Electric Spring is an annual festival of sonic exploration of cutting-edge practice in electronic music. The five-day programme of concerts, installations, workshops and symposia brings together people from diverse musical backgrounds to share their knowledge and perform music representing all corners of electronic music practice. The festival features the 50-channel, 66-loudspeaker Huddersfield Immersive Sound System (theHISS), as well as work developed for the 25.4-channel SPIRAL studio.
Electric Spring is a proud signatory to the Keychange initiative, with a strong commitment to gender equality across the festival’s annual programming.
The festival is curated by the Music and Music Technology staff of the University of Huddersfield.
19 February: Lauren Redhead & Alistair Zaldua
20 February: Louise Rossiter
21 February: Weston Olencki
22 February: Leafcutter John
7.30 pm, Phipps Hall, Richard Steinitz Building
University of Huddersfield
Simon Whetham, Made to Malfunction
Richard Steinitz Building Atrium, 6–7.30pm, 19–22 February
Presented in partnership with IN-VITRØ, LOXOSconcept, and Matera European Capital of Culture 2019
Creative Coding Lab Symposium, 22 February, 12–5pm
Modular Meets, 23 February, 12–5pm
Free admission for all events
Lauren Redhead & Alistair Zaldua
Wednesday, 19 February 2020
Vox Humana, five newly commissioned works by female composers for organ & electronics
opening: Pam Hulme
Thursday, 20 February 2020
Immersive, multichannel acousmatic work presented on the 66 loudspeakers of the HISS
opening: Emma Margetson
Friday, 21 February 2020
Unpredictable adventures with polymath performer Weston Olencki. Modular synths, iPads, video, trombone, euphonium, improv …
opening: Dré Hočevar, Maria Sappho, Brice Catherin, Henry McPherson, Colin Frank
late-night concert: John-Robin Bold, Steinitz Atrium. Album release concert for new release on Mille Plateaux.
Saturday, 22 February 2020
Experiments with light and sound with one of the UK’s most innovative electronic musicians
opening: Laurens van der Wee
Simon Whetham: Made to Malfunction
Installation, 19–22 February 2020
Richard Steinitz Building Atrium, 6–7.30pm
“Made to Malfunction” refers to the practice of planned obsolescence, a feature of all consumer products. They are designed to have a limited lifespan, then fail, forcing consumers to replace or upgrade. “Made to Malfunction” comprises a collection of 16 sound-making devices sourced from discarded electronic products, regarded as faulty, broken, worthless. They are given a new life and purpose, creating sound and light in irregular ways, seemingly malfunctioning, but by design. Each device is presented in its own display case, to be (re-)considered an object of great value or interest.
The work was supported by Asia Culture Center, Merge, Transport Management. Sound-making devices were created during the Creators-in-Lab 2018 residency at Asia Culture Center, Gwangju, South Korea
Presented in partnership with IN-VITRØ, LOXOSconcept, and Matera European Capital of Culture 2019
Sunday, 23 February 2020
Richard Steinitz Building Atrium, 12–5pm
Enjoy an afternoon of modular geeking-out. Come and share your love for all things pluggable, hackable and circuit bent. This annual highlight of Electric Spring is organised by Ben Wilson.
Lauren Redhead is a composer of experimental music, an organist who specialises in music for organ and electronics and a musicologist who focuses on the aesthetics and semiotics of contemporary music. Her compositions are published by Material Press (Berlin), and her music and performances have been released on the sfz music, innova, pan y rosas discos and engraved glass labels and performed and broadcast internationally. Lauren is currently Senior Lecturer in 20th and 21st Century Music at Goldsmiths, University of London.
Alistair Zaldua is a composer of contemporary and experimental music, whose work has been featured at many international festivals throughout the UK, Europe, and South America. Since1998 he has worked as conductor for contemporary music, and a violinist, giving the first performance of many new works and teaching contemporary music performance practice at the Institut for Neue Musik, Freiburg. He currently performs both notated and improvised music as a violinist and has specialised in developing the duet performance of live electronics. Alistair has taught composition, conducting and music aesthetics in the UK at Goldsmiths and Canterbury Christ Church University, and is the translator of many texts on contemporary music and art.
