December 2012


So another year closes as a new one begins and an opportunity to mentally rewind, pause, reflect and digest all that has happened in just twelve months. As always it’s been a remarkably positive year, with adventures far beyond the reaches of my imagination.

Halfway between the heart and the head

In a sense it’s been all about numbers – composing the new Sprint cinema ad in the USA that will have been viewed by 2.5 billion people by the close of 2012, The Big Dance performance in Trafalgar Square with 1000 dancers, and most recently my film collaboration with director Chris Turner, G(O)OD+(D)EVIL that has reached over 80,000 people.

Whilst things might be winding down for the end of the year, November proved to be no slower than any other month. Even outside of work commitments I was fortunate enough to see live music shows by Three Trapped Tigers, 23 Skidoo with Damo Suzuki, Swans, Richard Bishop, Paco Peña, Fink, Aki Onda, Supersilent with John Paul Jones and Jason Becker on film.

The month began with the first official release in my archive series in collaboration with Belgian label Sub Rosa. Colofon & Compendium 1991-1994, is now available on CD, limited double vinyl and digital formats. The highest quality MP3s and Wav files are exclusively available at the Scanner store, or else you can visit iTunes and pick up the standard release there.

In the meanwhile I’ve re-mastered Scanner 1 (1993) and Scanner 2 (1994) for a double CD re-issue, out very soon, and even more appealingly re-mastered my classic CD The Garden is Full of Metal, dedicated to the late British film director, Derek Jarman, with four unreleased tracks that fit the mood magnificently. They should both be available in early 2013.

Over in Italy I recently showed a new installation work with my frequent collaborator Slovenian artist Uršula Berlot. Entitled Luminescence it’s al ight-kinetic installation which was displayed beautifully in Altan Chapel, San Vito al Tagliamento. You can see documentation of this majestic work here.

Perfection, of a kind

People often comment on the rather outlandish nature of some of the projects I create, collude and collaborate on but Skinsucka has to be one of the oddest in some time. Skinsucka is a design provocation, which explores and questions our attitudes to consumerism, robotics and bio-technology in a timeframe of 10 to 20 years from now. Clive van Heerden who initiated the project explains ‘We wanted to make a movie to draw attention to hyper consumerism that blinds us to the exploitative forces that make it possible to produce a garment in Asia, ship it halfway around the world to a high street in Europe, for less than the cost of junk food‘.

Presented as a film kinsucka reveals a scenario where microbial powered autonomous micro-devices share our living spaces and eat household dirt. As slaves and servants have done for millennia before them, these microbots, powered by bacterial energy, perform tasks we deem mundane, repetitive or dangerous.

Skinsuckas‘ clean the skin, removing the vestiges of make up and providing the remedies to combat the excesses of the night before They swarm over the body extruding metabolized household dirt, dressing the body in a daily ritual of real time, customized manufacture – yesterday’s discarded clothing ready for recycling.” And yes, having watched this you might also question how the world might be in the future.

I was honoured this month to become part of the jury for Premio Internationale Arti Sonore in a new international prize for Sound Art. Alongside Taylor Deupree and Max Eastley as the President I am very keen to hear what enchanted works will be entered into this competition for a €500 Euro prize. So please, if you are interested, take a look at the website and enter. I accept all kinds of bribes of course, like any good politician ;-D

Swedish production guru Håkan Lidbo recently launched a very exciting project online recently, The World Record Record, which collects together 57 music producers from around the world, who were invited to compose four bars of music for Mr Lidbo himself to compile into one merry tune. I was delighted to contribute materials to this pop record and hope that it encourages everyone to join in and listen. All proceeds from this project go to Amnesty International. You can buy it here.


Due to demand, Live_Transmission, my project with Heritage Orchestra that re-worked the songs of seminal English group Joy Division, will be touring in 2013, but until then here’s a little teaser of a film that offers a very compressed view of a magnificent night.

Watched by every human love

A short documentary on my recent project up in Durham at the International Brass Festival 2012 is available to view online now. Directly by Alan Fentiman, “Witness” was a music project and film produced in collaboration with Sound and Music, which focused on how we remember and interpret music. The original composition itself was performed only once, live at Victor Pasmore’s iconic Apollo Pavilion. The piece was witnessed by a classical quartet who immediately took their memories of the piece and rehearsed it for a new performance in front of further witnesses. This process was then repeated over a month with each further ‘witness’ passing the piece on. This was done without the use of manuscript or recording technology, relying purely on their memory of the piece.

Assisting the migration of the music across County Durham were local singers and musicians, brass bands, young people and visiting international street bands, whilst Alan ably documented the entire process from start until finish. Further iterations of Witness are currently being planned for overseas adventures so stay tuned.

It’s now almost twenty years since the first official Scanner CD release and a beautifully poignant way to close the year has been to present my work at Buckingham Palace in the presence of HRH The Prince of Wales in a performance of the Royal Ballet’s Qualia, a work I composed for choreographer Wayne McGregor. Whoever thought that might have happened?

So it only leaves me to thank you for your support, interest and encouragement and to wish you all a very happy festive time and safe entry into 2013.

Until next month.

Robin van Rimbaud
Professor Scanner

In silence, calm and sunshine
::: listen :::
X-TG: Desert Shore (Industrial)
Scott Walker: Bish Bosch (4AD)
Brian Eno: Lux (Warp)
Raime: Quarter Turns Over A Living Line (Blackest Ever Black)

::: read :::
The Sight of Silence: John Cage’s Complete Watercolours (Taubman Museum)
Sharon Old: Stag’s Leap (Jonathan Cape)
Ryoji Ikeda: Datamatics (Charta)
Cabinet Issue 40: Punishment

::: film:::
Argo, Ben Affleck, USA
Silver Linings Playbook, David O Russell, USA
De rouille et d’os, Jacques Audiard, France
Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet, USA


More Than Sound
Bonniers Konsthall

05 September – 02 December 2012

What is music? And what makes it something that is more than just sound? This autumn Bonniers Konsthall is focusing on how music is used and created in contemporary art. After taking on cultural forms such as literature, theater and film in recent exhibition Bonniers Konsthall now focuses on the encounter between art and music. What is music? And what makes it something that is more than sound? This autumn’s large group exhibition More Than Sound, featuring work by leading Swedish and international artists, will explore the nature of music and be a place where music is created.

Scanner will present a new installation Hiss Concréte. Other artists include Tarek Atoui, Tarek Atoui, Hans Berg med Nathalie Djurberg, Malin Bång, Ay?e Erkmen, Carl Michael von Hausswolff, Susan Hiller, Matti Kallioinen, Haroon Mirza and Susan Philipsz.

Night Haunts
By Sukhdev Sandhu
Design Mind Unit
Sound Design Scanner

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
Artangel Interaction

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.