Turntable Music Symposium 2019

turntable music symposium 2019

Through a series of talks, workshops and performances, the turntable music symposia at the University of Northampton explores the role of the DJ in contemporary music and the vinyl records impact on auditory culture. This years event includes talks by DJ Jo Burns, James Kelly and the Open Music Archive. The concert presents performances by Fugues, James Kelly and an audience participation performance of John Cage’s 33 1/3 (1969).

dj jo burns

Our first speaker of the day is DJ Jo Burns aka Madame Electrifie. Jo has amassed some 15 years on the decks, playing some of the UK’s leading venues across the years, from Ministry to Turnmills, and has graced many of the leading London warehouse parties. Fusing the best vintage beats with the best of the modern age; Madame Electrifie takes classic grooves and threads through everything from hip hop, to house, breaks and drum and bass to create a raucous dance floor focused party, all with that distinctive driving sound that’s a firm nod to her breaks and tech roots mixed with plenty of funk, fun and nonsense on the way.

James Kelly Turntablist

James Kelly will present the talk: The Turntable Music of John Cage. Cage is known for his pioneering work in experimental music. He composed works such as Imaginary Landscapes No. 1 (1939), Imaginary Landscapes No. 2 (1940) Imaginary Landscapes No. 3 (1942), Cartridge Music (1960) and 33 1/3 (1969) which utilised the turntable and playback cartridge as instruments for the creation of new music.

Open Music Archive

Our third speaker is Ben White from the Open Music Archive. Open Music Archive is a collaborative project, initiated by artists Eileen Simpson and Ben White, to source, digitise and distribute out-of-copyright sound recordings. The archive distributes these recordings freely, forms a site of exchange, and is a vehicle for future collaborations and distributed projects. The archive is situated within the current discourse surrounding notions of authorship, ownership and distribution, reanimated by a porting of Free/Libre and Open Source software models to wider creative contexts. The focus is on the public domain and creative works which are not owned by any one individual and are held in common by society as a whole.


fugues band

FUGUES are an electronic duo featuring vocalist Shannon Kait and producer Jo Burns (Madame Electrifie). Their music takes a journey through dark brooding basslines and haunting vocal melodies, through stomping electronica, trip hop and house. Influenced by the energy of the dancefloor combined with the ambience of the after party, it’s a heavy blend taking in influence from everything from jazz to dub.


As a turntablist for the last 15 years, James Kelly’s music explores the remixing of vinyl using DJ scratch techniques for the creation of new music. The piece Vinyl Minimalism takes his compositional approach in new directions by utilising a disc cutting lathe – a machine which is traditionally used in the manufacture of records. The mechanism and limitations of the lathe itself are used as an artistic tool to shape the music. The performance is created using three turntables to mix music which Kelly has cut to vinyl using a range of experimental disc cutting techniques that alter the timbre of sound recordings. Part performance, part exhibition, the work is presented is an audio visual performance in collaboration with The Lab Visuals. Live video feeds are mixed together making the compositional process accessible to the audience.

33 1 3

John Cage’s 1969 piece instructs the arrangement of eight to twelve turntables and three hundred records to be placed in the performance space. The audience are the performers and are free to play and mix the records as they wish. This performance ‘happening’ is an example of experimental turntablism where turntables and records are used as musical instruments. 33 1/3 was presented at University of California, Davis on November 21, 1969. It was also incorporated into Address (1977). Discussing the creative us of records, Cage stated:
“The only lively thing that will happen with a record is, if somehow you would use it to make something which it isn’t. If you could for instance make another piece of music with a record, including a record and other sounds of the environment or other musical instruments, that I would find interesting.”


Thursday 7th February 2019

MB8, Avenue Campus, University of Northampton

10.00am Jo Burns
11.00am James Kelly
1.00pm Open Music Archive

7.30pm Concert

Newton Grand Hall, Avenue Campus, University of Northampton

James Kelly
John Cage 33 ⅓

Turntable Music Symposia

Now in its fourth year, the turntable music symposia at the University of Northampton explores the role of the DJ in contemporary music and the vinyl records impact on auditory culture. Previous speakers and performers at the symposium have included Shiva Fashreki, Sophy Smith, Lisa Busby, Karin Weissenbrunner, DJ NikNak, Bradley Smith and James Kelly.

Links to past symposia




More experimental turntablism on this blog:

Experimental Turntablism at Crackle, University of Leeds

Turntablist Performance at Sue Townsend Theatre, Leicester

Experimental Turntablism Interview with Eleven Magazine

From the Archive: Experimental Turntablism

James Kelly and Adam Weikert – Green Ep

Live Electronic Improvisation with Adam Weikert

Janek Schaefer Performance, Leicester

Dirty Electronics Ensemble with DJ Sniff

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One Response to “Turntable Music Symposium 2019”

  1. Turntable Music Symposium 2019 - Amplitude Media Says:

    […] It’s no secret that we like music here at Amplitude Media. Our Managing Director, Jo Burns-Russell, is a successful DJ under the name Madame Electrifie and the rest of us play and/or write music. Jo’s going to be speaking Thursday 7th Feb at the Turntable Music Symposium at the University of Northampton. Jo will be speaking about the experiences she’s had over her 18 years as a DJ, and reflecting on dance music culture and its position in society. Other speakers include James Kelly (speaking on the works of John Cage) and Ben White from the Open Music Archive. Attendance is open to all. Find out more here. […]

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