Dolce tormento

Einike Leppik, Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre

The name of the composition is referring to the madrigal Sì dolce è’l tormento by Claudio Monteverdi. The composing process started with one short sample I cut from the recording of this madrigal. Later on the general ideal developed and moved far from Monteverdi, but the concept of something fragile and torturing at the same time remained.


Einike Leppik is an Estonian composer and audiovisual artist. She is living currently in Tallinn and teaching audiovisual composition at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre. Leppik graduated from Antwerp Royal Academy of Arts in 2011 and later proceeded her studies at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre in Audiovisual Composition. In 2017 she received her Master’s degree in Classical Composition. During her studies she followed internships at the State Conservatory of Music “Giuseppe Tartini” in Trieste (supervised by Paolo Pachini) and at the Conservatory of Music “Benedetto Marcello” in Venice (supervised by Riccardo Vaglini). Leppik has taken part in different masterclasses and her music and installations has been presented and performed in numerous festivals such as Estonian Music Days (Estonia), Summersound (Finland), Segnali (Italy), Videoformes (France), eviMus, InSonic (Germany), Gaudeamus Muziekweek (the Neatherlands) and Àgora Actual Percussiò (Spain). Leppik has been writing acoustic and electroacoustic music for different ensembles and solo instruments, her special interest is combining the field of sound with other forms of art. She has been composing also for short movies, dance performances, installations and her own audiovisual works. Her main interests in music is its communicative and synaesthetic quality.


Neil O Connor, University of Limerick

Erstwhile was composed using SPEAR – an application for audio analysis, editing and synthesis. It works in the following way – an analysis procedure represents a sound with many individual sinusoidal tracks (partials). This analysis is then time stretched, processed and spatialized. This process helped me to alternate density in an evolving manner, and to texture and tone.


Neil O Connor  Composer and Performer has been involved in experimental & electro-acoustic music for the past 21 years and has performed in Ireland, Europe, Australia, Asia and the US. His work has been shown/performed at MOMA, New York, IRCAM Paris, Institute of Contemporary Art, London and has held residencies at the Massachusetts Museum of Modern Art and EMS – Swedish Institute of Electro-Acoustic Music, Stockholm, Sweden. Neil has worked / collaborated with members of the Crash Ensemble, Philip Glass Ensemble and the Glenn Branca Ensemble. Neil studied at Trinity College (M.Litt/PhD Mus) under Composer Donnacha Denheny and has lectured in Composition and Performance Technology since 2005 at Art Institute of California (San Francisco), The Institute of Audio Research (New York City) and Trinity College (Dublin). He is currently based at DMARC (Digital Media Arts Research Centre), Dept. of Computer Science, University of Limerick, Ireland.

First Rituals

David Holland, DMU

In this piece I wanted to explore the relationship between the sounds of ordinary or ‘miscellaneous’ rituals and routines (represented by objects such as pans and a wine bottle) and ‘sacred’ rituals (represented by objects such as a prayer bowl). I was interested in how these everyday sounds can transcend their origins to suggest associations with rituals that carry more meaning or significance. At times in the piece these sounds move towards purity, harmony and even the suggestion of voice, while at other moments they become layered, noisy textures that circle and envelope the space.


David Holland is an internationally performed composer and researcher with a particular interest in music technology and education. In 2017 he was awarded a PhD in the field of Music, Technology and Innovation from DMU, which was sponsored by the Midlands3Cities Doctoral Training Partnership. His research has focused on widening access to new forms of music and the powerful role that creativity can play in this. He received the Rolf Gehlhaar Award for Electronic Music Composition from Coventry University (UK) in 2010 and was a finalist in the 2014 Bangor Dylan Thomas Prize for Electroacoustic Composition at Bangor University (UK). His work has recently been broadcast on Czech (Vitava – Radiocustica) and Dutch (Concertzender) radio. He is currently a postdoctoral fellow at De Montfort University (DMU) (Leicester, UK) on the Creative Economy Engagement Programme funded by the Midlands4Cities partnership. He also works as a part-time lecturer at DMU and a researcher on the EU Interfaces project concerned with bringing new music to new audiences.


