Benjamin Louis Mawson:
Composer & Virtual Performance Developer

What if music could be made to develop not only over Time but over Space as well?

Go to a place, find yourself walking inside a piece of music like a building or a garden made of sounds, not quite possible to touch, like sensory memory from a dream. . .

I am working on two ways to spread music out over space:

3D-BARE, an interdisciplinary collaboration at the University of Southampton, for walking inside a musical composition, investigating the sounds as though they were actually present.
Prototype demo December 2012.Sign up.


with noTours for geo-located compositions listened on Android phone using GPS.

Placing a musical composition in a particular location, mixed with sounds from the place itself, manipuIated and transformed to augment the aurality of the environment

each audition is unique. . . . you don't know the precise location and size of the circles, each containing individual fragments of the composition.

As you move around, you generate unrepeatable blending and separation within the work, following corridors into the heart of the composition.

My academic research is to do with the spatialisation of sound, particularly in virtual environments, in order to create more organic, changeable experience of digitally produced sound and music.

  3-D music projection with Virtual Performance Platforms:
  "Zones of Intensities".
Cytotoxic T Lymphocyte arrives at work, to find corridors already bursting with queues of endogenous cells, waiting to be checked. Another Monday morning at Human Immune System HQ.
April 2013     Feature article in Journal of the Landscape Institute.

"Composer Ben Mawson creates musical landscapes, what he calls 'music you can walk inside, like an invisible sculpture'…a unique and unrepeatable immersive experience - and he is eager to collaborate with landscape architects…"
      read more (opens in new window)
March-April 2013:         "Listening for Infection:
How might the human immune system sound?"

The beginning of a new collaboration, exploring how to depict the workings of the immune system in sound.

The 1st two experiments, here, using the cell's weird rules of synchronous chanting.

Image of CTLs killing an infected cell

March 2013:         Audio Portrait of a City, Part 2 ('Home'): at Southampton Common Disarming frankness, resilience, warmth and infectious humour of the thirty-seven 10-year-olds I spent a couple of days working with on the subjects of 'music in the landscape', 'family' and 'home';     Interviews, poetry, prose, rap and song, spread around the landscape: an incredibly rich combination of the children's voices and music, blended with each other and with the place itself using noTours for Android, software for "editing a place with sounds".
March 2013:         Making Immersive Rock Art: MIRA Preparing to build immersive sound for an entirely virtual reconstruction of some of the world's most impressive and inaccessible prehistoric sites. A great honour to be included in this impressive international team. MIRA is a way of allowing visitors to experience the mystical, ancient world of the cave artists of many millennia ago. Read more
February 2013:         Cotswold Motoring Museum Remixing audio of classic car rallies, vintage motorcycle racing and early urban traffic in 5.1 for surround effects at this wonderful collection deep in the beautiful Cotswolds, at Bourton on the Water. Famously the home of children's tv favourite, the miniature anthropomorphic "Brum" and classics like the first ever Ford car, the Brough Superior motorcycle and my favourite, the "Alldays and Onions 1911 Victoria", from a firm who had made tools for the blacksmith trade. In 1888 they started making bicycles for the G.P.O. and in 1902 launched the Alldays Traveller Voiturette. By 1911 they were producing 10 cars per week. The car has wooden spoke wheels and gas lighting. Visit the museum
January 2013:         Soundscape for stage production of Bulgakov's "Heart of a Dog":     Moscow, Winter 1924. Opens in a snowstorm with the interior voice of a stray dog, kidnapped by a professor of medicine and surgically transformed into a kind of dog-man whose personal habits and political views are uncomfortably distinct from those of his creator.
30 Jan - 1 Feb,Old Operating Theatre, St Thomas St, London SE1.       Monday 25 February, LSE 'Space for Thought' Literary Festival, Old Theatre, Houghton St, London WC1
December 2012:         . . .return to the PhD thesis     Problem: depicting unpredictable 4-D music on paper. Solution: a set of cross-referenced maps; some of space, some of sound over time. The listener's experience is then a combination of elements arising from their interaction with the space and its sounds. Is it worth measuring what listeners do and analysing this? How does their response to the immersion, interactivity, social aspect, physical arrangement of the landscape explored inform the listening experience? Is this a matter for others to consider?
19 December 2012:         Opening of Audio Portrait of a City, Part 1 ('The Secret Garden'): Stories, poems and riddles on the theme of the Secret Garden by Year 4 at Highfield Primary, spread around the landscape: 30 pieces of writing over 22 circles, encompassed by an overture for digital orchestra.         8-9 December 2012: With Highfield Primary School:
Recording the children's stories, poems and riddles about the Secret Garden.
24 November 2012:         MUSIC YOU CAN WALK INSIDE: Late Autumn, a dark, wet and windy day, walking inside the landscape recorded in Spring with an 11-voice choir combined with the sounds of the place itself, augmented and modulated, poised above the landscape.
22 October 2012: "Locative and Geo-Located Audio: Editing a Place with Sounds". Following the brilliant Ed Parsons, Geospatial Technologist at Google Maps, on Annotated Landscape, giving a lecture on virtual sound for exterior and interior spaces, with and .     What is noTours?Audio introduction, 1'30"
Thanks to Guy Stephens and Nyk Loates ofAccelerated Solutions Environment at Cap Gemini for being such great hosts.
Weekend of 20/21 October 2012: building audio portrait of St Paul's Churchyard
Blending a virtual choir with the bustling acoustic environs of the cathedral. Geo-located version coming shortly. Listenwith headphones to a cliphere (.wav format)
Many thanks to UnrealCityAudio, on whose entertaining and evocative historic London walking tour, "Hawkers, Harlots & Hacks" I accidentally found myself. Excerpts of their escapades are included in the virtual sound walk that resulted from these recordings.
11 October 2012: Talk and presentation on locative and geo-located music at Creative DigiFest #SXSC 2
Blending musical compositions with a landscape, using noTours for Android. @SxSC
25 August 2012:Interview on Voice103.9 FM
Audio Portrait of Southampton
A geo-located sound collage and musical composition combining performances from Southampton Youth Orchestra, Art Asia and many others with spoken word contributions from hundreds of Sotonians: a 3-D sonic snapshot of the city in 2012, usingnoTours for Android and creating a parallel online version.      Pre-listen, October 2012: Southampton Common & Watts Park.Email for more info.
18 May 2012,  Invisible Music across the landscape Demonstration of geo-located composition - a way for the listener to enter into a musical composition like a physical space and investigate its layers unfolding over the duration of the music.
University of Southampton Creative DigiFest   
21-22 April 2012 "Dreaming at the Circular Ruins"
Suite for 12 computerised Player Pianos and Marimba performed at the South Bank Centre festival,
"Impossible Brilliance: The Music of Conlon Nancarrow"

