Meta Gesture Music

Embodied Interaction, New Instruments and Sonic Experience


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Meta Gesture Music: Embodied Interaction, New Instruments and Sonic Immersion, is a CD anthology featuring musicians who crossed paths during Meta Gesture Music, a European research project which ran between 2012–17 at Goldsmiths that explored gesture in musical performance and the engagement of the human body with sound.

The compilation includes tracks by Atau Tanaka, both solo and in duet with composer/pianist Sarah Nicolls, Tom Richards performing on his Mini-Oramics light-sound instrument, Kaffe Matthews making music with sharks in the sea, xname amplifying electromagnetic fields, Laetitia Sonami performing on her Spring Spyre, Leafcutter John, Renick Bell & Steph Horak, Dane Law, and Ewa Justka.

Listen to the CD on digital streaming services here


1. Atau Tanaka & Sarah Nicolls: Suspensions. A muscle sensing interface captures the pianist's gesture, and uses granular synthesis to realise the dream of shaping pianistic timbre after striking a note, for it to sustain to infinity.

2. Leafcutter John: Let’s Stick Together. A light sensitive grid enables fine gestural control over compositional elements and sound generation. Here, they are played using handheld cycle lights.

3. Laetitia Sonami: Breathing in Birds and Others. The Spring Spyre is comprised of a found object, hacked fader box and audio pick-ups from reverb tanks. Thin springs generate audio, analysed by machine learning, but are ultimately chaotic. The piece explores unpredictability and fluidity, akin to smoke volutes disturbed by air.

4. Renick Bell & Steph Horak combine live coded beats with effects pedal-driven vocals. Their sound drifts to and fro between chaos and order as the beats and melodies stumble to coalesce.

5. xname: Field uses solar panels, light dependent resistors (LDR) and Vivaldi Antennas in an investigation of electromagnetic fields to expand our understanding of natural forces by extending human perception.

6. Tom Richard: Unresolved Resolution. The infinitely morphable sounds of the Mini-Oramics dual wave-shaping synthesiser (based on a Daphne Oram design) are heard alongside modular envelope generators, VCAs and polyrhythmic electroacoustic drums.

7. Dane Law: DION. Dane Law surveys rave culture in an impressionistic crawl of hieroglyphic-like fragments of sound. Played through home brewed algorithmic sound systems, he euphorically reconstitutes our collective musical past into something far noisier.

8. Atau Tanaka: Myogram sonifies electromyogram (EMG) signals from concentrated forearm gestures. We hear the neuron impulses of muscle exertion spatialised, first raw, then filtered, exciting resonators.

9. Ewa Justka: oink explores the materiality of objects, vibrant, ontological systems (human bodies, plant bodies, micro and macro environments) and modes of quasi-direct perception.

10. Kaffe Matthews: One Plastic Bottle, 450 years. An Extract is based on recordings from the Galapagos Islands where the artist dived with, recorded underwater and filmed hammerhead sharks. Traces of six sharks play 6 digital oscillators mixed with underwater recordings.

Sonics Series 

The Sonics series considers sound as media and as material – as physical phenomenon, social vector, or source of musical affect. The series maps the diversity of thinking across the sonic landscape, from sound studies to musical performance, from sound art to the sociology of music, from historical soundscapes to digital musicology. Its publications encompass books and extensions to traditional formats that might include audio, digital, online and interactive formats. We seek to publish leading figures as well as emerging voices, by commission or by proposal. 

Titles in the Sonics series include: Sonic Agency: Sounds and Emergent Forms of Resistance by Brandon LeBelle and Inflamed Invisible by David Toop