Dr John Richards


Shapes, patterns, colours, materials, objects and things: all belonging to the making of sound. The materials of sound are no longer restricted to the sound itself, but the materials that are used to create sound. Some of these materials are technological, electronic, or even rooted in the idea of computer or microprocessor code as material. The growth in DIY electronic music and the act of making has challenged artists to re-evaluate the materials and processes from which work is created. Musical instrument has become object, a collection of things or set of raw materials. And exploring these objects and materials has become a processual part of the performance or artwork. There has been a gravitation towards object-orientated approaches and how an object or material may reveal hidden or latent musical or performance potential; whilst all this ‘stuff’ leaves the question of how things may relate or be connected. Particular reference is made to Richards’ recent work Violations: a hybrid digital-analogue printed circuit board and sound object. The work examines a feedback system built around digital to analogue conversion and how this throws up new material phenomena, trans-media, found in the hidden corners of esoteric technological processes.



John Richards explores the idea of Dirty Electronics that focuses on shared experiences, ritual, gesture, touch and social interaction. In Dirty Electronics process and performance are inseparably bound. The ‘performance’ begins on the workbench devising instruments and is extended onto the stage through playing and exploring these instruments. Richards is primarily concerned with the performance of large-group electronic music and DIY electronics, and the idea of composing inside electronics. His work also pushes the boundaries between music, performance art, electronics, and graphic design and is transdisciplinary as well as having a socio-political dimension. Richards has been commissioned to create sound devices for various arts organisations and festivals and has released a series of hand-held synths on Mute Records and through Bleep. He has also written numerous texts on DIY practices within electronic music, and object-orientated and material approaches in relation to sound art.


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Last edited: 10/03/2020 08:35:00