Louise Rossiter (1986) is an Electroacoustic composer and sound artist based in Leicester, UK.Louise’s research interests include expectation in acousmatic music, silence and music, acoustic ecology, multi-channel composition and spatialisation. She completed a PhD at De Montfort University, Leicester under the supervision of John Young and Simon Emmerson, having studied previously under Pete Stollery, Robert Dow and Robert Normandeau. Her current research carries on from doctoral research to explore ways in which interactions of sound, silence, and timbral blending might evoke implications, expectations and questions. She is currently composing a series of pieces which explore the work of Fritz Kahn. Dr Kahn’s work revolutionized the area of infographics by producing images representing the human anatomy as complex pieces of machinery. The research project provides a tangible link to explore between sound, imagery and the imagination to explore expectations.
Louise’s works aim to provide a highly immersive sonic experience which are in some way, unpredictable. Previous projects have focused on silence, contrasting real and imaginary places and enigmatic sound.
Her works have been performed internationally at EMS, Electronic Music Week (Shanghai), Influx (Musiques et Reserches), L’espace du sons, NYCEMF, BEAST, SSSP, Sound Festival, Soundings…, Sound Junction, Toronto Electroacoustic Symposium, Bologna Conservatory of Music and Electroacoustic Wales.
Louise has also had works awarded in several international competitions, including in the Destellos International Composition Competition, Musica Nova (Prague), Franz Liszt Stipendium (Weimar), Electronic Music Week (Shanghai). In 2012, she was awarded first prize in the prestigious L’espace du son international spatialisation competition. In 2019, Homo Machina was selected to be performed as part of the UK contingent at the International Confederation of Electroacoustic Music (CIME / ICEM).
Louise’s work is published on the Xylem record label.
Weston Olencki is a South Carolina-born musician working at the intersections of improvisation, contemporary composition & extended instrumental performance, new media technologies, and noise-based practices. His work is concerned with material conditions sound and its diffusion, using experientially-driven structures to examine sonic relationships to metaphor/signification, informational complexity, technological mediation, psycho-acoustic perception, and geographical identity. He has presented work at the Borealis Festival, ISSUE Project Room, REDCAT, bludenzer tage zeitgemäßer musik, Gent Jazz Festival, Blanton Museum of Art, Squeaky Wheel, Mostly Mozart, the American Academy in Rome, Frequency Festival, Indexical, and the OPTION series, and was awarded the Kranichsteiner Musikpreis for performance from the 2016 Darmstadt Ferienkurse. Weston is an active member of RAGE THORMBONES, Ensemble Pamplemousse, the Wet Ink Large Ensemble, tunnels, and performs regularly as a soloist and ensemble member on low brass instruments, modular synthesizers, and various electronic media. He lives in New York City, and is also a curator/sound engineer for Spectrum NYC.
Bradford-born, Wakefield-raised John Burton grew up fascinated by sound, and as a young boy would often drift off to sleep to the diffuse tones of his dad’s progressive rock collection emanating from the room beneath him. He tried piano, guitar, and a short stint playing mouth organ but they failed to captivate him. It wasn’t until halfway through his painting degree at Norwich School of Art and Design that he discovered the computer he bought to write his dissertation could take him on new sonic adventures by recording and manipulating sound.
As part of his ongoing quest to create more expressive instruments with which to write and produce music John has designed, built and developed a unique light controlled musical interface which is the heart of his live show. Comprising a light sensitive controller and bespoke Max/MSP software which he plays gesturally using handheld lights. He has performed with it throughout Europe and given talks and workshops at various music and art schools, including the Royal College of Music. In 2012 he took this system to Vietnam at the invitation of the British Council and in 2014 played it to a sold-out Roundhouse in London supporting Imogen Heap. In 2015, the interface won the Qwartz Electronic Music Award for Innovation.
Since 2004 John has been a key member of experimental jazz band Polar Bear, recording five albums with them, touring extensively and picking up two prestigious Mercury Prize nominations. John has also performed with Shabaka Hutchings, Talvin Singh and Imogen Heap, supported Matmos, Otomo Yoshihide and Yo La Tengo and twice been part of Beck’s band at the Barbican, London. In 2007 he was also invited to perform at Jarvis Cocker’s Meltdown Festival at London’s Southbank Centre, alongside Beth Orton, Grace Jones, Nick Cave and Roisin Murphy.
