sonicles (2009 – 2011)

In late 2009, I decided to begin a project entitled “sonicles”, which is a made-up word that combines ‘sounds’ and ‘monicles’ as a way to carefully look into my understanding of making music within the scope of my daily life. I also felt that I needed to produce music regularly using different sound sources (live instrumentation, found sounds, and MIDI instruments) as a way to develop my own music and try to discover new approaches in making music. The eighty-eight sonicles I produced and uploaded were generally made in single sittings, and span the time I spent in Exeter (UK), London (UK), Glasgow (UK), Dubai (UAE), Beirut (Lebanon), and Bahrain. The project began in November 2009 and ended in July 2011.

For someone classically trained in music, especially in maqam theory and oud, this experiment was certainly a departure from my regular approach to making music. This experiment has helped me develop as a musician and sound artist. My approaches to performing my music and creating sound installations at the time were also informed by this experiment. The accompanying text is also strongly related to each of the sonicles and needs to be read in order to understand the content of the works.

I mainly used Ableton Live as a DAW for this project. The sound sources I used include (but are not restricted to): live oud (iraqi style floating bridge and later an electric oud made by Godin Guitars), boutique analogue synths, old radios, found sounds, homemade contact microphones, carpets, plastic cups, forks, a dorm room kitchen, ukulele, melodica, semi-abandoned pianos at the University of Exeter, various digital MIDI instruments, and a lot of love (obviously).






sonicle: iophobia (03/07/2011)
a rustic ailment.


sonicle: half truths (02/07/2011)
who cares.


sonicle: poetry for arrakis (01/07/2011)
in theory, skies with more than one moon are interesting.


sonicle: that house in particlar (12/06/2011)
that house, that house in particular, will never be the same.


sonicle: visitors under the ‘L’ (11/06/2011)
We don’t belong under train-tracks. Obviously.


sonicle: robot management 101 (09/06/2011)
Listen to your manager, but don’t take her literally.


sonicle: cisuM detcelfeR (1/06/2011)
Drums still beat today.
(Spoken Text Source: Basil Maine’s “Reflected Music” – first published in 1930 by Methuen & Co. Ltd., London)


sonicle: forest microstructures (27/05/2011)
They exist. They really do.


sonicle: restaurant muzak (27/05/2011)
The waiters swore to me that they didn’t select the music playing in the background.


sonicle: intermission (22/05/2011)
Just what the doctor ordered: an intermission break.


sonicle: lucky lucky dance (17/05/2011)
Hear ye, hear ye: the proceedings of an amateurish dance off.


sonicle: story of a circle (29/04/2011)


sonicle: purgatorio (22/04/2011)
“Dolce color d’oriental zaffiro” (Canto I, line 13)


sonicle: labcoats on sale (10/04/2011)
good news for science teachers and school kids alike: labcoats are on sale!


sonicle: how to buy another planet (02/04/2011)
easy: if you’ve already done it before you can do it again, amigo.


sonicle: apple tree (31/03/2011)
If apple trees made music, this is what they would sound like.


sonicle: another villain theme song (22/03/2011)
a-la “Stop the Pigeon”


sonicle: a poet graces us with his presence (20/03/2011)
A little bird keeps reminding me that,
In our presence – always –  is a poet.
And not necessarily a good one.


sonicle: stalemate with a chance of matchbox (10/03/2011)
despite the (non) change in weather, listen out for the cars honking their horns.


sonicle: memory of no recollection (25/02/2011)
They sleep and arise with wounds (some of them mortal),
Yet they insist that they have a clear memory of no recollection (recollection of what happened).


sonicle: deaf and blind (18/02/2011)
A: “Congratulations! You are now deaf and blind!”
B: “??”
A: “.. And dumb, too? That’s a bonus!”


sonicle: this machine (16/02/2011)
Trying to justify one’s silence is not easy: Silence, nevertheless, is prevalent.


sonicle: something-dub-six-eight (or semifree meals) (25/01/2011)
Playful time signatures and shifting grooves ad nauseam. maybe.


sonicle: something exciting (09/01/2011)
nothing crazy has ever happened to me.


sonicle: allodoxaphobia (19/12/2010)
(but whose opinions do we fear?)


sonicle: paesthetic (13/12/2010)
another pathetic aesthetic: paesthetic.


sonicle: erudite commentary (19/11/2010)
To speak is something but to be truly erudite is something else.


sonicle: a reintroduction to the furniture (10/11/2010)
Welcome back, _______. As you can see, the furniture is just how you left it years ago.


