Prof. Isabella van Elferen
Isabella van Elferen is Full Professor of Music. She publishes on Gothic music and culture, film and television music, video game music, music philosophy, and baroque sacred music.
Her books are Goth Music: From Sound to Subculture (2015, with Jeffrey Weinstock), Gothic Music: The Sounds of the Uncanny (2012, winner of the Alan Lloyd Smith Prize), Mystical Love in the German Baroque: Theology – Poetry – Music (2009), and Nostalgia or Perversion? Gothic Rewriting from the Eighteenth Century until the Present Day (ed. 2007). Isabella is currently finalising a new book on tone colour, Timbre: Aesthetics of Vibration, in which a large section will be devoted to the warm sound quality of analogue recording and production.
She is Director of Research of the School of Performing and Screen Studies at Kingston University, First Vice-President of the International Association of the Fantastic in the Arts (IAFA), editor for The Soundtrack, member of the advisory board of Horror Studies and Aeternum, and guest editor for Journal for the Fantastic in the Arts (2013), Horror Studies (2016) and Contemporary Music Review (2016). She is member of the Advisory Panel of the EC-funded project Europeana Sound and member of the AHRC-funded network Music-based Games, Creativity and Music Education.
Born and educated in the Netherlands, Isabella enjoys hiking under the vast skies of the Low Lands and in Britain’s green hills. She sings in the Renaissance Choir and enjoys dancing to dark Gothic music. Her favourite analogue sounds are those of old-school Goth.
Leah Kardos is a musician and academic who is currently active in contemporary classical, media and commercial music circles.
As a music researcher, her fascinations include studio craft and the arts of record production, the semiotics of sound in contemporary musics and exploring interdisciplinary approaches to creative practice. Critical and musicological study of the music of David Bowie is an area of special interest.
A signed artist with London label Bigo & Twigetti, her creative work focuses on the communicative power of timbre, memory and pattern recognition, and the beauty of spaces, having recently worked with performers and ensembles such as pianists Ben Dawson and R. Andrew Lee, soprano Laura Wolk-Lewanowicz, The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, and Australian chamber orchestra Ruthless Jabiru. Leah’s music has premiered in spaces and venues as diverse as the National Portrait Gallery, Australia House London, Sydney Opera House and Spectrum, New York. She has also been known to accept the odd film and TV music commission.
Originally from Brisbane, Australia, she currently lectures in music at Kingston University London where she is the project leader of the analogue recording and research facility, the Visconti Studio.
When she is not teaching, researching or hogging the Mellotron, Leah enjoys slaying dragons in fantasy RPG worlds, CrossFit and eating high quality sushi.
Alex Evans has extensive professional experience creating music through composition, recording and performance work. A classically trained musician, he has spent a large part of his life working in popular music.
A founding member of British rock group Moke, he has released two albums and numerous singles including the top 20 US hit, My Degeneration. Alex has been signed as an artist to Warner Bros, Ultimatum, Artemis and Dorado record labels and with Moke toured the UK, Europe and the US extensively throughout the late ‘90s/early 2000s along with many acts including The Goo Goo Dolls, The Black Crowes, Senser, Kings X, Tonic, Dogstar and Spacehog. He has recorded at Abbey Road, Rockfield, Olympic, Royal Tone, Strangeway, Sphere, Mix This and RAK studios with producers including Dave Eringa, Bob Clearmountain, Tim Palmer, Paul Stacey and Chris Kimsey.
Further to Moke’s hiatus in 2002, Alex worked as a Music Buyer for international entertainment retailing chain, Virgin Megastores, before finding work as an in-house composer at Matineé Sound & Vision Ltd. Following a return to study, where he completed both a PGCE and a Masters degree in Composing for Film & Television, Alex has worked as a lecturer within Higher Education.
He is currently a Senior Lecturer in Music and remains active in the music industry as a writer, performer and session musician. In his spare moments, and when his children allow it, Alex can be found tinkering with an assortment of cantankerous vintage synthesizers.
Philip Chambon is a composer, producer and performer who has worked extensively in the creative industries, in particular in the areas of the popular music business, film & TV, visual arts and contemporary dance. His work has been broadcast, commercially released and performed worldwide.
He started playing guitar at the age of nine, initially jamming along to his favourite pop records, and working stuff out by ear. He later studied classical guitar and violin. His interest in recording was sparked off when his grandfather loaned him a reel-to-reel Phillips 3541A tape recorder. Philip spent many a happy teenage hour recording (at 1 7/8 inches per sec!) his own songs, and guitar and violin compositions on this machine.
On graduating from Surrey University’s BMus Tonmeister course, he joined the band Tonight as guitarist and songwriter. The band achieved a Top 20 UK hit in 1978 with “Drummer Man” which Philip co-wrote.
He has been signed as an artist to Warner Bros. and Sony record labels, and has recorded in the legendary Air London, Trident, Olympic and Morgan studios. He has had songwriting publishing deals with United Artists, Island Music and ATV Music.
Philip has composed many Film and TV scores, as well as music for visual art installations, marketing campaigns and library music companies.