Paula García Stone, Independent Artist

I aim to make compositions that place us in a situation or state of mind. The sounds, although mostly abstracted, may reference occurrences in life, living in our bodies and in this world. I use my own field recordings, medical diagnostic sound, electronic abstractions and processing. This is a multitrack composition which I will play as a stereo file over the diffusion system. The title refers to the sounds that occur underneath, in water or skin maybe, suggesting an otherness to what we normally perceive with our ears.


As I am from a long tradition of Visual/Fine art practice, when I studied sound design & music technology at London College of Communication, I was struck by the use of visual language, such as shape, form, background and foreground, gesture and so on. The spatial and therefore corporeal aspect also fitted with my previous focus and thinking, where the human presence is there even in its absence. My sound compositions explore the spirit of being in a particular space, situation or state of mind. My first album was released on 21st September 2019 with the label Linear Obsessional.

I have performed with Linear Obsessional at The Loudspeaker Orchestra in St Alfege Church, University of Greenwich concerts, where I played my composition ‘Savour the day’ over a 20 speaker diffusion system with musician Sue Lynch improvising on flute & clarinet. Composed for Desire lines, for musicians to improvise. I have screened films at the IKLECTIK and Hundred Years Gallery, improvising with laptop, and have played with Sue Lynch, tenor saxophone and clarinet, Richard Sanderson, melodeon, and Charlotte Keeffe, trumpet, as well screened a silent film for improvising musicians at the IKLECTIK during the London New Wind Festival organised by Catherine Pluygers. I participated with Bicrophonics during The Summer Pedalling Games with Velocipede sketches’, a sound piece for ERNA a sonic bicycle which was ridden around London Fields Park. I first performed at The Horse IMPROV club at the Dog House in Kennington London with a solo improvisation with film and sound files. In 2008 while a student at LCC I performed at the Southbank Centre, London as part of David Toop’s laptop orchestra, Unknown Devices, with The London Sinfonietta and The RNCM, a 30 minute improvisation with projections by Pablo Fiasco. I have a BA in Fine Art (painting), an MFA and an MA with distinction in Creative Technology. It was on this MA that I started to work with sound, I continue to exhibit my visual pieces in galleries.


Heloise Tunstall-Behrens, Trinity Laban Conservatoire

Through ‘Petroglyph’, Heloise Tunstall-Behrens investigates myths surrounding Paleolithic stone carvings, inspired by Gobustan National Park in Azerbaijan.  The piece continues her interest in vocal writing, which began with an experimental opera, ’The Swarm’ written about honey bees.  The piece contains vocals from herself and Franziska Boehm, which are combined in formations inspired by the flocking patterns of birds, in an ongoing investigation into the dynamics of collective behaviour.  Tunstall-Behrens layers the vocals with field recordings of ringing stones and rock echoes as a further research into ‘archeo-acoustics’.  Written for Huddersfield Immersive Sound System (HISS), the piece will be performed at Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival this year.


Heloise Tunstall-Behrens is a London-based composer, singer, performer and installation artist, working in the field between vocal and instrumental music, electronics and performance. Heloise’s research investigates the spatialisation of sound and the resonance of bodies, spaces and objects. She is currently working with dancers from Trinity Laban, where she is studying a Masters of Music in Composition, exploring the balance on the threshold between body, voice, space, and sound. In 2016, she received Arts Council England funding to write and perform The Swarm, a 60-minute choral work about swarming honey bees, which will soon be released as an album. In December 2018, she had an orchestral piece performed which explored the resonant frequencies of a cave. She currently sings and composes with the all-female Deep Throat Choir (Bella Union).