sonicle: something one hundred (06/11/2010)
Yes, my goodwill is for sale. Especially if you catch me off guard in a semi-public location.
(Or: Salesman, be gone!)


sonicle: very rooster (03/11/2010)
Apparently, roosters aren’t always so sure when exactly they should get started with their business.


sonicle: pleading for neon (30/10/2010)
Neon lights are so old fashioned, but pleading cannot be helped.


sonicle: hunter-gatherer of the modern day (27/10/2010)
Outside another train station, people hunt for a living.
(Or: Get well soon!)
(Or: Almost Cheongnyangni 588!)


sonicle: losing to your rival (20/10/2010)
Eventually, they take the fight out of you.


sonicle: the other haunted house (20/10/2010)
She keeps reminding me of the haunted house, the one that I never cared to enter or even discuss. I went to where it used to stand only to find it replaced with an empty parking lot.


sonicle: a convenient construction site (30/09/2010)
A convenient construction site is one that you can see outside your window in the middle of endless sand. Slightly apocalyptic a vision, as some might imagine, but it is most convenient: such sites are the first to fall.


sonicle: soundscape of yet another cul-de-sac (29/09/2010)
It doesn’t really hit you till you see the same sad trees lining the same sad street. Especially late at night.


sonicle: air conditioner is bad for your eyes (28/09/2010)
A six year old passenger in my car told me that it is wrong and potentially dangerous to drive a car without wearing sunglasses and white gloves. She also told me that a car’s air conditioner is generally bad for our eyes.


sonicle: green soup and jump (09/09/2010)
Have some soup. Green soup, and then jump. Jump high and long.


sonicle: weight in kilograms (07/09/2010)
The clerk at the post office asks the student how much the books he wants to ship home weigh in kilograms. Upon hearing the clerk’s question, the student walks out of the post office in tears.


sonicle: meaning of cardboard (27/08/2010)
cardboard. crayons. clay. great books. bicycles…
…the stuff of childhood.


sonicle: tantrum explorer (26/08/2010)
(Afterall, anger is deafening)

sonicle: the infinite newspaper (24/08/2010)
In the township of J. an infinite newspaper is published. The newspaper is simultaneously published in the yesterday, today, and hereafter. This arrangement is most convenient for the township of J. as nothing dramatic ever happens which doesn’t necessarily mean that things never change there. The justification of the infinite newspaper’s publication probably has more to do with economics than anything else but then again one never really can know with things like this.
People in the township of J. often use their newspapers as tablecloths while eating meals either together or alone. The food of the township of J. is always delicious in retrospect.


sonicle: a suitable time for panic (28/07/2010)
a metallic aftertaste: it’s certainly not gold.


sonicle: the rejection letter (23/07/2010)
for something that really mattered, a rejection letter.
oh, great institution: what abstract syntax!


sonicle: national television (14/07/2010)
i love national television: it’s how our little ones learned to speak and how we learned to forget.


sonicle: the puppets (09/07/2010)
A: there’s something i have to tell you about thosepuppets. they have late-night discussions and play mahjong that go on to an ungodly hour. i haven’t been sleeping well lately.
B: good.


sonicle: garbage illuminare (04/07/2010)
“funny what people throw away as garbage,” he thinks to himself. he picks up the empty matchbox.


sonicle: dictionary of music (19/06/2010)
one learns no language through a dictionary.


sonicle: movie soundtrack – robot chase scene (14/04/2010)
run, robot, run!


sonicle: a shard of luigi nono’s “y su sangre ya viene cantando” (04/06/2010)
one really listens to one’s own shards.


sonicle: rediscovery of solitude (29/05/2010)
despite the absence of his nemeses, he thinks that he hears them calling him from another room. ‘perhaps this is what solitude is. i remember it being this way,’ he thinks.


sonicle: exists out of spite (29/05/2010)
Answer to bored audience member’s question: It’s not supposed to make sense. It exists out of spite.


sonicle: sidamo minim (05/05/2010)
a cup of coffee tastes just as bitter but a little less meaningful without you, little sparrow.


sonicle: broke sherlock uses a toy musicbox rather than a violin (28/04/2010)
hand-cranked salvation in a paperbag. he is another artist strapped for money. he cannot busk.


sonicle: movie soundtrack – honey sleeps (director’s cut) (22/04/2010)
Another action-filled thriller not to be missed. Coming to a theatre near you!


sonicle: movie soundtrack – ghost party sequence theme (22/04/2010)
coming to a theatre near you, another two thumbs-up feature film.


sonicle: a train i won’t ever take (13/04/2010)
i can never bid adieu to the trees running backwards through the windows: a train i won’t ever take.


