John Levack Drever

Real Name:
John Levack Drever
John Levack Drever's unfolding practice represents a cathexis into experimental music, devised theatre, movement and dance, everyday environmental sound, the genealogy of SFX, human utterance, natural history, the built environment, background noise, notions of silence and the art of listening – such engagement naturally leads into creating work for specific sites such as the Tower of Winds (an eighteen century octagonal tower in Staffordshire), Goodwin Sands (a tidal sand bank off the Kent coast) and Orford Ness (a decommissioned bomb testing site on the Suffolk coast). Projects are often derived from extensive fieldwork with the aid of field recording and most importantly through the practice of non-technologically mediated soundwalking, exemplified in the triptych, Ochlophonic Studies: Hong Kong (1998-2009). Fundamentally, much of his work is collaborative including projects with Rachel Gomme, Alice Oswald, Alaric Sumner, Tony Thatcher, Lawrence Upton, David Behrman and Louise K. Wilson. He is a member of Blind Ditch.

Drever is an active composer, sound artist and soundscape researcher. He lecturers in Composition and is the head of the Unit for Sound Practice Research at Goldsmiths, University of London. During the autumn semester 2007, he was a Visiting Scholar at the Critical Intermedia Laboratory , School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong.

Drever was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, (1973) and raised between Dalkeith and Edinburgh. He studied Music at the University of Wales, Bangor, followed by a Master study in Electroacoustic Music Composition at the University of East Anglia. In 2001 he was awarded a PhD from Dartington College of Arts, titled 'Phonographies: Practical and Theoretical Explorations into Composing with Disembodied Sound'. During 2001-2 he was a Research Assistant for the Digital Crowd (University of Plymouth) co-ordinating Sounding Dartmoor, a soundscape study of Dartmoor. From 2003-04 he was an ACE/AHRB Arts and Science Research Fellow with Centre for Computational Creativity, City University exploring electronic music performance interfaces that learn from their users.

Drever was an elected director of Sonic Arts Network (2004-8) and a co-founder and chair of the UK and Ireland Soundscape Community (a regional affiliate of the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology) for whom in 2001 he chaired Sound Practice: the 1st UKISC Conference on sound, culture and environments and edited the latest edition of their journal Earshot, Issues 5, Noise: Debates, Strategies and Methodologies (2007). He is currently developing a revisit of the World Soundscape Project's London Soundwalk (1975) as documented in the European Sound Diary (1977), with members of the UKISC and the Noise Future Network.

Drever has a particular interest in the pioneering use of location recording and sound design in the films of the GPO Film Unit in the 1930s (Jennings, Cavalcanti, Gray, et al.), sounds effects of the ‘30s, everyday use of portable audio-media, surround sound composition from concert hall to cinema, field recording (natural history, documentary, the everyday, phonography and soundscape composition), sound poetry (ongoing collaborations with Lawrence Upton), sound installation and cross-art form collaboration (with an increasing focus on composing for dance with choreographer Tony Thatcher from Laban) and the art and method of soundwalking.

Commissions range from the Groupe de Recherches Musicales (1999), Arts Council England (2002 & 2007), to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (2002). His work has twice been awarded a prize in the annual Musica Nova competition, Prague (1997 & 1998).

John Levack Drever Discography Tracks


SM03-01CD John Levack Drever - Phonographies -  Glasgow, Frankfurt, Exeter album art John Levack Drever Phonographies - Glasgow, Frankfurt, Exeter(CD) Sound-Marked SM03-01CD UK 2003 Sell This Version
SM06-05CD John Levack Drever - Cattle Grids Of Dartmoor album art John Levack Drever Cattle Grids Of Dartmoor(CD, Album) Pataphonic SM06-05CD UK 2005 Sell This Version


none John Drever* Sounding Dartmoor(CDr, Comp) i-DAT (Institute of Digital Art and Technology) none UK 2002 Sell This Version