Experiments in Composition at the British Library Sound Archive

Will you be in London next week? If so, you might want to go along to an event being held at the British Library on Thursday 12 January. Two artists, Aleks Kolkowski and Larry Achiampong, will share their experiences as artists-in-residence at the British Library Sound Archive over the last twelve months. They are the first artists ever to have had such access to the archive, and it'll be fascinating to see what use they made of it. 

As well as listening to presentations and performances from both artists, there will be an opportunity to hear curators reflecting on the Sound Archive’s special collections and the artefacts that have inspired the artists – from some of the earliest wax cylinder recordings to field recordings of communities performing throughout West Africa.

Larry Achiampong uses sound, live performance and visual imagery to explore representations of identity in the digital age. Larry's research during the residency has drawn upon two of his previous projects and the British Library's recent exhibition West Africa: Word, Symbol and Song.  He's focused on audio and visual samples from West Africa (notably Ghana), using them as a source of inspiration to create a new vinyl LP that will be launched on the evening.

By contrast, Aleksander Kolkowski is a composer and violinist who uses historical sound recording and reproduction equipment and obsolete media to make contemporary music. His own work for the project has focused on the British Library's wide-ranging collections of early recordings on cylinders and the vast Bishop collection of sound effects from the 1930s and 1940s on acetate discs. He'll be performing a 25-minute set of his own and then will be cutting a record of Larry's performance using a 1950s recording lathe. 

For more information about the event, why not take a look at the short video clip on the Sound and Music website?