Tempus fugit

Paolo Pastorino, Independent Artist

Sed fugit interea, fugit irreparabile tempus, with this phrase Virgilio describes the temporal condition to which the man is subjected. It is a phrase that comes from a context of life very different from that of modern man but still calls a very delicate question as interesting and current, life as a function of time.

“Tempus fugit” comes from a series of personal reflections on the perception of time. A time that escapes and devours all the things it has created. A time as a state of consciousness and perception that expands and contracts itself. A time observed on the faces of others, on my city, on my nearests and dearests. That time which influences us in our choices and which constantly fills our present in imagining the future and remembering the past.


Paolo Pastorino (Sassari – Italy – 1983) is an electroacoustic-acousmatic composer and music technologies professor in high school.

Since 2006 he starts to work as sound technician for some Rock, Industrial and Nu-Metal bands. He studied and graduated in electronic music and sound technologies at the Conservatory of Sassari and he is specialized in the same course at the Conservatory of Cagliari. His compositions have been presented in several contemporary and electroacoustic music festivals in different countries of the world: Convergence 2019 (De Montfort university, UK), EMAS (UK), Sound thought (UK), NoiseFloor festival (UK), Sound Spaces (Sweden), NYCEMF (New York), Mantis Sonification (Manchester), Sonorities (Belfast), Spot – Octandre (Bordeaux), VERV (Venice), OUA Electroacoustic Music Festival (Osaka University Of Arts), Dias de Música Electroacústica (Portugal), Festival Contemporanea Acusmatica (Udine -IT), PLAY900 (Museo Novecento – Florence), Festival MUSLAB (Buenos Aires), Datscha Radio 17 festival (Berlin), Microtopies (Barcelona), Elektro Arts (Romania), Klingt gut! International Symposium on Sound (Hamburg), Forum Wallis – Festival International de Musique Contemporaine (Switzerland), Seoul International Computer Music Festival (Gwangju), EX_NIHILO (Mexico), NSEME Louisiana State University (USA), San Francisco Tape Music Festival (USA), Mixtur (Barcellona), NWEAMO Festival (Tokyo), CIM (Cagliari – IT), EMUFest (Rome), CIRMMT (Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Music Media and Technology – Montréal), Art and science days (Bourges, France).

Virtual Futures

Allegra Shorto, Khora Contemporary

Immersive technologies are changing the nature of what an artwork is and how it is valued. Technological developments are beginning to blue the boundaries between virtual and physical space. Amidst this shifting landscape Khora Contemporary is rethinking the value of an artwork in a market that seems to increasingly value experience over possession.


Allegra Shorto is Art Director of Khora Contemporary and is based between London and Copenhagen. Her work focuses on establishing Virtual Reality as a widely applied medium within the arts, through collaborations with artists and institutions working with new digital technologies. Allegra has a background in contemporary art curation and holds a degree in History of Art from the University of Cambridge.

Hearing, Sight and a Host of Other Senses

Aki Pasoulas, University of Kent

This paper explores a compositional method based on the interpretation of information received through all senses as gestural and textural activity in the aural domain; it attempts to map our experiences from a number of systems (visual, gustatory, olfactory and haptic environments) to another (aural space). The paper starts from the method I followed when creating my latest composition, as a case study for this approach. For the making of my piece I used information collected through multisensory walks, including environmental recordings and sensory maps as starting points to create layers of sound material. The piece does not employ data sonification digital processes, but instead, it conveys sensory information from the immediate environment as either sonic gestures or textures. Starting from Smalley’s motion and growth processes, I approached my experiences as shapes developing in time. Gesture implies a motion, a temporal structure, whereas texture implies a consistency, the feel and appearance of something. The construction of the piece involved mapping sensory experiences on a relative timeline on separate soundmaps, smellmaps, touchmaps, tastemaps and sightmaps. Composite layers of that information were combined with recognisable sounds from the environmental recordings I made during the walks, to form musically meaningful structures. For example, according to my interpretation, a smell that starts strong and disappears slowly can be represented by a relatively fast attack that gives rise to a texture which gradually disintegrates and disappears; whereas grazing in a passing gesture bristles of tall cereal crops can be translated into thin high-frequency spectral lines appearing and disappearing over lower-frequency oscillating figures. Transferring experiences between senses followed a loose interpretation in my recent piece, but focusing on constructing more detailed maps will overcome this tendency. Similar structural processes can be followed for all senses, where possible, which are combined to create polyphonic structures that eventually form larger sections in a composition. In addition, my composition explores interrelationships between music, time perception, memory and the listening environment, as it is based on a number of multisensory walks with senses acting on different timescales. Ultimately, the composition becomes an imaginary soundscape approached in a non-linear way, in the sense that no story is unfolding but rather, it is a presentation of snippets of experiences about particular spaces, places and times, based on a specific theme. Evidently, listeners will not relive the experiences I had through the multisensory walks, as the composition does not replicate them. Instead, this process allows us to use creatively information that we receive from other senses, often neglected when thinking about sound.


