BiLE @ Artsfest – 10th September 2011

BiLE has been selected to play at famous Birmingham festival Artsfest.

We will be playing at the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery in the Round Room Gallery Saturday the 10th of September at 15.30. BiLE will be performing Julien Guillamat‘s Back to Front  an electroacoustic cello sonata and Stucknote by Scot Gresham-Lancaster of our favourite laptop band: The Hub. As usual, there’ll be visuals from Antonio Roberts.

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The piece XYZ written for BiLE by member Shelly Knotts has been festured in a new e-zine, CNCPTN by Simon Kinch. The e-zine is available online at: and is also available as a downloadable pdf.  The e-zine aims to showcase music from young composers with a strong conceptual or design element. BiLE have performed XYZ in Oslo, Venice and Birmingham and it was also recently performed at ton:art 2011 by Benoit and the Mandelbrots.


10 works by 10 young composers and artists; where each piece has been conceived not only with the final sonic result in mind, but also to express or represent some pre-conceived concept or design.

CNCPTN is a new bi-monthly e-zine focusing on the concepts and designs behind the work by selected young composers and artists.

Each issue will profile the concepts and designs behind this type of composition and artwork, providing a platform for composers and artists to display more than just the audio they create, no matter how detailed or abstracted the original stimulus may be.’

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SONICpicnic gig review and videos

John Kennedy of Brum Live did a great review of SONICpicnic, including a little bit about our performance:

In terms of conceptual originality and visualisation (Antonio Roberts) their performance, in three movements, was pushing the envelope into event horizons.

Read the full review over at

Ross Cotton from Area Culture Guide also did a review of the event and our performance:

The highly anticipated BiLE (Birmingham Laptop Ensemble) swiftly followed, warping the sounds of pots and pans and cowbells through their laptops and handset gadgets, developing a new, tension-building weapon to entice listeners through harshness and hypnosis.

Full review over on Area Culture Guide

Here’s two videos from the performance:

Back to Front (Electroacoustic Sonata for Cello).

Partially Percussive

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A Manifesto for Laptop Ensembles

I just got round to consolidating BiLE’s aims in starting a laptop ensemble into something coherent… Thoughts, comments, criticisms welcome!


On the forming of a Laptop Ensemble:

–          Democratic approach: BiLE rejects the notion of an autocratic ensemble with a top down approach in which the roles of composer/programmer, leader, performer are discrete and hierarchical. BiLE instead supports the approach of integration, collaboration and the blurring of the distinctions between, composer-performer-collaborator in a democratic non-authoritarian ensemble.

–          Collaboration: BiLE supports the production of scores and collaborative compositions where the framework is such that each composer-performer is free to interpret the sound production elements of the piece. Thereby allowing each member to contribute their ideas and imagination to every performance.

–          Musicality: BiLE asserts that Musicality should be at the forefront of the priorities of any music making ensemble. Therefore technological concerns are subservient to musical intentions and musicality is central to the criteria set out to define the ensemble.

–          Inclusivity: BiLE is an inclusive ensemble with criteria for membership based on similar musical aesthetics and a high quality and complementary musical output rather than specific technical skills. This makes BiLE a creatively rather than technically focussed ensemble. BiLE members should be experienced in Composition and/or performance and dedicated to ensuring all creative output is of high quality.

–          Cross-Platform: BiLE’s commitment to inclusiveness necessitates the ensemble to be cross-platform. Any ensemble member is free to use the software they feel is most suited to the performance and their technical skill level. BiLE has developed their own networking tools in order to facilitate this cross-platform approach.

–          Open Support Forum: BiLE members should support each other in the creation of quality musical performances and in the production of new works through technical and musical guidance shared with other members of the ensemble. The rehearsals should be an open forum for ideas and discussion on music, technology, performance, improvisation and other matters relating to the ensemble.

–          Communication: BiLE are committed to sharing their creative output with their audiences in as inclusive a way as possible. BiLE feel that visual aspects are an important communication tool in any performance and as such include visuals and movement as appropriate to the aesthetics of the piece being performed. BiLE shall also engage in talks and demo’s before or during performances to facilitate audience understanding of BiLE’s creative process and performance aesthetic

–          Progressive Experimentalism: BiLE should be a progressive ensemble priotritising experimentalism over historicism. BiLE should consider and utilisie the possibilities available by virtue of being a networked laptop ensemble and should not rely on old musical forms and structures to develop their creative output.  Exploring the new forms and creativity that can be developed by the use of this technology is desirable so long as an emphasis on musicality is maintained.

