Scanner Lloyd Webber Reportage
September began in a grand style with the world premiere of Kirikou & Karabato an extremely enthusiastic sell-out crowd in Lyon France. Watching the enraptured faces of countless children and adults immersed in the world of this little African boy and his adventures with the Sorceress was unforgettable. Hearing my soundtrack accompany live dancing squirrels, a sexy slinky snake man, sinking boats, burning huts and a quest through the underworld, was an even more strangely surreal experience. Moving onto Paris this month, with over 60,000 tickets already sold, we’ve got 100 shows at Casino de Paris until the New Year, and then it begins touring the world. Remember to call me Scanner Lloyd Webber next time we meet!
This month my permanent installation, Turning Light, finally opened at Walkergate Park in Newcastle, one of the most advanced units of its kind in Europe. It offers comprehensive , highly specialist services for people with neurological conditions, such as head injury, multiple sclerosis, stroke, Parkinson’s and motor neurone disease. The therapeutic benefits of sound and light in physical and emotional therapy are well documented, and Turning Light explores these in this work installed in the swimming pool area. The LED lights produce a field of colour across the space, complimenting the ambience sound, encouraging a healthy balance and harmony in both patients and staff working in the pool area, creating a positive energy in a functional space.
Any visitors to the West Midlands in the UK might be interested to take a look at the inspiring show, The Equiano Project, which celebrates the life and times of the 18th Century writer and campaigner Olaudah Equiano which runs from 2006 until 2008 at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. I designed and composed the soundtrack to a series of walkthrough installations and multimedia works to highlight the life of this former slave, writer and abolitionist, who was instrumental in abolishing the Transatlantic Slave Trade on 25th March 1807. The passing of this Act was the first significant legislative attempt to deal with the reality of slavery, and had unimaginably far-reaching social and economic consequences in both the Old and New World, touching lives of all British people. Open until 13 January 2008, FREE admission.
My film project with British filmmaker and artist Steve McQueen, Gravesend, continues to show at the Venice Biennial but can now additionally be seen at The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago. The subject of this 35mm film is coltan, a mineral so very valuable it is proving to be the new blood diamond. Used in all cell phones and computers, eighty percent of this mineral comes from the Congo. Symbolic of a new global economy unable to shake the vestiges of neo-imperialism, McQueen’s approach is unapologetically abstract. Compressing within the space of 17 minutes a poetic narrative of empire as told through a series of formally striking shots with sound design by Scanner, it’s a work that hopes to open up a dialogue.
FREE items are always appealing so here are a couple this month that could appeal. The Storung Festival over in Barcelona, where I performed back in May 2007, has uploaded live performances for download by myself in addition to Murcof,Kangding Ray and many others. At present you can watch the videos but audio is forthcoming too.
Any regular readers may remember I was working on an artist’s residency at the Museumsquartier in Vienna back in July. Well, now they are celebrating their five-year anniversary and I was commissioned to compose a mobile ring tone in celebration, which can be freely downloaded here. Entitled Snipe, it’s meant to creep up on your silently but be quick as there’s only 1000 free downloads before it ends! I hope to hear it ringing out loudly in cinemas and theatres soon!
Still over in Austria, this month a new work of mine will be broadcast on Kunstradio. Entitled Draussen/Drinnen, this commission takes an improvisatory approach to a very simple idea – what exists between the outside and the inside? Marked by a central point in the piece of a recording of a boys choir recorded in a Paris cathedral in the early 1930s, captured from the street, not inside the building itself, the work begins on the outside. Using local recordings of Vienna at the time of the recording session itself, spoken word, a walk through the snow in Lithuania at night, a boat ride in Stavanger, through the boys choir, you disappear ever more into the ether, into a collective memory. The second half moves to the interior, using domestic recordings, movements through a building and closes as it begins, with a choral voice and a drum beat. It can be heard on 14 October at 23.05 CEST and online.
This month also heralds the publication of Night Haunts (Verso Press), compiling the writings of Sukhdev Sandhu, reclaiming the streets of London from dusk until dawn. With ‘Sleep’ as the last tale just published online at our site, we’ve spent over 18 months now taking a journey into the urban heart of darkness. This project takes you through the sewers and across the skies in a police helicopter, via exorcisms, taxi ranks and Samaritans. With a remarkable private launch of the book at London’s City Hall in late September, this month we’ll be creating a very special event at the Curzon Cinema in London with film showings and readings and live music. Night related films will be screened including Jesus Blood which was the inspiration for the now legendary work by composer Gavin Bryars, Nice Time that captures Piccadilly Circus in 1957 whilst Boys from the Brown Stuff documents the sewage flushers of the city. You’ll never see or hear London the same again.
ArtGit debuts this month in Strasbourg. It’s a compressed version of Githead where we expand upon our songs in extended live versions, treating voices, looping, transforming and finding new directions for familiar structures. I will also be performing in a very unusual context later in October at the Museum of Garden History in London as part of their Atmospheres: Field Recording and the World of Natural Sound festival With a week dedicated to shows and presentations by Chris Watson, BJ Nilsen, Leafcutter John, and Biosphere, I will be presenting an exclusive commission for this unique occasion.
So another typically lazy month for me 🙂
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::: diary dates :::
22 July – 31 October
This sound installation explores an idea of the ensemble voice. Traditional choirs use a series of voices to compliment each other in an elegant formation, but here you listen to the singular voice of the artist in a choral manner. Using breaths and pauses within the piece to echo around this open location, the work suggests a collision between physical space and the human voice.
Klusterblock, a playful amalgam of German/English, suggests the use of the voice as a wall of sound, leaving subtle traces of the human, embedding the walls with harmonies of an imaginary nature.
Artangel Interaction invited writer and historian Sukhdev Sandhu to write a nocturnal journal unfolding over the course of 2006. His postings will appear sequentially at this microsite specially designed by Mind Unit. Sandhu's forays see him prospecting in the London night with the people who drive its pulse, from the avian police to security guards, zookeepers and exorcists. Acclaimed artist and musician Scanner has collaborated with Sukhdev and Ian Budden of Mind Unit to compose the sound for the site.
Bittersweet Songs for the Sleepless City
NightJam is the latest project in Artangel Interaction’s Nights of London series of artist-led collaborations with people who have a special view on a hidden side of the nocturnal city. Scanner invited young people at New Horizon Youth Centre in King’s Cross to collaborate on a creative project that expresses how the city at night looks and sounds to their ears and eyes. Through music and voice workshops they explored the sense of freedom and fear, celebration and solitude of the concealing darkness. Meanwhile, they captured their nights on disposable cameras, taking images that are at times eerie, startling, contemplative and funny. NightJam presents two elusive visual and musical journeys through the city’s ‘quiet’ hours.
NightJam presents two music tracks, a film, photographs, that can be experienced and freely downloaded. A limited edition CD is also being distributed for free through the website. Now featuring remixes of NightJam by Stephen Vitiello, Hakan Lidbo, Troy Banarzi, Si-cut.db and Pete Lockett.