‘A Tap, a Click, and a Thump’

Immersive sound, music, light and text experience, 2024. Lead Artist: Caro C with collaborating Composers: Sarah Keirle, Nico Garcia-Peguinho Light and Text Artist: Elisa Artesero

‘A Tap, a Click, and a Thump’

‘A Tap, a Click, and a Thump’ honours the adventurous ancestors who have come through the University of Manchester over the last 200 years. Commemorating the triumphs, wonder, struggles, and achievements of many who may or may not have been seen.

The piece is particularly inspired by mathematician/computer scientist/codebreaker Alan Turing and electronic music composer/producer Delia Derbyshire whose legacies are now connected with Manchester.

Both Alan and Delia were pioneers in their fields, overcoming obstacles to achieve contributions in maths, computing, AI and electronic music, but neither received appropriate recognition in their lifetime. The music and the text art has been informed by their work, story and legacy.

The title ‘A Tap, a Click and Thump’ refers to Alan Turing’s comment about the sounds the Manchester computer made. Delia Derbyshire composed with tape and used recorded sounds as raw material for making music. For this, we feel Delia would have transformed a tap, a click and thump into music, no problem!

The piece includes lots of unconventional instrumentation as the worlds of sound and music merge with beauty and tension therein. For example, Caro uses Coolicon metal lampshades, which were a “favourite instrument” of Delia’s that she recorded, analysing the harmonic content and creatively manipulating to create her evocative music.

Nico has composed rhythmic and melodic elements with Middle Eastern instruments while Sarah recorded and transformed sounds made by the replica of the ‘Baby’ computer, currently on display at the Science and Industry Museum – this computer makes a lot of clicks, clunks, and loud drones. It is also Sarah’s soaring voice in the final section.

Elisa has experimented with a more concrete visual poetry to echo the methods of making by Delia, whilst incorporating binary code, one of the foundations of contemporary life (computers, smartphones), which is often hidden in plain sight

Here’s a binaural version (surround sound especially for headphones) of an ‘A Tap, a Click, and a Thump’

Binaural mastering by Chris McCormack.

More about the artists HERE.

This new work has been produced by Manchester Histories in partnership with The University of Manchester.

Funded by The University of Manchester and Manchester Histories.