Fragment: electroacoustic café



A café which is also an interactive sound-installation.

A barista who turns coffee-making into a live sound-art performance.

High quality espresso-beverages served within a unique sonic-environment. (Film # 1 shows the café in action).


Contact microphones attached to all of the coffee-making equipment (espresso machine, milk jug, grinder, drip tray, water tank, espresso pump, etc). The resulting sounds are then amplified, fed through a laptop and subjected to subtle digital processing in real time. (Film #2 provides a more detailed explanation).


Anywhere (both inside and outdoors). The electro-acoustic café can be set up from scratch in any location simply by bringing in the minimal coffee and sound equipment required. Alternatively it can also take over any ordinary café or espresso bar, merely by connecting the sonic devices to the café's existing coffee equipment.


James Brewster, a professional barista who has competed in 'Latte-Art', and came second in the 2010 Swedish Championships in Stockholm. He has also been working as a sound-artist for the past ten years. (For more information about his background and other projects see his artist website)

What else?

The electro-acoustic café can be adapted to any location and tailored to specific requirements. It can for instance be expanded to incorporate sounds from the wider surrounding environment. So if, for example, it was set up near a river or fountain then these additional water sounds could be picked up using hydrophones and fed into the mix.

The installation can also be made even more interactive by attaching contact microphones to other elements of a café space, for example the floor or the tables. This way the actions of everyone in the café will affect the sonic environment, as the sounds of footsteps or cups set down on tables will also be picked up.

In addition, field recordings of all kinds can be incorporated into the mix, in order to create a specific atmosphere for the space. Examples of such elements could be bird song, the sounds of industrial machinery, or even recordings made in a different café on the other side of the world.

The performance element can also be expanded upon by enlisting other artists to work with the sounds live. These additional performers or improvisers would focus on, for example, further processing and sampling to create an even richer soundscape.

So if you have any queries or ideas about how the electro-acoustic café could be incorporated into a specific setting or performance, then you are welcome to get in touch to discuss the different possibilities.