Listen: The Sound Bank

Between 2011 and 2013 In The Dark ran a grant scheme for adventurous audio, the Sound Bank. You can listen to some of the grant-winning work below.

Cuts and Bruises (Steve Urquhart, UK, 2013)

A barber, who’s also a boxer, shares the sounds and stories of his intermingling worlds.
Ian’s boxing-themed barber shop combines two of his lifelong passions, both greatly influenced by his upbringing and aspects of his Colombian heritage. In this composed feature – recorded on location in the shop, the gym, and beside the ring – Ian prepares for his first bout in five years. How will his fighting compare with his trimming?

Steve was mentored by Sara Parker

Cuts and Bruises has been broadcast by The Curious Ear (RTE, Ireland), UnFictional (KCRW, USA) and Sounds Like Radio (Radio National, Australia)

130-in-1: More Adventures with Electronic Circuits (Mark Vernon, UK, 2012)

130-in-1 offers the opportunity to listen in as a father and his 10-year-old son bond over a succession of increasingly fiddly electronic experiments. At the behest of the manual they connect wires, transistors, capacitors and diodes to create an array of weird and wonderful crackles, beeps, buzzes and other electronic noises. Harking back to the bygone days of the BBC’s Radiophonic Workshop in feel, sounds derived from these experiments form the basis of a musical score that underpins the piece, playfully oscillating between real and imaginary spaces. As improbable as it seems, the outwardly dull schematics and diagrams open the doorway to a world of fun and the joy of discovery. All sounds (except the bubbles) were generated from the Maxitronix 130 in 1 Electronic Lab Kit
Mark Vernon is a sound artist and radio producer. His radiophonic creations range from documentaries and radio plays to experimental audio collage and soundscape pieces. He has produced programmes for stations including Radia, Resonance FM, CKUT, VPRO and BBC Radio 4. He is currently lecturer in Sound Art at Duncan of Jordanstone College, University of Dundee and digital artist in residence at Forth Valley Royal Hospital. He also records and performs in the groups Vernon & Burns and Hassle Hound. Static Cinema, a solo album of improvised music and soundscape compositions has just been released on the Entr’acte record label.

Magga (Rikke Houd, Denmark, 2011)

I met Magga in a small town in Iceland by a strange coincidence 8 years ago. She is a single mother, lives in a small, old house full of things with her kids. Her mother was a fortuneteller, her grandmother before that. She told me my fortune. I returned over the years, always bringing my recorder. Magga is one of few singing mediums in the world. She sings in many languages, from long forgotten German Eurovision songs to old Icelandic folksongs. This is the story of our meetings, this is also just music and my tribute to Magga´s sweet voice.

Rikke Houd is an independent Danish radio producer who graduated from Goldsmiths College in London in 1997 and trained from the Danish feature department. She is the initiator of the two circumpolar radio feature projects Polar Radio and Radiophonic Narration (RANA).

Magga was been broadcast by Third Ear ( and Sounds Like Radio (Radio National, Australia)

88 Keys (Esther Johnson, UK, 2013)

An audio montage reflecting on the increased disposal of pianos. Weaving the tortured sounds of the destruction of one piano, with thoughts from the proprietor of London’s last piano factory and a series of previous piano owners.
Esther was mentored by Nick Ryan
88 Keys has been broadcast by The Curious Ear (RTE, Ireland) and Sounds Like Radio (Radio National, Australia)

Bolo (Phil Smith, UK, 2012)

A group of women are producing shea butter, beating kernels into a paste in large wooden bowls; they clap in unison as their hands rise up from the brown liquid and splash back in on the downbeat. Earlier on, some of them had got up before dawn to pound millet with a large pestle. Beyond the compound, in the cotton fields surrounding Kojugu Garalo, cotton is being picked, bud by bud.
‘Bolo’, meaning ‘hand’ or ‘stake’, is a sound composition, exploring how music is both by-product and mental necessity, a result of and a way of coping with the harshly repetitious agricultural work of a village in southern Mali.
Phil Smith is an assistant producer at Somethin’ Else, working on Jazz on 3 for BBC Radio 3. He has produced documentaries for the World Service, Radio 4 and 1Xtra, and has composed music for dramas on Classic FM and Radio 3.
Phil was mentored for this project by Sherre DeLys

Signal to Noise (Paolo Pietropaolo, Canada, 2011)

