Lush Spectra: Diagrammatic Music, Focal Listening And Non-linear Time Consciousness
Limpe Fuchs Crys Cole Mohammad Reza Mortazavi Nandini Muthuswamy Oren Ambarchi Sandro Mussida Theo Burt Ryoko Akama Éliane Radigue Clare Salaman Jana Winderen George Rogers Ellen Arkbro Rian Treanor Karl D’Silva Laurie Spiegel Gamelan Sekar Petak Winston Hazel
photos by rebecca salvadori
For decades a boarded-up chapel has stood as an eerily silent monument deep within the grounds of Sheffield General Cemetery. The Samuel Worth Nonconformist Chapel is now set to open its doors once again, and on 10-11 June will host its first music event: Lush Spectra.
Curated by Sheffield-based, internationally-renowned electronic artist Mark Fell, Lush Spectra will see the chapel beautifully illuminated as it comes alive with a series of multichannel audio works and acoustic music. The weekend will bring together some of the world's most renowned experimental musicians and composers to create a mesmerising journey into the night – with Saturday night's programme continuing until sunrise.
The free two-day event has been conceived specially for the unique space of the Victorian cemetery chapel. Inspired by the venue, Fell will showcase different types of music that "foreground the beauty of the sounds, and the use of hypnotic patterns and harmonic forms", with the aim of creating "a welcoming environment where everyone can experience this unprecedented collection of unusual musical forms".
Much of Fell's work takes him outside of the UK, and for Lush Spectra he's bringing international voices and a number of artists from non-western traditions to Sheffield, with many sets marking rare UK performances. Lush Spectra follows on the heels of Sheffield Makes Music, which on Friday 9 June will bring amazing sounds to unexpected places across the city. Food and drink will be available outside the chapel. Feel free to bring a picnic blanket and cushions – and, if you're coming after dark, a torch to guide you down the cemetery's cobbled paths.
Saturday, 3pm A workshop with Limpe Fuchs. Play together with her instruments, your voice or your own instruments. Places limited to 10 – book now!
Saturday, 7-10pm German sound artist Limpe Fuchs performs a number of self-made instruments, using wood, granite, skins, bronze and strings, while listening to the “streaming of time”.
Testing the limits of audibility, Crys Cole uses minimal sonic gestures to draw the audience's attention to the act of listening and their environment.
At sunset Mohammad Reza Mortazavi, considered by many to be the world’s best hand drummer, presents a performance with Persian frame drum and tombak.
Saturday, 11pm-5am The night session opens with a talk by Nandini Muthuswamy on links between sound and transcendental meditation, followed by a violin solo. Muthuswamy hails from an illustrious family of musicians whose origins can be traced back to the introduction of the violin into Carnatic music (classical music of Southern India).
Prolific Australian multi-instrumentalist Oren Ambarchi presents his Sheffield debut, positioned between electronics, improvisation, contemporary minimalism and western pop.
Questioning musical languages and traditions, Sandro Mussida works around the interaction between acoustic/classical, electric and electronic fields. Here he performs within a sonic environment constructed by Mark Fell based on a lost Indian tuning system.
Theo Burt deconstructs rave anthems, repositioning their elements to form pseudo-poetic configurations. He has produced a hypnotic new work for the chapel.
Acclaimed electronic musician Ryoko Akama performs a piece specially written for her by pioneering composer Éliane Radigue, exploring the slow layering and transformation of frequency structures, and the interplay of harmonics and inharmonics.
The night session closes with a return to the ancient and acoustic world. At sunrise Clare Salaman performs with a selection of ancient instruments including the hurdy-gurdy, the nickleharpa and the tromba.
Sunday, 1-4pm Mark Fell and American algorithmic composer Laurie Spiegel present the premier of a new “participatory” composition with the Gamelan Sekar Petak. Conceived of as part installation, part workshop or game, visitors are invited to join the process of performing the work. Please bring a pair of headphones.
A reading room will be open throughout the afternoon, where visitors are invited to browse Mark Fell's collection of books and essays and enjoy complimentary green tea.
Sunday, 6-11pm Jana Winderen focuses on the natural sonic environment. Her installation Transmission is made from recordings of underwater wild life, combining shrimp sex, the orca’s sweeping echolocations and the fracturing of ice sheets.
George Rogers is a multidisciplinary artist whose mesmeric compositions explore the nature of consciousness through sound, taking listeners on a unique psycho-aural journey.
In a new piece specially composed for this event, Rian Treanor and Karl D’Silva combine spatial rhythmic structures with kaleidoscopic saxophone performance.
Stockholm-based composer and sound artist Ellen Arkbro is informed by her studies in "just intonation" tuning. Her synthesised dream music explores the interaction of pitch, time and acoustic space.
The evening ends with a set by legendary DJ Winston Hazel, a pioneer of Sheffield’s distinctive techno heritage. His idiosyncratic approach aligned a series of musical vocabularies and was pivotal to the development of British club music.