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Thursday 25 August 2016

Evolution in nature - a study of wild crickets

A study of the field cricket in northern Spain, using tagging, infared cameras, cctv and motion sensors to monitor a group of crickets during mating season, so as to understand more about evolution in nature.

A few interesting points relating to when and why crickets sing:

  • Good singing is in inheritable trait that is passed on.
  • Crickets need plenty of food when young to become the good singer that they are genetically predisposed to be.
  • Small male crickets need to sing to be able to mate, whereas large males mate more if they don't sing. 

The site also invites participation, watching and tagging videos:

Thursday 12 May 2016

Documentation: Walking with Crickets, Points of Listening, sound walk

A binaural recording of the cricket walk, recorded by Richard Bentley on Radio Aporee.

Full documentation on the Points of Listening website:

Tuesday 29 March 2016

Points of Listening #24 Walking with Crickets, with Lisa Hall

I'm looking forward to leading this session: Wednesday evening, April 13th, 6.30pm
RSVP online:

Points of Listening (PoL) is co-convened by Salomé Voegelin and Mark Peter Wright in association with CRiSAP University of the Arts London. PoL is a monthly programme of experimental workshops, activities and discussions based in and around London. Events are open to the public and held at London College of Communication in addition to various locations, outdoors and indoors, throughout the city.

PoL # 24 Walking with Crickets

A sound walk with crickets to explore the city.

This session takes as its starting point a sonic trend which began in China over 1000 years ago in the Tang Dynasty – that of keeping crickets for their song. While mainly kept in the home or garden, the crickets were also carried around in small gourds, concealed in clothes and worn like a portable music player. It is thought that the practice, started by the royal family, began in order to bring company and comfort to the listener. The trend quickly caught on and became a popular pastime practiced widely in society, and it continues to this day.

For this Points of Listening session we will be staging a digital re-enactment of this trend. Participants are invited to experience and contemplate the act of carrying this sound through the immediate environs of Elephant and Castle, to explore an alternative to our present day sonic trend of headphones and mobile devices that are so popular in cities today. Through this public form of sounding and listening, we can experience not only the cricket song as a mobile music, but also how we relate to the spaces around us. How do we hear the city, ourselves within in and how are we ourselves heard? Can this technique make us think differently about our position and relationship to the spaces we move through, and the people that we pass? In this way, this PoL will use the cricket song as both a measure and a lens through which to explore our location – to sound out our surroundings, hear ourselves appear and disappear in the sea of noise, and explore our city in new ways.

Part of the evening will be spent in the studio and for the other part we will be outside on a sound walk, carrying recordings of crickets through the local area. Bring a warm coat.


Lisa Hall is a sound artist based in London. Her works take the form of urban interventions, digital interventions, sound installations and prints / books. Focused on spaces, places and how we move through them, her works explore the sonority of the built environment and the body through the push and pull of sound.

Image credit: – creative commons attribution

RSVP online:

Friday 12 February 2016

Speakers in tubes

In preparation for my new sound work Pillars at Profound Sound Festival tomorrow in Folkestone, I have been testing out my composition in a variety of different tubes - a slide, a cardboard tube and a sawn off lamp-post. 

The work is due to be installed inside a metal pipe, in Folkestone's Payers Park - which is an artwork in itself, having been designed by Architecture + Art group MUF for the Folkestone Triennial. The metal pipe is half buried in the ground, with ends that protrude so that you can speak, shout, sing, make noise through it. It makes good use of the slope that the park is built into and it actively encourages SOUND in this play space. 

But also, the pipe makes the perfect site for this sound work, which is a performance of musical pillars being played. In India there are numerous temples designed with musical pillars as their main supports, these pillars are made of granite (a naturally resonant material) and are shaped and positioned to play exact musical notes, when tapped (tapped like you would when playing a piano). These structures are effectively large musical instruments, but to the eye appear as usual, highly decorative, stone temples.

Of my pipe tests today, the slide was good, it was good to be in it and listen in there, the sound had that metallic quality to it.
The sawn off lamp post was a weaker version of these two ... not so great.. It was too short to do much.
The cardboard pipe was my favourite. It gave great resonance and a slight muffle, it made listening feel like it was from far far away. 

Monday 25 January 2016

Sounds of India

An amazing start to the year with a month long trip to south India.

My Recordings:

#1 Early morning life in Hampi.
Sounds: sweeping, clanking dishes, spitting, murmurs, engine rumbles and roars, children's voices, a rare calm and stillness for me in India.

#2 Chanting in a Hindu temple.
Sounds: Voice, hands, feet, bells, doors, musical rhythms, belief & devotion.

#3 On a mountain top.
Sounds: tinny distant motorbike engines, flapping flags, chanting, birds, beeps, voices, claps, the ear-view of a sacred mountain top.

#4 Musical columns being played.
Sounds: varying tones, skin, resonance, stone, slapping, tapping, popping, an old rain like music.

#5 A busy road.
Sounds: Beeps, horns, blasts, engines, voices, squeals and shrieks of brakes, alarms, a classic India road side soundscape.

#6 Night train.
Sounds: voices, voices, voices repeating, coffee, chai walla, metal rumbles, chugs and rattles of engines, carriages, wheels on tracks, distant long horns, muffled voices, a good nights sleep on a top bunk.

#7 Crows, early morning.
Sounds: Crows cawing, kraaing, cawing, cawing and cawing, a terrifying but daily spectacle of a large Hitchcock style gathering of crows.

#8 Mumbai from high up.
Sounds: clatering of pots and pans, engines roaring, murmuring, speech, pigeons cooing, passing beeps and paps, air con whirring, the gentle sounds of a backstreet in a city.

Recordings I missed:

#1 Women's jewellery
Sounds: A delicate but strong sound cloud of high pitched jingling and rattling of silver anklets and clattering of glass bracelets worn by big groups of women and girls walking past me in Hampi.

#2 An Elephant passing
Sounds: a rhythmic jingle of chains, matching each short step of this elephant that passed me. It was sadly reminiscent of the sound of anklets worn by Indian women, but this ankle jewellery was worn to stop the animal escaping at speed from its labour camp, which it was doing for a few seconds as it tromped past us in Wayanad.

Tuesday 24 November 2015

Mobile Audio Fest

Locus Sonus: Mobile Audio Fest
19-22 Nov 2015

I had the pleasure of visiting Locus Sonus and the Mobile Audio Fest in Aix-en-Provence last week, visiting from CRiSAP at London College of Communication due to some excellent Erasmus + training funding.

"Mobile Audio Fest is a 4 day event exploring the relationships between mobility and (new) forms of listening and sound-making. Conceived as a series of “rendezvous” in Aix-en-Provence and Marseille, Mobile Audio Fest presents 15 projects by international artists in which mobility plays a central part. The program includes performances, installations, apps, soundwalks, audiowalks, workshops and talks."

Here are a few of my quick tweets as I visited some of the art works:

More soon...

About Locus Sonus:

"Locus Sonus audio in art, is a research group whose main aim is to explore the, ever evolving, relationship between sound, place and usage. In an Art/Science tradition our research involves experimentation with emerging audio technologies particularly those relating to sound transmission, mobilization or spatialisation. Maintained by the art schools of Aix en Provence and Bourges, Locus Sonus is concerned with practice driven research and transdisciplinary approaches to the arts of sound."