Shelter (2006)

Disembodied words, phrases, often semantically lost, permeate the piece – a ghosting of words and meanings surface within the discourse. A core of sonic material is constantly being reworked, reinterrogated, unfolding its own electroacoustic dialectic.

Shelter stems from previous work I did with a designer on notions of shelter; this collaboration produced a range of new work including Three Points of Dislocation. During this research project, I recorded my parents talking about their experience on the first night of the blitz in Plymouth (England), March 20th, 1940, where they sheltered in the basement, a wine cellar, of the Royal Hotel. Early next morning they emerged to a shattered landscape to find “houses on fire”, where there was no water and nothing worked – a war torn horror that is still all too common in the world we live in today. They relate this night over 60 years ago with a cool matter-of-factness.  This is contrasted with the intense electroacoustic sound-world that unfolds.

The work uses recordings I made of: shattering glass, piglets screaming, pig breathing in (snorting), crickets in the evening air, sound of rain (once), and the original recording of my parents. There are a few other sounds that are used very sparingly – these include a human cough, and a dog panting.  In the composition of Shelter, this limited sonic palette was blended, fused and distorted in ways that perhaps a painter might work with a limited palette of colour.

In June Shelter was awarded a mention in the Bourge 2006, Trivium, First Category. 

Shelter is dedicated to my father (1917-2005) and my mother (1917-2008).



  1. International Computer Music Conference Nov. 2006, Tulane University, New Orleans, Jukebox;
  2. Premiere at Soundings (concert series); University of Edinburgh, 27 Oct 06;
  3. EMM, Kansas City Oct. 12th.
  4. 12 Nights Electronic Music and Art Festival in Miami, Florida. December 5th 2009.
  5. The acousmatic composition Shelter was featured in the Coventry City Peace Month on Wednesday November 16th 2011, in Ellen Terry Theatre, Coventry University as part of the piece Shoe Test 
  6. Noisefloor2012, Staffordshire University, May 2nd 2012 as part of Shoe Test

Screen Shot 2013-06-13 at 15.37.40