Looking back over WOMAD 2016

The June release on Bowers & Wilkins Society of Sound is a chance to revisit highlights from the Bowers & Wilkins Sound System stage at last year’s WOMAD Festival.

The WOMAD Festival audience were treated to three days of eclectic musical programming, provided by a mix of DJs, live bands, presentations and hands-on events all delivered through the unrivalled listening experience of the Sound System: the acoustic engineering of Bowers & Wilkins flagship hi-fi speakers on a massive scale.

This month’s Society of Sound release – Bowers & Wilkins Live – is a compilation of artists who performed on the Sound System stage at WOMAD in 2016 and here is a photo gallery, to accompany the music, showing each of artists on the compilation in action.


Steve Hellier and Nick Luscombe have two pieces on the compilation that neatly encapsulate the audio exploration of their appearance at the Sound System. What they describe as an audio “happening” presented here in the shape of field recordings from Estonia and Japan


The Anchoress is Catherine Ann Davies a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and producer as well as author and PhD. Her track is Chip On Your Shoulder, a song from her album Confessions of a Romance Novelist.


Black Devil Disco Club is the electronic disco music project of Bernard Fèvre who has released only a clutch of covetable recordings, so having the track Stay Insane on this month’s release is a real coup.


Native Dancer the track Love, originally features on the group’s EP, Vol 1, but this live recording captures their complex and brilliantly original music in a consummate live performance.


Stuart McCallum’s music is epic yet intimate. He creates emotional soundscapes with loops, effects and a liquid, yet precise, guitar style. Lightsome is originally from Stuart’s album with Mike Holden entitled Beholden.


Immix Ensemble and Vessel stretch the boundaries of contemporary classical music and avant-garde composition and their track on the compilation What Hath God Wrought? is originally from their Transition EP.


Gwilym Gold creates his beautiful art-pop on Evergreen/Triumph a live melding of two tracks from his A Paradise album.


Cat’s Eyes are The Horrors front man Faris Badwan and Italian Canadian soprano and multi-instrumentalist Rachel Zeffira. Their live track, Be Careful Where You Park Your Car is a song originally from their soundtrack to the film The Duke of Burgundy.


Paddy Steer is a musical maverick who creates an unclassifiable mix of acid jazz, electronica and cosmic noise from a Heath Robinson collection of musical instruments, home-made electronics and space-age head gear. With a knowing nod to his surroundings Paddy’s track is called The Tranquility of a Million Pound Sound System.


Hollie Stephenson cites Billie Holiday as “my key to everything”. You can hear her unlock her songwriting and vocal talent on the track Leave Her Be originally from her 2016 debut album.


A Guy Called Gerald has always pushed the boundaries of electronic dance music, and this live version of Is Man In Danger shows Gerald flexing his production muscle.

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