April is here, a month that the poet T.S. Eliot called the ‘cruellest month,’ but hopefully won’t be a painful as that.
I spent some valuable time over in Rijeka Croatia in March, meeting with the team behind the Rijeka Airport sound installation project with Music Tech Fest. It was an extraordinary adventure, sharing time with Swedish producer Håkan Lidbo and British sound artist Jack James, recording local musicians, learning about the Istrian musical scale and so much more. The installations will be presented in July 2016 and be permanently available to all travellers so the responsibility is on us now to create the work.
It was so joyful to return home and learn that Rijeka was awarded European Capital of Culture in 2020 too, having spent time with the team who made this happen. Congratulations to everyone involved there. I will be in Berlin May speaking about the project and presenting sounds as part of Music Tech Fest Berlin too so hope to meet some of you there.
My live show with audio visual team The Light Surgeons proved to be a wonderful success at the Convergence Festival in London too. Here’s hoping that we might get to perform this LDN-REDUX show in other fancy places in the future. I was delighted to have had the chance to see Nurse With Wound live directly afterwards, literally across the road.
I’ve happily taken on the role of producer recently. Last year I worked on the very successful album for American singer songwriter Torres, and more recently have been working with French band HiFiKlub, a wildly inventive rock collective who frequently collaborate with all manner of characters from Lee Renaldo of Sonic Youth, Ikue Mori of DNA fame, Mike Watt, DJ Olive and many, many more. I produced, mixed and played on their most recent release, Mayol, which combines field recordings of a football stadium with a live improvisation. In addition a second CD features a variety of French philosophers reading texts over processed recordings of the football recordings that I took to a whole different level.
To celebrate the album release we are playing a show in Toulon France at Hôtel des Arts, the same day the album is officially released. Just recently I’ve also been producing new material with them featuring Roddy Bottum of Faith No More so that’s another thrilling adventure.
Pattern Recognition will finally be premiered in April in London. Having worked on this project for the last six months with choreographer Alexander Whitney and digital artist Memo Akten I’m so excited to see the final results on stage. An additional show was added since the first two sold out, and we’ll all be speaking about the collaboration on stage after the premiere. You can watch a clip of the show here and marvel as lights and bodies dance in unison. The show should then tour later in the year.
The fruits of my many secret labours came to fruition this month in a variety of ways, having had to sign Non Disclosure paperwork for countless projects. Commercial work is often like dancing with the devil, never quite knowing where you are with the production and with frequently absurd requests – ‘can you add the sound of clouds to the soundtrack please, Robin?’ To which I answer ‘remind me, how exactly do clouds sound?’
A more positive outcome of such challenges is my collaboration with British fashion designer Stella McCartney for her new POP perfume. The campaign stars Grimes, Kenya Kinki-Jones, Amanda Sternberg and Lourdes “Lola” Leon otherwise known as Madonna‘s daughter, in a manner that celebrates friendship and independence. The preview for this is online now and stay tuned for the full campaign to kick in very soon. Watch it here.
I’ve been collaborating with the amazing young French artist Aurelie Hoegy recently too, on a series of live performances that will take place in the next month, at Palais de Tokyo in Paris, London and the Brussels Art Fair. Check out her unsettling and inventive work here.
If you have a spare hour or so to spend then you might enjoy reading an expansive interview with me for Australian Musician magazine, where I touch on my conjuring skills (seriously), music concrete, ambient music and the good and bad of developing technologies. Read it here.
Freebie time. Late last year award-winning sci-fi writer Geoff Ryman was commissioned to write a new story for the BBC, investigating the portrayal of gender in utopian science fiction, as part of BBC Radio 4’s Utopia season. I scored the new work and a separate documentary exploring the subject. Since I’d had a number of requests to hear the original score, without words on top, I’ve offered this as a freely downloadable gift at Soundcloud. Listen here.
Scanni, my debut album with Anni Hogan, has been received extremely positively in the press and by the public alike, which is most encouraging, and you can treat yourself to this and read more about it at our official website now too. Digital available here at iTunes and real CDs here.
So, now it’s back to five other ballet scores, a 24 hour piece of music to be premiered in the summer and a sound installation at a grand National Trust property in May. More on these next month.
Until next month
::: listen :::
::: read :::
Between the Bullet and the Hole
The Sydney Biennale
Exhibition of work with artist Aura Satz. Features a short film that I designed all the sound for, which examines the role of women in ballistic research, early computing and pattern perception in warfare.
Artangel Interaction invited