Archive for the ‘hiddensounds’ Category

I was a participating sound artist at the May 2015 Aural Lighthouses symposium in Santorini, Greece. As the brochure explains:

Curated by Ileana Drinovan-Nomikos, the event hosts artists and scholars from around the world including Greece, United States, India,United Kingdom, Australia, Germany and Italy. Sound artists and atmospheric scientists are brought together to evoke the emotional, affective and visceral responses of sound and frequency, and their effect beyond what scientifically manifests in graphs and images. The symposium explores human aural performance and how we make and create disaster sounds to seem natural and to fade into a perceived inaudibility. The works further explore the oscillation between apprehensive, stressed, distressed and relaxed listening, and so the difference between dread and the beauty of disaster listening.

My contribution was a four-channel immersive sound work, constructed from sonic materials that were part of my 2012 City of Melbourne public art work, Revoicing the Striated Soundscape. Unfortunately I couldn’t attend the conference but I was lucky enough to receive this feedback from the symposium co-coordinator, Ljubi Matic.

Rupture was played publicly starting from Tuesday May 19th, 2015 through Saturday May 23rd, 2015, every day for at least 4 afternoon and early evening hours. A separate room, approximately 4×4 meters large, was dedicated to the piece. Santozeum is a conglomerate of rooms of different sizes on several floors, so the audience could ramble around the space walking in and out during the pieces and taking in different sound events at their leisure. In the room where Rupture was listened to, there were 4 paintings on the walls, copies of the wall paintings of Akrotiri (an ancient site on Santorini). The speakers were located on the ground, in the 4 corners of the room. The audience was not seated (as I think you had originally suggested) because we thought that chairs would make the space too cramped. However, some listeners felt inclined to sit down while listening, on the ground and next to the speakers, and then rotate their position during their listening session. This rotation could and did happen quite quickly as the speakers were not too far from each other. The room, smaller than what is a typical gallery space, thus, I think, brought a special sensitivity to auditors’ 4-way movements. Those among the listeners who did not have the chance to read the info found in the brochure had not been informed about the type and provenance of the sounds you had created and used for the installation. Upon learning that, some came for the second time. An audience member told me he felt listening to Rupture transported him above the ground, to a flight of sorts, that is, flights of different kinds, some more or less comfortable, others evoking situations of fleeing and mobilization for war. Another one compared the listening experience to a “slow-motion of gigantic waves” with “abrupt abysses of silence (ruptures?) gaping from the oceanic expanse.” A third one was struck by the “compulsiveness” she sensed in the sounds of machinic origins as well as in her urge to stay put in the room and listen to them. The presence of ancient human and animal figures on the wall paintings gave a special twist to the experience at those moments where your composition brought breaths, sighs and strange (gutural?) sounds to the fore. It almost felt like anthropomorphic auricular traces were being uncovered from the strata of our machinic past, or like some kind of otherworldly communication was under way. Santorini, after all, is all about multifarious geological layers. Must be same for Melbourne and thank you for making us become aware of that.

I was also sent some photographs of the exhibition. Fascinating to consider Melbourne’s laneway sounds finding a home in the island of Santorini! photo 1photo 15photo 9photo 6


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What is the sound of heavy industry, machinery and metal? Has it a detectable “atmosphere”, a taste, a sensuality? Urban noise is often loathed, and there is good reason for this considering its ubiquity, and dominating effects. And yet, inside noise, there is something tantalizingly alive. I think of urban noise as in its infant phase; a neglected child yet to find its true potential. Or a formless material without a maker to provide it with diverse expressions. Luigi Russolo, John Cage,  Christina Kubisch and Max Neuhaus are four well-known composers/artists who brought to urban sound a musical sensibility; that is, treating urban noise with a musician’s respect.

day full container

Note the four speakers on the two containers. On the right container you can see one of the transducers in the center that was used to vibrate the container. Lengths of neon can be seen on both containers.

From the 22nd-24th January 2015, a team of artists including Fiona Hillary, Shanti Sumartojo, Eliot Palmer and myself were invited to produce a three-day atmosphere as part of Dagmara Gieysztor’s 3 month artist residency on the Maribyrnong River in Footscray. The shipping containers were located adjacent to a heavy freight rail bridge, which crossed the river to reach a giant container loading bay. Industrial soundscape 101!

Left image: The container storage yards on the other side of the river by night. Right image: A view of the train bridge running over the river toward the container storage yards. Containers are at the bottom of the hill to the left.

Left image: The container storage yards on the other side of the river by night.
Right image: A view of the train bridge running over the river toward the container storage yards. Containers are at the bottom of the hill to the left.