(Author: Shelly Knotts)

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BiLE at SONICpicnic

BiLE will be performing alongside a whole host of musicians at SONICpicnic on 29th July at VIVID in Birmingham, UK.

SOUNDkitchne SONICpicnic

You may remember that we had our very first performance at the first SOUNDkitchen event, so we’re really happy to be performing again.

We’ll be performing a few pieces including XYZ, which was recently played in Venice at the Laptop Meets Musicians Festival. You can see a preview of the visuals below:

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Laptops Meet Musicians Festival – Venice – 11&12.07.2011

The Laptops Meet Musicians Festival selected BiLE for a performance in Venice.

This is the first world festival of laptop orchestras and laptop ensembles. Laboratorioarazzi of the Giorgio Cini Foundation‘s “Istituto per la musica”, in collaboration with the Conservatory of Music “B. Marcello” and the “Ca’ Foscari” University (Venice, Italy) organizes two days of concerts, round tables, demos and posters about laptop orchestras and ensembles and interactivity between musicians and portable technologies taking place the 11th and 12th of July.

We will be playing 2 pieces written by members of BiLE : XYZ by Shelly Knotts and Partially Percusive by Charles Celeste Hutchins.

So if you happen to be in Venice, come along. Otherwise, we’ll be updating the blog when we get back!

Here are the programme notes:

XYZ (or ‘Sonic Arm Wrestle’) is a structured improvisation using motion capture devices such as iPhone, Wiimote and Xbox Kinect. Each player can fight to take control of another players sound.

In Partially Percusive, players sample the sounds of striking metallic objects and then manipulate the sounds in software. Players are instructed to listen for whether other players are playing sounds that are percussive vs sustained, pointillistic vs flowing, sparse vs dense, or loud vs soft and situate their own sounds accordingly. Players can sample a new sound after a pause and can pause for as long as they’d like, when they feel they should.

You can hear a recording here.


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BiLE at Light House Media Centre, 18th June 2011

This Saturday from 8:30pm BiLE will be performing alongside Thee Moths and Noise Research at The Light House Media Centre in Wolverhampton

BiLE, Thee Moths, and Noise Research, Free, at Light House Wolverhampton, on the 18th of June

We will be playing a short set that will include Partially Percussive, a video of which you can view here.

Confirm your attendance here on Facebook.

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BiLE @NIME 2011 / 30th May-1st June / Oslo.

The 2011 New Interfaces for Musical Expression selected BiLE to perform this year in Oslo.
The NIME conference draws a varied group of participants, including researchers (musicology, computer science, interaction design, etc.), artists (musicians, composers, dancers, etc.) and developers (self-employed and industrial). The common denominator is the mutual interest in groundbreaking technology and music, and contributions to the conference cover everything from research on human cognition through experimental technological devices to multimedia performances.

We will be playing a new piece XYZ by BiLE member Shelly Knotts. The piece is a structured improvisation using motion capture devices such as iphones, wiimote and kinect, where each player can use their device to take over control of another players sound.

So if you happen to be in Oslo, we’ll be performing on Tuesday 31st May @ 9.00pm at Chateau Neuf (Street address: Slemdalsveien 15). Otherwise, we’ll be updating the Blog when we get back!

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BiLE Liverpool Performance

Our first gig outside of Birmingham was a great success
BiLE at Electroacoustic Compostion Forum in Liverpool

Thank you to all that came along and thanks to Reinhard Fuchs for inviting us there.

Here’s a video of our performance of Partially Percussive

To round off the event we were joined the organisers for an improv session

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Performance in Liverpool – 15th May / 5-7pm

BiLE are embarking on their first adventure outside of Birmingham on Sunday with our first gig in Liverpool!

We’ll be giving an informal performance with audience participation as part of the monthly Electroacoustic Compostion Forum at Holy Trinity Church Hall, Church Road, Wavertree, L15. You can find out more concert and venue details here:


The performance will feature a selection of pieces by composers from BiLE: Julien Guillamat, Jorge Garcia Moncada and Charles Celeste Hutchins as well as our versions of network music classic Stuck Note by Scot Lancaster-Gresham of The Hub and Right Durations from Karlheinz Stockhausen’s collection of text pieces Aus den Sieben Tagen.

Here’s a sneak preview of our performance of Stockhausen’s Right Durations from our rehearsal last week:



Live Improv Rehearsal – Right Durations by Bile

We’re really looking forward to it and hope to see some new faces at the concert!

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