Tag Archives: Graham Dunning

If Wet #21 – documentation

Our first event of the year took place at Maker Faire, where we were invited to programme a stage for the two days of the festival. Our plan was to have an artist on each day who would talk about their work in a slot in the morning and then perform in the afternoon. As it worked out, we just ran the whole of each day as a drop-in session, for people to come and ask questions etc…with a performance in the afternoon.

For this If Wet we invited the wonderful Graham Dunning back with his Mechanical Techno set-up and Paul Granjon with his musical robots. They both went down a storm.

Thank you to our artists, all who attended and to Maker Faire for being such wonderful hosts!


We are the Music Makers


Setting up…


Paul trying out the prototype of our latest piece Amplification

Day One featured Graham Dunning. It was wet and cold, and we were outdoors…but the show still went on!


Graham Dunning with onlookers


Graham Dunning with record


Graham Dunning adding to the stack


Graham Dunning tweaking


Graham Dunning putting a donk (cymbal) on it


Graham Dunning manipulating light-dependent synth


Graham Dunning with full stack


Graham Dunning smiling

Day Two was Paul’s day, and the sun had come out. He played his wonky dance music to an appreciative crowd.


Paul Granjon with audience


Paul Granjon with tail and ears


Paul Granjon with tail and ears


Paul Granjon readying Mofo


Paul Granjon with Mofo


Paul Granjon dancing with Mofo

Once again, huge thanks to our wonderful artists, audience and to Maker Faire!

If Wet #21 – Preview

If Wet #21 is our first of 2015 and takes place across the weekend of the 25th and 26th of April as part of Maker Faire!

We are delighted to be part of Maker Faire this year, where we will host an If Wet strand on one of the stages. We have invited Graham Dunning to present his work on the Saturday and Paul Granjon will be showing his on the Sunday; each giving performances later in the day.


For our first If Wet event of 2015 we will be heading to Newcastle for Maker Faire.

As your hosts we will kick the event off, as usual. We will set the tone each day and present our latest piece of work. It will soon be over to our invited artists though to discuss their work and working methods.

Graham Dunning

On the Saturday, we have Graham Dunning presenting his ingenious Mechanical Techno system, which he uses to create wonky techno, through a series of stacked platters, tonearms and contact mic drum / synth triggers. In his words:

“Mechanical Techno: Ghost in the Machine music – vinyl dissonance for lost memories. A live dubbed rhythmical collage made of squeezed record crackle, analogue synthesizer, dubplates of field recordings, dusty shellac records and clumsily triggered drum machines.”

During our first session of the day Graham will discuss this system and his approach. Later in the day you will get chance to come back to the stage to hear him perform a Mechanical Techno set.

On the Sunday, Paul Granjon will present his work as an electronic artist interested in the co-evolution of humans and machines, a subject he explores with hand-made robots and other machines.

Paul Granjon - robot and kid

Paul has exhibited his machines worldwide, for example representing Wales at the Venice Biennale 2005 with a couple of Sexed Robots. More recently he’s been turning art galleries into factories where people are invited to dismantle obsolete consumer electronic items and turn them into interesting stuff, or just have fun taking them apart. Paul is currently working on Coy-B, an intelligent biting machine and on Guido, a robot guide for an art and technology exhibition.

We are delighted to invite Paul and Graham to present their work at Maker Faire and that we will all get to see them perform too! We look forward to seeing you in Newcastle.

If Wet at Supersonic – documentation

Generally speaking we have resolved not to document remote If Wets. There is a lot involved in putting them on and in our local hall we know better what we face. This means the If Wets at Flatpack Festival and the Southbank Centre are documented only in preview form and in the memories of their attendees.

If Wet at Supersonic is a little different, though, because Sam normally contributes a rambling blog post to the Supersonic Collective Memory, so we felt we ought to provide a few photos (taken by David during the event) at least.

We spoke about our project Descent first. If you are very quick you may still catch it at Millenium Point.

Then we had Sarah Kenchington talk, followed by Ryan Jordan. This led on to an extended Run What Ya Brung section, co-run by Stryx, with presentations by various artists. The day finished with wonderful performances by Sarah Kenchington and Graham Dunning.

Here are some pictures and a few lines about what went on.

Sarah Kenchington

Sarah Kenchington demonstrating her self-made instruments

Sarah Farmer

Sarah Farmer running what she brung

Graham Dunning

Graham Dunning’s Mechanical Techno


Sam playing Sarah’s Drumpet

We have rooted around for some reviews but most reviewers seem to have stuck to the main stages. Here are a couple of exceptions – 1 / 2.

We enjoyed what the former said of Sarah Kenchington, “It really felt like she summed up everything Supersonic was actually about – pushing the limits of what music is and how we should think about it.”

It was a delight to behold. Thank you to everyone who presented and performed, and to all of you who came to witness it.

Next up, we are off on tour to four village halls across the country. We are delighted with the line-up. Have a look and buy tickets HERE. JOIN US.

