Unusual Ingredients is a multi-sensory touring event and album release bringing to life the relationships between sound and flavour perception, listening and taste – brought to you fresh by musicians Jacob Thompson-Bell and Adam Martin, with food artist Caroline Hobkinson.
The collaboration is inspired by scientific research into the sensory links between sound and flavour perception, particularly Charles Spence and the Cross Modal Lab at Oxford University. These include sensory phenomena such as the modulation of sweet and bitter flavours through high and low frequencies, and the intensification through sound of the buzzing sensation experienced on the tongue after eating Szechuan pepper. Think Willy Wonka but with electronic music and cutting-edge cross-disciplinary science!
The live events will guide audiences through a menu featuring popping candy, coffee, seaweed, and more, wrapped in a mix of ambient electronics and location sound. Each ingredient is enhanced by a specially-composed piece of music designed to transform and dramatise its flavours and reimagine musical taste. The edible ingredients for each event will be provided in bespoke packaging designed by Split Design (Leeds). The accompanying multi-sensory album combines a 12-track vinyl with food-grade packaging housing the edible ingredients.
Premiered on 11 March 2020 at Kings Place, then 14 March at Leeds College of Music. Further dates to be announced.
Jacob Thompson-Bell is a composer and creative producer. His work is broadly concerned with creating spaces for reflection and the contemplation of everyday experience. His eclectic output spans concert works, graphic scores, installations, exhibitions and touring productions. Previous projects include ONE, a site-responsive UK-tour of new music and visuals, featuring a newly commissioned work from Claudia Molitor; and Fresh Yorkshire Aires, commissioning, exhibiting and performing new graphic-musical work by Yorkshire-based artists Jez riley French, Katie English (a.k.a. Isnaj Dui) and Nigel Morgan.
Jacob frequently works in close collaboration with other musicians and artists, often playing on cross-modalities between music and other media. He has written for and worked with The Vegetable Orchestra (Vienna), London Sinfonietta, Nonclassical, London Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestra of Opera North, Ligeti Quartet, Lontano and CoMA; and soloists including Matthew Bourne, Philip Thomas, Joely Koos and Joel Bell. His music has been performed in venues including the Purcell Room, LSO St Luke’s, Iklectik, Howard Assembly Rooms, British Museum and BFI Southbank.
Caroline Hobkinson uses food as performance and social commentary. She has been exploring the relationship between art and the senses since 2009.
Trained at Central Saint Martin’s and SOAS, she has been creating events and sculptural installations in galleries, museums and public spaces.
Operating within the intersections of Art, Design, Technology, Food and the Senses Caroline has been giving numerous interactive talks and lectures on the subject of food for Unilever, Disney, Seen presents, Central Saint Martin’s, Space 10 and many others and appeared in numerous publications.
Music producer, composer and performer Adam Martin is a founding member of the electronic ensemble Nightports, performing at international festivals and events and featuring on several compilations, for example with Matthew Bourne (Leaf Label, 2017), premiered as part of the Hull City of Culture programme. The group is also collaborating with guitarist Stuart McCallum and microtonal guitarist Tolgahan Çoğulu for upcoming releases.
Nightports is based on a simple but unbreakable rule of restriction: only sounds produced by the featured musician can be used. Nothing else. But these sounds can be transformed, distorted, translated, reworked, processed and reprocessed, stretched, cut, ordered and reordered. Nightports is about amplifying the characteristics of the musician and their sounds. It’s about finding new sounds that nobody else can make.
Feedback from our taste tests:
“I felt like I was cocooned.”
“Felt like the inside of my mouth was a jungle waterfall.”
“The music made eating the bubblegum three times more enjoyable.”
“I couldn’t tell if it was the sound of me eating popping candy or the music.”
“The flavour became more intense as the ringing sounds were more prominent.”
“The music really suited the progression of the taste.”
“The crackling and liquid music really heightened the experience”
“The music felt dark and enhanced the bitterness of the coffee bean.”