Robin Fox’s Concert For Lasers, A Ballet Performed By Snails and A Polyphonic Headphone Opera from Belgium…

Cryptic’s Sonica Festival returns to Kings Place following its successful London debut in 2016.
This Friday 20th and Saturday 21st April 2018 Sonica will offer a packed weekend of the best international audiovisual work, intimate installations and multi-sensory performances from Australia, Belgium, the Netherlands, France and Ireland alongside emerging talent from across the UK. An offshoot of the biennial Scotland-based festival celebrating sonic art for the visually minded, Sonica London will mark Cryptic, the award-winning Glasgow-based production house, becoming an Artistic Associate of Kings Place, London’s independent hub for music, art and ideas.

Slow Pixel_Credit Cyril Leclerc and Elizabeth Saint-Jalmes FAD MAGAZINE
Slow Pixel Credit Cyril Leclerc and Elizabeth Saint-Jalmes

176 live snails will travel to King’s Cross to take centre stage in the UK premiere of Slow Pixel. French visual artist Elizabeth Saint-Jalmes and lighting designer Cyril Leclerc conduct an immersive sensorial experiment as they harness each snail with a small diode and speaker. Slow Pixel highlights Kings Place’s year-long theme of ‘time’ and invites the audience to slow down to a snail’s pace as the creatures draw their unique individual trajectories.

In another UK premiere, Australia’s top AV artist Robin Fox composes a concerto for a laser beam in his brand new audio-visual maelstrom Single Origin. Renowned for creating stunningly expansive and intense sound worlds, Robin presents the third in his series of breathtaking works for laser and sound, which explore the possibilities of mechanically-induced synaesthesia.

Making their London-debut, Belgian mezzo-soprano Els Mondelaers and Dutch composer Dyane Donck join forces to create the multi-sensory headphone opera trip NYXedelica. A unique performance where modern classical composition meets psychedelic pop, the audience don state- of-the-art binaural headphones to experience a unique 3D soundscape that’s both intimate and immersive – a massage for the ears!

Sonica is also proud to showcase some of the hottest talent from the UK, including a double-bill from 2017 Oram Award for innovation winner Kathy Hinde. Phase Transition is a sculptural sound installation raising awareness of global climate change, as blocks of ice melt at rates determined by real-life climate-change data, their drips resonating in water-filled metal vessels. The dripping of meltwater blends with metallic sounds engraved on vinyl and played on customised turntables which turn faster and slower in accordance with the rate of melt, generating throbbing, fluctuating tones. Kathy also collaborates with Norwegian visual artist Solveig Settemsdal in the film installation Singularity, which sees randomness find form. An isolated point of white light suspended in a void of darkness swells, expands and takes on ever more complex shapes before collapsing in on itself and blooming once again into something completely new. Hinde’s music score – crafted from violin and toy pianos – mimics this process as initially abstract sounds come together in an increasingly organised soundtrack.

With their humanist slant on techno receiving play-outs from the likes of Aphex Twin and Laurent Garnier, Irish duo Lakker are bringing the chopped-up, processed sounds of the ’90s bang up to date. The brainchild of Irish duo Dara Smith and Ian McDonnell, Lakker’s live AV show mixes eerily beautiful vocals, propulsive dance music and pulsating visuals to conjure up visions of glaciers, tectonic shifts and vast open spaces.

From Cryptic’s native Scotland, Robbie Thomson’s Infinite Lives turns Kings Place into a science laboratory with robots, kinetic sculptures, modified technology, real live sea monkeys and an irresistible electronic beat, experimenting with the farthest limits of our own consciousness. Glasgow-based US artist Heather Lander’s Nearer Future is a translucent virtual reality sculpture which shows where technology has taken us – and asks us to question where we might go next. Symmetrical webs and weaves of light build into an extraordinary crystalline cathedral of light as Robert Bentall’s ambient composition Telian (played on the traditional Swedish nyckelharpa) provides a captivating soundtrack.

INFO: Kingsplace.co.uk/sonic

About Sonica
Sonica is a year-round touring programme dedicated to world-class visual sonic arts, punctuated by an 11-day biennial festival in Glasgow and a biennial long weekend at Kings Place, London. We present exceptional international artists alongside emerging Scottish talent in collaboration with renowned co-producers and venues. Since 2012, over 88,000 people have seen a Sonica event.

About Mark Westall

Mark Westall is the Founder and Editor of FAD magazine, ' A curation of the world’s most interesting culture' [PLUS] Art of Conversation: A tri-annual 'no news paper' AofC - Issue 1 Autumn 2018