If Wet at Supersonic – Preview

We have never published an If Wet preview so close to an event before but we wanted to tell you because we are delighted with the extended line-up and events we have put together for Supersonic Festival – taking place tomorrow, 31st May 2014. JOIN US. The day will go something like this:

We will kick things off as usual, demonstrating our latest piece of work, Descent, which you can actually go and use during the time of the festival.

Sarah Kenchington

Sarah Kenchington

The first visiting artist to present is Sarah Kenchington. Sarah is a musical instrument builder. She makes wondrous acoustic machines, which she amalgamates into one large instrument that she does solo performances with. It is a sight and sound to behold.

Sarah will present her work and musical instruments in the salon part of our event, which starts at 5.30pm. She will then delight us with a performance (also in the Theatre Space) from around 8:45pm.


Ryan Jordan

Next up we have Ryan Jordan, who is a noise artist working with derelict electronics. He is also an instrument maker but Ryan’s work is predominantly electronic; building crude instruments that replicate fundamental electronic components. His sound is very far removed from that created by Sarah but this is what If Wet is all about. We hope you will find parallels in their work that go beyond the end product.

Ryan will present his work and creations in the salon part of our event, which starts at 5.30pm. He will then perform his liveset on the Second Stage at 8:45pm.

Richard Windley

Richard Windley – doing a RWYB

From 7.30pm we have the most full-on Run What Ya Brung section ever at an If Wet, with a number of artists presenting work and sonic curiosities. This is co-organised by Stryx.

We have always been lucky enough to have wonderful work presented in our Run What Ya Brung section. You can expect lots to relish and ponder from this one!


Graham Dunning

Lastly, we are delighted to welcome Graham Dunning back to If Wet. Graham will perform a set for us using his latest set-up; a sort of mechanical techno thing. This will take place in the Theatre Space from 9.45pm.

I have no doubt we can convince Graham to explain it more on the night but here is a video to whet your appetite.

We hope to see many friendly, and lots of new, faces tomorrow. JOIN US.

If Wet #6 – documentation

If Wet #6 was an intimate affair but we the presentations were stellar. Thanks to those who came and to those who presented – you did us proud.

Here is the full audio recording, in two parts: Part1 / Part2

Here’s an overview of what went on, so you can access topics of interest:


If Wet #6

Photo: George Benson

MortonUnderwood present…

[1:30 – 22:05 | Part 1]

“In April of this year I was appointed as the Artist-in-Residence at the Town Hall Symphony Hall in Birmingham, […] because they don’t do weird very well.”

This big

Photo: George Benson

“The police were about to send in a robot […] to blow it up!”
[Sam discussing the first Sonic Graffiti piece to appear in Symphony Hall]

No, this big

Photo: George Benson

“We didn’t want to put labels saying this is the microphone, this is the record button, this is the loudspeaker; we wanted it to be something you could intuit.”
[David discussing our ‘A Word In Your Ear’ sound art piece]

“This is what happens when Sam and I have a 20 minute phone call about how we might put it in a box and what we might do about the user interface to make it easy to tell which bit to speak into. It’s quite worrying really that it winds up looking like something out of a David Cronenberg movie.”

A Word In Your Ear


[22:20 – 1:01:25 | Part 1]
Ben Soundhog introduced his production techniques and work on his piece Whole Lotta Helter Skelter bastard pop piece.


Photo: George Benson

“I’ve always had this kind of fascination with messing up other people’s work, whether they like it or not.”

“I used to have an Atari 800 […] and you could have I think it was 7 seconds in total in samples, which you then split up into eight […] but there was enough there so you could start nicking notes off people’s records. “


Photo: George Benson

“He put out two singles out. They were both under the counter because they were, in terms of copyright, completely illegal.”

“It has gone into the mainstream. I hear stuff now using whacking great big chunks of other peoples music. That is a direct line from what we were doing; it did have an effect. We were always hoping that we’d get involved but of course what happens in the music industry, they take it themselves, they squish it down into something they can deal with and then they make the money out of it – then they are all happy.”


Photo: George Benson

“This is why everybody would use stuff like the Beastie Boys because the vocal tracks were easily available; they were always on the B-side of the 12 inch single. […] But what has happened in recent years […] there were a couple of console games out, one called Rock Band and one called Guitar Hero, […] and this is how much clout the gaming industry developed, they actually were able to go to the record companies dig out the multi-track masters and use them as the basis of the samples in the game.”

“I know a lot of people don’t like you messing with things that are, you know, sacred but […] it’s not like the originals don’t exist any more. If you want to hear it as it is then it’s there for you but if you want just something a bit different then so long as it’s not a complete mess I think you should be able to have a go at this.”


Photo: George Benson

“To be honest I’ve never had much feedback from people but one of the guitar players out of Paul McCartney’s current touring band, which is fantastic, and Jimmy Page’s website had it on their front page, so they must be alright with it.”


Graham Dunning

[00:10 – 53:35 | Part 2]
Graham Dunning discusses and demonstrates his project Music by the Metre.

Graham Dunning

Photo: George Benson

“It’s based on an idea by Giuseppe Pinot-Gallizio, […] he’s founding member of the situationist movement and Italian painter and also chemist and he came up with industrial painting, Painting by the Metre. […] My version is an audio homage to that technique.”

