Archive for the ‘experimental turntablism’ Category

Live Electronic Music at R10, Leicester 14.04.18

April 12, 2018

R10 Leicester 14.03.18

On Saturday I will be performing with Hervé Perez at R10 in Leicester. We will be performing a live version of the piece Transformation, with saxophone and turntables. The original version is a three minute ambient track I wrote with Ola Szmidt on vocals and Dave Dhonau on cello. In 2013 Hervé created a 17 minute version which allows the listener space to focus on individual textures from the original track, while adding saxophone arrangements and glitch drums. For this performance I have cut sounds from both the original track and Hervé’s remix to vinyl as locked grooves and will be creating a live extended mix of the track while Hervé plays saxophone with signal processing.

Transformation (Original Mix)

Transformation (Hervé Perez Remix)

Update: This is a recording of our live set:

Full Event line up

Sam Topley – Massive Noisy Pompom

Hervé Perez and James Kelly – Saxophone and Turntables

Megan Timings – Chiptune Pop

Paul Mazzitelli – Tempest, Filtering and Feedback (more…)


Turntable Music Concert Photos

March 5, 2018

Audrey Riley and James Kelly

A few photos from my performance with Audrey Riley at the Turntable Music Symposium, University of Northampton.


Turntable Music Symposium 2018

January 23, 2018

Dj Nik Nak Turntablism

Through a mixture of talks, workshops and performances, the Turntable Music symposium will present approaches to music performance and composition using turntables, including the styles of hip hop, minimalism and experimental music.

DJ workshop RSA PerfArts

Our first guest is Bradley Smith, Lead for Music Technology at the Leicestershire Schools Music Service Hub who will discuss his approach to teaching turntablism and the development of a turntablism course which has reached 1500 High School children in Leicestershire since September 2016. Smith will explain the pedagogical underpinnings of the turntablism unit followed by a hands on DJ workshop.

locked groove record sticker

James  Kelly will present a workshop exploring locked grooves in DJ’ing and composition. A locked groove on a vinyl record is a closed groove, which traps the turntable needle creating a short repeating passage. They have been used by a range of artists from the Musique concrète of Pierre Schaeffer to the Detroit Techno of Jeff Mills. Kelly’s recent work has included the use of locked grooves in the piece Vinyl Minimalism and a new collaboration for cello and locked groove with Audrey Riley. Participants in the workshop will experiment with mixing locked groove records and creating new locked grooves, by placing stickers onto existing records causing the sound to loop.

audrey riley cello

Our third speaker of the day is the Audrey Riley. Riley is a composer, cellist, arranger, and conductor with close to 200 album credits to her name. For three decades, she has worked at the very highest levels of the music industry producing an exceedingly diverse body of work, from conducting the orchestra of La Scala in Milan to playing cello with Blur, Nick Cave and the Foo Fighters. Riley will discuss her career in music and present a new work with James Kelly, Piece for Cello and Locked Grooves. Our talks and workshops are followed by an evening concert with performances from DJ NikNak, Audrey Riley and James Kelly.

Audrey Riley and James Kelly

Audrey Riley and James Kelly – Piece for Cello and Locked Grooves.

Riley’s cello playing is cut to vinyl as locked grooves which are remixed by Kelly using three turntables and a DJ mixer. The piece explores the dialogue between processed cello recordings and live improvisation.

NikNak Turntablist

DJ NikNak – Day and Night

Nicole Raymond (DJ NikNak) will be performing an improvised piece using samples she recorded during a residency at the artTerra Gallery in Tondela, Portugal. This piece also features songs chosen by Raymond as she takes on her role as DJ to further illustrate her story during the performance. It is a reflection and Raymond’s turntablist interpretation of how each day and each night are different and unique to each other, whilst using self recorded soundscapes and samples, scratch techniques and multi effects to illustrate this to the audience.

Having graduated with a degree in Music Technology and Innovation from De Montfort University, Leicester, NikNak is currently studying for an MA in Electronic and Computer Music at the University of Leeds.


Date: Thursday the 8th of February 2018

Venue: University of Northampton Avenue Campus,

10:00am Bradley Smith

Teaching Turntablism (MY89)

11:00am Bradley Smith

Turntablism workshop (MP9)

12:00pm James Kelly

Locked Groove DJ Workshop (MP9)

2:00pm Audrey Riley

Piece for Cello and Locked Groove Talk (W10)

7:00pm Concert (MY9)

James Kelly and Audrey Riley – Piece for Locked Grooves

DJ Nik Nak – Day and Night

Turntable Music Symposium

Now in its third year, the turntable music symposia at the University of Northampton explore the role of the DJ in contemporary music. Previous guest speakers at the symposium have included Shiva Fashreki, Sophy Smith, Lisa Busby and Karin Weissenbrunner.

Turntable Music Symposium 2017

Turntable Music Symposium 2016

Photo credit – DJ workshop image RSA Performing Arts via Twitter.

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

Experimental Turntablism at Crackle, University of Leeds

August 24, 2017

vinyl crackle experimental turntablism nik nak james kelly

I will be performing at the Clothworkers Centenary Concert Hall, University of Leeds on the 5th of November 2017. I’d like to thank DJ NikNak for the invitation to perform. Details below.. (more…)

Turntablist Performance at Sue Townsend Theatre, Leicester March 2017.

August 4, 2017

James Kelly Leicester

I performed the piece Vinyl Minimalism at the Sue Townsend Theatre, which was a great venue for the work. The Audio-visual piece is a collaboration with The Lab Visuals and the music is created by live manipulation of records which have been cut using a variety of experimental disc cutting techniques. The event was generously supported by Leicester College, De Montfort University and the Biscuit Tin Sound System.

