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!


Scratch n Phase


Scratch ‘n’ Phase is an interactive audiovisual installation that will make DJs and audiophiles wince in pain. Come and destroy some CDs and needles in the name of noise in this sound work where you control the volume.

This piece is created by Sarah Farmer,  a Birmingham based artist exploring various sound techniques and home made instrumentation.



Supersonic Taster – Birmingham photos


Thanks to all who came along to the first of two Supersonic taster events last Saturday at Eastside Projects in Birmingham. The amazing performances, and diversity of acts on show has got us all buzzing for the main event in October. Below are some lovely shots of the event by Katja Ogrin.

Laurence Hunt of Pram opened with a solo percussive project. Creating abstract sounds and looped feedback.

Sarah Farmer presented ‘An Array of Events’ using DIY instrumentation (plus viola)

Iron Fist of the Sun stepped the volume up a notch with a power electronics set

The first UK outing of Justin Broadrick’s new JK Flesh project. And it was LOUD.

King Midas Sound System closed the event with a set touching dub, reggae, drone and noise, plus great vocals from Roger Robinson and Kiki Hitomi

If you missed this event, fret not! A second Supersonic Taster event takes place at London’s Corsica Studios this Thursday 9th August. Tickets are available via http://www.corsicastudios.com/

And if you’d like to see more events like this happen, with line ups to be found nowhere else, support us via our We Fund campaign.