Jonathan Higgins

black and white image of two cd players with a dj mixer with some green highlights

This page contains details about recent and current projects. Info, recordings and other performance files for all previous compositions dating back to 2014 can be found on the following pages:

music for fixed media - music for instruments (+ live electronics) - glitch turntablism - installations

Recent Projects

Good thanks, you? (2022)

Album of wonky, glitchy, droney tracks

Cover art for Good thanks, you?, contains purple and white static with album title overlayed

Album released by Flaming Pines Ocotber 2022, on Bandcamp and streaming services.

“Good thanks, you?” This minimal, innocuous and, some might even say, deflecting phrase so many of us have used, serves as the starting point for London-based composer Jonathan Higgins’ investigation of overload and tension. “Over the last couple of years I have been writing tracks every time I felt particularly anxious or overwhelmed,” he explains. Composed on Higgins’ modified CD players which malfunction and glitch their way through sound samples, this album emphasises not so much the beauty of malfunction, but its ubiquity. The glitch in Higgins’ work is not an exception, but the norm. The malfunction he has built into his modified CD players forms here the bedrock of his compositions, and the warps, omissions, and possibilities this process involves serves to echo our own struggles to adapt, communicate and make sense of the ever shifting, ever unpredictable, layers of life itself, and our connections with others.

Sechs Kleine Klavierstücke (2022)

Remixing Schoenberg

Cover art for Sechs Kleine Klavierstücke EP, contains a warped black and white photograph of Schoenberg

EP released by Classical Remix July 2022, on Bandcamp and streaming services.

Sechs kleine Klavierstücke (Six Little Piano Pieces) is a set of pieces for solo piano written by the Austrian composer Arnold Schoenberg in 1911. For this EP I remixed each of these little pieces guided by the original tempo instructions of each movement. The miniatures were reimagined through electronics, stretching, glitching and warping the original piano material into something both old and new.

More information about this release can be found in this podcast with Classical Remix.

Glitch Turntablism (2018 - ongoing)

Improvising with hacked CD Players

Noisy, glitchy free improvisation using three hacked Sony Discman players and a cheap DJ mixer. This project came from a frustration with the limitations of digital DJ equipment which, predominantly imitates vinyl. Modifying CD players uncovered a world of noise usually hidden within the circuitry. Utilising these modified players I can warp and glitch the content of the CDs live. This digital, glitch turntablism exploits the noise of digital audio, producing results wholly unlike turntablism using vinyl.

In 2019 I released an EP of Glitch Turntablism title Bootlegs on the label Fractal Meat Cuts. Bootlegs began as two low quality recordings of glitch turntablism gigs. These raw, unprocessed recordings were burnt to CDs, improvised with and the output recorded. This process was repeated cyclically to make the four tracks on the EP. By the end all that is left is the sound of the CD players themselves.

For details of upcoming and previous gigs check here and for more about Glitch Turntablism check here.

Man in Regent Street (2021)

For soprano, paper and live electronics. Composed in collaboration with Mimi Doulton.

Man In Regent Street is an installation and performance piece that explores themes of environmentalism, destruction and rebuilding. A four-metre-long score is performed iteratively and progressively destroyed by the performer. The damage inflicted provides the opportunity to restructure and rebuild the piece and as the performance progresses new musical structures and materials emerge as a result of this process. Some words are lost, new melodies and meanings are formed, and details once hidden are uncovered.

This piece was developed in collaboration with performer Mimi Doulton as part of a Wild Plum Arts Made at the Red House residency. The recording was filmed at City, University of London and supported by The Marchus Trust. Jonathan Higgins is supported by PRS Foundation’s The Open Fund.

Logos for the PRS Foundation, The Marchus Trust and Wild Plum Arts

Wallpaper (2020)

Fixed media composition and telephone hotline: 0330 818 0351 (calls cost standard landline rate)

Cover art for Wallpaper EP

During isolation we have looked to the internet to replace in person communication. Zoom and similar services have provided much needed interaction for many. However, those who lack access to the internet are excluded from these virtual social spaces. Wallpaper utilises words from those isolating without access to the internet. In an online recording session their words were read back, performed and manipulated via the imperfections of the internet until digital noise overtook all meaning. These recordings were then arranged to create Wallpaper.

Wallpaper exists in two versions: the digital download a telephone hotline available on 0330 818 0351 (calls cost your standard landline rate, if you’re outside the UK please call +44 330 818 0351). The phone you use, where you are and the time of day you call will all affect the quality of the playback through the hotline creating a unique ‘version’ of the piece on each listen. As the quality of the call changes different aspects of the piece are filtered out, forefronting or hiding various layers within the music. The on bandcamp EP consists of the digital download of Wallpaper, the 8 bit, 8 kHz, Mono file that is utilised by the hotline and three recordings of the hotline from different phones and locations.

Performers: Patricia Auchterlonie, Mimi Doulton, Ella Taylor and Juliet Wallace.

Supported by Sound and Music’s ‘Interpreting Isolation’ Grants.