Paper Cone Music
A group performance for paper cones, turntables and sound effects library records, to be performed by four or more players.


Using rolled up paper cones and sewing needles as a stylus to create primitive gramophone horns, the performers play sound effects records, attempting to play each record simultaneously from as many different points as they can. Each cone is closely miked up and the output is fed into a mixer. The mechanism of the turntable itself is also miked up using contact microphones. Each performer is in control of their own mix. Together they gradually build up a live soundscape from dead recordings of locations and events that were captured and imprinted on vinyl decades ago. The low frequency rumble and circular sound patterns of the mechanism and the scratchy, tinny, gramophone like sound of the paper cones make the listener acutely aware of the medium of the vinyl record itself and the associated history and nostalgia for this increasingly anachronistic format. Additionally, it highlights the fact that these mass produced sound effects library records themselves are also unintentional capsules of the past.


Paper Cone Music was a FON Air micro-commission for the Octopus Collective. Performed by Mark Vernon with the Piel View Hackers group at the Octopus Collective Headquarters, Barrow-in-Furness, November, 2012.

A re-worked version of this piece blending together advance rehearsals and other experiments with the live performance appears as a unique, one of a kind, 12” record as part of the foam collection - an archive of commissioned dub plates featuring artists sound works as one-off, 12” records presented in a touring exhibition.

© MMXIV Mark Vernon: All rights reserved