What an adventurous and busy last month this has been, and especially since February is always a little shorter in days than other more generous months, so let’s begin.
I began my role at Visiting Artist at MIT (The Massachusetts Institute of Technology) in Cambridge USA in February, where over the next months I will be investigating bodily experience of sound and spatial practice in a series of workshops, presentations and collaborations. Working alongside American sound artist Stephen Vitiello, the trip was a rollercoaster ride through countless creative possibilities and ideas.
I had the chance to see the secretive bunker basement where hackers once developed slept, coded and invaded our future, unbeknownst to all else in the building, the robotics department where I shared company with human looking creations with electronic souls, was given a private tour of the MIT Museum, battled against a freezing snowy blizzard, explored modular synths, met the legendary Spanish Catalan chef Ferran Adrià, attended a concert of Alvin Lucier works where snow ploughs outside competed with resonating wires indoors and so much more.
The sheer perils of trying to record can be experienced in detail here when I was trying to record a particular percussive sound in the house I was staying at. The dog of the house was keen to collaborate, but listen to what happens when I encourage him to be quiet.
I will be returning again in March, April and May, as well as engaging with Berklee College of Music where I will be collaborating with students as part of their new Interdisciplinary Arts Institute, include cutting-edge works for live electronics and custom modular synthesizers as well as video and dance. That means new work, new ideas and new friends. A free show on12th March is open to all who wish to attend, details here.
On the 20th anniversary of the passing of Derek Jarman I reviewed many of the materials in my archive relating to the release of my tribute CD The Garden is Full of Metal (Sub Rosa 1997) and having had countless requests over the years for a reissue, have added twenty minutes of unreleased material to this reissue. Complete with new artwork, remastered by Lawrence English and featuring four new unreleased pieces, this special edition CD will be out very soon via record shops and my very own Scanner Shop where you can purchase individual WAV and MP3 files if you already own the original release. I’m thrilled to have this back in print. You can also download a free exclusive track off this release over at Soundcloud
Out on 24 March will be my first live album in many years, Electronic Garden, recorded in Dresden in 2007, out on Bine Music. With a catalogue busy with commissions, soundtracks and studio releases it’s extremely rare to find an official live recording of mine, so Electronic Garden stands out by measure of this. Recorded outdoors in the small open air amphitheatre in the big garden of Dresden in Germany, the set comprised of variations on tunes as well as a significant portion of largely improvised unreleased material, performed exclusively here and never again. This will also be available at Scanner Shop very soon.
For the last two months I’ve been working on this 30-second advert to promote the FT Weekend, the Saturday and Sunday edition of The Financial Times and now finally it can be seen. The campaign titled ‘Experience a different world‘, runs across TV, cinema, radio, outdoor, print and digital media and features an exclusive new score of mine. Watch it here
Continuing the commercial flow, I was also commissioned to design the sound for this inviting and playful Diesel Time Machine adventure, where you can move through your own Facebook history, or Diesel’s own timeline, by scrolling the mouse across the screen. When you reach a certain point time stops and then speeds back to an explosive climax.
Opening very briefly in Milan this month (13th – 16th March) will be a huge show I’ve worked on with POST. Taking place at Accademia di Belle Arti di Napoli, the exhibition combines performance, fashion and digital artistry in a series of ambitious interactive works.
In a new series of inter interactive installations, POSTmatter moves beyond editorial to curate physical exhibitions, using intuitive interfaces that respond to human movement and touch. Originally launched in 2010 as a series of independently published editions for the iPad, POSTmatter was designed with the interactive potential of tablet devices in mind. This opened up new possibilities for interactive content, responsive fashion editorials and groundbreaking film work. Having been honoured at numerous industry awards – including the Digital Magazine Awards, the Webbys and Apple’s Editor Picks – 2013 has seen POSTmatter expand its web presence as well as move into events.
Having worked extensively with POST on previous iPad editions I’ve now created the entire soundtrack for this immersive exhibition. I hope that some of you might get the opportunity to see this. I’ll certain publish documentation of this online once it’s over.
