Sonica 2022: Glasgow's festival of sonic art to return with feast for the senses

Work inspired by rising sea levels and changing weather patterns around the world, the aftermath of a fictional disaster in Scotland, and controlled explosions of First World War ammunition will be staged when one of Scotland’s leading cutting-edge arts festivals returns this year.

Thursday, 20th January 2022, 4:55 am

Latest developments in artificial intelligence, traditional Gaelic song, the legacy of the cassette tape, the 19th-century Gustave Moreau painting L'Apparition and the Iain Banks novel The Wasp Factory will all be explored during Sonica in March.

More than 80 artists will be involved in around 200 events and installations as one of the world’s biggest celebrations of sonic art unfolds in and around Glasgow.

Specially-created experiences will include a concert at Paisley’s historic abbey featuring a brand new musical instrument, a spider-like apparatus suspended over the heads of audiences which will create intricate mathematical patterns with dancing lights, the transformation of a former Harley Davidson showroom next to the M8 motorway, an interactive digital garden, and a tunnel of light and fog.

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Data collected from international weather stations will be used to create a 'bespoke hurricane' of music at the Sonica festival.

The Tramway arts centre, The Lighthouse, the Centre for Contemporary Arts, The Pipe Factory and The Engine Works will be among the other arts venues deployed, as well as The Rum Shack and The Glad Cafe. Screenings will be held at the Glasgow Film Theatre.

Highlights of the programme include Unusual Ingredients, which will see festival goers take part in experiments to explore whether musical frequencies can be matched with food.

Award-winning hip-hop star Solareye will be performing a series of new solo works he was working on before the pandemic struck that imagined how a future Scotland would respond to a fictional disaster.

The festival will open with the unveiling of Kistvaen, an exploration of the links between the country’s pagan past and “technology-driven present”, which will see Skye singer Anne Martin help bring Gaelic burial songs to life in collaboration with musicians Roly Porter and MFO.

Argentinian artist Jorge Crowe's work for the Sonica festival is described as 'a love letter to the cassette tape.'

Composer Gavin Bryars will be joining forces with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra for an all-standing concert at the Tramway, while musician and composer Alex Smoke is creating a show inspired by Eastern musical traditions for Paisley Abbey, which is billed as a “spiralling sonic meditation”.

Guillaume Cousin’ seven-metre tall installation will send light and smoke creeping through a wind tunnel installed at the CCA, where Maotik’s project Bloom will explore how patterns in nature can be technologically reproduced and manipulated by giving visitors the chance to create their own “virtual garden”.

French digital artist Mathieu Le Sourd and Dutch cellist composer and producer Maarten Vo will be creating Erratic Weather, a performance based on data collected from international weather stations.

The festival will have a special focus on French artists this year, but will also feature work from Australia, Spain, Canada, Myanmar and Switzerland.

The Sonica festival will be staged across 11 venues in and around Glasgow in March.

Cathie Boyd, artistic director of Glasgow-based festival organisers Cryptic, said: “This year, Sonica celebrates its tenth anniversary, having presented 330 artists at 980 events to audiences of more than 180,000 so far.

"Now more than ever, audiences are looking to have all their senses ravished and Cryptic couldn’t be more excited to be one of the first big festivals happening in Scotland in 2022, welcoming people back through the doors of 11 venues across Glasgow and beyond.”

Visual improviser and coder Alba G Corral will be premiering new work at the Sonica festival at 'a mutant live event that is part art happening, part rave.'