sonicle: washing the dishes in 177 steps or less (11/04/2010)
flesh. nails. bed. twist. patience.


sonicle: a bearded minerva (05/04/2010)
Apparently, Minerva had a beard.*
* The intellectual titillation of yet another World Heritage Site.


sonicle: pierced dramatica (04/04/2010)
she was claustrophobic, but the rest of us weren’t. in the end, water is everything.


sonicle: kitchen island routine (21/03/2010)
welcome to the kitchen islands: where plates are always empty and food is always being cooked!


sonicle: silence of memory (21/03/2010)
to victims of unjust wars past and present (and are any wars just?): a minute of silence in your memory.


sonicle: khush rank bus (18/11/2010)
A: You will live under that bridge if you make this transition.


sonicle: discomfort zone (11/03/2010)
he doesn’t quite understand why when everyone else seems to be having fun, he slips deeper into discomfort. the greater the party, the deeper his melancholy.


sonicle: misplaced bookmark (07/03/2010)
it was unusual in shape and only suited one book. i lost it. in its stead, i bought a new bookmark from a matchbox man. the £2 were worth it. if only i could misplace the new bookmark, too. a chain reaction of sorts.


sonicle: cosey conduit (05/03/2010)
having no history, he ought to be excited about what lies in store; at least that’s what she said, and when she did, he transformed into a conduit.


sonicle: akfak’s faustian drip (05/03/2010)
risk averse boy one day makes dangerous decisions. biting his nails, he awaits the demons’ arrival.


sonicle: a soundscape of hunger (04/03/2010)
even to the outside world, he is an outsider.


sonicle: the importance of importance (03/03/2010)
how important is importancedoes it matter? does such a thing exist?


sonicle: erase eye number zero (05/02/2010)
daruma’s blind eye seesred. erasing blindness is imperative to seeing things in black and white.


sonicle: rainspatter (16/01/2010)
another ode to sound and/or noise and/or music. the end of another week brings rain to my window. it patters. it spatters. and i can’t sleep.


sonicle: running around in circles 1-4 (05/01/2010)
meandering the geometry of music, i find myself running around in circles: perhaps silence is the ultimate aesthetic expression of sound.
run one:

run two:

run three:

run four:


sonicle: not as cold as expected (02/01/2010)
my new home is not as cold as i had expected it to be. hours later i realise that i must have spoken too soon.


sonicle: EXEmas_in4parts (27/12/2009)
exonian christmases are: ducks that wish people a happy holiday season (part one), immigrants try to appease their kids by taking them out for walks/ATM machines don’t work (part two), two north africans walk and talk away the quiet afternoon/still having ATM trouble (part three), the city streets are claimed by armies of seagulls and gutted bags of rubbish (part four). how enlightening.


sonicle: witch’s walk (23/12/2009)
finally, she’s gone. (at least for tonight.)


sonicle: flowerpotbook (23/12/2009)
which came first: the flowerpot or the book? no answers to cliché questions.


sonicle: ECAPS (22/12/2009)
who needs erutcurts when you have the possibility to epacse? who needs emit when you have ecaps?


sonicle: secretNATURE_OFbackyard (19/12/2009)
water, gardens, walking philosophers, crunching apples: my backyard is actually a forest. funny how cold it can get.


sonicle: IAISfountainIScold (17/12/2009)
Cold Friday night. Can’t make out whether they were being racist or descriptive. Regardless, the IAIS fountain has a sound of its own. Especially on cold Friday nights.


sonicle: sketch #2 (14/12/2009)
missing one hand. gaining two hands. still trying to find an approach. have i failed yet again?


sonicle: steinway-stooging (27/11/2009)
steinway’s guts. snap. come closer. snap. pedal. snap. guts.


sonicle: rained in (22/11/2009)
tick-tock clock. snap. raining outside again. boring chord. can’t sing.


sonicle: post-kellerman forks (21/11/2011)

shin ramyun forks. harry kellerman was an interesting man. A shame about the story. nevertheless all is well and jolly.


sonicle: sorbet number two (20/09/2011)
piano post knightly. d’s Interval. another lost evening.


sonicle: sorbet number one (19/11/2009)
out of tune oud. drum oud. sorbet oud. need oud. layers.


sonicle: the mysterious moving plastic cup (18/11/2009)
plastic cup. drink water. second plastic cup dances.


sonicle: letsgohome+keys (17/11/2009)
Another long day. Time to go home.


sonicle: umbrella+mydea notebook (16/11/2009)
Neighbour munching. Umbrella indoors. Notebook of Mydeas. Neighbour laughing. Another Monday night.