Home (Breath Replaced)

Lead Author:

Tom Williams




Unit of Assessment

33: Music, Drama, Dance, Performing Arts, Film and Screen Studies

Output Category:

J - Composition

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Home (Breath Replaced)

The output is an acousmatic composition. What follows are two versions of the same output:

1) stereo:
2) immersive 8-speaker

The following link contains eight separate audio (wav) 24 bit, 48K mono sound files.

Home_immersive_8_speaker.zip (528mb)

The audio files are to be played back in the following set up:

A sonagram of the acousmatic: spectral and amplitude analysis:


Summary Statement (300 words)

Home (Breath Replaced) is an acousmatic composition that is realised in both stereo and octophonic formats. The work’s source material is from my close-mic recordings of dancers dancing: their breathing and moving.

The composition’s genesis was through practice-research dialogues with Vida Midgelow which led to outcomes that included a sound installation and the video, Home (A Replacing).

The composition examines ‘home’ as a metaphor for the inner, intimate life of the body, focusing on the breath as life-force. The original compositional research question was how to create a piece that both revealed and transcended the body as home to create an immersive, visceral, sonic discourse. This “(re)placing” of breath as a metaphor of the quotidian is an ontological enquiry into the nature of being.

The research draws on Trevor Wishart’s work into sonic metaphor (Red Bird), and in his rigorous structuring composition using constrained, single-source recordings (Imago).
Composition that applies abstract musical discourse from abstracted referential sources (breath) references the writings of Simon Emmerson. While vocal utterances extemporised into complex acousmatic landscapes have a lineage related to the work of Luciano Berio (Visage) and, more recently, John Young (Sju).

Home (Breath Replaced) has received international performances both in blind-refereed festivals and conferences, and broadcast.

Research Aims:
  1. To examine and interrogate close/intimate body-as-home recordings to reveal original electroacoustic music discourse;
  2. To develop structures and strategies to produce innovative compositional narratives from breath – a noise-based source material: non-nodal, limited sonic character;
  3. To exploit, through dynamic interplay of sonic transformation, immersive sonic landscapes across speaker arrays.


Contextual Information

List of significant performances

Home (A Replacing) acousmatic with video performance:

Home (Breath Replaced) immersive acousmatic performance: