February has arrived with a chilly blast, with temperatures plummeting overnight and the employment of Scanner Thermals with immediate effect, and with typical poor scheduling I’m soon departing to Warsaw Poland in February where night lows hover around an icy -20 degrees Celsius. Ouch and double ouch!
It’s been a dance oriented few weeks, balletic even. I have been working in Lille France with choreographer Christian Rizzo who was previously my colleague as Professor Scanner at Le Fresnoy art school in Tourcoing. With the imminent premiere of his new production of le bénéfice du doute at Opéra de Lille, we worked long days in the studio and grand theatre in Lille to develop this evening long production. Seven dancers, seven mannequins, elegant lighting by Caty Olive and a stage stripped of artifacts and set design, much space was left for me to conjure up a mysterious and violent score. It was amusing to attend the premiere and marvel as people literally jumped in their seats at the sudden shifts in volume and tension, and especially at the closing section of a folk dance delivered to a hard techno gabba piece, beats spiraling around the auditorium, a sonic attack that brutally ended the night.
le bénéfice du doute continues to be performed around France at Théâtre de la Ville de Paris, Forum du Blanc Mesnil and Arsenal de Metz, so I hope that some of you might get to see it soon. Bring earplugs if necessary.
At the very same time I’ve been scoring The Big Dance with Joel Cadbury of UNKLE and South. With The Olympics fast approaching in London we have been busily writing music for the Big Dance Schools Pledge, where young people around the world will be encouraged to learn a short dance piece by choreographer Wayne McGregor, and attempt a global world record for the most people dancing at the very same time on 18 May 2012. This will be followed up by a full-length work in Trafalgar Square on 14 July 2012 with two thousand dancers moving to our score. Our epic and rhythmic soundtrack will be available for digital download very soon.
On 19 February there will be a release of MONK MIX: Remixes and Interpretations of Music by Meredith Monk on a double CD, featuring my radical remix of her song Long Shadows, already described by celebrated radio presenter John Schaefer as ‘a new song with Monk as “lead singer” over a typically lush tapestry of beats, orchestral sounds, “found sound,”. Etc.’ The release also features interpretations by Björk, Don Byron, Sakamoto, Lee Renaldo of Sonic Youth, Arto Lindsay, King Britt, Toddy Reynolds and held together at the helm by DJ Spooky who acted as Executive Producer on the release.
If you are curious to hear selections of works like this that might not be heard outside a theatre or Opera hall then tune in here, as I created a special mix for FBi Radio 94.5fm Sydney called Unheard Movements, where you can hear sections of Six Order Pieces (2011), Blink (2011) and le bénéfice du doute (2012).
Production is currently in place for the first in a series of Scanner Archive releases on Sub Rosa Belgium. The first of these, Colofon & Compendium (1991-1994), will highlight mostly unreleased material from this period, including all of the music recorded for the Mowax label Headz compilation which never saw the light of day. To be released on a limited double vinyl LP and CD in a few months time, you can hear some of the finely tuned mastering work in advance by Jos Smolders of EARLabs NL.
An instrumental mix of Scanner 1 CD will follow this, which has never been heard before in this condition, as well as other exclusive recordings. Stay tuned.
Work of mine is also featured in this propulsive Darkfloor mix, with brain-flexing modular work-outs right through to crunchy hip-hop. What more could you ask for in these dark days?
This month I will be taking part The Wire’s Off the Page event at The Playhouse Theatre Whitstable UK on 25 February, where I will be in conversation with The Wire’s Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Tony Herrington, Vicki Bennett (People Like Us), Chris Cutler (ReR Records), and Kiran Sande (FACT, Blackest Ever Black) to discuss possible responses to the challenges posed by music’s changing eco-system in what looks set to be a heated debate. Off The Page is the UK’s only literary festival devoted to music criticism and audio culture so hope that some of you might be able to attend.
So enough chatter and back to demolishing some more deadlines.
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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. If you would like to be kept informed as each episode is posted, join artangel’s mailing list by clicking here .
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. Additionally it features remixes of NightJam by Stephen Vitiello, Hakan Lidbo, Troy Banarzi, Si-cut.db and Pete Lockett.