The City Is Full Of Noises Celebrates Electronic Music In 2023

Following a successful pilot earlier this year, The City is Full of Noises returns to the Herbert in 2023 with a month-long celebration of electronic music, culminating in a weekend of workshops, networking and concert performances on 25 and 26 March.

First held on Saturday 21 May 2022, The City is Full of Noises was set up to celebrate the legacy of Delia Derbyshire, an early pioneer of electronic music born and brought up in Coventry. Today, Derbyshire is best remembered for her work on the original Doctor Who theme music during her time with the BBC Radiophonic Workshop in the 1960s, but her impact on popular music today is wide-ranging, with her innovations having influenced artists from Paul McCartney to the Chemical Brothers.

This year’s festival included modular synth workshops with Rick Holt of Frequency Central, a “synth meet” for artists and interested parties to gather and share ideas, and an evening concert with performances from Rick Holt, AaltonenStone Anthem, Mashed Swede Café Orchestra, Rhiannon Bigham and Ian Campbell, and Finlay Shakespeare.

In 2023, the extended festival will see a range of activity taking place at the Herbert throughout the month of March, with full details to be confirmed soon. The final weekend will include workshops aimed at beginners and experienced sound-makers alike, and will spotlight both established and emerging synth artists in a series of concert performances.

Visitors will also be able to browse and purchase equipment from a “Makers Marketplace”. Traders interested in booking a stall at the market can email cfon@cvlife.co.uk to enquire.

The City is Full of Noises is a collaboration between the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Frequency Central and Coventry University, with contributions from Dr Benoit Granier, Rick Holt, AaltonenDivKidBen WeatherillLeon Trimble, Ian Campbell and Rhiannon Bigham.

Creative Events Producer Kirstie Lewis said: “We’re really excited to be bringing The City is Full of Noises back for an even bigger synth celebration in 2023, and can’t think of a better time to announce this news than on Delia Derbyshire Day on 23 November – a day dedicated to the trailblazing work of a homegrown electronic artist.

“Delia’s childhood in Coventry had a huge impact on the work she would go on to create, particularly her experiences during the Second World War. As an adult, she would cite the noise of the air raid sirens she grew up hearing as an important influence on the kind of abstract sounds she was drawn to, so it feels especially fitting to be celebrating her legacy here in her hometown.

“Coventry still has a thriving electronic music scene today, and we hope this new festival will help to nurture and champion some of the incredible talent the city has to offer, as well as drawing in artists and visitors from further afield.”

The City is Full of Noises returns to the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum in March 2023. A full schedule for the festival will be announced in the coming weeks. For more information or to express an interest in attending, please email cfon@cvlife.co.uk.

Visual Sequence//Brume

Visual Sequence, also known as Rhiannon B. is a visual and sound artist, living and working in Coventry (the birthplace of Delia Derbyshire). It’s hard to believe that this collection of four perfectly-mastered pieces, inspired by the different states of sea mist, is her first official release. 

The composer used primarily the Lyra 8 & Pulsar 23 analog synthesizers. The delightfully capricious nature of these instruments, developed by SOMA Laboratory, injects an organic component into the music. Immerse yourself in the splendid and mysterious soundscapes, which are adorned with profound textures, ethereal atmospheres, and emotional harmonies. 

Recorded at Eastern Telephone Works, Coventry.

Esya//All Hallows’ Eve

Tomorrow, for one night only, join Esya for an All Hallows’ Eve ‘online’ performance.

Date: Sat 31st Oct 2020//Time//23:30 GMT (UK)//16:30 PST//19:30 EST

The event will be hosted via YouTube Live after which there will be a live chat.

Admission is free.

Donations are welcome via the link below.

Chris Huggett//Electronic Dream maker

Really sad to hear the news today of the death of Chris Huggett last week. Co-founder of Electronic Dream Plant (EDP) and founder of Oxford Synthesiser Company (OSC), he went on to work for Akai and Novation on truly groundbreaking instruments.

Products from EDP included the Wasp, which used digital oscillators and analog filters and envelopes. This theme continued when he set up OSC on what still is one of my favourite synths of all time, the OSCar. I was lucky enough to buy one of the last ones ever made, back in the mid-eighties. But when my Polytechnic grant ran out a couple of years later I had to sell it. Fortunately, I replaced it a few years ago with another late model. Not only a great sounding synth, but an incredible design. I absolutely love it, and still dream of the polyphonic version!

Chris then went to work for Akai, taking his knowledge of digital oscillators to the development of their samplers. He went on to work for Novation, notably on their BassStation and Supernova synths.

Chris Huggett is not the most widely known name in synthesiser history, but the products he helped development surely are. A great legacy.

ian c.

Simeon Coxe//Silver Apples

The sad news has come through of the death of Simeon Coxe of Silver Apples, a true pioneer of electronic music.

We had the pleasure of meeting Simeon at a Silver Apples gig in Sheffield a few years ago. He was more than happy to talk about his rig, and take us through his set up.

An inspiration to generations that followed, most notable on the track We Carry On by Portishead.

Tim Seeley//The Avian Garden//Creating the Sounds for The Garden

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28 pieces of music and recordings inspired by garden bird song. The website is now live…

 

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In Tim’s own words…

“The idea within the music was to create the feeling of the wings movement. The energy behind flight for a bird. I want the listener to have the feeling of flying. I want to convey the feeling I get when geese fly overhead. The energy and effort that the body experts. Each wing forcing the air while the body makes gentle sounds like an accordion. I have ignored many aspects of time and tempo. Inspired by Satie to ignore and eliminate the bar lines. There is no strict tempo, no pulse, no defined time signature. The birds sing all together but have little time or inclination to listen to each other much. As they are all too busy shouting for their own space in the world. The dawn chorus is a melee of songs and rhythms from all our garden birds. Some have flown hundreds of miles to be with us. Others are our native garden friends like the Blackbirds and the Robins. There is no real time signature in this piece. It is all Tempo Rubato, with no end. Just the same way a bird would sing. The phrases are sometimes short and sometimes long. Some parts are in 12/8 others in 3/4 some are 9/8 and 4/4 or 5/4. All together they make a polyrhythm reflecting the birds at the dawn chorus. As no one teaches the birds time signatures or key relationships, they just sing over each other repeating themselves.
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I followed in the footsteps of Erik Satie by ignoring bar lines and conventions of time too. Nothing really has a time signature in the piece. Everything individually has, but over all it is a chaos of polyrhythms. This is again deliberate as I wanted to simulate the growing of the dawn into the light and then evaporating away like a dream. Also birds have no sense of time signatures when they sing together they just sing. I didn’t want a set rhythm or time to the piece because birds don’t sing to a set pulse, nor are they conducted in anyway to be together musically. Despite this it is a beautiful wonder of nature. They are not thinking about 4/4 or 6/8, they just belt it out. The melee of music that is the dawn chorus is everyone singing all the favourite melodies at once. All the varied rhythms and lengths, everything predefined by what the birds can utter. But all as one too. I wanted to recreate musically the sound of birds flying. The effort and strain they exertion for each moment of flight. Along with the feeling of oneness too.
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The EMS Synthi AKS and Korg Delta were loaned by Ian Campbell at synthcurious.comhe also added some fine touches to the big wing sounds himself.”