Sonica, Glasgow first sonic arts ‘festival’ might be both flattered and bemused by Grazia magazine’s ‘brilliant but bonkers’ tag. But it does serves as a warning to those who are fairly traditional when it comes to visual art and sound. The brilliant bit is the radical nature and the theatricality of the performances.

Lithuanian composer Juste Janulyte presents the Scottish premiere of her work Sandglasses (8 & 9 Nov, Tramway), a three dimensional performance work featuring four cellists playing in transparent columns, with lights mimicking grains of sand flitting across the tubes, visuals building in intensity along with the rising power of the music. (picture below)

Scotland is becoming know for sonic artists; Scottish artist Susan Phillpsz who played her ethereal voice under 3 bridges over the Clyde in Glasgow won the Turner Prize in 2010. Another Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art graduate and Glasgow based filmmaker Luke Fowler and musician Jean-Luc Guionnet’s recent collaboration resulted in the creation of Turner Prize nominated film All Divided Selves. For Sonica Fowler and Guionnet will debut a live performance piece, which explores their relationship to Dance and Electronic Music.

Below is a work by Korean artist Mookyoung Shin described by Sonica as,  ‘Hundreds of giant, skeletal, kinetic ‘fingers’ surround you, determinedly tapping on individual desks. As the ‘fingers’ grow more impatient, the sense of tension builds, climaxing in a mind-blowing cacophony of sound. ..(Shin has created).. Our Contemporaries response to a growing sense of the repetitive nature of everyday life.’

Image above: Kim Sunsoo

Another brilliant bit is the length of the performances.  In a world where almost everything – films, plays, books, tv programmes – feel like they could be shorter – no piece in Sonica is more than an hour long.

Just don’t expect to hear melodies – it’s not music.

Sonica 2012 is on at various venues in Glasgow from 8 to 18 November.