February 2018

Hello

So, February is already with us and I presume we all thought the same – where DID January go?

January was a positive start to the year and despite spending many years fighting off the ‘DJ Scanner’ tag I actually produced two DJ mixes that proved very popular.

The first mix was for XLR8R magazine. You can read a long interview feature, then download the entire mix featuring music from Loscil, Rush, Thomas Brinkmann, John Cage, Ben Frost, Aphex Twin, Cornelius Cardew, Bernard Parmegiani and many others. There is also a direct link to listen on Mixcloud if that appeals too.

Then the very lovely writer and broadcaster Stuart Maconie invited me to compile a Freak Zone Playlist for his celebrated BBC 6 Music show, in which I tried to capture some of the music that inspired me in the making of my new album Fibolae. This mix features another variety of artists, from Robert Fripp, Virgin Prunes, Pan Sonic, Negativland, AMM, Organum, Apparat, Swans and many more too. A total of thirty songs in sixty minutes! You can listen back here, but when it expires, do not despair, as I shall upload it to Mixcloud for wider distribution. Whilst January very much remained a month in the studio, February takes me back out on the road. It begins with a very special intimate show in London on 10th February at Iklectik, where 5 lucky attendees will take away with them a unique 7” single, completely free, otherwise unavailable anywhere else. This record will not be repressed or available digitally so I hope that the five lucky people will treasure their copy.

Then it’s off to Paris for the Nemo Festival with David Rothenberg, and then over to the ICA in Boston for Sounding the Cloud with Stephen Vitiello and Neil Leonard, a live performance to accompany the new exhibition Art in the Age of the Internet, 1989 to Today, where we will amplify the sound of the cloud, or something like that!

 I’m delighted to feature new work on this forthcoming album – Tone Science Module No.1 Structure and Forces, out on Tone Science / DiN on 16 March 2018. Tone Science has been set up by renowned British synthesist Ian Boddy to feature artists and performers working in the field of modular synthesis. This first release is a compilation album featuring nine artists from different musical backgrounds with the common thread being that all the tracks were composed entirely with a modular synth system. I’m delighted to present new work here, alongside Chris Carter of Throbbing Gristle, DivKid, and many other fine modular creators. Everything was created using a modular synth set up but unlike many available works on such systems this is an extraordinarily beautiful listen.

Small gestures can sometimes make the most significant difference. I just contributed material to Rebuilding l’Alt Empordà from Störung, a very special release to raise funds to help towards the reconstruction of the affected rural areas devastated by the effects of a tornado on the 7th of January, 2018, in the region of Alt Empordà in Catalonia. I’ve offered an exclusive track, alongside material from Pink Twins, Frank Bretschneider, Francisco López, Yui Onodera and others. Remember, it’s the small gestures that can have the greatest impact. Please do your utmost to support such a good cause.


Most exciting this month is the radical update to the Scannerdot website just launched, finely tuned by the architect of the site, Dr Eric Scott, otherwise known as Day for Night, who runs a digital creative studio in LA. Like a grand old car it still needs a little retuning, but it offers a fresher and more dynamic approach, with the ability to search through now and read all about dance productions I’ve scored since the 1990s, writings of mine and an archive of all these newsletters. Indeed, these very newsletters will now remain exclusively to you as a subscriber so cherish these moments. So, let’s all put our hands together to Dr Scott and thank him from the bottom of our hearts!! ❤️

 I’ve been working in the studio preparing material for a new album release with American composer and writer David Rothenberg. As I wrote above we are premiering some of this new music in Paris this month for the Nemo Festival, but in the meanwhile you can listen to an early sketch of one of the new pieces here. It features modular electronics with live soprano saxophone, contralto clarinet and bird song, something rather unusual indeed!

Another new work was premiered on Kunstradio/ORF in January too. Radio RainFall wascomposed entirely live using my Eurorack modular synth system, utilising live radio signals from the Befaker ARRadio and processing them through the set up, in particular an Intellijel Designs Inc.Rainmaker, so the simplest sources were then looped, altered and changed in a very organic fashion. When making this I had in mind the work of David Tudor and John Cage and their use of radio signals always makes me think of Kunstradio and their exploratory ways. There was a sense of magic as this piece simply appeared in real time, with little preparation or structure.

Time for a little archive find now. Witness was a kind of musical game of Chinese whispers that brought memory, background and personality to bear on a brand new commission passed aurally from musician to musician. A community choir, classical string quartet, brass band and budding rock stars all took part, and what you hear here is the original demo of the music. Witness was heard for the first and only time on Saturday, 23 June 2012 at the iconic setting of Pasmore’s Apollo Pavilion, Peterlee, when Spennymoor Town Band performed the work written especially for the Durham International Brass Festival. 

Marking the start of a musical odyssey that migrated across County Durham, the composition was then passed along a chain of different music groups, each solely relying on what they have committed to memory from witnessing the previous group’s performance. No recordings were allowed. You can watch a documentary on the work, directed by Alan Fentiman here. Perhaps my tiniest interview ever can be found over at Big Shot magazine where I was asked to sum up 2017 in a few sentences, but you might enjoy the words.

 I’m off to explore New Zealand for much of March so check in on Instagram to keep up with my travel photos, so until next time, thanks for your support and see you next month! 

Professor Scanner

::: listen :::
Terre Thaemlitz: Deproduction (comatonse)
Dan Luscombe: Hounds of Love (iTunes)
David Edren: Electronic Gamelan Music (Social Harmony)
Ami Shavit: In Alpha Mood (Finders Keepers)

::: read ::: 
Eilon Paz: Dust & Grooves (Ten Speed Press)
Scott Walker: Sundog (Faber)
Matthew Gale: Red Star Over Russian (Tate)
Touch Movements (Touch)

::: watch :::
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri: Martin McDonagh
Molly’s Game: Aaron Sorkin
Burden: Richard Dewey
The Polka King: Maya Forbes

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