Aki Pasoulas is an electroacoustic composer, Director of Education and the Director of MAAST (Music and Audio Arts Sound Theatre) at the University of Kent. He also taught at universities in London including City, Middlesex, and the University of the Arts, and he holds a PhD on timescale perception in electroacoustic music. His research interests include acousmatic music, time perception in relation to music, psychoacoustics and sound perception, spatial sound, acoustic communication, and soundscape ecology especially in relation to listening psychology. He has written for instruments, found objects, voice, recorded and electronic sound, composed music for the theatre and for short animation films, and organised and performed with many ensembles. His scholarly and music works are published through EMI/KPM, ICMA, Sonos Localia, HELMCA, Cambridge University Press and Oxford University Press. Aki received honourable mentions at international competitions, and his music is continuously selected and performed at key events worldwide.


Immersive Point-of-Audition: Alfonso Cuarón’s Three-Dimensional Sound Design Approach

René Idrovo, University of York

Technological advances have always had an impact on the development of new audio-visual aesthetics. Recently, exploiting the spatial capabilities of immersive sound technology in the form of Dolby Atmos, Alfonso Cuarón introduced in Gravity (2013) an innovative sound design approach that enhances the illusion of ‘presence’ in the space of the diegesis by always maintaining a coherent, realistic, and immersive representation of a given point-of-audition. Such sonic strategy – which we have termed immersive point-of-audition – provides a three-dimensional representation of the filmic space, localising sound effects, music, and dialogue in accordance to the position of the sources within the diegesis. In this paper, we introduce the definition and main characteristics of this emergent sound design approach, and using Gravity as an illustrative example, we argue that it has the potential of facilitating the processes of transportation and identification in cinema.


René Idrovo is an emergent filmmaker and scholar. He is a lecturer in sound related subjects at Universidad UTE, Ecuador; and a Ph.D. Researcher in Film and Television at University of York, UK. His research studies the impact of sound technology in the generation of new audio-visual aesthetics, focusing on the relations that exist between realism, the sonic space, and the immersive experience in cinema. His work has been published in academic journals in Latin America, United Kingdom and Europe. As part of the Ecuadorian National Scholarship Programme, he has been selected among a large number of applicants to become one of the leaders that shall contribute to the development of the country’s film and television.

