Capturing the Peak’s sounds

Mark Gwynne Jones and Psychicbread capture the sounds of the Peak.
Mark Gwynne Jones and Psychicbread capture the sounds of the Peak.

POET Mark Gwynne Jones and musicians Psychicbread are set to discover the unheard voice of some outstanding landmarks in and around the Peak District this summer.

From music composed and performed in cable cars over Matlock Bath, to a river bridge tuned and played as a musical instrument; from reflections on a B29 bomber that exploded in the High Peak to the last gibbet in Derbyshire, their performances will lead visitors to a new experience of the region.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle said of the Peak: “All this county is hollow, could you strike it with some gigantic hammer it would boom like a drum.” When the group tunes the tension wires of a river bridge and play the bridge as an instrument, the idea will be taken to its conclusion.

Commissioned by Glassball Art Projects, Mark is writing at each of the locations then working with musicians Psychicbread to compose, perform and record on site. The ethos being to capture the sounds, the acoustics and feel of the places, so that place becomes integral to both performance and recording. Blurring the boundaries between composition and location.

Along with its beauty, the Peak District National Park’s proximity to Manchester, Sheffield, Huddersfield, Stoke and Derby makes it the second most visited park in the world (only the National Park of Mount Fuji is more popular) and some of the group’s places of inspiration will be well known – their methods, less so.

From musings on the nature of the Devil in the echoing chambers of Peak Cavern, to the unusual acoustics found under the huge viaduct at Monsal Head, these are familiar landmarks but rarely if ever have these places been experienced or responded to in quite the way this project proposes.

The project will culminate in July with a CD recording of the work, documentary films posted on a website ( and two public performances, one inside Peak Cavern, Castleton, and the other alongside a four-screen film installation of their investigations at the Level Centre in Rowsley. To be kept informed of when these unique performances will take place and how to get hold of tickets, you can register your interest via the project website.