Pam Hulme is an innovative loop artist, organist, composer, improviser and conductor. Her work explores the interaction between sound, space and time as inherent musical material when working with organ and live electronics. Pam has developed a transferable approach to digital augmentation of the organ, which she combines with improvisation and remixing classical organ repertoire, as well as composing fixed works. Pam is based in Berlin, where she works as a church musician, and is highly active with music outreach, particularly through her ongoing project: Metamorphosis: Urban-Organ. Recent solo performances include Berlin, Cologne, Amsterdam, London, and Yorkshire, where she has also been studying part-time for an MRes in Composition at the University of Huddersfield.
Emma Margetson is an award winning acoustic composer and sound artists based in the Midlands, UK. Her works have been performed nationally and internationally, and was recently featured on the British Music Collection’s #acomposeraday series, which showcased the profiles of 31 composers and their unique contributions to composition in the UK.
Emma’s compositional work is focused on developing novel compositional approaches that are actively geared towards increasing engagement with electroacoustic composition in order to reach wider audiences, in particular disadvantaged segments of the community, and younger people. Furthermore, Emma has collaborated with a variety of organisations across the West Midlands including the IKON, Research & Cultural Collections at the University of Birmingham, The Barber Institute of Fine Arts and Sampad.
Emma is also currently a member of BEER (Birmingham Electroacoustic Ensemble for Research) and has developed skills in live-coding and laptop ensemble performance. Emma was awarded the COMPASS Prize in 2014, klingt gut! Young Artist Award in 2018 and AHRC Midlands3Cities Cultural Engagement Award in 2018. Her works have been performed and exhibited internationally, including at Ars Electronica Forum Wallis (CH), University of Birmingham (UK), The Barber Institute of Fine Arts (UK), 5to Festival de Música Electroacústica (CL), BEAST FEaST (UK), SEAMUS (USA), CEMI circles (USA), EMAS (UK), Festival Ecos Urbanos (MEX), BULO (UK), RMA (UK), SPECTRA (CO), NYCEMF (USA), Birmingham Hippodrome (UK), Audior Acusmonium (ITL), Sound-Image Colloquium (UK), Delian Academy of New Music (GD), Noisefloor Festival (UK), [ ex_nihilo ] (MEX), MAtera INtermedia (ITL), Sound Junction (UK), Musica Electronic Nova (PL) and Electric Spring (UK).
Laurens van der Wee is a soap maker, composer and probably some other things, in no particular order. His use of technology is characterised by a strong love-hate relationship with it. This tension is the source of all his artistic endeavours, whether it’s composing music, improvising on stage or even devising the occasional sound installation. The focus, however, is always on finding the right balance between harsh noise and good odour.
For the record: Laurens holds MMus and BAT degrees from the Utrecht University of the Arts (HKU) in Utrecht, The Netherlands and is currently a Bernhard Fellow in Prof. Michael Clarke’s ERC funded IRiMaS research group at the University of Huddersfield, pursuing his doctoral degree. Work has been presented at ICMC’s and SMC’s in Belfast, Montreal, Porto and Barcelona, at the Hong Kong International Dance Symposium and all around Europe.
Colin Frank (CAN/UK) experiments with sound, electronics, theatre, and percussive instruments. In attempting to blur delineations between composer, performer, improviser, and technician his practice perpetually mutates: narrowly focusing then sprawling chaotically. He investigates excess, bodily extremes, barely controllable instruments, and rich, raw noises.
After his diploma of composition with Michael Jarrell in 2006, Brice Catherin willingly stepped away from the contemporary music institutions in order to develop very freely a few activities: multi-instrumental cellist, improviser, composer and art performer. These activities fed into each another, so that beyond his multidisciplinary shows and improvised concerts, Brice Catherin has never stopped composing and premiering written pieces. Most of his recent projects explore the idea of democracy in art: the artists’ individual responsibilities and their place in the social group as well as those of the members of the audience are challenged and questioned.His pieces were premiered in many differents places on this planet, and some of them are available on various labels (la Cafetire and Drone Sweet Drone, France) and a netlabel (Pan Y Rosas, USA).
