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MODCAF Test Chamber project

Upcoming performance in historic wind tunnel

MODCAF Test Chamber Live UK electronic experimental music live performance event workshop wind tunnel

The Modular Café Aldershot, aka MODCAF, project was founded in 2018 by Ian Oakley and Ben Champion with the aim of developing and encouraging an inclusive community of people who share a passion for electronic and experimental music. In addition to organising regular meets, tech talks and improvised jams in Aldershot, UK, they have also held a number of performances at a variety of festivals and events around the country, as well as devising and undertaking some rather ambitious performance-based projects.

Test Chamber Live

MODCAF Test Chamber wind tunnel fanThe huge fan which used to draw air through the Q121 facility. One such project comes in the form of Test Chamber Live, which has seen the community head to Q121, a wind tunnel located in Farnborough, UK that was built in 1935 as part of the town’s Royal Aircraft Establishment site. Disused since 1996, the building is essentially a large concrete box that measures a massive 180ft long by 20ft wide, and exhibits an extraordinary acoustical characteristic.

Members of the community have been given the chance to write pieces of music designed to explore the space, which will subsequently be played over PA speakers and re-recorded in Ambisonics to capture Q121’s unique sound.

The resulting recordings will be professionally mastered and sold as digital stereo/binaural releases on Bandcamp, and a selection of 10 artists’ work will be released as a limited run on vinyl. The organisation will also be making a feature-length documentary of the entire process, which will detail not only the work of the artists, but also the history surrounding the building.

Additionally, MODCAF’s approach to the project and its results will be covered by an academic research paper that will be published by the UCA in Farnham. For those interested in checking out how the space sounds, MODCAF have made a collection of impulse responses available for download here.

MODCAF Test Chamber wind tunnelMODCAF's Test Chamber project centres around exploring the unique acoustic qualities of the disused wind tunnel.

Live Event

The next stage of the project, and perhaps its most ambitious, will see the community hosting a two-day live event at Q121, which will offer a range of tours and workshops and culminate in a live performance from 10 different MODCAF artists, who will each be presenting the pieces of music composed in the earlier stages of the project. The event will be taking place on Saturday 30 September and Sunday 1 October 2023, with the following schedule.

Saturday 30 September

  • Session 1 – 11:00 – The Modular Café Aldershot monthly meeting: Free (3 hours)
  • Session 2 – 15:00 – Electronic Collaboration and Exploration: Free (2 hours)
  • Session 3 – 19:30 – Test Chamber Live Part 1: £16.50 per person (3 hours)

Sunday 1 October

  • Session 4 – 11:00 – The Fast Museum Tour: Free (1.5 hours)
  • Session 5 – 13:00 – Build Your Own Synth: £35 per person incl. build kit  (2 hours)
  • Session 6 – 16:00 – void_null Live AV Show – Collapse: £12 per person (1 hour)
  • Session 7 – 19:30 – Test Chamber Live Part 2: £16.50 per person (3 hours)

More information on the live events along with ticket booking can be found here.

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