Mercury Prize and Emmy nominated composer Hannah Peel and electronic duo Space Afrika announced as Artists in Residence

In partnership with d&b audiotechnik, Kings Place will have a state-of-the-art d&b Soundscape system installed

Kings Place today [26 September] announce Sound Unwrapped, the 15th edition of its award-winning series, which will take a deep dive into the innovation of sound art and music through spatialised listening experiences and immersive sonic events throughout 2023. From acoustic choral works spread around the Hall One gallery to spatialised electronic performances in Hall Two, Sound Unwrapped will open up the listening experience and explore the space where music meets sound art. With Mercury Prize and Emmy nominated composer Hannah Peel and electronic duo Space Afrika as Artists in Residence, the first wave of events for the year-long series is on sale now, with more due to be announced in November.

A partnership with d&b audiotechnik will see Kings Place install the state-of-the-art d&b Soundscape in its flexible Hall Two space. d&b Soundscape is an alternative to the traditional left and right stereo system, using 19 loudspeakers in the round to open up a plethora of creative possibilities for artists to reinforce their sound.

d&b Soundscape will offer up the possibility of radically altered acoustics and dynamic activation of sound objects. Artists making creative use of the d&b Soundscape technology include turntablist NikNakSarathy Korwar’s new collective Flock, viola da gambist Liam ByrneHoly OtherMalibuRiot EnsembleManchester Collective and more. Hall One will feature artists working with sound in different ways, using all four corners of the hall’s gallery to create acoustic experiences for the audience. Hall One artists include the Colin Currie Quartet, The Sixteen, Lucrecia Dalt, Cosmo Sheldrake, Vox Luminis and 12 Ensemble, amongst others.

Artist in Residence Hannah Peel will kick off her residency with a live premiere of her pioneering Mercury Music Prize shortlisted album Fir Wave [17 Feb] followed by a new collaboration with charismatic percussionist Beibei Wang, exploring human and machine-made beats [16 June]. Well-known as a presenter of BBC Radio 3’s Night Tracks, Hannah will also be curating a special BBC event at Kings Place in October 2023.

Hannah Peel said: “I’m ecstatic and honoured to be joining Kings Place as an Artist in Residence for Sound Unwrapped in 2023. I love their unbridled enthusiasm for supporting composers and I’m really looking forward to bringing you some events that I would not otherwise have the opportunity to present: from performing my Mercury-nominated album ‘Fir Wave’ in full for the first time to a live improvisation concert between virtuosic classical and Chinese percussionist Beibei Wang and myself. Plus, I’m very excited to be working with Kings Place on a BBC event for next autumn.”

Electronic music duo Space Afrika, who are also Artists in Residence for Sound Unwrapped, will present a fully scored version of their celebrated album Honest Labour, which topped the Resident Advisors Album of the Year list in 2021 [28 Feb]. Later in the series audiences can enjoy a Space Afrika curation as well as a fully-spatialised show on d&b Soundscape. The duo is at the forefront of the electronic music scene with their open approach to composition and will be working with a wide array of guests for their projects at Kings Place.

Space Afrika said: “With the ambitions for our work to exist outside of a purely linear listening experience, Kings Place presents an opportunity for us to develop a new level of live production and breathe more life into the notions affirmed in Honest Labour, our most recent album on Dais Records.

Following the first presentation of selected works from the album in support of Steve Reich’s ‘Music for 18 Musicians’ at Stoller Hall, and first imaginings at Berlin Atonal, we will expand on our live interpretation and translate the full album into an audiovisual performance with orchestral ensemble and guests continuing in the spirit of collaboration.

Building on our warm relationship with the venue having first performed at a sold-out evening here in 2021, we felt valued by the shared experience with the team and audience. We’re excited to build on this in 2023.”

Hall One events
Opening the series will be the Colin Currie Quartet with a programme that will play with the acoustics of Hall One, ranging from four drum kits in all four corners of the hall to perform Julia Wolfe’s Dark Full Ride through to two musicians locked into the same pitches on wooden keyboards for Rolf Wallin’s Twine [20 Jan]. The Sixteen fuse the traditions of baroque and jazz with pianist Julian Joseph, uniting the two styles and eras through an evening of genre-fusing performance inspired by the music of Monteverdi [27 Jan]. Critically-acclaimed Colombian vocalist and producer Lucrecia Dalt presents a new show around her upcoming album ¡Ay!, combining traditional Colombian instrumentation with Afro-Latin syncopations and sci-fi meditations [29 Jan].

