Soundtracking event at G39 Cardiff 2018

G39 Text – The Baffling was a performance event that brought together artists and musicians to create a continuous soundtrack to a programme of live music, film, demos, and readings. The event name has a double meaning; both the acoustic architecture to control sound and a verb meaning to deflect, perplex or hoodwink.

The event was cumulative in structure, beginning on Sunday 14 October 2020 with a prelude multi-screen film installation by Benjamin Owen that takes as its starting point the story of a partially sighted piano tuner who trained on the Welsh borders. The architecture of this installation provides a stage for the performance events that will unfold on Saturday 20 October.

Owen invited Giles Bailey, Jamie Hammill, Nellie Saunby, Sophie Soobramanien, Kit Poulson, and Amy Grace; musicians Corey Mwamba, Yvonna Magda, and Matthew Lovett; and interventions from Claire Vaughan and Chris Brown and students of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, The Baffling explores the ritual of soundtracking, the nature of collectivity and redrawn relationships between film, sound, and performance.


Owen has previously worked collaboratively within care environments, women’s institutes, and with various collectives of musicians and artists. He has made experimental films that use live soundtracks to reframe interviews of ageing communities and arranged gigs that undermine the hierarchical relationships between music, sound, and the body.

The Baffling brought together the following:

Islanders, by Giles Bailey, Jamie Hammill, Nellie Saunby, and Sophie Soobramanien, combined performance with filmed sequences exploring the construction of island identity.

Amy Grace and Kit Poulson used voice, sound loops, and different languages to attempt an interrupted conversation that spans the British Isles.

Corey Mwamba contributed vibraphone to the continuous soundtrack whilst demonstrating how his movement and vicinity resound as a composite instrument.

Matthew Lovett contributed improvised percussion to the continuous soundtrack and Yvonna Magda will perform with a mixture of acoustic violin, electronics, loops, and effects.

Cardiff-based activist and promoter Claire Vaughan reflected on her relationship with sound and music. 

Chris Brown performed a short, illustrated lecture about musical tuning systems, demonstrating why Howard Goodall describes our current Equal Temperament system as ‘one of man’s most audacious attempts to tame the elemental force of nature.

Sonic interventions from students of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. Thanks to Owen Lloyd.

<i>The Baffling</i>, Kit Poulson & Amy Grace, 2018


G39 Text – The Baffling is part of Everything. All At Once. At The Same Time, a series of events and exhibitions at g39 pick up on the multiple thought processes that keep us both doing and thinking and the gap between the physical world and the internal monologue of our lives. We exist in balancing moments between the things we have to do and the things we want to do. The season is not about a short attention span or distraction and focus, rather it’s an uncovering of our ability to absorb, assess and understand multiple streams of thought simultaneously.The season considers all of the strategies and ways of developing artwork via the places we have to work. The places where we can earn enough to survive, but also where we trade time spent making work for time spent earning the money to make it.