an 8-channel, acousmatic composition exploring the internal and surface sound worlds of a rotten branch.


Single branch, on edge of Severn Estuary.

South-westerly winds; internal vibrations.

Jagged, rotten bark. Decaying sapwood; cross-sectional transition to sodden heartwood. Partial and complete submergence. Descent towards dense estuary mud; envelopment of flaked bark fragments. Glimpses of common reeds and shoreline during incoming tidal flow.

Decomposition processes.

Common woodlouse, brown centipede and white-legged snake millipede. Larvae of deathwatch, stag, lesser stag and red-headed cardinal beetles.

Invertebrate palps, mandibles, antennae, body segments, wings, elytra, and mucous membranes.

Larval stages, egg casing friction and arthropod communications.

Audio Channels: 8
Octophonic Configuration: French 8
Duration (MM:SS): 07:00
Sample Rate: 96kHz
Bit Depth: 24

Online stereo excerpt encoded in MP3 format at 48kHz, 320kbps CBR.

Deadwood was realised in the Electroacoustic Music Studios at the University of Birmingham between September 2018 and January 2019, with support from the Midlands4Cities Doctoral Training Partnership and AHRC. All sonic material for the work was derived from natural source recordings, free of anthropogenic noise or interference.

Thanks to Scott Wilson, Annie Mahtani and Simon Smith.


BEAST (Birmingham Electroacoustic Sound Theatre): BEASTdome Concert, University of Birmingham, 1st March 2019. World Premiere.

Photo Credits:

Alastair Rae, London, United Kingdom [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

LBM1948 [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

LBM1948 [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons