Photo credit: Lee Patterson

Photo credit: Lee Patterson

TOPH are proud to present a program of work with the first TUSK FRINGE Artist in Residence, Lee Patterson.

Patterson has a repertoire that spans the depths of the natural world, articulating the music of forgotten species to the visceral beauty found in the most obscene gestures in sound making.

Photo Credit: Ana Orsan

Photo Credit: Ana Orsan

Presenting recordings made with his exceptional home-made hydrophones, burning Nuts and inimitable contact mics used in sublimely intense improvisations, Patterson will open his residency with an exclusive solo performance at TOPH. 

Photo credit: Mark Rietveld

Photo credit: Mark Rietveld

There will be interventions of rarely performed works, a rare duo of Lee Patterson and Adam Bohman at TUSK Festival alongside an exclusive online exhibition with unseen, unheard and unknown materials which goes live on October 12th 2018

Egg Fry #2

Egg Fry #2, 15th March 2005. Originally released as a ltd edition Cdr on Cathnor Recordings, May 2009 (CV006).

In part, inspired by Chris Watsons' Cracking Viscera (from Outside the circle of fire, TO:37, a recording of a zebra carcass, flies and nine vultures), this stereo recording to minidisc of an egg frying was made in the kitchen of my home in Prestwich, near Manchester. 

I used a pair of cheap electret-condenser mikes from maplin (RIP!), these were the only mikes I've used that were capable of withstanding the heat around the frying pan. Since then, they have both ceased to function. Because of this, it is my second and currently last recording of an egg frying and cooling down.  

Apart form some rather annoying traffic noise (almost unavoidable, as I live near a main road and a motorway junction), I was astounded, upon re-listening, at the level and density of sonic activity within this 'sound-scape in a pan'. Repetitive sound events introduce themselves then develop and morph through time, new events emerge leading to a subtle crescendo, then slowly fade as the ring, pan and egg cool. 

Hen Ogledd

Hen Ogledd (no relation to the great Anglo-Cymbric band of the same name!) is the Cymraeg term for the 'old North' - the Romano-British Cumbric speaking nations that encompassed much of what is now Northern England and Southern Scotland between the 5th and 7th centuries CE.

Originally released on the limited edition Cdr, Open Provocation, to support Kathleen MacDowell and Robert Curgenvens' festival of the same name in Polruan, Cornwall, April 2013.

Archival recordings of various heating systems, effervescence in wine glasses, igniting matches and frozen lakes were drawn upon in composing this piece for heat, fire, ice and chemical reaction.

Mastered by Robert Curgenven.

Maas Waterfront

Maas Waterfront is taken from the suite of pieces 'Of Steel and Water:The city tunes itself', commissioned by Soundtrackcity in association with the 2012 International Film Festival Rotterdam. 

The suite, comprising 5 pieces with narration and introduction, is intended to function as a sound walk with headphones and media player along a specific route on the Kop van Zuid, Rotterdam. 

Somewhere between a traditional sound walk and a composed soundtrack, it 'uses sounds from the city, not the vibrations that bounce of the countless new surfaces, but the interior resonance, usually unheard, of things old and new.

Maas Waterfront starts the suite and leads the audience from the starting point, the cinema Lanteren Venster, to and along the riverside of the Maas onto the Rijnhaven dock. It features hydrophone recordings made in the river and the dock as well as contact mike recordings of features found along this section of the walk. 

For the sake of a pleasant home-listening experience, the version presented here does not include narrated guidance!


Orefield. Commissioned by AVANE/Rebecca Shatwell for AV14. It received its' premier at The Sage, Gateshead. 

Program notes:

Following previous commissions for AV Festival, Patterson has pursued his interest in the North East landscape by investigating the once extensive lead and zinc mining operations of the North Pennines - industries that reshaped fells and valleys, leaving behind labyrinthine passages running for miles below this northern end of England's backbone.

From recordings of early and recent industrial technology, environmental sound and the ever-present sounds of water and the energy it embodies, Orefield unearths music from below and above ground, exploring the industry's remains as they exist in the landscape today. 

Through the rhythms of water powered machinery at Killhope Lead Mining Museum to a multitude of percussive drips and trickles within the lead mines at Nenthead - sounds that activate the acoustic properties of the long abandoned adits, shafts and levels, Orefield explores and reveals an underworld of water, wood, stone and metal.

Lee Patterson would like to thank Woodhorn Mining Museum, Laura Harrington and Peter Evans, as well as Alan Smith and Helen Ratcliffe of Allenheads Contemporary Arts. 

With special thanks to Michael Boase and the staff at Killhope - The North of England Lead Mining Museum and Peter Jackson of Nenthead Mines Conservation Society for allowing access to their respective mine exhibits.

Further thanks to Rebecca Shatwell and Diana Stevenson.

