Embedded - British Library Sound Archive Announce

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Sound and Music

We are delighted to announce that Aleksander Kolkowski and Larry Achiampong have been selected as our Embedded composers in residency with the British Library Sound Archive this Autumn.

Embedded is a Sound and Music composer and creative artist development programme. Funded by The Esmée Fairbairn FoundationEmbedded places a selection of composers from a range of disciplines into extended relationships with leading national arts organisations. Embedded is a bespoke programme, providing practical hands-on experience and a range of significant creative opportunities. 

British Library Sound Archive Totalling 7 million recordings on a range of formats, The British Library is the repository of the nation’s sound collections. Its holdings trace the history of recording technology, with audio artefacts dating as far back as 1880. 

These two selected composers will each spend 12 months in residency at the British Library, immersed in the rich and diverse sound history to inform new creative work.


Aleksander Kolkowski

Aleksander Kolkowski


Aleksander Kolkowski is a composer and violinist who uses historical sound recording and reproduction apparatus and obsolete media to make contemporary mechanical-acoustic music. His work invites us to listen to the present through the audio technologies of the past, through recordings, installations and live historical re-enactments.


Aleksander Kolkowski numerous international projects in this field have combined wax cylinder phonographs, wind-up gramophones and antique disc recording machines together with live musicians and even singing canaries. A major project to date has been his Phonographies archive of contemporary musicians, artists and writers recorded exclusively on wax cylinders.

His practice-led doctoral research centred upon the creative uses of antiquated audio technologies and led to the award in of a PhD from Brunel University, London, in 2012. That year he was appointed as the first sound artist-in-residence at the Science Museum, London, were he worked closely with collections and curators, producing a series of performances, recordings and installation work. He has since held research associateships at the Science Museum and the Royal College of Music.

In 2013, he co-created an audio-visual installation at the Ethnological Museum in Berlin-Dahlem, with new sound works made using historic cylinder recordings from the Berlin Phonogramm-Archive. His research into the practices of early sound recording led to a major re-enactment at the Royal College of Music of an acoustic orchestral recording session from 1913, cut live and direct-to-wax discs that was featured on BBC Radio 3 and the subject of articles in the BBC Music Magazine and the Science Museum Journal. Aleks Kolkowski’s large-scale installation, The Exponential Horn: In Search of Perfect Sound, featured a giant, newly reconstructed horn loudspeaker from the 1930s in an exhibition and event series at the Science Museum’s Media Space in 2014.

Find out more about Aleksander's work here: http://www.phonographies.org/about/aleks-kolkowski/

Keep up to date #embedded 



Larry Achiampong

Larry Achiampong


Larry Achiampong's practice uses sound, live performance and imagery to explore representations of identity in the digital age and the dichotomies found within a world dominated by facebook/tumblr/youtube-based cultures.

Larry Achiampong's crate-digs the vaults of history, splicing audible and visual qualities of the personal and interpersonal archive-as-material - offering multiple dispositions that reveal the socio-political contradictions in contemporary society. 

Achiampong has exhibited, performed and presented projects within the UK and abroad including Tate Britain/Modern; London, David Roberts Art Foundation; London, Modern Art Oxford; Oxford, New Art Exchange; Nottingham, SAVVY Contemporary; Berlin, and Bokoor African Popular Music Archives Foundation; Accra. 

Achiampong (b. 1984, UK) completed a BA in Mixed Media Fine Art at University of Westminster (2005) and an MA in Sculpture at Slade School of Fine Art (2008). He lives and works in London.

Find out more about Larry's work here: http://www.larryachiampong.co.uk/

Sound and Music's Creative Project Leader, Harry Cooper said:

“We were blown away by the quality and quantity of applications for this opportunity, and are excited, after much deliberation, to have appointed two brilliant composers, Larry Achiampong and Aleks Kolkowski, who will be responding to the themes of West Africa and Save our Sounds respectively. Over the next few months they will be getting well and truly ‘embedded’ as they explore the archive and develop their work – the results are guaranteed to be fascinating”. 

The British Library Sound Archive team explained their selection:

"We were inspired by the creativity and relevance of Aleks and Larry's work and are looking forward to working alongside them during the year-long residency. It will be interesting to assist their creative process and see how they go about embedding archival works into their own, original work."

Keep up to date #embedded 

About Embedded 

Embedded is a Sound and Music composer and creative-artist development programme. Funded by The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and the PRS for Music FoundationEmbedded places a selection of composers from a range of disciplines into extended relationships with leading national arts organisations.

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Find out more about our Embedded programme 

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