So May is upon us and we are one step closer to summer here, though as present it feels as if we are experiencing all four seasons in just one day. In the last week we’ve reached winter lows with snow, apocalyptic rainstorms and as of today glorious sunshine.
April was a super productive month. Pattern Recognition finally premiered in London. Choreographed by Alexander Whitney and digital artist Memo Akten, it was a work that was beautifully summed up in the review at The Financial Times, where the critic wrote: “The experiment gets off to an uncomfortable start after nearly 10 minutes of Scanner’s electronic soundtrack and a faceful of strobing lights I would have welcomed a go on the thumbscrews.”
The work will be going on tour later this year so it’s your opportunity to see if you find it more entertaining than the critics. Meanwhile watch a clip here.
Then it was over to Toulon in France to perform the world premiere of my new collaborative album with cult French band HifiKlub, based around field recordings of the massive sports stadium Mayol in the city itself. We performed at the contemporary art space Hôtel des Arts, immersed in projections by celebrated artist Jacqueline Salmon, playing to a capacity crowd. Even the Minister of Culture was locked outside the building as we played as there were no seats left for him. Oh dear. You can pick up a copy of the double album here, which I produced and play on too.
Rather more generously this time the album has been received very positively. In France respected conductor and composer Jean Michel Bossini wrote: “The album is a masterpiece, Hifiklub & Scanner give energy, inventiveness, depth, sophistication and a rare sensuality work on an artistic level and unparalleled musical connection. Touching on psychedelic Pink Floyd, minimalist Brian Eno, Sonic Youth multidisciplinary, as fascinating as Glenn Branca, this spectral rock plunges into deep immersion simultaneously crossing the mystic and the profane, the hovering and groove. This album is without moderation. Hats off artists!” Now that’s more like it!
One of the pleasures of such travels is the element of exploration and discovery. We had the opportunity to explore Marseille and enjoy an inspiring exhibition of fanzines and small publishers at Frac, a striking glass and steel design in the centre of the city, followed by a visit to MuCEM, the most extraordinary contemporary architectural masterpiece. And to eat lots of fine food, naturally.
Much of April was spent in rehearsals and development for Tomorrow, a new contemporary dance work for Rambert Dance, that opens at Sadlers Wells in May. This new 30 minute work, choreographed by Lucy Guerin takes Shakespeare’s Macbeth as the source, but plays it backwards. It’s an ambitious work with a dozen dancers and a live score I’ve composed that utilises 11 players on strings and woodwind, plus electronics, and accompanies the work in a pulsing mysterious manner. Fortunately for those of you unable to catch this show BBC Arts Online will be filming the show as part of their Shakespeare Lives 2016 virtual festival. Stay tuned for a broadcast date.
May continues to be a month of openings and premieres. I have a very special installation opening in the UK at a uniquely historical location but there’s a press embargo until the launch half way through the month so you’ll just have to wait until next month to hear all about that, rather frustratingly. Meanwhile I’m popping over to Paris to take a bow on stage with choreographer Thomas Lebrun for his new productionAvant Toutes Disparitionswhich I scored alongside my American composer pal David Lang.
To close the month I’m off to Music Tech Fest in Berlin to offer my support, make lots of new creative friends and to present an iteration of my new Water Drops work, which will be permanently installed in Rijeka Airport in Croatia from July 2016. It looks set to be a fabulous adventure in a remarkable city as I’ll be performing alongside many fine folks. Full details available here.
Where are my gifts this month you may ask? Well, this month you can download a complete show of mine from the archives. Mapping Stockhausen was commissioned by and presented at Steim Amsterdam on 27 August 1996. I have never performed the work since and found this in my substantial Scanner archive of tapes. This is a live recording from a VPRO broadcast.
The piece bridges the abstract and the rhythmic. I found my notes that I made at the time for a presentation I presumably gave before the performance where I spoke about: “the merging of parts – ‘the bridge’ – the penetrating FLOOD SOUND / the subjective centre / untransformed, transposed, modulated / found objects / the interruption of the ‘personal’ into the music / Reconfiguring the ether sound.’ Listen and download it here.
The piece itself closes with a rather sweet recording of Karlheinz Stockhausen himself, since the previous year he’d spoken about my own work on the BBC radio:”He is very experimental because he is searching in a realm of sound which is not usually used for music…he has a good sense of atmosphere.” BBC Radio 3, August 1995
And continuing to explore this live archive here is a live recording of my collaboration with Amsterdam based, Italian born artist TeZ, at Smart Project Space, 05 April 2012. TeZ is director of Optofonica and a member of cult group Clock DVA. We’ve been friends for many, many years and on this evening happened to both be performing live sets, so decided on a whim to collaborate live. It’s a modest moment captured for you to enjoy today. Listen here.
Evaders by my friend Ori Gersht, which will be featured in their forthcoming show, But a Storm Is Blowing from Paradise: Contemporary Art of the Middle East and North Africa. I created all the sound design for this extraordinary work so hope some of you might get to see this film. Watch an excerpt of it here.
In other news my contribution to the recent TipTop Audio Records compilation now has a video to accompany it, a very lighthearted piece of stop animation. The music itself was all exclusively recorded on my Eurorack Modular system, performed live, so what you hear is very much of the moment. Watch it here.
And whilst speaking of modular synths here’s some magic that simply appeared in switching the machines on recently. Often the beauty of such technologies is the unexpected, the way that a work appears almost in a ghostly manner. Enjoy it here.
After moving home last year I made a conscious effort to import all my cassette tapes I’d made of ideas, sketches, experiments, from aged around 12 years old. One such piece, created in my bedroom aged 15 years old, can now be heard on a tape quite ironically, alongside a host of other tape-oriented works. I’m now considering making a special cassette only release of my own tape experiments if there’s enough interest. Listen and buy this compilation here.
To celebrate 1000 listens of my special mix for Tiptop Audio Records and Tiptop Audio at Mixcloud, we have made the mix freely downloadable for a brief moment. Treat yourself here with a very unique and immersive sound mix featuring works by Rafael Anton Irisarri, Zoviet France, Carter Tutti Void, Demdike Stare, Anthony Child, Swans, Autechre, Lubomy Melynk and many more. Download it for free here.
If were searching for a new dartboard or perhaps a poster for your bedroom I appeared in rather a large feature in Computer Music Magazine, June 2016 issue. With many glossy colour photos of my studio, sexy equipment and an interview that covers a huge amount of ground I recommend you pick up a copy to entertain yourselves.
So after a rather exhausting month, here’s to another!
Have a lovely May, which happens to be my birthday month (greetings warmly welcomed) and see you in sunny June.
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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.
But a Storm Is Blowing from Paradise: Contemporary Art of the Middle East and North Africa
29 April – 05 October 2016
The third exhibition of the Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative, illuminates contemporary artistic practices in the Middle East and North Africa and the region’s diaspora. Presenting a selection of newly acquired works for the Guggenheim’s permanent collection, this exhibition will feature installations, photographs, sculptures, videos, and works on paper from a broad selection of artists. The exhibition is curated by Sara Raza, Guggenheim UBS MAP Curator, Middle East and North Africa.Features Scanner’s collaboration with artist Ori Gersht. Following its presentation in New York, But a Storm Is Blowing from Paradise will travel to Istanbul’s Pera Museum in 2017.
Artangel Interaction invited