This is the story of my tinnitus, which affects my ability to enjoy silence. Sometimes, noise is my ally, especially at night. It’s made me think about what makes us call certain things noise, silence or music, and it’s led me to believe we’re suffering from a sort of societal tinnitus. This piece will be a kind of music that questions where the edge lies between signal and noise.
Paolo Pietropaolo is a journalist, broadcaster, and composer based in Vancouver, Canada. One of his favourite things to do is combine all three pursuits in making radio documentaries. Paolo’s docs have received a Peabody Award and the Prix Italia, the highest accolades in broadcasting, as well as several other awards. They have been broadcast in Canada, the USA, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Finland and Ireland. Before moving to Vancouver from Toronto, Paolo played and toured extensively with the taiko drumming group Nagata Shachu.
Signal to Noise has been broadcast on KCRW’s Unfictional and was a Third Coast International Audio Festival Library Spotlight

Under Ground (Simon Attwell and Kim Winter, Sound Africa, 2013)

South Africa’s murder rate is 4.5 times the global average. They have twice the global rate in road accidents and are ranked no 1 in the world for HIV & AIDS deaths. For the most part, people are desensitized to the images of mourning – they are inserted into daily life alongside the price of eggs and our morning coffee. Who wants to talk about death?

Musician Simon Attwell and radio producer Kim Winter teamed up to produce this delicate portrait of death and mourning in South Africa and bring humanity and warmth back into this unwelcome subject.

Kim and Simon were mentored by Davia Nelson

Ringing The Rocks (Mair Bosworth, UK, 2012)

The limestone of the quarries on the Isle of Portland – which was used to build St Paul’s Cathedral, The Cenotaph and half a million gravestones for war cemeteries – was traditionally ‘rung’ by quarrymen to check the purity of the rock. But machines have long since taken over the work of cutting stone and the ‘quarrybells’ – the sound of picks striking stone in unison – have now fallen silent. Ringing the Rocks will explore the acoustic properties of stone and look at how Portland stone is being made to ring once more…
Mair is a recent graduate of the MA Radio Production course at Bournemouth University and won Gold for the Charles Parker Prize for student features in 2011. She is currently an intern with Sound Women and is managing a community radio project, working with older people in Dorset to help them tell their stories in sound. She blogs about radio at
Mair was mentored for this project by Nina Perry

Lights Out (Delaney Hall, USA, 2011)

On the night of July 13th, 1977, two young DJs named Disco Wiz and Grandmaster Casanova Fly were spinning records for a growing crowd on a busy street corner in the Bronx, New York. Around 9:30 PM that night, the city experienced a massive blackout, with power failing in all five boroughs. Chaos ensued, with looting and arson occurring across the city, but Disco Wiz and Grandmaster Casanova Fly have their own theories about the effects of the blackout on the creative life of the Bronx and the birth of hip hop. “Lights Out” will explore what happened that evening and how it might have influenced the invention of a new musical and cultural movement.
Delaney Hall is a reporter, radio producer, sound designer, and media teacher. For four years, she worked with the Third Coast International Audio Festival in Chicago and produced Re:sound, Third Coast’s weekly remix of documentaries, music, field recordings, and found sound on Chicago Public Radio.
Lights Out has been broadcast on 99% Invisible, RTE’s Curious Ear and BBC Radio 4’s Short Cuts.

The Signing (Ellie Richold, UK, 2012

Listen Here

I recently spent 42 minutes on the phone to the council, answering a barrage of questions from a woman who detests her job. We both had objectives: I, to sign on, she to fill in a form as quickly as possible so that she could get to the next person and ask the same list of questions all over again – questions like “Do you share a fridge with the people you live with?” “Does anyone owe you money?” and “have you or any of your dependents / partners / carers / drinking buddies, been on a waiting list for a council house in a foreign country in the last 3 years?”

There is something horrible that happens when you are forced to repeat something all day every day; It becomes a 42 minute-long thoughtless monologue that shuts the brain down and with it any scrap of humanity, hope or humour. This feature attempts to expose the absurdity of the bureaucratic process and what it does to those involved in it. It has the lofty aim of then re-humanising both sides through sound.

Since graduating from Goldsmith’s MA radio course Ellie has worked part-time for the BBC Spanish American service with occasional stints with the African service. Ellie was shortlisted for Reuters Student Radio journalist of the year in 2007 for a feature on gardening at Guantanamo and nominated for a Sony award in 2008 for a piece for Radio 1 on Ketamine use.  Over the years, she has produced and contributed to a few documentaries for the World Service’s Heart and Soul programme and worked as a researcher for several different Production companies. She is currently studying a  Masters in Cinematography and Post-production.