Son et Lumières

For the second Electroacoustic Movies collaboration, Son et Lumières (2006), visual techniques analogous to methods of electroacoustic [1] composition were employed. 16mm film footage of the Fawley Oil Refinery shot at night on the banks of Southampton Water, England, was manipulated in camera, through single frame shooting and double exposure, before further manipulation and treatment in post production. Edited and multi-layered to an already composed soundtrack, in contrast to and mirroring the collaborative methods employed in Open Circuits. The soundtrack is an edit of Tim Howle’s longer piece Subplot featured in the Cinema for the Ear concert in Scarborough in 2002, and to which versions of these visuals were mixed live, and later developed and edited further for this edit.


Tim Howle, performing a live sound diffusion mix of Son et Lumières.
Sixteenth Annual Florida Electroacoustic Music Festival, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida April 2007.

The live sound diffusion of work is also of significance and contributes new knowledge to Randolph Jordan’s analysis of ‘Film Sound, Acoustic Ecology and Performance in Electroacoustic Music’ (Jordan, 2007, pp.121-141). Jordan sets out to ‘discuss the concept of “acousmatic” and the issues it raises when considering the idea of live performance as hinging upon an audience’s need for a visual point of reference as substantiation of a performer’s presence’ (ibid, p.122). With the advent of recorded sound as compositional device, there is no longer the visual spectacle of musical virtuoso performance, ‘we can no longer see what a performer is doing to create the sound’ (ibid). With electroacoustic music being a field where sound compositions are presented through loudspeakers, ‘sound presented in the absence of any visual source provides the basic model for concerts of electroacoustic music’. Jordan acknowledges that live sound diffusion through multi speaker arrays via mixing consoles and specialist software does give such performances a context specificity albeit one with a lack of (visual focus of) musicians performing in real time. This absence of visual context forms the very nexus of the collaboration between myself and Tim Howle, one which Tim has defined in papers given at Bath Spa University and to the Society of Electroacoustic Music in the United States (Howle, 2009) as being a practice ‘ “on the cusp” between two states’ and that as a composer he ‘saw the light’ – working with visuals is a way that ‘electroacoustic music can be made visible’ in a form that until now, as Jordan observes, has lacked visual focus. This becomes an original, emerging practice in the sonic arts.

Screenings, presentations, performances


On The Edge; University of Hull, February 2006.

SEAMUS (Society for Electro- Acoustic Music of the United States) Conference, University of Oregon, March 2006.

GEM4 – Surreal Images; University of Huddersfield,  April 2006,

Sounding Out 3; University of Sunderland, September 2006.

Fringe 06 Digital Scarborough; Crescent Art Gallery, Scarborough October 2006.

Cybersounds – Video Animation and Electroacoustic Music; Temple University, Philadelphia, November 2006.

WOCMAT (Workshop on Computer Music and Audio Technology); National

Chiao Tung University, Hsinchu, Taiwan, March 2007.

Visual Music Marathon; North Eastern University, Boston, Massachusettes April 2007.

Sonoimágenes – International Acousmatic and Multimedia Festival; Buenos Aires, Argentina, August 2007.

Abstracta – International Exhibition of Abstract Cinema; Rome, September 2007.

Survivors of Modern Industry; Montana State University, Montana, October, 2007.

Mexican Centre for Music and Sonic Arts (CMMAS); Morelia, Mexico, August 2008.

Journeys in Film – Beyond Film, Experimental Film Festival; Gala Theatre and Cinema, Durham, November 2008.

Visual Music Marathon; MFA Computer Art program of the School of Visual Arts and the New York Digital Salon, April 2009.

Seeing Sound – practice led research international symposium; Bath Spa University, October 2011.

MuVi3 – Video and Moving Image: On Synesthesia and Visual Music, University of Almeira, Spain, Feb-March 2012.

Monterrey Institute of Technology, Monterrey, Mexico, February 2013;
The Centre for Digital Art and Experimental Media (DXArts), Washington State University, Seattle, USA, February 2013.

International Festival of Projections, Lupino Cinema, University of Kent, March, 2016.

Invited Discussion Panel Member and Presentation of Work;

Topos – The Moving Image Between Art and Architecture; Research Symposium, Slade School of Art, London, December 2006.

Live sound diffusion performance:

Sixteenth Annual Florida Electroacoustic Music Festival; University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida April 2007.

Audiograft – Oxford’s Festival of Sound Art and Contemporary Music, Jacqueline Du Pre Concert Hall, Oxford, February 2011

Broadcast and Publication:

Elektra, TV Show for Experimental Music; TNA Channel (Cable Network) France, March 2007.

Featured in the book Video and Moving Image – on synaesthesia and visual music / MuVi 3 Ricco, D. and Jose de Cordoba, M. (eds) (2012) Ediciones Fundacion International Artecitta, Granada, Spain ISBN-13: 978-84-939054-3-9.

Electroacoustic Movies DVD cover

[1] “Seeing” electroacoustic music
Electroacoustic music is not music in the traditional sense and it never was intended to be… The composer doesn’t aim at a melody-and-accompaniement form. The electroacoustician shapes sound in the same way a sculptor shapes wood, stone or metal. He takes raw sound sources (their choice often relates to his conception of what the piece will stand for/mean) and manipulates them via studio techniques in order make them say something they were not meant to — ultimately disguising them, making them impossible for the listener to recognize. Listening to an electroacoustic piece is like studying a sculpture from every angle…or like “watching” a sound movie, hence the expression “cinema for the ear” (Francois Couture, 2005, Electroacoustic Music: What is it, how to listen to it and where to start [online] Available from:

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