Press Release : 14 Jan 2020

Sonic artist and “Irish sound-botherer”* Colin Woods has today released his new album, ‘Compound Eye’. 

* So-called – affectionately – by renowned composer Eve de Castro-Robinson. 

The album is available for download or streaming from Bandcamp for $10. Among the 13 tracks are stereo reductions of works originally created for eight-channel playback as well as works in native stereo format. 

The mood ranges from mangled saxophones and guitars to synthesised droning soundscapes. It includes material abstracted from field recordings in Aotearoa and Ireland. 

Some of the works have been previously premiered at Catalyst Art Gallery in Belfast and as part of Glasgow’s Radiophrenia event, and at Wellington’s Pyramid Club. 

Colin was born in Northern Ireland in 1961 and grew up in the Protestant community during the troubles. He embraced punk music and non-sectarian politics as a teenager. “Being in a punk band, it didn’t matter that my working-class family couldn’t afford a piano or piano lessons – I got a guitar, learned a few chords, and started a band with friends.” 

He left school at 16 to earn money to buy a guitar amplifier. His first job, in a hospital laboratory, became a 30-year career as a biomedical scientist. 

Colin emigrated to Aotearoa in 2002. In 2009 he fulfilled a lifelong ambition to study music, enrolling in the Diploma of Contemporary Music at Unitec. He then completed a Bachelor of Music at the University of Auckland and a Master of Creative Technology at AUT. 

Colin is working on two long-term projects: 

1. I Just Called is an audio installation using telephone handsets to deliver recordings of a wide range of people leaving messages to a loved one. The initial version of this work was part of Colin’s Master of Creative Technology exhibition at the Audio Foundation in 2017. “It celebrates the diversity of humanity and our common experience. Although all of the recordings were spoken expressly for this artwork, there is a sense of eavesdropping. It surfs the uncomfortable boundary between intimacy and intrusion, and it is very emotionally affecting for many people.” 

2. Braid Gabs is a long-term project gathering structured video interviews exploring the contemporary situation of Ulster Scots culture from a range of perspectives. This will eventually be presented as a multi-screen installation. “I was back in Belfast for an extended visit in 2018 after being away for a long time, and I noticed that something had changed about how the Protestant community sees itself. I wanted to unpick what was happening there in a manner that honoured the nuances and dynamic tensions rather than presenting heavily-edited soundbites and glib solutions.” 

CONTACT Colin Woods 022 0196637