Multi-instrumentalist Cosmo Sheldrake presents a venue takeover at Kings Place as part of Sound Unwrapped [18 Feb]. Cosmo will perform live in Hall One, sharing new and old songs as well as improvisations using the disappearing soundworlds of British birds and the changing sonic landscapes of coral reef fish. Hall Two will feature a spatialised audio installation of Cosmo’s 2020 record Wake Up Calls using the d&b Soundscape system.

Vox Luminis utilise the different spaces of Hall One for a performance of Tallis, Byrd, Sheppard, Morley and Weelkes [28 Apr]. The 12 Ensemble and GBSR Duo (George Barton & Siwan Rhys) delve into visions of heaven and hell through the music of Mica Levi, Fausto Romitelli and Laurence Osborn as well as an arrangement of Harold Budd and Brian Eno’s Ambient 2: Plateaux of Mirror [26 May].

Hall Two events
Kicking off the series in Hall Two using the d&b Soundscape system, Liam Byrne will present an enchanting programme for viola da gamba and electronics, featuring works from his 2019 debut album Concrete [20 Jan]. The Crick Crack Club open the imagination of the audience with their show Stories in the dark, an evening of storytelling in the darkness of Hall Two [21 Jan]. Also during the opening weekend is award-winning DJ and turntablist NikNak, recently featured in DJ Mag’s ‘One to Watch 2022’, who presents Sankofa, an immersive sound and visual experience exploring the narrative of a young black woman, Afrofuturism, and her comic book heroes [22 Jan]. Her improvised turntablism will be combined with imagery by visual artist Loëpa.

The Gildas Quartet invite the audience into the centre of the stage for an in-the-round experience of Britten’s Quartet No. 2, paired with the music of Purcell that inspired the work [29 Jan]. Celebrating the healing nature of immersive sound is pianist Christina McMaster who returns to Kings Place with her ‘Lie Down and Listen’ sound therapy series [29 Jan]. McMaster’s performance of improvised classical music will guide the audience through a sound journey with piano, lute and Tibetan bowls.

English electronic musician Holy Other is part of a mesmerising double bill in immersive surround sound with French ambient musician Malibu, who makes her UK debut[4 Feb]. Continuing the sonic experiences available through the d&b Soundscape system, audiences will have the opportunity to experience the premiere of Félicia Atkinson and Chris Watson’s new collaborative work Things that are far and near [11 Feb]. The work pairs recorded material gathered by Watson on trips to Japan over the last fifteen years with spoken word by Atkinson, creating a unique sonic painting of Japan with sound of mountains, forests, streams, rivers, cities and more.

Riot Ensemble return to Kings Place to perform the must of sound pioneers James Tenney and Alvin Lucier alongside the world premiere of Atom Cry by young British composer Jasmine Morris [17 Feb]. Nine-piece vocal ensemble HOWL’s d&b Soundscape performance combines soundscapes and field recordings with arrangements of folk songs from the British Isles along with works by Caroline Shaw, Meredith Monk and Moondog [18 Feb]. Brand new musical collective Flock – featuring jazz and experimental musicians Bex Burch (Vula Viel), Sarathy KorwarDan “Danalogue” Leavers (The Comet Is Coming), Al MacSween (Maisha) and Tamar Osborn (Collocutor) – make their London live debut in immersive 360 sound [24 Feb].

An amplified string quartet of Manchester Collective musiciansperform George Crumb’s cult work Black Angels in d&b Soundscape alongside music by Gabriella Smith, Edmund Finnis, Franz Schubert and the world premiere of a brand-new commission by New York hip-hop artist, activist, poet and composer Camae Ayewa (Moor Mother) [24 Feb].

Nonclassical launch their new record Disruptive Frequencies with an evening of experimental sounds by NikNak, Dhangsha, Nikki Sheth, Poulomi Desai, Gary Stewart and Dushume [15 Jul]. The album features music created and produced as part of the Exploring Cultural Diversity in Experimental Sound project hosted by the Sound/Image Research Centre at the University of Greenwich.

Later in the year, pianist, composer and technologist Zubin Kanga launches an album of new works using innovative technologies to swirl, melt and morph the sounds of the piano using digital instruments, motion sensors, AI-generated sounds and interactive video [30 Sep]. Kanga’s performance will feature works by Laura Bowler, Emily Howard, Oliver Leith, Laurence Osborn and Shiva Feshareki, all of which play with the use of acoustic or machine-made sound with the piano. More artists and projects for Sound Unwrapped will be announced in November 2022, including details about a summer collaboration with Monom – the 4D surround sound venue in Treptow, Berlin.