Lou Barnell


Lou is an award-winning sound and performance artist and radio DJ. She is one of Sound and Music's New Voices 2022 Composers.

She was winner of the 2021 Oram Awards, supported by The PRS Foundation and BBC Radiophonic Institute in recognition of innovation in sound and technology.

Lou’s work gives language to her alienating and disorientating experiences of being a neurodivergent woman. It communicates her synaesthetic experience of sound, hyperfocus and sensory overload.

Her work is a brutalist hypnotic soup of electronic soft and hardware, visceral sonic textures, improvised voice, material speculation and movement.

In 2019, Lou received DCYP funding from Arts Council England. With this, she created MELTA, an immersive touring performance and intense explosion of sensory experimentation and melting matter, which made its premier performance at a sold-out Café Oto in 2021.

During this time Lou developed 'Live Dreaming'. This concept reconsiders her body as a mirror, reflecting and refracting parallel states of dreaming and performance. She emulates this duality in her work by creating scores and live performances with sculpted, shapeshifting, re-useable materials such as ice and thermoplastic. She uses wearable sensors and biorhythmic data to play and score music.

Lou produces and presents IN-PROCESS a radio show and archive for women, trans non-binary, disabled and non-disabled artists on Repeater Radio. She is a regular guest DJ on Resonance, BBC Merseyside, and NTS.

Lou’s Debut Album WHAT CAME BEFORE THIS was released on Linear Obsessional Records in 2021 and was greeted with critical acclaim. It was featured on The Super Sonic Oram Awards Podcast, BBC Radio 3 with Corey Mwamba's Freeness and Elizabeth Alker's Unclassified shows, Resonance FM's Bad Punk Radio with Band Of Holy Joy, and Colliding Lines on Resonance Extra.

Her works have been released on Accidental Records, Earlid and The Women Composers Collective, and had airplay on BBC Radio 3, NTS Radio, Resonance FM and Soho Radio.

Lou also collaborates as LMB, a sound and movement collaboration with composer Lisa Busby, and is a member of Breathing Space Collective.

Her composition commissions include MODRO ÇRNILO/ BLUE INK in collaboration with Choreographer Enya Belak which toured across Europe with Plesni Teater (Slovenia), Croatian Cultural Center & Port of Dance (Croatia), Kunstraum Nestroyhof, Tanzhaus & Tanzhafen Festivals, (Austria), Black Box Festival (Bulgaria) and THE ARTIST which toured the UK with Filskit Theatre and New Theatre Royal. Her commission FRAU LEHMANN a composition for multimedia and Twitter premiered at Yarmonics Festival in 2020. Lou premiered the ‘Live Dreaming’ piece COMFORT ME OFTEN at the FIX 21 Biennale in Belfast, later performed at the 2021 Oram Awards Ceremony at Supersonic Festival. Her work TERRESTRIAL CIRCUITS was exhibited at the MUSLAB International Exhibition of Electroacoustic Music, (Mexico)

Other international performances, exhibitions and commissions include:

Vrooom (Rotterdam), Sonorities Festival (Belfast), Ashmolean Museum (Oxford) Performance Space (Folkestone), festival of Performing Arts (Oxford Brookes), Other Worlds festival (Blackpool).

Lou has played at IKLECTIKA Festival, The Royal Academy of Arts, Café Oto, APT Gallery, The Freud Museum, and the Bloomsbury Festival with Luke Jerram’s moon installation, and A six -month residency in St Augustines Tower, Hackney, supported by Oxford Contemporary Music with Breathing Space Collective.

In 2018, Lou was selected as Norwich OUTPOST artist in residence. In 2016 she was resident with Oxford Contemporary Music’s Boom programme with Breathing Space Collective

Lou has featured in Electronic Sound Magazine, Sunday Tribune, A-N and Tentacular Magazine.