Concert sounds out the horrific sights of war

Dark Formation: Bomber planes take to the skies

Exciting collaborative works by composers and film-makers at the University of Sussex are to be performed in concert in London this month (Mon 27 September).

The programme features a new piece by University of Sussex composer Ed Hughes and images of World War II Allied bombing raids on Germany from the Imperial War Museum.

Dark Formations is a ten-minute audiovisual collaboration between Ed Hughes and David Chandler, Professor of Photography at the University of Plymouth.  It is one of several new works to feature in the concert, part of the Out Hear season at the Kings Place centre in London.

Conceived as one part of a larger project, The Shadows of Destruction reflects on the relentlessly destructive forces of war. This is done through new musical compositions by Hughes and rarely seen photographs and film footage curated by Chandler, from the Imperial War Museum, London. The images include aerial shots of the intensive bombing campaign waged by the Allies against German cities during the closing stages of World War II.

Ed Hughes says: David's work in the Imperial War Museum archives led to a fascination with a rich and seemingly endless trail of such images. These are not consciously framed photographs; they were made to document attacks and indeed improve accuracy in further raids. And yet the images are now both extraordinary and disturbing."

The accompanying music for the piece will be 'restrained and spare', says Ed.

The New Music Players, of which Ed Hughes is Director, will be making a recording of the music , which will be developed beyond the concert into a larger project capable of both screenings with live performance in a range of venues, including galleries.

The concert includes work on photography, film and music by other Sussex academics, including Lizzie Thynne and Adrian Goycoolea from the University's School of Media, Film and Music, and Nick Collins (Music Informatics). 

Featured works are:

  • Lizzie Thynne Surrealist Picnic II (film 2010 premiere) accompanied by Ed Hughes Sextet (music 1999). Lizzie Thynne is a Senior Lecturer in Media and Film Studies: Surrealist Picnic II is a new short film is a quirky take on the photographer Lee Miller's Picnic, Mougins, 1937, an iconic image of surrealists on vacation.
  • Adrian Goycoolea Still Live (film 2010 premiere) accompanied by Ed Hughes Quartet (music 1998).  Adrian is a Video Production Lecturer in Media and Film.  In Still Live rephotographed images from turn-of-the-millennium American magazines are manipulated optically and digitally.  
  • Nick Collins Snap (2010 premiere). Nick composes, performs, and researches, mostly in and around electronic music. He co-edited the Cambridge Companion to Electronic Music (2007), and recently wrote an Introduction to Computer Music.Ed Hughes will also be premiering a new chamber concerto.

Notes for Editors

Dark Formations and associated works premiere at Hall Two, Kings Place, York Way, London on Monday 27 September at 8pm, as part of the Out Hear series. Tickets are priced £9.50. See the Kings Place web site for booking details.

Out Here is a series of events curated by leading promoters and musicians in the worlds of contemporary/experimental music and multi-media performance.

The New Music Players instrumentalists are expert interpreters of new music, and several are members of the Royal Opera House Orchestra Covent Garden, the BBC Symphony Orchestra and leading chamber ensembles. See:

Imperial War Museum Collections The Imperial War Museum has an incomparable collection covering the military and civilian experience of war and conflict involving Britain and the Commonwealth since 1900.  This includes one of the largest and most important collections of modern British art in the world; a multimedia archive of film, video, photography and sound; documents including personal diaries, letters and maps; objects ranging from military equipment and uniforms, personal possessions, decorations and awards, vehicles and aircraft; and a national reference library. The Collection is an invaluable resource for academic researchers and amateur historians; it can be searched online and can be accessed in the new Explore History Centre at Imperial War Museum

For further information contact  Eleanor Farrell. Senior Press Officer, Imperial War Museum

Tel:  0207 416 5497; Fax: 020 7416 5216; Email:

University of Sussex Press office contacts: Maggie Clune, Jacqui Bealing and Daniëlle Treanor. Tel: 01273 678 888. Email:

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Last updated: Thursday, 16 September 2010