sound artist, electroacoustic composer, practice-based researcher

"With a fine balance between augmented field recording and machine noise Soddell perfectly controls this exhilarating journey into her unconscious—or is it our own?"
Gail Priest, RealTime Arts
Thembi Soddell (b. Australia 1980) is a sound artist, electroacoustic composer and practice-based researcher with an interest in psychology, perception, extreme emotion and the subjectivity of experience. She works primarily with the sampler, generating sounds from field recordings, instrument textures, played found objects and synthesis to form surreal and ambiguous realisations of place and experience. These volatile, filmic sound worlds often exploit the dynamic extremes, toying with a listener's sense of expectation and disquiet.
 
Thembi made her debut performance in 2001 at the Liquid Architecture Sound Art Festival in Melbourne. Her live performances typically place the audience in complete darkness as she performs from the back of the room. Through this, she aims to heigten the emotional and visceral intensity of sound and its relationship to individual perceptions. Her first solo CD, Intimacy, was released in 2004 through cajid media and her second, Instance in 2005 (also on cajid media). Her work can be found on a number of compilations, including Document 03: Diffuse released on Dorobo records, which she co-curated with Bruce Mowson, Andie Reynolds and Darrin Verhagen. Thembi continues to compose for recording, performance, installation and multi-speaker concert presentation.
 
Thembi has an ongoing collaboration with cellist, Anthea Caddy, with whom she has undertaken two major recording projects and two European tours. Their work together focusses on the interplay between physical environment and perception, and its effect on psychological experience. Their first album, Iland, was released on cajid media in 2006, their second, Host, on Room 40 in 2012. They first toured Europe in 2006, with 18 performances across 8 countries, at venues and festivals including the Hörkunstfestival Erlangen, WORM Rotterdam, Instants Chavirès Paris and WIM Zürich. They returned to Europe in 2009 performing 15 shows across Estonia, Poland, Spain, France, Denmark, Finland, Germany and the UK.
 
In 2011 Thembi began working with choreographer, Tim Darbyshire, as both sound designer and dramaturg. Their projects together include More or Less Concrete and Tainted Title.
 
Thembi has a BA in Media Arts (2002) and a first-class honours in sound art (2005) from RMIT University’s School of Art, where she is now a PhD candidate. Her research is focused on the articulation of firsthand experiences of mental illness and psychological distress in sound art practice, using sound as a means to provoke creative thought around issues related to health and emotional wellbeing. From 2004-2009 she assisted in curating the Australian experimental music label, cajid media, and in 2013 was guest curator for the National Gallery of Victoria's Melbourne Now: Now Hear This exhibition, for which she overviewed electroacoustic composition practice in Melbourne, Australia. 
“Soddell’s work with dynamics is extremely accomplished, alternately forcing close attention and then rewarding it with shocking explosions of activity that bring any absent-minded trains of thought right back into a brutal present. This strategy is analogous to the remembering of a dream, the recombining of dreamed events into a comprehensible sequence. The work suggests all the uncertainty of a nightmare recounted, with all its gaps and discontinuities of narrative. The virtue of this for the listener is that it will keep you on edge throughout.”
Michael Day, Diffusion, Sonic Arts Network
 
A complete archive of Thembi's activities and reviews can be found at thembisoddell.tumblr.com