Bunch Of Fives: A Man Called Adam | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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The much-lauded North-East electronic duo, A Man Called Adam release their brand new album, The Girl With A Hole In Her Heart, their first release since 2019’s Farmarama. The album is ‘a House record made for all night dancing in a decommissioned steelwork’ and is inspired by the wild coastal and industrial landscapes where the band’s Sally Rodgers grew up.

About the album, Sally adds, “I thought about the first things I remembered – images, feelings, sounds – and extrapolated the idea that these things ultimately shape our character, into the basis of the song. I remember some undefined adult talking about the girl next door having ‘a hole in her heart’, a wildly visual and evocative image for a child to comprehend. I remember seeing my mother’s crimplene dress (a miracle fabric manufactured at nearby ICI) frozen, as though she were still inside it, on the washing line among the metal beer kegs in the backyard. At the end of the street there were huge (or so they seemed) industrial slag heaps where I used to play with the neighbour’s kids and my siblings. I remember the feeling of the shale-like slag slipping underneath my feet as we clambered up and down them. Other, more hazy but significant images from my early life make up the rest of the abstract but deeply autobiographical lyric and we drew musical influence from tracks by Italo dance producers like Alexander Robotnik, or from the Yello, Sparks and early Human League tracks we love.”

The band, who have been making pioneering electronic music since the 80s, will be releasing the album both digitally on and Vinyl (which, fittingly, will be pressed at Press On vinyl in Middlesbrough). It will also be accompanied by a 4000-word essay (in booklet form) about the making of the album.

Here, Sally tells us about her top five sound artists… 

This summer we’re getting fully immersed in sound art with commissions, workshops, and hosting events for MIMA as part of their blockbuster summer exhibition People Powered: Stories from the River Tees – and for the new Redcar Festival, Beyond the Waves in August. So I thought I’d pick five of my favourite artists who work with sound – get inspired!  

Céleste Boursier-Mougenot
Apparently, he started his career as a composer but his acoustic installations use natural sounds and movements to create a constantly changing sound world. I love the tuned bowls in moving water installation – ‘Clinamen’ – but the finches and live guitars in from ‘Ear to Here’ is just amazing work. I admit I was a bit worried about the finches’ welfare but they had bird experts monitoring them and they seemed to be perfectly happy having their Hendrix moment.  

Hildegard Westercamp
I love Hildegard Westercamp’s work. She’s a composer, educator and radio artist, and her work concentrates mostly on environmental sound and acoustic ecologies. She lives and works in Canada and I’ve been out to those epic, primal forests on Vancouver Island – the source of this particular work. ‘Beneath the Forest Floor’. She’s all about intense listening and also messing with the frequencies of the sounds she records – and in this way she captures and reveals earth’s magical, hidden sounds in her recordings.   

John Cage
Cage is an obvious choice but so influential as a philosopher of sound. His famous quote really resonates with us and when we’re working with sound it’s there somewhere in the deepest recesses of our minds. “I love sounds. Just as they are. And I have no need for them to be anything more than what they are.”

Tarek Atoui
He creates complex electroacoustic instruments that act as mediums through which we can participate, perform and interact. History, anthropology, politics all merge into his installations.  In this series of works The Whisperers’ he created what he called ‘listening environments’ from wood and stone and water to create new contexts for the sounds produced. It seems as though all of his work is one work – a continuous discovery and I like that idea. 

Delia Derbyshire
Delia is a hugely important figure in the history of electronic music. Founder member of The Radiophonic workshop and pioneer of electroacoustic sound composition she’ll always be a hero to me. You can see she’s just so immersed in her art and her work. We even wrote a song about her and some of the other amazing women of sound.



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