John Metcalfe curates listening experiences in the dark at London’s Kings Place

Current Society of Sound artist and multi-talented composer/producer John Metcalfe has curated Monomedia: a series of concerts where the invited musicians will play their entire sets in the dark.

In an interview with Kate Mossman for Kings Place What’s On (Issue: April-June 2013) he explains the inspiration behind the concept:

“I was on a commuter train at night once, and in one of the carriages, the electrics had gone. All the lights were off – and it was fantastic. Everyone was quiet, no one was playing on their phones – everyone was lost in their own thoughts. It was as though we were bound together – this was our carriage, our secret. No one tried to turn them back on.”

Metcalfe believes that listening in the dark “kick-starts parts of your brain you’ve completely forgotten about. Someone suggested using blindfolds first but that makes me think of long-haul flights. It wasn’t the point anyway – it’s not about desensitising you to what’s around you, and even in darkness, you can see certain shapes emerging.”

From influential Factory Records signings, Durutti Column, to arranging strings for Morrissey, Blur and Peter Gabriel through to his solo compositions, John Metcalfe’s work melds avant-pop, electronica and contemporary classical so it’s no surprise he has chosen artists who work on the experimental side of contemporary music. Thomas Dolby, Will Gregory and The Radiophonic Workshop are all uncompromising in their approach to composition and the nature of the sonic worlds they choose to create.

Metcalfe’s idea of listening in the dark was also inspired by his frustration that musicianship often gets lost in the flamboyant spectacle of pop performers:

“The guitarist may be doing a brilliant counter-melody, the drummer may be doing something amazing with the kick-drum, but all of that somehow gets lost. You know when the lights go down at the start of the gig and everyone cheers? In many ways that’s the best part of the show. I thought, why not extend it.”

John Metcalfe’s Monomedia, Kings Place, London

Thursday 9th May:      Thomas Dolby

Friday 10th May:          Will Gregory’s Moog Ensemble

Saturday 11th May:      John Metcalfe Band & special guests + The New Radiophonic Workshop



  • Alex says:

    Thanks for the music! But, while tagging the FLACs could you please include the ‘Album artist’ as well. Sometimes it is missing. Thanks!

  • Bowers & Wilkins says:

    Hi Alex,
    We have passed this on – it’s something we have been aware of for a while so the issue should hopefully only exist on older releases but please let us know if this is not the case.
    Thanks for the feedback,
    Society of Sound

Add a comment

We welcome debate within Society of Sound, but please keep it friendly, respectful and relevant. We have a few house rules which we ask you to abide by to keep the debate intelligent. Read more.
Product enquiry or support issue? Please click here.

Related Posts

Our favourite late-night listening albums

Turn down the lights, switch on your system or headphones, and relax into your favourite chair. We share seven of our favourite great-…

Classic Album Sundays’ Colleen Murphy listens to Electric Ladyland

‘Electric Ladyland’ is without doubt my favourite Jimi Hendrix album. ‘Axis: Bold as Love’ is certainly a strong contender …

Debate: Will cloud-based music ever replace physical formats?

Will music in the cloud ever replace physical discs? Can you imagine clearing your shelves of CDs and LPs, and instead just access …