Time for some gifts – You can download fifteen minutes of exclusive, unreleased material I created for a radio broadcast via Soundcloud. Alongside mixes from Roel Funcken (Funckarma), Synth Sense, Herd and Oberman Knocks, you can enjoy my exploratory breathing space here. Treat yourself.
It’s been a conversational month too, with Monocle 24 Radio, a part of the Monocle publishing group, choosing to feature an interview with me as a highlight of their broadcast schedule, with a focus on artists. Download it for free and listen to a conversation with Georgina Godwin alongside controversial South African painter Beezy Bailey, opera director Amir Hosseinpour, visual partnership Huntley Muir and the godfather of ambient music Brian Eno. Download.
Then I spoke with American writer Colin Marshall for his Notebooks on Cities and Culture blog, where our conversation ranged across such broad subjects as Nick Drake, B.S. Johnson, the value of my work taking me to places I can’t choose, the ease of complaint and the difficulty of embracing these differences, the importance of pattern in all areas of life, the complex question of how to cross a street in Vietnam, travel as a means of seeing your own home, photography as a means of notetaking, my shelves of diaries, kept every single day since age twelve, and what it says about my overarching skill of discipline, and self-documentation’s need of a system to give it meaning. This and a whole lot more can be downloaded here.
BBC Radio Four broadcast The Haunted Apparatus last month, a radio production that I collaborated on with poet and writer Ian McMillan. Featuring interviews with guests such as Jackie Kay, Charlie Higson, Chuck Palahniuk and David Toop, the show explored the use of the telephone in our world. Thirty years after the invention of the mobile phone we made strange what we very quickly came to take for granted – the ability to send a disembodied voice down a line. The work is a reverie on time and place, exploring why hanging on to the ‘uncanny’ nature of phone calls, could help us understand what’s happening to us – as we become deluged with new ways to communicate. Though it’s no longer available to listen back on the BBC site I’ll be searching out ways to make this available to listeners if you wish.
Though written in Polish you can still enjoy a feature on my work, since it gives you a clue as to what I was listening to in one day in February, as well as my choices of fine releases from 2013, a belated Top Ten of music. That means sounds from Cliff Martinez, David Tudor, Oval, Tim Hecker, Cabaret Voltaire, Jimi Hendrix, Nosaj Thing, Bass Clef, Gazelle Twin and so very much more. My ears are never tired of music, new and old alike.
I was delighted to write about my Top Ten film choices for British film magazine, Electric Sheep, this month. I wrote very personally about films that I’ve had an emotional connection to over my lifetime, including works by Chris Marker, Ken McMullen, Leos Carax, Elem Klimov, Larisa Shepitko and others.
Once back from Berklee and MIT, I’ll be giving a keynote speech at iFIMPaC, that’s the International Festival for Innovations in Music Production and Composition, in Leeds, and performing live, so hope to see some British friends there too. Then after a few more sleeps it’s back to MIT at the end of March so collecting lots of travel miles in exchange for a lack of sleep.
So as always thanks for your support and wishing a lovely month to you all.
::: listen :::
Nils Frahm: Spaces (Erased Tapes)
Donata Dozzy Plays Bee Mask (Spectrum Spools)
Wrangler: Mind Your Own Sequence (11154)
John Cage: Early Electronic & Tape Music (Sub Rosa)
::: read :::
Derek Jarman: A Finger in the Fishes Mouth (Test Centre)
Alvin Lucier: Music 109 (Wesleyan Uni Press)
Loris Greaud: EndextenD (HYX)
Daniel Arsham: Monograph (Galerie Perrotin)
Dallas Buyers Club, Jean-Marc Valleé, USA
Her, Spike Jonze, USA
Only Lovers Left Alive, Jim Jarmusch, USA
Nymphomaniac, Lars von Trier, Denmark
Bury St Edmunds
29 March – 24 May 2014
The Crafts Council presents Weave Waves, a digital commission, which brings together sound artist Scanner, and textile designer Ismini Samanidou.Weave Waves explores sound, geography and mapping and how this data relates to both textile weave structures and musical scores.
Scanner and Samanidou were inspired by the visual and technical similarities between the digital software they both use and the physicality of code.
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 clickinghere .
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.