Into the ninth month of the year already and my what a busy one this has been. August is typically the month for much of Europe to slow down and sit on a beach, or to sit in muddy tents in music festivals, whilst I seem to have been dashing around more than ever!
I’ve just returned from Amsterdam where I attended the launch of Night Fall with Dutch National Ballet at The Uitmarkt. The Uitmarkt is the largest annual festival in the country, a vibrant three-day celebration of the Netherlands’ cultural scene, and a time to officially launch the new cultural season by showcasing the very best in music, art, theatre, dance, opera, literature and cabaret performances.
Night Fall is inspired by the famous ‘white acts’ from Swan Lake and La Bayadère, and is the first Virtual Reality ballet in the world and I had the honour of scoring the work which was choreographed by Peter Leung. Sitting in this purpose built tent with the hot sun beating down, packed out with guests, TV crews and journalists all round, wearing a Samsung VR headset and headphones was quite an experience indeed.
Now everyone should be able to watch the VR film on your smartphone. For the best experience, you can use Samsung Gear VR or a smartphone in combination with a Cardboard. This will allow you to truly enter a different world. Check it out here.
Many thanks to my lovely interns, Sakura Tsuruta and Lee Gilboa, from Berklee College of Music in Boston too, who spent the summer with me here for their assistance in scoring the final work. It’s something we can all be very proud of!
My sound installation Dark as a Raven opened last month in Thoroughsale Woods, Corby, UK, a work that connects language, outer space and history, in a group show, Beyond Seven Mountains. The actual meaning of Corby is ‘dark as a raven’ and the raven is known to be able to mimic the human voice and sounds, so you can hear these echoing and resounding around the forest. The work also reflects on stories of Corby’s links to outer space – there is a large crater on the planet Mars and recently a local grandmother composed a prayer of peace dedicated to the lost crew of Apollo 11.
Now imagine you are walking through the woods and then suddenly your movement triggers these strange sounds emitting from speakers hidden in the trees. Responses to the work have been amazing so far and if you aren’t able to visit the work, then read all about the exhibition at the ever reliable Dutch Girl in London blog, and watch and listen to clips of the work here. The show continues until 31 October 2016.
I I am thrilled to announce the release the first of a series of EPs of re-workings of my recent Scanni album with composer and pianist Anni Hogan, taken from our debut album that came out on Cherry Red earlier this year. The Scanni album was received very positively and we thought that it would be fun to share some very different interpretations of the material. My mixes direct the songs into much darker sonic territory, tearing them apart and offering up over an hours worth of material, yours for the price of a chocolate bar or a diamond ring! Make your decision over at Bandcamp.
August was also a month in which I was generously portrayed in a popular modular synth blog, Horizontal Pitch, in a mammoth feature on my work and ideas. You can read all about it here. And at the same time I was honoured to announce my participation in the Robert Rauschenberg Residency in 2017, alongside some truly inspirational creative characters. I’ll be spending six weeks working in Captiva Florida working on a very personal book and a new project based around flamenco movement and sound.
Whilst recently digitising my generous archive of personally recorded concerts, I found this playful piece sitting at the end of a tape recording of the very first Smiths concert in London in 1983. I’d taped the gig on my portable tape recorder at the Rock Garden on 7th July, a tiny smoky club filled with curious London folks. I must have recorded an interview between Morrissey and DJ Janice Long off the BBC radio at the time, and then cut it up using only the pause button on the tape machine itself, inspired by the cut-up tapes of American author William S Burroughs. This is a youthful experiment, and nothing more than that, but thought it entertaining enough to share with the wider public. Enjoy it here.
Pattern Recognition, a contemporary dance work, returns to theatres this month too. I scored the piece with cellist Oliver Coates, in collaboration with choreographer Alexander Whitley and digital artist Memo Akten. Fortunately any London based readers can attend a very special free performance at the Victoria & Albert Museum on Sunday 25th September. You need to ensure you register for tickets but don’t miss out on this chance to enjoy this dark percussive and sensual work. Full details here.
September’s London Open House will be the first opportunity to hear my new permanent sound installation Vex. Created for a new house designed and built by architects Chance de Silva in the Stoke Newington area of London, you’ll be able to visit the house in its raw, unoccupied state with alongside a display of formwork photographs taken during construction by Hélène Binet.
Vex is a curved, fluted concrete house and music and architecture both take as their starting point Erik Satie’s ‘Vexations’ – a looping, repetitive piano work that lasts around 18 hours in continuous performance. The building is a three-storey studio house with top floor living spaces and a roof terrace accessed via a glazed roof pavilion. The music/sound is fully integrated within and around the building’s spaces. Vex is an unusual addition to the Northwold Cazenove conservation area. A limited edition CD of the soundtrack will be available on the day and at the Scanner store shortly afterwards. I hope that some of you might get along to experience it in-situ.
You can watch a video interview about the work over at Youtube, where Chance de Silva and myself engage in a conversation regarding the development, all filmed in the Scanner studio factory. Watch it here.
So until next month
::: listen :::
::: read :::
A unique sound installation in the Sounding Chamber of this astonishing building, celebrating 350 years of history and notoriety, offering up a sonic picture of the building and the ghosts of the building that have occupied it over time
01 August – 31 October 2016
As part of a group show Scanner presents a new sound installation Dark as a Raven. The mean of Corby is ‘dark as a raven’ which offers a very cinematic image. The Raven is also well known as a mythological oracle; a messenger between the Greek god Apollo and human kind. The work responds to the capacity of a raven to mimic human sounds, so recordings of ravens speaking have been spliced into emblematic phrases, both abstract and strange.
But a Storm Is Blowing from Paradise: Contemporary Art of the Middle East and North Africa
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