Off The Page Oslo 2015:
The Man Who Bought An Echo
Centuries before we had vocal plug-ins, musicians seeking otherworldly voices could resort to the surgeon’s knife. Before the phonograph, songbirds were trained to bring music into the home.
Sarah Angliss explores some surprising affinities between music making today and in the pre-electric age.
Musicians have always been consummate cyborgs, enmeshing their bodies with machines and animal parts to augment their sonic capabilities. In this era of transmitted audio and entirely disembodied music downloads, it’s the physical - sometimes fleshy - precursors of our electronic sound machines which can seem uncanny.
Sarah Angliss is a composer, automatist and historian of sound, known for her singularly embodied performance which mixes theremin and live electronics with the automata she’s designed and built to work with her on stage. She’s been commissioned by the National Theatre, the British Film Institute, BBC radio and many others and has been a guest on Ghost Box and Gecophonic records.
Angliss is currently on residency at the Pervasive Media Studio, Bristol, exploring human motion capture in inanimate objects. Her other research topics include the use of trained birds as primordial, feathered sound recorders; the reputed psychological effects of infrasound; early attitudes to drum machines, samplers and The Talkies (Smithsonian Scholarly Press, 2013) and clog dancing from Lancashire, UK, as 19th century techno (with Caroline Radcliffe, 2008).