He has also collaborated as a composer with many choreographers and dancers, creating pieces for English National Ballet, Rambert Dance Company, Houston Ballet, National Youth Dance Company, Blueprint Dance Company and The Royal Opera House. In 1987 he composed the music for Christopher Bruce’s contemporary ballet Swansong. Swansong is now generally recognised as a dance classic and has been widely performed around the world. In the UK it is a GCSE Dance prescribed work.
He is currently a Senior Lecturer in Music and Music Technology, and continues his practice as a media composer and songwriter.
Raised on a cocktail of Motown, early rap and ‘80s jazz funk, Ebby began working in the music industry via a dance music record shop, where he combined specialist record buying and selling with DJ-ing at rave parties.
In the early ‘90s, his interest in music technology eventually led to him trying his hand at sound engineering. Several years of freelance work led to an opportunity to work at the world-famous Mute Studios where he was employed an in-house engineer for seven years. Through this, he was fortunate to work with many incredible producers including Gareth Jones, Flood and Ben Hillier, as well as a broad range of artists including Richie Hawtin, Barry Adamson and Erasure.
Advancements in hard disk recording, coinciding with two small mouths to feed, saw him supplementing his income via a temporary music technician job at Kingston University. Eventually, this job became permanent. Since then, Ebby has had what he describes as a wonderful opportunity to pass on the knowledge he gathered as a recording engineer to many students, colleagues and visiting artists, as well as helping to create a suitable environment for recording and music technology to flourish within the Department. He is very excited by the Visconti Studio project, as it brings together a team of people of varying areas of expertise, with the goal to create a hybrid analogue/digital environment worthy of the legendary name we have to endorse: Tony Visconti.
Merrellene is a vocalist and a continuing student of all things music. She holds a Bachelor of Music (Hons) degree from Kingston University London in Classical and Contemporary Vocal Performance and is currently undertaking an MA in Music at Kingston University as well as a Project Management MSc with the University of Roehampton.
Merrellene began singing at the age of twelve and spent her formative years competing in University Interscholastic League Music competitions as a solo vocalist and as an a Capella chorister for the state of Texas. Though adulthood took her down a business path where she spent many years working in Investment Banking, she continued to entertain at corporate events, weddings and charitable events throughout the USA , UK and Europe. Although she is a classically trained mezzo-soprano, her heart lies in chart, blues, and ambient music.
As a Music MA student, her interests include researching the Psychology of Performance as it relates to vocal performers with a view to creating a tool for vocalists to use to overcome the stresses of live stage performance. Her studies also include the investigation of the physiology of vocal training.
Her studies toward an MSc in Project Management are her way of utilising her years of practical business experience to join up the ever challenging landscape between musicians and the music industry with the sensibilities of a business mind.
Merrellene stays involved with performance as a lead vocalist for her Americana style band, West Magnolias, and a contemporary duo called Misspent Sundays, as well as being a wedding singer, corporate entertainer, and session singer.
Originally from the south coast, Rob Plummer was brought up on a mixture of Motown and Glam-Rock. He began learning music at an early age and is a strong multi-instrumentalist specialising in the rhythm section.
Rob is a classically trained musician who originally came to Kingston to further his musical knowledge after an intense year of studying jazz on guitar. Having just finished his BMus degree, he is currently producing four projects to be released later in 2017.
Over the course of his degree, he has spent many of his waking hours running sessions at Visconti Studio and becoming one with the equipment and the space. Rob has always had a fascination with how things work from the inside and, in his spare time, has built and repaired, speaker cabinets, amplifiers, pedals, and a Theremin. He has always had a thirst for experimenting and building things, but didn’t fully immerse himself into recording until he was 16. Now an engineer for Visconti studio, Rob is fascinated by the inner workings of the analogue equipment and the elements that come together to create the great recordings of the analogue era.
He currently works with many local artists such as PhilHarmonics, Phil Brookes, Matt Little, Malene Wetteland and West Magnolias playing guitar, bass, drums, recording and producing. Rob has composed for television and also plays lead guitar in Tequila Mockingbird, whose album achieved radio play, and also has played Banquet Record’s ‘New Slang’. Due to such a thriving local music scene, Rob organises the monthly ‘Bands at the Bomb Shelter’ at the student’s union on campus with fellow engineer Ali Miller. Over the next year Rob plans to take an MRes at Kingston, record as many artists and genres as possible at Visconti studio, and write and record prog-rock album.
Ali Miller is a live and studio engineer, performer and songwriter. After graduating from Kingston University, he has worked with a variety of performers across London and the South East.
Ali’s bite from the recording bug lead him to study Music Technology alongside Music performance while attending Queen Mary’s College, getting a reputation as a keen engineer. Meanwhile, he was also a regular on the local music scene playing with his then band, before applying to study Creative Music Technologies at Kingston.
During his time at Kingston, Ali worked in many venues with a variety of acts as a live engineer to compliment the studio work he was doing for his degree. Working closely with smaller UK bands Ali completed his dissertation comparing different methods of recording in a studio setting. This has led to a close working relationships with a number of new and exciting artists that he continues to support.
He is currently expanding his knowledge and expertise in the industry and is excited to be a part of the Visconti team.