Unintended Sounds – Modified Toy Orchestra & Scratch ‘n’ Phase

Those bold individuals who strive to birth sounds from objects that were never destined to emanate such forbidden noises are perhaps the perfect embodiment of that fearless, independent spirit that forms the focal point of our ‘You Can Be You’ panel discussion. From guitar distortion’s evolution from an accidental nuisance into a highly desirable and refined textural tool, to those forward thinking disc jockeys who elevated the turntable into an instrument in its own right; these endeavours are fraught with frustration, comprising large amounts of trial and error, technical manipulation and sheer stubborn audacity, but have resulted in some of the most startling sound experiments imaginable.

Following in the footsteps of these trailblazing aural alchemists, Brian Duffy’s Modified Toy Orchestra has focused its sights on transforming simple childhood playthings into avant-garde electronic instrumentation, seeking to unearth the secret potential that lays dormant inside these obsolete artefacts. After opening up each toy and rewiring circuits into positions they were never meant to find themselves in, the toys are reassembled with switches and dials to assume control over the object during a performance. The resulting spectacle is sometimes terrifying, often funny, but occasionally strangely beautiful, as the faintly jubilant cries of long discarded inanimate objects are finally allowed to ring out through the air like an emotionless, mechanical phoenix rising from the ashes of the past. The Modified Toy Orchestra will take to the stage on Friday 19th October, the first day of Supersonic – a perfect way to start your weekend of daring musical discovery!

Carving a similarly unchartered path through the overgrowth of technology is Birmingham based artist Sarah Farmer, who will be inviting festival goers to summon an accidental cacophony by mutilating CDs, tapes and vinyl with the Scratch ‘n’ Phase installation. Through blatant disregard for traditional music handling etiquette, a number of enlightening glitches and industrial screeches can be found, whilst basic layering and looping equipment allows the participant to build their own unintended sonic tapestry. Audiophiles will be appalled, and musical mavericks will be grinning ear to ear in what promises to be one of the noisiest installations of the weekend!