Pakefield - on the Edge

Tom Williams (Artist)

Research output: Practice-Based and Non-textual ResearchComposition


The acousmatic composition was conceived in response to the invitation to present an ‘immersive sound’ concert in the ‘Mapping Places: Geographies of Sound’ Symposium in Cremona, March 2019.

My practice as research began with planning field recordings that would explore diverse, recognisable human activity contained within a small window of time and that was evidently mapped to a place of sonic character. The source material recorded was from a single summer evening in a distinctive sonic landscape: an English seaside town.

Typically, my compositional work, whether acoustic or electroacoustic, begins from the micro and develops in a quasi-organic method; however, here the creative approach is inverse: beginning with a rich tableau of multi-various recordings that survey the familiar, the commonplace, whimsical snatches of seaside life. The sonic material exploited in the piece (such as a fish and chip shop, church bells, biking, walking, passing chit-chat, shoreline waves) are sound symbols of the everyday but by morphological and contextual reframing are transformed into new ‘fictionalised’ landscapes. The work was both conceived as both a metaphorical discourse and an abstract musical work.

A key research imperative that underpins the creative process is in the transformation of these source recordings: to develop a work that supports a clear musical argument in a crafted formal design that employs contemporary electroacoustic composition techniques but also a work with intrinsic mimetic discourse. The work begins with short sharp juxtapositions of contrasting material that set up key sonic ‘themes’ both referential and non-referential/abstract. As the work progresses it moves into longer more abstract soundscapes that darken the landscape, morphing, layering and juxtaposing through a range of compositional techniques. A key element is in the interplay of sonic space and how the immersive experience informs the listeners’ listening.
Original languageEnglish
Media of outputCD
Size13 minutes
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 22 Mar 2019
EventSeoul International Computer Music Festival 2020 - Jayu Theatre, Seoul Arts Center, Seoul, Korea, Republic of
Duration: 28 Nov 201931 Oct 2020


  • composition
  • immersive
  • electroacoustic music
  • acousmatic


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