Nigel Ayers

Nigel Ayers

Nigel Ayers is a multimedia artist born in Tideswell, Derbyshire, England, in 1957. His sound art has included numerous audio releases and live performances through his genre-busting group Nocturnal Emissions.

His sound art collaborations includes work with Bourbonese Qualk, C.C.C.C., Andrew Liles, Lustmord, Randy Grief, Robin Storey, Expose Your Eyes, Stewart Home, Z'EV, and Zoviet France.

In 1980 he founded the record label Sterile Records, releasing the first records by John Balance, Maurizio Bianchi and Lustmord, among many others.

In 1987 he formed the equally influential Earthly Delights (record label), specialising in audio works that critically examined the technological landscape and the psychic effect of sound.

In the early 90s he performed live soundtracks for the Butoh performances of Poppo & the Go Go Boys. His visual art has been exhibited in the Tate, ICA, and worn by the soccer legend Diego Maradona.

He married Lesley Ayers in 2001 and is currently resident in Cornwall.


Sound Art

Nigel Ayers' sound art work is rooted in assemblage and collage. Years before digital sampling became commonplace, his recordings used many thousands of carefully edited “found” and specially recorded sound samples. His interest in the psychological effects of sound, and in particular the recombination of sound to affect perception of time and space is reflected in CD titles such as “Practical Time Travel” where sound functions as snapshots of memory forming new associations as it passes into a simulated dream world. His work reflects the fluid nature of post-modern experience dipping into elements of fringe science, outer space and ethnic music traditions; forming radical mutations of the popular song form and pitting “outsider” viewpoints against more orthodox media constructions of reality.

He is also very interested in eroding the concept of individualised artistic personality using digital technologies to enable multiple authorship. This is exemplified in the infinitely remixable sound sample libraries he has released as a sound developer in the commercially released sample libraries for Sony’s ACID Pro and Propellerhead’s Reason (software).

In his sound installations, such as Soul Zodiac (2006) and The Planetarium Must Be Built (2007) he has explored the possibilities of digital remixes in both time and space, creating immersive four-dimensional audioworks using simple everyday equipment such as multiple CD boomboxes.

Sample libraries

External links


Mind Invaders: A Reader in Psychic Warfare, Cultural Sabotage And Semiotic Terrorism Stewart Home Ed. (Serpent's Tail London, 1997). International Who's Who in Popular Music (Routledge, 2007)