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Photo credit: David Wilson Clark (more…)

Experimental Turntablism on Tour. James Kelly + Robert Curgenven

February 24, 2017

James Kelly Vinyl Minimalism.png

I’m organising a three day tour with the composer and sound artist Robert Curgenven. Robert will be presenting his audio visual work Speculative Pataphysics created using three turntables, custom-made oscillators, 1930s acetates and custom-cut dubplates. I will be presenting an AV piece called Vinyl Minimalism in collaboration with The Lab Visuals. The concerts will be the final performances before the submission of my PhD which is focused on the creative application of a disc cutting lathe. I have been collaborating with the cellist Audrey Riley  and have cut records with Audrey’s improvisations using a variety of disc cutting techniques. The records will be remixed in performance using turntablist techniques.

Robert and I will be presenting two concerts in Leicester and Milton Keynes, with a workshop at Goldsmiths University, London. The concert at the Sue Townsend Theatre, Leicester is being generously supported by the music program at Leicester College and the Music Technology and Innovation Research Centre at De Montfort University, Leicester. The second concert is with the the guitarist Norberto Lobo at the MK Gallery Milton Keynes and we finish the tour with a workshop discussing how we use vinyl as part of our compositional process and in performance.

Tour Schedule

Wednesday 15th March
Sue Townsend Theatre, Leicester
7.30pm Free Entry. Reserve tickets

Thursday 16th March
MK Gallery, Milton Keynes with Norberto Lobo
7.30pm £7 on door. Further info

Friday 17th March
Workshop at the University of Goldsmiths, London (more…)

Mathieu Briand’s Spiral Installation. Tate Modern 2007 (From The Archive)

January 26, 2017

mathieu briand spiral dj installation tate modern

Another dip into my archive. In 2007 Mathieu Briand ‘s installation The Spiral was installed in the turbine hall at the Tate Modern. The installation had five turntables, a DJ mixer and a vinyl cutting lathe in the centre, with a spiral of seating for the audience. Performances from the turntables could be cut to vinyl and then played back in the space, creating an evolving composition. Briand himself had a 12″ of locked grooves which he used to create an improvised techno piece, similar to the locked groove records of Techno DJ Jeff Mills. I worked with composer Duncan Chapman for the Sonic Arts Network, performing a DJ improvisation on Briand’s installation. (more…)

Archive: James Kelly and Adam Weikert + Turntablist Philip Jeck at Summer Sundae 2008

January 24, 2017


I worked in an ambient electronic duo with Adam Weikert between 2007 and 2008. We recorded three studio improvisations which were released on CDR and performed a handful of concerts in Leicester and Coventry. In 2008, we performed on the Bathysphere stage at Leicester’s Summer Sundae festival alongside turntablist Philip Jeck. I think of this as my crate digger phase where I was remixing obscure records found in charity shops.


Turntable Music Symposium 23rd January 2017, University of Northampton

January 17, 2017


I’m organising a symposium on Turntable music at The University of Northampton as part of Subject Futures Week. The talks will present unique approaches to music performance and composition using turntables, including the styles of hip hop, minimalism and experimental music.

Our first guest of the day is  Dr Sophy Smith, Reader in Creative Technologies at De Montfort University. Smith will discuss research from her book Hip Hop Turntablism, Creativity and Collaboration, with a particular focus on compositional techniques employed by turntable teams such as the Scratch Perverts. Smith describes the scratch techniques employed by hip-hop DJ’s as the groundbreaking compositional strategies of hip-hop turntablism with incorporates sound manipulation and ‘flexible compositional processes’.


Our second guest is composer Shiva Fashreki who’s work explores concert music for turntables. Fashreki’s recent concerts include a live session for BBC Radio 3 at St John’s in Hackney, as well as the realisation of Daphne Oram’s work ‘Still Point’ for Double Orchestra, 78rpm vinyl discs and microphones at the Southbank Centre, London. Discussing her work with Turntables, Fashreki states:

“My turntabling practise can be described as a manipulation of pre-recorded sound to create new gestural movements and textures not always apparent in the record being manipulated. I often modify and prepare the turntables using sculptures that use the electricity, magnetism and circulation of the turntables to create sound and shapes.”


I will be presenting my PhD research which explores the use of a vinyl disc cutting lathe as a compositional tool for the creation of new music. My talk will discuss recent experiments cutting locked groove records to create minimalist music. In the evening I will present a performance – exhibition creating a turntablist remix of the records accompanied by live video feeds of the records.

Both the talks and concert are free.


Date: Monday 23rd January 2017

Venue: University of Northampton Avenue Campus, MY89

10am Sophy Smith
Hip Hop Turntablism, Creativity and Collaboration

11am James Kelly
Vinyl Minimalism

1pm Shiva Fashreki
Daphne Oram’s Still Point and Concert Music for Turntables

7pm Jim Frize and James Kelly Concert
Isham Dark, Avenue Campus (more…)

James Kelly Experimental Turntablism Interview with Eleven Magazine

November 15, 2016


Earlier this year I was interviewed by Northampton music magazine Eleven. In the interview I discussed my exhibition at the Avenue Gallery, University of Northampton which presented my experiments with using vinyl record cutting as part of the compositional process. Eleven started by asking about my experience as a turntablist, starting in Hip Hop and later getting into ambient music and dub. I discussed learning to cut vinyl records and why the medium interests me. Click this link to read the interview in Eleven. (more…)