• How can we make the beneficial richness of current experimental electronic music more accessible to the wider public?
  • How do the contexts in which we perceive new music affect our experience of it?
  • Can an understanding of the sensational and biochemical response maps of human bodies to particular frequencies give us some answers?
  • Can we use these responses to develop new musical compositional strategies considering location of sound in space, its architecture, as an essential ingredient of its make up?


What do the listeners think? The background to this work comes from a practice making music out of situations and events, live, through my own skill, ideas and perceptions. Most of my work has to accommodate the lateral time constraints of a performance, it begins and it ends. This work intends to make music that deals with now, that works with time that is, not that moves from start to end. I intend to work with the community and use their ideas and responses to make it.

As our understandings of the human body’s functions and perceptions develop through time, technological advancement and wider understanding, I am suggesting exploiting these findings to make new musical structural patterns as well as to open doors for a wider appreciation of new experiences.

Bio-acoustics is a branch of science concerned with the production of sound by and its effect on living systems. Human bioacoustics studies the vibrations that define normal human structure and function and how abnormal vibrations can be normalized leading to greater states of wellness. Essentially, the minerals that make up our structures are vibrating at different frequencies(pitches) that, though extremely quiet are sonic. All our bodies are built differently and so they are all vibrating their own ‘tunes’’. What happens then when we are bombarded with sound?

“Beyond the unfamiliar, why is it that certain sounds are agony to some and pleasurable to others?”

Dr Sharry Edwards.

Bio-acoustics is a field I became aware of 2 years ago and it seems that a practical study into its microsonic world could offer some astonishing new ways into music making and answers to the questions posed.

Interested in the physical attributes of sound as an ingredient for music making, I have already made 2 sonic armchairs (see sonic armchair background) and now a series of Sonic Beds. This sonic furniture is providing astonishing results for ‘weird’ and unfamiliar music reaching a wider audience. Children and pensioners will queue to sit in the chairs for hours, closing their eyes and delighting in the experience, when in fact they are ‘listening’ to music they would never tolerate through speakers.The armchair provides a familiar, safe, relaxing, environment that speaks to all of us. It also has space to house speaker vibrations as well as giving direct access to a humans other perceptive mechanisms, mainly touch. It also invites a relaxing position, so automatic response to close eyes, stop and listen. Be still. At the same time an armchair can be a portable venue and architecture for the electro-acoustic composer as well as a solo and private space in the daily life of the audience, without having to go to a noisy club in the middle of the night or smart gallery on the other side of town.The bed also speaks in a familiar language to all humans. Of whatever culture, we all need to lie down and sleep. The Sonic Bed being a king size, offers the addition of a social space as well as room under the prone body for sub woofas ie. bass frequencies. As the human body cannot consciously feel the physical vibration of sound above approximately 120Hz, the bass area is the most interesting.The Sonic Bed is also a development of the chair in that it is a purpose designed and built object as opposed to the re-application of a ready made. The interest is to move further in this direction, concentrating initially on the exploration of materials as speakers and therefore interfaces themselves, rather than simply using traditional speakers within different kinds of designed objects.The interfaces therefore could also be explored as wearable or specific objects for the home or public space.

Music for Bodies seeks to discover and make material as creative tools, in 2 strands.

Through open research and public testing to make useful and accessible musical instruments.

KM 2006