Outlandia Soundings

Outlandia Soundings, August 2014, was commissioned by Resonance 104.4FM and London Fieldworks. It formed one of a series of programs, broadcast via satellite link from London Fieldworks' Outlandia artists studio and residency space, located half way up the valley side of Glen Nevis in the Scottish Highlands. 

Composed over 48 hours with various types of recordings from the Glen, Roshven (the artists accommodation several miles away) and around Outlandia itself, the nature of some of the sounds used in the piece caused it's broadcast to be halted by radio staff in London, as they assumed there was a technical fault with the satellite link.

Paulus Parc

Paulus Parc is the first of a suite of four pieces The City Tunes Itself, commissioned by Q-O2, Brussels for the festival Tuned Cities Brussels, 2013. Composed from contact mike and coil pick up recordings made in and around Paulus Parc, St Gilles, it was created for headphone listening whilst in the park itself. The entire suite is intended to function in a similar fashion to the earlier work 'Of Steel and Water:The city tunes itself'. 

The Wind In Strange Company Sings

The Wind in Strange Company Sings was commissioned by Forma/Ben Ponton for an event titled 'The Sound of a Dying Planet' and received its' premiere at Toynbee Hall, London, June 2017. Presented here is the first part of the studio version - without live accompaniment. 

Program notes:

'Like many of Lee Pattersons' sound recordings, the effects of global warming are not restricted to exotic locations such as polar ice caps or remote Eurasian tundra. Alarmingly, such effects seem to be increasingly quotidian and may be experienced much closer to home.

Whilst aware that climatic change is gauged by longer term measurements, for The wind in strange company sings, Patterson takes as a starting point some of his field observations from the previous fifteen or so years - that weather conditions seem increasingly windy, perhaps as warming creates an increasingly energetic, more chaotic atmosphere of complex convection and steeper pressure gradients resulting in faster, moving air. This presents unique challenges for the location or field recordist - especially one with modest budgets, limited time and equipment.

The wind itself is almost always silent, air upon air makes no sound to human ears.

Many of the sounds associated with the wind are in fact produced as the moving air interacts with other objects or bodies. These bodies act as transducers - transforming the kinetic energy of shifting air into acoustic energy or vibrating matter and, in this sense, are akin to musical instruments - they sonify the unheard, giving us clues as to their own nature and the condition of the wind itself. Patterson is fascinated by these physical processes of energy transferal, considering many things to be instruments in situ.

Featuring, for the most part unprocessed sounds, the piece opens with a wind ruined recording from Barra, including Pattersons' resultant frustration, it goes on to explore musically the wind and its' various sound generating interactions with other bodies, ranging from wind turbines on one the UK's oldest onshore wind farms, Coalclough, to one of its largest, Scout Moor, both in the Lancashire Pennines;  aeolian long string recordings on the Cycladic island of Tinos and from an installation in the Swiss Jura to wind blown wire fences on Gallows Hill, Bury; from  the ancient blanket bogs of the North Pennines, recordings of the wind-driven, micro movements of exposed heather roots and cotton grass blade tips upon contact microphones atop weathered peat hags and wind fluting across peat depth gauges; to a multi-storey car park at Salford Quays now Media City that no longer sings in the western wind.

The wind as sonified by grass features throughout, whether upland grasses amongst which the microphone is placed or contact-miked grass stems in a Calderdale pasture, nibbled by sheep to give each it's own resonant frequency - countless millions of wind instruments in one valley alone.

This work is one of several to be dedicated to the memory of Mika Vainio (1963 - 2017).

With thanks to Ben Ponton, Philippa Barr, Helmut Lemke, Laura Harrington, Coti Kiriakos and Nikos Veliotis.

The Waters of Duoaumont, Tuned

The Waters of Duoaumont, Tuned  - Documentary recording

The Waters of Douaumont, Tuned was a sound installation created during June 2018 in response to the historical and modern day condition of Fort Douaumont, near Verdun.

Of modular and flexible composition, the installation made use of 100 simple instruments (one for each of the years since the end of the First World War) created from recycled tin cans placed beneath, and played by, the water droplets found in many areas of the fort's upper levels.

Drawing upon site specific conditions, such as rain water that percolates through the buildings' structure from the surface above, it created a new soundscape for Fort Douaumont from the elements that the fort cannot repel. 

It activated the forts' cave-like acoustic properties with sounds reminiscent of distant bells and the randomly percussive barrage of bombardment.

Fort Duoaumont played a pivotal role in the Battle of Verdun during the First World War, the largest and highest of a number of fortifications surrounding the city, it was taken without a fight by German forces in February 2016 and a prolonged, bitter battle ensued as French forces attempted its' re-capture. During the nine month battle, many thousands of lives were lost and as such, it is an iconic, almost sacred location within French national memory. 

This installation formed part of a longer four year project, Croquer Les Fougéres: Pour un finir avec le sacrée, produced by and in association with Vu D'un Oeuf, Fresnes-en-Wœvre, La Meuse, France.