In response Eliot Palmer, who is a sound-artist, rigged up two transducers, one on each container, to vibrate the containers’ architecture. We closed up one of the containers and placed two shotgun microphones inside. The mics picked up the internal resonance of one of the containers which we threw out of four speakers sitting on the roof of the two containers. Included with these feedback sounds were various transformed industrial recordings I had made on site, industrial soundscape designs from my previous installations including Revoicing the Striated Soundscape and Subterranean Voices, and the use of rapid-tempo sequencing through a Korg synthesiser to further “suspend” the vibrations. Fiona Hillary and Shanti Sumartojo created a visual feast with neon lights and data projectors accentuating the multi-coloured and linear arrangement of the containers across the river. (For further description of the visual creations see this link).

The containers by night. At this point the atmosphere becomes surreal as both real and ghost trains pass, and neon glows in the dark.

The containers by night. At this point the atmosphere becomes surreal as both real trains and ghost trains pass, and neon glows in the dark.

Listening to the sound recording, which is live and unedited (besides a few cut and pastes to minimize length) gives a sense of the augmented atmosphere. The soundscape, which can be heard below includes the familiar sounds of trucks and trains aside the continuous drones and snores of vibrating containers, and the other-worldly calls of alien industrialism.

The soundcloud link below includes a silhouette of the four artists basking in the nightlight of the neon.


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hiddensounds has emerged (submerged actually) to present a new work thanks to the curators of Liquid Architecture. I’m inhabiting a cavernous underground bunker beneath Federation Square known as the Trench. The Trench was once destined to be a service area for federation square but has since become a haunt for artists intoxicated by its strange presences – sonically and visually. It is a long cuboid concrete room that sits astride platform 13 (the Sandringham line) and houses an intestinal array of piping transporting sewerage cooking oil and other gastronomical delights.

Recording in the Trench

Recording in the Trench

I have entered the space with an eight speaker sound system and have spent time investigating the site to understand its sonic ecology and the extraordinary dynamic range delimited by the blast of train horns at one end and the delicate drippings of concealed pipings at the other. The aim is to create a short lived transformed listening experience for those who descend to the trench with me at the end of the month on Saturday or Sunday.

Testing in the Trench

Testing in the Trench

In some ways the work presents a real challenge as the Trench is already a fascinating listening experience. One can spend 20 minutes in the Trench (which is the allocated audience time for the performance)  and become intrigued by its unusual sonic ecology in its natural form. But of course I intend to transform this sonic ecology using the method of introducing transformed site specific sounds in the space. Similar to my air-conditioning work Revoicing the Striated Soundscape I hope to create a sonic environment that at once merges the real with the surreal for an altered listening experience, which contrasts the constructed listening experience of a concert.

Rivers & James help with Speaker Placement

Rivers & James help with Speaker Placement

It would be great if you could make it down and experience Subterranean Voices, a soundwork for the sonic ecology of the Trench. See the Liquid Architecture website for more details, and for the incredible array of interesting works on offer. Liquid Architecture have a facebook page and a Twitter page.

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My blog is late this week and I deeply apologise! I am madly busy getting two gigs together for this week: Blow the Fuse and hiddensounds @ horse bazaar. If you are on facebook you will easily find both events. As preparation for the hiddensounds gig has obsessed my mind for the past week I am going to talk about it.

hiddensounds is my experimental project. And my set up for the gig this Saturday is growing exponentially. I now have a sampler, a synthesizer, a lap top, a bass guitar, a 6-string guitar, vocals and a mixing desk. They are all wired up by by midi and audio. I also have a vj, Paul Rodgers, shooting out images behind my head. So it is going to be a multimedia performance that deals with most of the senses (taste is beer – there is a bar – smell is electricity!). With my set I am exploring different aspects of musical expression. I am starting with a singer-songwriter approach and then moving into soundscapes where I will be overlapping the energy waves of various scenarios including the ocean, a football crowd and passing footsteps. This will meld into an exploration of frequency beats mimicking the movement of a bird’s ear drum as it engages with the magnetic field of the Earth. Then a space-rock exploration in the old krautrock sense of the word. Experimentation to me means not just playing around with sounds but also horizontally mashing up genres. In the end it’s about creating an effect that is exciting! Hope you can make it. All the details are in the poster below.

'horse bazaar' poster

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Horse Bazaar presents
hiddensounds, Infinite decimals & Bulke.

A night of sonic exploration at Horse Bazaar on Saturday the 7th November from 6pm to 8.30pm.

Hiddensounds (www.hiddensounds.net) is the audio-scrawl exploration of Jordan Lacey. Frequency beats. Buttons holding secrets. Knobs and faders telling lies. Fretted instruments stroked. Silence. Noise. The sounds underneath. Three veg and mash. Happy Accidents. On the night exploring highways, rivers and crowds.

