The Future is Sound at the Barbican

The Future is Sound night at the Barbican in London was inspiring and epic, bringing together future and ancient sounds and visions.

Tom Middleton - The Future is Sound

The Future is Sound

In front of us stands a man describing climbing inside the sarcophagus in the King’s Burial Chamber of the Giza pyramid. We all hold our breath.

He’s not a swashbuckling film hero, but that modern explorer of audio mysteries, composer and electronic music legend Tom Middleton. Sarcophagus resonance tester, spatial sleep music creator, and researcher into vibrations and frequencies that appear to link pyramids across the world. Who also later tells us about hip hop and cheese.

Tonight’s dazzling Future is Sound event majors on functional sound, new tech, vibrations and frequencies, often reaching back into history to take us forward.

Jimmy Kyriacou - The Future is Sound

Brilliantly-curated by Future is Sound founder Jimmy Kyriacou, it’s a voyage of mind and body, with the revelations interspersed with mini meditations and sonics. Jimmy tells us he set up FutureSound and its event series to celebrate the transformational power of music and sound, and to give it a platform. He stresses that it is called The Future is Sound, not Future of Sound. Though we soon hear about plenty of innovative and futuristic projects.

It’s a whistle-stop journey through sound, science, maths and healing, with plenty of Pi π. All the talks are TED-style compact, and it’s a lot to take in, but it’s completely compelling.

Carl H Smith - The Future is Sound

One minute we’re marvelling at the Imperial College psychedelics research programme, and the next we’re learning about digital alcohol, and cymatics for XR-induced nausea. These insights are thanks to Carl H Smith, Director of the Learning Technology Research Centre and Principal Research Fellow at Ravensbourne University, and co-founder of the Cyberdelics Society. He shows us sonified spider webs, and so much more.

Zoe Cormier - photo Kitmonsters

Writer and broadcaster Zoe Cormier takes us on a hilarious rock n roll journey from Osborne-esque family practices through to spine-tingling and revelatory Archeoacoustic stories. Via cave art marking resonant spots, playable stalactites, and a 3D printed replica of the original bigger Stonehenge made by a Professor who believes the mysterious landmark is a sonic cocoon.

Tracie Storey - The Future is Sound

Musical and mindful elements are skilfully interwoven in the night’s programme to give moments of calm, beauty, and reflection.

Tracie Storey aka Tensuhi of Elemental Resonance makes magic with her Monochord. She’s a dance music DJ who became a psychotherapist, and knows just how to build her drone-like sounds to bring us all to a more calming kind of space inside our minds.

East Forest - The Future is Sound

There’s active listening with US ambient/electronic/contemporary classical star East Forest, and a new piece of music he created on a psychedelic journey, ‘a song being born.’ No experience necessary to immerse yourself in this powerful session, from the man whose music is designed to engender deep spiritual experiences.

Alex Akal - The Future is Sound

For an event with future in the title, opening with multi-instrumentalist, didgeridoo player, and educator Alex Akal may seem unexpected. But those swirling pulsing vibrations, big beats, and forays into psy trance are deep, and both claim the space for sound, and delight the crowd.

We also luxuriate in a soothing soul bath to settle us in further, thanks to Antarma on guitar and bells.

Eileen Hall - The Future is Sound

Eileen Hall, founder of Tayos tells us extraordinary stories about cave exploration in Ecuador with electronic musician and producer Jon Hopkins, and her watercolour paintings that explore consciousness. Tayos is an organisation that helps protect endangered habitats in Ecuador and that looks at nature’s role in our wellbeing, through the caves of the same name. For The Future is Sound Eileen has created unique prints signed by Jon, to help raise funds.

We hear from the Meya team’s Raffale Ricci and Michelle Cade about their well-being, music, and meditation platform that features leading electronic artists, as well as from leading speaker and High Times Yoga & Wellness founder Jayne Ellis who talks about sound healing.

The Future is Sound panel

Re-imagining Music is the task that Katherine Templar Lewis, of immersive arts and neuroscience studio Kinda, sets her panel which includes previous speakers and also cutting edge DJ and Producer Samantha Togni who founded the Boudica Collective. Boudica aims to give visibility to womxn and non-binary artists, and Samantha’s vision is of an ever more inclusive sound community.

Tom Middleton, Samantha Togni - The Future is Sound

There’s something here at The Future is Sound for anyone with an inquiring mind, but most especially for lovers, purveyors, and explorers, of sound. There are many of them in the audience, well known DJs, artists and creators.

It’s an extraordinary event and one to think back on for a very long time.

And what about the cheese? Tom tells us that if you play hip hop to cheese, it changes the flavour. Good vibrations all round.

  • You can find out more about FutureSound and The Future is Sound event series here.

The Future is Sound