antiphonal brass, pieces of which serve as divine homages from earthly beings conveying their messages collectively). The vehicles to those who long lacked a voice are an undisputed upside to the modern propagation of technology. The downside, though, is the potential danger in the loss of identity as the echo chamber of the Internet turns into a place for hyper-individualism to contribute to an amalgamation of noise. As we listen to each other less, ideas mean less.