Henry McPherson is an artist, improviser, performer, and composer. His practice involves the production of scores, prompts, stimulus material, and standalone pieces in various forms of media, for interpretation through sound, movement, and other performance. He maintains a focus on score (in its various definitions) as interface, document-object, and archive, capable of generating unlimited avenues of interpretive and communicative possibility.
From Brooklyn, NY, Maria Sappho is an improviser, pianist, artist, and burgeoning cult leader. The heart of her interest is in re-considering/contextualising audience and the role of the ‘niche’. Her preference tends towards working with extramusical disciplines, where she feels rewarded by the cross pollination of artistic vocabularies. She is often criticized for her outspoken opinions of those who use ‘composer’ with too much intent of authority. She has been lucky enough to play with some wise and supportive artists, to give credit to a few – Maggie Nicols, Una Maglone, Phil Minton, Trever Watts, Peter Knight, and Anto Pett. Maria is a happy member of the Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra.
Dré A. Hočevar is a composer, performer, and cross-disciplinary artist frequently performing across the United States, Asia, and Europe. He is Clean Feed Records recording artist with his fifth album Surface of Inscription released in September 2017. As a performer, he is currently a member of Nate Wooley’s Knknighgh Quartet, Zack Clarke’s Trio and is directing ensembles Coding of Evidentiality, Theōriae Doxa, Container Doxa, and Verso Doxa. Hočevar’s teachers include Steve Lehman, Peter Ablinger, Joe Morris, Michael Carvin, and Aaron Cassidy. Dré A. Hočevar is based in England and is currently a Ph.D. student at the Centre for Research in New Music (CeReNeM) Institute, University of Huddersfield.
John-Robin Bold is an electronic composer, media artist and classical guitarist. After studies in classical guitar at the HMTM Hannover, he is currently pursuing a degree in computer music at the University of Performing Arts Graz in Austria during which he spent a semester at the University of Huddersfield, UK.
Bold’s concerts include appearances in Germany, Austria, UK, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Italy at Hear Me! Festival, Ambient@40, Umum Festival and ZKM Karlsruhe. Besides various collaborations in improvisational, theatrical and ensemble contexts, he is an organizer of the newly established event series ◯ at Forum Stadtpark Graz. John-Robin Bold has released his debut album in January 2020 on the relaunched legendary label Mille Plateaux and has forthcoming publications on HOHA records (Milan) and WERGO.
Since 2005 Simon Whetham has developed a practice of working with sonic activity as a raw material for creation. He uses environmental sound, employing a variety of methods and techniques in order to obtain often unnoticed and obscured sonic phenomena. When presenting work in a performance or installation, for him the space and the objects within become instruments to be played. His artistic investigations have caused him to work increasingly in multi-disciplinary projects, leading his work to become more visual and tangible. He is currently exploring ways to retain physical traces of sound and transforming energy forms.
Simon’s practice also covers giving active listening and field recording workshops internationally (most recently in South Korea, UK and Taiwan). This includes workshops for children and young people, which began in Medellín, Colombia in 2013, and has led to larger projects in Norway and Australia, and with unaccompanied minors in a refugee camp in Munich, Germany in 2014.
Creative Coding Lab Symposium
Electric Spring presents the third annual Creative Coding Lab Symposium. Those who have attended the Max/MSP Power Users’ Symposium in the past will recognise the format of four guest speakers taking about creative work with audio programming, but in this new incarnation we’ve broadened the remit to encompass a wider range of languages and practices. This new name is taken from the Creative Coding Lab here at the University of Huddersfield.
The afternoon is an opportunity for practitioners in creative coding to share and discuss both their technical approaches and their artistic thinking, as well as the way they link the two together. Each of the four guest speakers will talk about their practice for around 45 mins to an hour with the opportunity for attendees to ask questions after each talk.
The symposium will be held from 12–5 on Saturday, 22nd February, in RSG/01 in the Richard Steinitz Building . The setting will be informal, and light refreshments will be provided.
CCL Symposium guest speakers will be confirmed in early 2020.
Want to get in touch?
For any questions about the promotion of the events, please contact:
The Electric Spring organising committee apologises that we cannot reply to unsolicited concert/project proposals.
University of Huddersfield
Richard Steinitz Building
Huddersfield HD1 3DH
Admission to all events is free of charge.