Embodied Cognition and the Soundtrack’s Spatiotemporal Contract

Adam Melvin and Brian Bridges

Cinema’s audiovisual language is often treated in terms of distinct planes of image and sound, with the soundtrack itself comprising multiple modes ranging from established musical structures to more extensively textural sound design, much of which may serve affective framing functions rather than conforming to a simple diegetic/non–diegetic dichotomy. Some authors have sought to elucidate the mechanisms and functions of how sound and image may influence each other, most notably Chion’s (1990) audiovisual contract. Whilst treating music and sound design as separate may provide for some specificity within our analytical frameworks, the acoustic circumstances of many contemporary soundtracks provide examples in which sound texture, gesture and timbre combine to delineate spatial attributes and territories. Furthermore, commentary relating to the haptic score (Mera, 2016) has highlighted imperatives around considering music and sound design in integrated contexts (Kulezic-Wilson, 2019). This paper will seek to develop the approach Mark S. Ward (2015:166) proposes for considering the cinematic soundtrack via a spatiotemporal contract based upon concepts from embodied cognition, most specifically, the image schema theory of Lakoff and Johnson (1999), placing particular emphasis on the potential for audio to articulate and structure perceptual space. It will seek to explore aspects of cross–modal integration between both music and sound design and sound/music and the image via spatiotemporal concepts and models derived from image schema theory, with a particular emphasis on embodied spatial models of timbre, elaborating upon the timbre–space models of Grey (1977) through the application of embodied concepts; see Roddy and Bridges (2018). In more integrated soundtracks, spatial perspective, via timbral articulations, can be seen to grow in importance beyond the simple delineation of mental/internal and physical/external action. Timbral gestures are seen to provide the communication channels facilitating cross–talk between axes of spatial (delineation/diffusion) and temporal (integration/disintegration) structures. As the soundtrack, in this context, is considered primarily in terms of the implications of its auditory materiality, the visual territories are reinforced or undercut with affective auditory planes whose syntax and structure seems to function in relation to models from embodied cognition. Cinema, as a multimodal, audiovisual ‘language’, is thus a contract between space and time via mechanisms and frames from embodiment. Embodied models of timbre within the soundtrack can therefore provide one means by which the soundtrack can be treated in an integrated manner, both in its own right, and in relation to the visual.

References Chion, M. (1990) trans. Gorbman. C. Audio-Vision: Sound on Screen. Columbia Univ. Press, New York Grey, J.M. (1977) Multidimensional perceptual scaling of musical timbres. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 61(5):1270-1277 Lakoff, G. and Johnson, M. (1999). Philosophy in the Flesh. New york: Basic Books. Kulezic-Wilson, D. (2019) Sound Design is the New Score: Theory, Aesthetics, and Erotics of the Integrated Soundtrack. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press Mera, M. (2016) ‘Materializing Film Music’, in Cooke, M. and Ford. F. (eds) The Cambridge Companion to Film Music. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, pp.157-172 Roddy, S & Bridges, B. (2018) Sound, Ecological Affordances and Embodied Mappings in Auditory Display. In: M Filimowicz & V Tzankova (eds), New Directions in Third Wave Human–Computer Interaction. 1 edn, vol. 2, Human–Computer Interaction Series, Basel, Switzerland, pp. 231-258., Ward, M. (2015) ‘Art in Noise: An Embodied Simulation Account of Cinematic Sound Design’. In: Coëgenarts, M and Kravanja, P. (eds) Embodied Cognition and Cinema, Leuven University Press, pp.155-186


Adam Melvin is a composer and lecturer in Popular and Contemporary Music at Ulster University, Derry~Londonderry, Northern Ireland. A great deal of both his compositional and research practice is concerned with interrogating the relationship between music, sound, site and the visual arts, particularly moving image. He has received numerous international performances and broadcasts of his music; his research has been published in The Soundtrack, Short Film Studies (Intellect) and in the Palgrave Handbook of Sound Design and Music in Screen Media. He is a member of Dublin’s Spatial Music Collective.

Brian Bridges is a composer and lecturer based in Derry~Londonderry, Northern Ireland, where he lectures in music technology at Ulster University and is Research Director for music and associated subjects. He is the current president of ISSTA (the Irish Sound, Science and Technology Association) and serves on the editorial board of Interference: a Journal of Audio Culture. Much of his work is inspired by connections between perceptual processes, creative practices and technologies, and his creative output includes sound–based installations, audiovisual pieces and electroacoustic and acoustic composition, including microtonal and spatial music. He is a member of the Spatial Music Collective and is represented by the Contemporary Music Centre.