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John Richards explores the idea of Dirty Electronics that focuses on shared experiences, ritual, gesture, touch and social interaction. In Dirty Electronics process and performance are inseparably bound. The 'performance' begins on the workbench devising instruments and is extended onto the stage through playing and exploring these instruments. Richards is concerned with the performance of large-group electronic music and DIY electronics, and the idea of composing inside electronics, and he has come to consider these activities as a holistic action that he refers to as performance-installation. His work pushes the boundaries between music, performance art, electronics, and graphic design and is transdisciplinary as well as having a socio-political dimension. He has also written numerous texts on DIY practices and performance within electronic music, and object-orientated and material approaches in relation to sound art.

He has collaborated and performed with, amongst others, Merzbow, Pauline Oliveros, Howard Skempton (founder member of the Scratch Orchestra), Gabriel Prokofiev, Anna Meredith, Nicholas Bullen, Tetsuya Umeda and Yan Jun. Other notable collaborations include working with Rolf Gehlhaar (original Stockhausen group), Chris Carter from Throbbing Gristle, Keith Rowe, Anat Ben-David (Chicks on Speed), choreographer Saburo Teshigawara, Makoto Nomura, Dushume (Amit D Patel), Max Wainwright and Tim Shaw.

As Dirty Electronics, Richards has been commissioned to create sound devices for various arts organisations and festivals. He released a series of hand-held synths on Mute Records in collaboration with the designer and writer, Adrian Shaughnessy. Other significant artwork/sound circuits have included: the Sonar 20th Anniversary Synth for the electronic music festival Sonar; Polytik, collaboration with graphic designer Jack Featherstone and Artists & Engineers; and circuits inspired by the artwork of William Morris for the National Portrait Gallery, London. Richards considers these devices as 'physical editions', an embodiment and means of dissemination of musical ideas.




Dirty Electronics, Poor Man Synth, 2013