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

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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!

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Fear Of Music

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Panel discussion: ‘Fear Of Music’: Why Do People Get Rothko But Don’t Get Stockhausen?

David Stubbs’s Fear Of Music pivoted on a fundamental question: why do people get Rothko and not Stockhausen? While the general public has no trouble embracing avant garde visual art there is mass resistance to experimental music, although both were born at the same time and under similar circumstances – and despite the fact that from Schoenberg and Kandinsky onwards, musicians and artists have made repeated efforts to establish a ‘synaesthesia’ between their two media.

For this event, a panel made up of David Stubbs, Brian Duffy (Modified Toy Orchestra) and Christian Jendreiko (God’s White Noise) will discuss the parallel histories of modern art and modern music and wonder why one is embraced and understood while the other is ignored, derided or regarded with complete bewilderment.

About the panel:
David Stubbs is a freelance British music journalist and author. He has been a staff writer at Melody Maker, the NME, and The Wire, and he’s work regularly appears in The Guardian, Arena, The Wire, Uncut and When Saturday Comes.

Brian Duffy is the originator of the Modified Toy Orchestra, who make experimental electronic music using a series of children’s toys rescued from car boot sales. Each toy is modified to utilise new connections, and liberate the surplus value within their circuits.

Christian Jendreiko is an artist who seeks to reconsider acoustics as aspects of how body and mind are constructed, through a decentralized and sculptural approach towards performance; he transforms groups into social sculpture.

Tony Herrington first contributed to The Wire magazine back in 1987, and has been a member of staff at since 1992, before going on to be Editor-in-Chief and Publisher.

Supported by Ikon hosted by Wire Magazine

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