Sustaining

Duration: 9’00”

Milad K. Mardakheh

Programme note:

The first of a series of works, exploring the Hallmarks of Cancer from a bio-molecular standpoint, Sustaining attempts at drawing a link between the proliferation of cancerous cells and that of dangerous ideas from extraneous, environmental, socio-cultural/political contexts; in this case, anthropogenic climate change denial. Despite the increasing consensus over the sobering reality and significance of man-made climate change in today’s world, the malignant spread of discord and denial over the subject still remains an inimical issue in the face of impending, irreversible consequences.

Sustaining explores a marriage of synthesized sounds generated by the sonification of high-throughput data derived from the bio-molecular research of cancer cells, and fragmented voices from lectures, debates and interviews given by climate change deniers. The work paints a dramatic sonic image in the mind of the listener; one that is informed by the narrative of the inner-workings of the hallmark of cancer, Sustaining Proliferative Signaling, and portrays climate change denial as the culprit of an ecological neoplasm.

Artist Bio
Milad K. Mardakheh

Milad K. Mardakheh is a composer, researcher and programmer. He received his Master of Music degree in Composition from the Royal Welsh College of Music (2017) and he is currently pursuing a PhD in Music Composition at the University of Birmingham, UK. His research focuses on the composition of electroacoustic/computer music, using sounds generated through the sonification of data derived from biomolecular research conducted on cancer cells.


Butler Bayliss pieces

Duration: approx. 20′

Laura Jeffs

Programme note:

Pig Beds

Pig Beds is inspired by Edwin Butler Bayliss’ Pig Beds – Tapping a Furnace.  The piece is divided into three sections which explore the clouds of gas and steam, the power of the furnace, and the pouring of the molten iron as presented in Bayliss’ work.

Furnace and Snow

Furnace and Snow uses sonic material synthesised from the image data collected from Edwin Butler Bayliss’ Furnace and Snow, Landscape.  This piece explores the juxtaposition of hot and cold; stillness and motion represented by the furnace and snow in the artwork.

Along the Cut

‘Cut’ means canal in the Black Country regional dialect.

Along the Cut is an 8-channel work inspired by Edwin Butler Bayliss’ Black Country Industrial Scene.  The piece places the listener at the centre of Bayliss’ painting, transporting them on a journey through literal and abstract imaginings of the natural and industrial canal soundscape.

Artist Bio
Laura Jeffs

Laura Jeffs is a Black Country based electroacoustic composer.  She graduated with an MA in Electroacoustic Composition from the University of Birmingham in 2021.  Her work explores soundscape and acousmatic sound worlds with a particular focus on place through her use of location specific field recordings.  Her master’s research explored sonic representation of image through compositions based on artworks by Edwin Butler Bayliss which depict the Black Country during the Industrial Revolution.


Senderos Abismales 

Duration: 16’38”

Beatriz Ferreyra

Programme note:

Senderos absimales
(The light and shadows’ paths)

State commission for INA-GRM 2016
1 – Senderos absimales (The abysmal’s paths) – 16’38” – 2016
2 – Senderos del olvido (The forgetfulness paths) – 14’09” – 2016

At the beginning, this music was inspired by astrophysics wonders and by the mystery of the “before big Bang” and the first moments of existence. But the time going on, the composition transformed itself in a strange “working along”.

Artist Bio

Beatriz Ferreyra worked at O.R.T.F (French National Television), as a member of the Group of Musical Research (G.R.M), under the leadership of Pierre Schaeffer (1963-70). She contributed to his book « Traité des Objets Musicaux » (1966), and participated in the recording of excerpts for his « Solfège de l’Objet Sonore » (1967) (one of two assistant composers allocated for the composition of the audio files). Since 1970 she is a freelance composer. In 1975, became a member of the « Collège des Compositeurs » created by the G.M.E.B. (Group of Electroacoustic Music in Bourges). Since 1967 she has had worldwide commissions for concerts, festivals, film and TV music, theatre and video. She writes articles, gives seminars and lectures, and has received several composition prizes since 1975. In 2014 she was elected as an Honorary Member of the CIME/ICEM (International Confederation of Electroacoustic Music).


The Soundscape Speaks – Soundwalking revisited

Duration: 36’45”

Hildegard Westerkamp 

Programme note:

It has often been said during this past year of the pandemic that Covid is ‘only the beginning’ and that the much larger crisis ahead of us is climate change. An obvious question to ask then is: What is our relationship to the environment? And is the natural environment interesting enough to us –indeed, do we know enough about it-that we would want to protect and save it from further ravages?

The sound environment has much to tell us -it simply ‘voices’ all activities -and if we dare to really listen,we may sense the depth of the environmental trouble the world is facing.

During the past year I decided to re-examine the many sound recordings I have made since approximately 1977/78, when I got my chops in field recording while producing and broadcasting my radio program Soundwalking on Vancouver Co-operative Radio. Without knowing it then, it formed the base of my recording approach for many years to come. The idea of including my voice while recording the environment was there from the start and was based in the desire to acknowledge my recording presence to the radio listener. In other words, in speaking together – acoustic environment and voice – a relationship between soundscape and human vocal expression was revealed.

Upon the kind invitation from the BEAST FEaST 2021 to create a new soundpiece, I decided to use the opportunity to reflect back on my more than 40 years of sound recording and composing with environmental sound. I have brought together many of my recordings and compositional approaches in a fluid stream of listening while also softly speaking my mind about issues of soundscape ecology. The festival’s theme is “Recalibration”. The Soundscape Speaks is an invitation to open yourselves to the complexities of listening itself and the possibilities it may offer to recalibrating your own relationship to the environment.

April 19, 2021

Artist Bio

Composer Hildegard Westerkamp focuses on listening, environmental sound and acoustic ecology. At the beginning of her career she worked with R. Murray Schafer and the World Soundscape Project, is a founding and board member of the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology and was long-time editor of its journal Soundscape. She has conducted soundscape workshops, given concerts and lectures, and has coordinated and led Soundwalks locally and internationally. For some years now she has mentored a variety of younger composers, sound designers, soundwalk leaders and people pursuing careers in soundscape studies and acoustic ecology. 

Westerkamp’s pioneering musical works and writing at the intersections of environmentalism, acoustic communication, radio arts, listening practices and soundwalking activate an awareness that sound is a decisive dimension of the world, an idea that underpins contemporary thinking across social, political, artistic and scientific practices of environmental respect and concern. (Dr. Alice Eldridge, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK)  

Her compositions have been discussed in various articles, and extensively in Andra McCartney’s dissertation of 1999, Sounding Places: Situated Conversations through the Soundscape Work of Hildegard Westerkamp, listed in:  https://hildegardwesterkamp.ca/writings/writingsabout/. Excerpts of her compositions appear in Gus van Sants’ films Elephant and Last Days and more recently she collaborated on the soundtrack of Nettie Wild’s film Koneline. Her composition Klavierklang for pianist Rachel Iwaasa had its world premiere at ISCM’s World Music Days in Vancouver, November 2017. Also in 2017 Hildegard’s ways of composing and listening were presented on CBC IDEAS: http://www.cbc.ca/radio/ideas/how-opening-our-ears-can-open-our-minds-hildegard-westerkamp-1.3962163 For more information see also: www.hildegardwesterkamp.ca