We produce large scale sound installations

Past work has focused on documenting buildings and institutions; using sounds recorded within these places and including both the public and users of the building in the final production. The aim is to get people to look differently at spaces they use regularly and to inject an unexpected layer of beauty into everyday places.

“In this highly secular society, spiritual expression and religious ritual are waning. I, like many, am too absorbed in the freedoms and excesses of urban life to slow down and meditate. So where do those sacred urges go? If you don’t do “days of rest” what do you do?
It seems to me that art has replaced religion.”

Francesca Gavin

We create something that offers the experience of warmth and belonging by creating inclusive experimental sound installations that allow the individual time for thought and reflection no matter of background nor belief. This to us is the purpose of art.

Who we are

James Mabbett - Artistic DirectorArtistic Director

James Mabbett

James is a composer, musician, producer and sound artist currently based in Holmfirth, West Yorkshire. As Napoleon IIIrd, his music is a rich tangle of sounds, experimental soundscapes and melodies made from found sounds, antique organs and car-boot keyboards, rich strings, driving rhythms and thick drones. As a sound artist he has produced installations for Union Chapel in London, Leeds Central Library and Leeds Light Night to mention just three.

Bob McDougall - Company DirectorCompany Director

Bob McDougall

Bob McDougall is a professional project-manager with extensive experience of managing large-budget international creative projects. He is also a professionally qualified trainer and as such regularly devises, delivers and coordinates monthly international events, conferences, workshops and performances. Bob is also a musician, performer and long-term musical collaborator with James and member of Napoleon IIIrd.


    UnCommons #3 - Cliffe Castle Museum Experience

    Napoleon IVth are looking for people to take part in a performance of a brand new composition especially written for Cliffe Castle in Keighley as part of Bradford Threadfest on the 28th of May 2017.

    The central clock on the ground floor next to the staircase provides us with a huge metronome and groups of musicians located throughout the building will be conducted remotely from there.

    Entry to this event is FREE, but it might be a good idea to register your place here to avoid disappointment.

    Interested in getting involved? Drop us a line using the contact form at the bottom of this page.

    River Holme Project

    Working with Holmfirth based conservation charity, River Holme Connections and artists Ben Simpson and Alistair Macdonald, James from Napoleon IVth is managing an Arts Council England funded community project which brings together three strains of art; sound art, visual art and video art.

    Regular updates and media can be found on the River Holme Project page. 

    People 1 still


    Sound Document - Leeds Central Library

    On the 26th and 27th September 2015 we took over Leeds Central Library.

    The survival of our libraries relies upon your support…….

    Traditionally silent places, this installation challenged the notion of a library as a noiseless environment. The intention was to draw attention to the increasing pressures placed on libraries, not only through cuts in funding but also through the steady progression of the digital age,  libraries must evolve and are evolving in order to survive.

    This sound installation was produced from scratch in the preceding weeks. It drew upon both the experience of those who regularly use and rely on the library as well as the fabric and history of the grade ii listed building itself. Live musicians performed alongside recorded sound and music emanating from 26 separate speakers placed around the library.

    The general public were encouraged to join in and were welcomed to bring acoustic instruments, an ear and an open mind.


    Open House 2014 - Union Chapel

    Sound installation  produced from scratch in the run up to the Open House Weekend 2014. It drew upon both the experiences of those who regularly use and rely on and Union Chapel as well as and the fabric and history of the building itself.

    Collaborators include includes Tom Rogerson (Three Trapped Tigers) and artist Joanna McCormick.

    Many people who regularly attend concerts at Union Chapel are completely unaware of the service and support that The Margins Project provides for people facing homelessness, crisis and isolation in the local community and beyond. The purpose of this installation is to connect the experience of Margins Project participants with the public visiting the building throughout the Open House Weekend, serving to increase public awareness of this important work.


    Evangelist - the remix


    Our reworking of Buffalo’s 2014 installation ‘Evangelist’.

    Evangelist is ten songs based on episodes in the life of one of America’s most notorious television evangelists presented in a nine room, immersive installation. The songs and installations explore the charisma, drive, relationships, successes, failures and tragedies of an engrossing character.

    Our remix combined elements of these recordings with live performances in surround sound.


    An embarrassment of musical riches...
    The NME
    The kind of performance that makes you want to call everyone you care about and tell them they should be here to see it.
    The Fly
    I have never experienced anything like this, I can only describe it as like a sonic massage.....


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