Sunday, March 02, 2008

Listen With Sarah

Listen With Sarah

British composer Sarah Nelson has been working (with co-producer, Peter Nelson) to produce tracks under the name Listen With Sarah, since 2002. She's described her output as everything from avant-garde, computer music, cut and paste, dada, dance music, downtempo, drum n bass, eclectic, electronica, experimental, leftfield, mash-up, music concrete, plunderphonics, sound collage and techno, not to mention all the made up names she's come up with! I'm not overly familiar with all of those genres, but her work fits right in around here, thanks to her liberal use of sampling...

She currently has one album, five EPs, and a seven inch available primarily through Womb Records and Cherryade. Her work is featured on a few compilations as well. Check out her discography, including many downloadable tracks at her website.

Without further ado, here's the SAR Q&A with Listen With Sarah...

*Name: Listen With Sarah

*Are there any additional names used to describe this project: In my early computer experiments, I went by the name 'Mama Bud.' I later settled on ‘Listen With Sarah (aka LWS).

*Do you use a pseudonym? Elvis! Maybe I'll use an anagram for some future project. Anagrams are fun. I'm quite taken with 'Anita Welsh Shirt' and 'Waistline Thrash'...

*Members: One woman (Sarah Nelson) plus computer (Shuttle XPC), with occasional virtual animal orchestra and constant husband (Peter Nelson, listener and co-producer).

*Founding Members: Me (Sarah).

*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations: I’m a “digital decomposer” - 10 piano-playing digits with silicon chips. So far LWS has been mainly computer-based enmanglement with occasional keyboard twiddling. I gather together various audio samples in digital form (recorded music, speech, TV dialogue etc.) and transmute them using wave editing and loop sequencing programmes.

*Another genre descriptor: "Breakbleet farmcore hulastep serendipity" is my catchy made-up genre name.

*Why you use this descriptor:
Mostly I just like sound of it, but it does also refer to some of the favorite things I've used in my creations, like rhythmic animal sounds, breaks, hula music, chance discoveries and nonsense. I like to think the phrase suggests collage, cut and paste and dada.

*Location: Currently living in East Sussex.

*Original Location:
The 60s. Britain: born in Portsmouth, grew up in Essex and Gloucestershire.

*What is your creative/artistic background:
Music loving parents, who fed my young ears with tasty sounds such as Hendrix, Beethoven and Scott Joplin. Folk clubs. Piano lessons. Recorder playing in a medieval folk ensemble. Truth seeking….philosophy, psychology, mysticism, marijuana….computer programming, or as I like to call it, ‘computer whispering.' Listening. Baking.

*History: My musical computer experiments began in late 2002.

1965 Portsmouth, UK.

One day I began, I liked the results, so I carried on. I knew I’d eventually start exploring computer music, to bring together my musical and technical tendencies, go beyond the limitations of my two piano-playing hands and manifest the sound images in my head. With computer I am unlimited multi-limbed cybermusician. Hear me byte. I do what I do to amuse myself mostly. To immerse myself in sound, drive out thought and forget the passing of time. For pleasure, laughter, therapy, self-expression, following the innocent desire to play, explore and experiment. It’s an outlet for an urge to control and order things. Or disorder things. To obsess, deliberate and arrange things precisely, or serendipitously. Using a computer enables me to slow down and manipulate time, in a way, and to loop until my heart’s content, to listen to things repeating, repeating and repeating. Often I have some craving to hear a particular sound in a particular context or a particular combination of things... Sharing the fruits of all this can feel very good. I like it that some of my music makes people laugh. When I’m in my right mind, my motivation is love.

Be ludic. Be ludicrous. Any sound can be music if you loop it enough. Warning: may contain bulldada.

*How would you like to be remembered:
As you wish.

*Web address:

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