Author Archives: robflute

About robflute

Rob Mackay is a composer, sound artist and performer. He is currently a Senior Lecturer in Music at the University of Hull. Recent projects have moved towards a cross-disciplinary approach, including geology, soundscape ecology, theatre, audiovisual installation work, and human-computer interaction. His work has been performed in 18 countries (including several performances on BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 1 and Radio France), and a number of his pieces have received international awards (Bourges (1997 and 2001), EAR (1999), La Muse en Circuit (2007)). He has held composer residencies at Slovak Radio (Bratislava), La Muse en Circuit (Paris), the Tyrone Guthrie Arts Centre (Ireland), Habitación del Ruido (Mexico City), and CMMAS (Morelia). He has collaborated with a number of poets, including Martin Daws (Young People’s Poet Laureate for Wales, 2013 – 2015) and John Wedgwood Clarke (for the Arts Council funded Dictionary of Stone and Sea Swim with Lara Goodband). This was a natural progression from working on a number of projects based on the theme of geology, including a collaboration with percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie on the Natural England funded Ruskin Rocks project, led by a team of scientists and musicians at the University of Leeds who created two stone instruments (lithophones). He has also created a Jurassic soundscape for Scarborough’s Rotunda museum which is currently installed. Rob has been a reviewer for numerous international conferences, including ICMC (International Computer Music Conference), NIME (New Instruments for Musical Expression), DHRN (Digital Humanities Research Network), and journals (Organised Sound, Cambridge University Press) and is editor for Interference, a Journal of Audio Cultures. He has played, written and produced in a number of bands including the Welsh Hip-Hop collective Tystion with whom he collaborated alongside John Cale on the film A Beautiful Mistake (Film 4), as well as recording two John Peel sessions on BBC Radio 1 and supporting PJ Harvey. The band have a chapter devoted to them in Sarah Hill’s book ‘Blerwytirhwng?’ The Place of Welsh Pop Music (Ashgate 2007). Rob has done session work for Super Furry Animals producer Gorwel Owen, songwriter Euros Childs, and Hip-Hop producer Kista. He is currently enjoying playing in the Welsh Afro-tropical collective Drymbago, having supported Quantic and Tony Allen. More information and pieces at: www.soundcloud.com/robflute University of Hull Profile Page

Review in 5:4 Blog for Electric Spring Performance

My recent performance of ‘Flight of the Monarchs’ received a really nice review in the 5:4 blog. It was in the Ambient@40 conference at the University of Huddersfield, involving a live audio stream from the Cerro Pelón Monarch butterfly reserve: ‘Rob … Continue reading

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Eavesdropping on Monarch Butterflies

In January and March this year, I returned to Mexico to visit the Cerro Pelón Monarch butterfly reserve. Working with an interdisciplinary team of artists and scientists, including Monarch expert Dr Pablo Jaramillo, we’ve been exploring the reserve. This has … Continue reading

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Recording the Stalacpipe Organ – Composer Residency at the University of Virginia

I’ve just returned from an inspiring visit to Charlottesville, where I’ve been hosted by the amazing music department at the University of Virginia. Whilst I was there, I continued my research into ringing stones and lithophones. Virginia is home to … Continue reading

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Flight of the Monarchs tours to the Eden Project, Shambala, and Musicport

This summer I and my partner Stella Darby took ‘Flight of the Monarchs’ on the road. It’s an immersive audiovisual installation inspired by the incredible 3,000 mile journey that the Monarch butterfly takes each year from Canada to Mexico, finding warmer … Continue reading

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2778 Nautical Miles: Collaboration between school children in Hull and Freetown, Sierra Leone

The third collaboration between John Wedgwood Clarke and I this year saw us developing a new travelling exhibition by primary school pupils in Hull and our sister city Freetown in Sierra Leone. 2778 Nautical Miles is named after the distance between … Continue reading

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Equanimity on BBC Radio 3’s Late Junction

Verity Sharp featured my piece ‘Equanimity’ for clarinet + computer on Late Junction last night. It features a field recording made in Mallorca with the sounds of cicadas and waves on the shoreline. I’ve tried to blend the sounds of … Continue reading

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Offshore: Artists Explore the Sea opens at the Ferens Gallery and Maritime Museum for Hull’s City of Culture year

Tonight we opened ‘Offshore: Artists Explore the Sea‘ a major 6 month exhibition featuring 10 new commissions and other works from a range of international artists, including Tacita Dean and author China Miéville. The exhibition, curated by Invisible Dust, examines the … Continue reading

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Voice Over Water

John Wedgwood Clarke and I were commissioned to create a new sound work by Invisible Dust, for an event called The Ocean Connects Us run by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation at Trinity Buoy Wharfe in London. The aim of the event … Continue reading

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Exploring the Humber Estuary with John Clarke for a new commission from Invisible Dust

I’ve spent a few days this month exploring the Humber estuary with poet and collaborator John Wedgwood Clarke for a new commission from Invisible Dust called ‘Offshore: Artists Explore the Sea’. We’ll be combining 3D ambisonic field recordings with photographs, … Continue reading

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Sound + Environment 2017 Launched!

The call for Sound + Environment 2017 is now open! Deadline for submissions is 30th January 2017. We are seeking proposals for papers, workshops, compositions, installations and interventions at ‘Sound + Environment 2017’ (University of Hull, 29th June – 2nd … Continue reading

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