4 March 2012, Music Nation Day, opening ofLondon 2012 Cultural Olympiad     Turner Sims Concert Hall, Southampton.
"Take me by the Hand"     Virtual Choir Setting of Jeffrey Wainwright's poem
Acousmatic performance, followed by locative version: listeners went outside and walked into a version of the composition spread like a physical structure in the surrounding gardens with's brilliantnoTours. An invisible sonic landscape that changes according to listener movement, where listeners move through overlapping physical zones to take differing routes through the music as it develops over time. Each listener hears a unique, unrepeatable version of the music.   Read  more
29 February 2012, "Southampton Composers Group" Concert, Turner Sims Concert Hall,
"Memory Games" for solo human and avatar pianists : Tom Green, piano.
Examining the interplay between personal and musical memory, anticipation, re-interpretation of ideas transformed during recall, how the joining fragments of memory underlies a sense of musical narrative.
Four short convolutions and a 3-D plunderphonic:
a soundtrack to solitary dislocation improvising with a Saxon shepherd Obama's speech on the capture of Bin Laden reconstructed whilst he performs, the pianist remembers music - historic and from yesterday, at the piano and on radio - his performance is partly the piece he came to play and partly composed of memories that intersperse it, Memory Games 1 (avatar pianist) "Credo", a 3-D plunderphonic from sampled medieval and modern sacred chants.
8 December 2011: R O O M   John Hansard Gallery, Southampton.
Re-examining the premise for Alvin Lucier's influential "I am sitting in a room" this piece takes the composer's (BLM's) speech and transforms it into asomatous instruments of confusion: words and vocalisations as notes, voices as virtual instruments, the auditorium as playroom, R o o m
Collaboration with conceptual artist Terry Smith: PARALLAX.

Terry Smith, Caracol, 2011.
Courtesy the artist.
Photograph: Lisa Blackmore

©Copyright Benjamin Mawson 2013