Sines & Squares Festival

Pictured above Daniel Barreiro (left) and Sam Salem (right) operating the Buchla modular Synth at the EMS studios in Stockholm. As part of the NOVARS weekend concert organised by Lamour Records at Fylkingen, Daniel Barreiro, Sam Salem and CitizenUrge visited the EMS and tested out their charming Buchla synth. Photo by citizenurge
CHECK SINES & SQUARES FESTIVAL 2014 organised by NOVARS, Open Circuit, Salford and Basic Electricity


NOVARS current areas of Research embrace:
    • Analogue Electronics and Modular Synthesis [Check Sines & Squares]
    • Live Acousmatic Composition with Sound Spatialisation and Diffusion [Check MANTIS Festival]
    • Game-audio / Procedural Audio [Check game-audio] and Procedural-generative audio in graphics-physics-engines]
    • Machine Musicianship and Interactivity (Instruments and Live Electronics) [Check MANTIS Festival]
    • Locativeaudio - Check Locativeaudio.org/ SonicMaps /

Each academic year NOVARS Research Centre produces a series of Research Group Activities such as:
    • NOVARS Matinees
    • MANTIS Activities (Festival, tours)
    • Project and various focused Symposiums
    • Residence Scheme (Artists and Enginners) -[I/O]
    • Composer and Research forums in Music
    • Research Assemblage Groups

  • Brief Description:

    Novars Matinees: informal listening/sound diffusion discussion sessions presented by students, staff and special guests, typically on Thursdays; from 11:30 am to 12:50 pm. From academic year 2009-10 we are live broadcasting and podcasting them, with the hope to create an audiovisual collection of knowledge and sonic memories. For more information, please read below this introduction.

  • sines and squares festival Sines and Squares Festival: “Sines & Squares” is one of UK's first festivals and concert series celebrating the recent resurgence of analogue and modular synthesizers. It will feature some of the most renown UK and international performers, composers, lecturers and designers working with Buchla, Serge, Eurorack, Hordijk and EMS modular systems. A novel workshop from Tom Bugs of Bugbrand will introduce attendees to how to build their own analogue synthesizer/processor. The event will feature Rob Hordijk (The Hague), one of the most most creative designers in modular synthesis today, and will present five concerts of live modular free improvisation and fixed media compositions rooted in modular synthesis. It will also include theoretical "Patchbay Sessions" with papers and presentations focused on modular synthesis, a Modular Lounge (system demos) and will include installation performances and the MANTIS System.

MANTIS Activities : Created in 2004, the MANTIS Festival is held twice a year; typically in October and March. These two long-weekend events include series performances and workshops and an annual call for pieces. Although usually held at University of Manchester, the festival has a clear vocation to outreach new audiences. Examples of that are the collaboration with other Institutions to co-share the festival. E.g. with the Sonic Arts Expo in 2006 (MANTIS-EXPO) and with the Lancaster Institute of Contemporary Arts (LICA-MANTIS) in 2008.
In parallel to the festival MANTIS promotes MANTIS-IN-MOTION, which consists of the organisation of MANTIS concerts abroad.

Project and various focused Symposiums: NOVARS people are often immersed on a number of network projects as a research group. For example, NESS-Project, Music4Media, S.LOW Projekt, timbila project, tornado project, sonicmaps, locativeaudio, south-north, mantis-in-motion, residencies abroad, etc

Residency Scheme [I/O] : In 2008, Novars launched two Residence Schemes for Artists and Engineers, to procure the advancement of existing areas of research and to commission new work. From academic year 2009-10 we have started the artist in residence scheme, investing locally with the Trio Atem and providing opportunities to local musicians and former graduates to stretch a longer relationship with our centre.
Novars strongly encourage its postgraduate community to apply for funds and schemes to undertake residencies abroad, aiming to increase the awareness of research collaborations and culture among its research community. In 2008 (from January to May), four postgraduate composers took residencies abroad. For futher information, follow this link.

Composer and Research forums in Music
: Although primarily focused on music composition, the entire Music research community is welcome. Presentations are given by guest composers, members of staff, postgraduates, and there is a degree of vocational interface when publishers or members of the BBC etc are invited to speak. This also helps to provide training for postgraduate composers, as do the Composer Workshops held throughout the academic year. Through these, which feature Psappha, Music's Contemporary Ensemble in Association, all postgraduate composers are given the opportunity to have at least one of their works performed professionally.

Research Assemblage Groups: A Research Assemblage is a group of people sharing similar research interests and who gather, collect, aggregate and assembly knowledge which may take their individual knowledge a step further. Each assemblage may be associated with a single research focus, or may revert on more than one subject area across existing research. Individuals may belong to one or more Research Assemblage.

Project Highlights

MANTIS system

Large Scale multi-channel system for sound diffusion created by David Berezan and customised or extended by postgraduate students at NOVARS


Research strand started in 2008-09 by Ricardo Climent utilising game-engines, such as Blender, Unity3D, CryEngine and Unreal Engine 4 for composition purposes


Collaborative Project between NOVARS, NoTours and Escoitar, featuring large scale network projects. PG outcomes include novel software, such as sonicmaps.org



Started in 2015 between the Institute of Sonology at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague and the Music Composition department in Manchester (UK).

Tornado Project

Inspired by the image of winds and wood flying through the air, Ricardo Climent and Paul Wilson conceived this project for American wind virtuosi Esther Lamneck (clarinet) and Elizabeth McNutt (flute).

sines and squares


It is one of UK's first festivals and concert series celebrating the resurgence of analogue and modular synthesizers. It features some of the most renown professionals working with Buchla, Serge, Eurorack, Hordijk and EMS modular systems.


SonicMaps is a Locative Audio (GPS AudioTour) platform and complete solution for sound geolocation created by a PhD Student at NOVARS as a compositional tool for his portfolio, which has gone beyond it to reach new creative goals

Postgraduate's Leadership

Our Postgraduate students hold prominent positions in UK and abroad and publish internationally on peer-reviewed academic conferences.