Amplified string duo Infinite Decimals (www.myspace.com/infinitedecimals) [Barnaby Oliver / Don Rogers] produce waves of vertically complex sonic texture filled with phantom melodies and psychoacoustic surprises. Intellectual concentration, anti-rationality and sustained physiological effort obliterate mind-body duality to produce organic and richly detailed auto-compositions.

Bulke (www.myspace.com/bulkesounds)[Pradip Sarkar & Jordan Lacey] is a blend of dub-tech, bassline, and krautrock, geared towards the dancefloor with tracks varying from midtempo electronic ballads to 130 BPM four to the floor beats. The band was built on the basis of a love for the electronic sounds coming out of Berlin. Bulke will be joined by Prem CJ on Electronic Tabla.

Paul Rodgers, a.k.a. Arnold Eye Irons, avant-projectionist & VJ will wave his fingers through all three acts, and DJ post-punk sounds on the in-betweens.

Where: Horse Bazaar
When: Saturday 7th November 2009
Time: 6 – 9.30 pm
Cost: $5

horse bazaar gig

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For those of you with background knowledge of hiddensounds you will know it is a project that has been alive for approximately 5 years. This of course makes the 1,300 myspace profile views highly embarrassing. But hey, if ya’ gonna make experimental sounds what the hell do you expect? As I wrote in last weeks post hiddensounds has divided into three different projects. This meant removing a number of songs from the hiddensounds catalouge as they had been absorbed into my other projects: ‘The Infinite Ox’ and ‘Bulke’ (Confused yet? Check last weeks blog. I don’t guarantee this will alleviate your sense of confusion though!).



I have gone back to ‘The Hidden Sounds of Electricity’, an album hiddensounds completed in 2005. It was recorded using a Nord synth and behringer delay modulator, piano and bass guitar with effects. The overall result is droning and surreal. I have added three songs from this album: ‘A pleasurable scream’ which is a cacophony of synth noises; ‘Dugong swimming in an Electric Swamp’ which mixes bass booms with high-pitched synth sounds; and ‘Wave Rising’ which is a spoken word piece.

Other songs include ‘Hello’ featuring my son and partner on vocals; ‘When a Date Turns into a Disaster’ which is a satirical track that makes very little sense; ‘A Stroll in Complex Park’, the sort of song Eraserhead would have fallen asleep to; and ‘Quite Correct’, a philosophical song based on recorded conversations between myself and postmodernist philosopher, Simon McCart. The other three songs you will probably be familiar with; they are the ‘highly’ produced electronica songs.

You can find all these songs at my reverbnation page or my homepage. If you would like a copy of any of the songs mentioned above drop me a line and I will email you mp3s of the songs (except the three electronica songs at this stage). I am happy to share my hiddensounds tracks with you!

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hiddensounds in therapy!

hiddensounds in therapy!

hiddensounds has resolved its identity crisis thanks to an intensive week of recording with beautiful girls drummer, Bruce Braybrooke. hiddensounds has been a musical project that has been functioning for a number of years and has really been a term to describe my artistic output in both music and words (poetry; read and projected). While it has been great to have a label to place my artistic endeavours under, it has become apparent that it isn’t a great way to get a ‘brand’ out there.

Now brand is something I have always opposed; I have been anti-marketing. But I now see in the modern world that if you want to get your stuff out there you have to become ‘discoverable’ on the net. With search engines, it is important to be able to call your sound something and enable people to find you. So hiddensounds, after intensive therapy, has split into three major projects.

The first is ‘Infinite Ox’. This is the name of the band that emerged from the week recording with Bruce Braybrooke. The music is garage-rock. It moves, its driving, its good. This is the stuff that will rock out the pub after a few jars, if you know what I mean ;-). I play bass, sing and trigger synth noises. It is a two piece, the other piece being drums!

The second project is ‘Bulke’. This is a collaboration I have started with a Melbourne DJ called Lord Lingham. It is electronic music that draws on world samples, electronica beats and krautrock style guitars. This music is for dancing. In clubs or bars or the lounge room or the street! I play bass in the project and manipulate a sampler. Lord Lingham twirls his fingers on a computer board. [This project is now deceased!].

The third project is ‘hiddensounds’. The old name will never die. It was born during recording a nord synth album using chance and improvisation as its basis. So fascinating were the soundscapes I felt as if I was discovering sounds hidden in electricity. This name will now cover all experimental music, soundscapes and all undefinable, weird stuff.

I am now officially marketable and have a home for all my musical ambitions! 🙂 I haven’t included links to the various projects yet as they are in a development stage. When they are up and running I will shout it out to the world!

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