“I’ve got some machines which create some abstract music which I then use to fill up a spool of tape. […] So what I’ll do is set up the machines until it’s making something resembling something musical and then that’s the end of my intervention with it. […] I just leave it to run, fill up all of one side of the tape and then turn it over and fill up the other side.”

Graham Dunning

Photo: George Benson

“The idea of vertical music is that it’s always changing but it’s always the same, and it’s never changing but it’s never the same.”

“I am going to set up one of these machines now today and as I go along I am going to describe what the sources are. So, I’ll just start doing that.”

Graham Dunning

Photo: George Benson

“I am also using a rock from just outside to hold the back end of the tonearm hopefully to make it loop on the same bit so it doesn’t spiral towards the middle.”

“Next up, I’ve got another turntable, which has been slightly butchered. […] I’ve taken out the original motor and have put in this kind of hobby motor, which has an adjustable speed on it. […] It goes from quite slow to being much faster than a normal record player.”

“Just trying to find a certain record. They are all unlabelled so I can’t remember which one it was. […] These are some dubplates that I got made of different field recordings I recorded myself. […] This is the sound of, I put some cymbals out in the rain each with a contact mic on.”

“The longer you listen to it the more you can hear.”

Graham Dunning

Photo: George Benson

“This microphone is going out the window to get some traffic noise, or in a more academic way of putting it, live environmental sound.”

“There is quite a nice sweep to even regular traffic and I think in the context of quite a noise-heavy conversation between these different sounds it can change the composition. […] Over the course of the tape it’s actually different all the way through.”

Graham Dunning

Photo: George Benson

“One final element, inside this tape is a loop of cassette. […] This is from a remix I did for a saxophone player called Colin Webster. […] To remix one of his tracks I recorded it out to tape and then made up sixteen of these cassettes of little snippets and then played eight of them together. […] All slightly different, so they go in and out of sync together.”

“So, I am happy with that as the composition as it is going to be. The last bit to do is switch the tape on so, start it running and just leave it recording until it has filled both sides of the tape.”

“That’s it, it’s going and it’s out of my hands!.”


Run What Ya Brung

[54:54 – 01:03:54 | Part 2]
We run a regular feature at If Wet in which members of the audience are invited to bring along and demonstrate instruments, sound objects and sonic oddities. This month we had a great contribution from our regular contributor Richard Windley.

Richard Windley

[54:54 – 01:03:54 | Part 2]

“I’ve got a couple of quite nice handmade guitars that I’ve had for years and I’ve gradually got more and more frustrated with them. […] I thought maybe I’d better design one that I like […] so I designed and built this one a few years ago. […] This thing I’ve only added recently and it was an attempt to do this thing which Indian instruments and some European instruments like hurdy gurdies often have these things called sympathetic strings […] to broaden the range of the sound and to give me more sustain.”

Richard Hawley

Photo: George Benson



This is the first month Pete Ashton was unable to attend If Wet, so we don’t have the usual photographs on his Flickr BUT the wonderful George Benson stepped in to help, so thank you to him for the great photos of If Wet #6 used in this post.

A huge thank you to:
Everyone who presented! Everyone who engaged and provided feedback. Everyone who came. Kavita for cooking, running the bar and tidying up. George for taking photographs.


If Wet #6 – Preview

Not long now until our sixth If Wet; Sunday 29th September, 2-4pm. We have a double-bill for you made up of the fabulous Graham Dunning and Soundhog. JOIN US.

Music by the metre

Music by the Metre, Graham Dunning

Graham will be presenting his Music by the Metre project, including a live build of a Music by the Metre piece. The project is an homage to situationist Giuseppe Pinot-Gallizio who made and sold abstract “painting by the metre”.

Each one is a system of sound making machines which will play indefinitely if left to run. The resulting audio is never changing but never the same: loops of different tempos mix with unstable drones and live environmental sound (a mic out of the window) to make a stable but evolving collage. For If Wet Graham will build one of these conglomerate machines and talk through this process.

Graham is also making a run of 10 recycled tapes individually recorded with a different Music by the Metre piece on each side and a handmade cover.



Soundhog (Ben) is a bit of an unknown quantity in the context of If Wet. In fact, we don’t know what he’ll be covering yet. It’s quite likely Ben doesn’t know yet either. BUT we do know that he has a wealth of knowledge, a rich history of making Bastard Pop hits, a fascination for antiquated recordings and technologies, and a near encyclopaedic knowledge of pop music. Soundhog doesn’t come out to play often so miss this at your peril.

Oh, and he only has a Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soundhog

A Word In Your Ear

All being well, your hosts MortonUnderwood will be presenting a few projects they have been working on lately, as part of Sam’s artist residency at THSH Birmingham.

We will also have our regular Run What Ya Brung section where anyone can do a brief, informal presentation of a sonic curiosity they might own or have built. Last month we had a delightful performance of viola da gamba and recorder music, a phone based drone synthesis tool and a self-made, bass drone string instrument. Please JOIN US and contribute!

We will also have the usual yummy treats of home-made food, cakes and a local ale.

We hope to see you at Callow End Village Hall on Sunday the 29th September at 2pm!

Tickets can be purchased here.