August 2018

Hello
I’m writing this in transit to Saskatoon in Canada, where I’ll be performing my first show ever there at Remai Modern, a new museum of modern and contemporary art close to the vast and ever-changing Canadian Prairies. Another wonder of technology is that seemingly no matter where you are on the planet you are still able to remain in touch with others! And of course, it’s also a chance for me to catch up with countless movies en route. 

For this very special show I’ll be performing live scores to two short films by influential French filmmaker, Alain Resnais: Toute la mémoire du monde (1956) and Le chant du Styrène (1959). I was honoured that Resnais himself gave me his blessing to re-score these films, wondering, rather amusingly at the time, why anyone would want to watch these ‘commercial’ films! Toute la mémoire du monde takes the viewer through the wonders of Bibliothèque nationale de France, whilst Le chant du Styrène is an extraordinary short documentary film commissioned by French industrial group Pechiney to highlight the merits of plastics. 

52 Spaces (Antonioni)

 In addition, I’ll be performing a version of 52 Spaces, a popular work of mine from 2002. Commissioned by The British School at Rome for film director Michelangelo Antonioni’s 90th birthday in 2002, 52 Spaces uses sounds of the city of Rome and elements of The Eclipse (1962) to create a soundtrack of an image of a city suspended in time, anonymous and surreal. 

I took the closing section of the film, a two-minute series of 52 framed images, and slowed it down to a kind of mnemonic slide show, and accompany it with sounds from the original minimal score and sound design, whilst recomposing an entirely new viewing of the film, offering up a contemplative and mysterious chronicle, a space for contemplation and reflection as the soundtrack weaves an imaginary narrative. And yes, audience members have been known to fall asleep through this 🙂

Back at home Lost at Sea is still on display at the Scottish Fisheries Museum, so I took the time to reflect upon the production and presentation of this here, where I wrote more in depth about this tribute to the many men who lost their lives in the East Neuk fishing industry in the past. You can also download the entire work in full here

In Doubt, Shadow Him! a new album by hifiklub + Lee Ranaldo came out on 6th July on Joyful Noise Recordings, accompanied by a documentary film by Arnaud Maguet, and I am honoured to have taken a small part in this release. I’ve been friends with Lee from when he was still blasting away in Sonic Youth many years ago so it’s joy to offer some sounds and production to this amazing new album. Reviews have been extremely enthusiastic , and even recently featured in Rolling Stone magazine as one of their Top Ten albums to listen to alongside RP Boo and Future. Treat yourself to a copy. 

A little reminder – I was delighted to have a great conversation with Mylar Melodies last month for his We Bleep Podcast, which you can watch in full over here. Over 90 mins or so we talk about music, memory, synths, bad gigs, great gigs, working spaces, tape loops, technology, recording the dead, and so much more. And plenty of amusing noises to sample in there too if you are feeling creative! Watch it here, or download it as an Apple Podcast, alongside all the other fascinating artists he’s interviewed this year.

I’ve also had the pleasure of encouraging my wife to be creative over the last month and she’s already gained an extraordinary amount of admirers it seems, hiding behind her Lady Modular guise. Her Instagram account alone has received over 100,000 views of her little modular synth videos, so please tune in if you are interested in seeing what a bad influence I am. Her YouTube channel has also just kicked off into action, and a chance to admire another dynamic woman taking on the testosterone swamped electronic music scene is fantastic!

Under the Glove

As ever, it’s the summer so it’s slower, lighter and a chance to breathe. I’ll be travelling a lot over the next months to come, with all manner of quirky and adventurous new projects in development, so I wish you all a lovely summer! Now back to choosing another bad movie on board 😀

Until next month
Robin
Professor Scanner

::: listen :::
Swans: Die Tür Ist Zu (Mute)
Sonoio: Fine (Dais)
Carl Stone: Electronic Music from the Eighties and Nineties (Unseen Worlds)
Russell Mills & Mike Fearon: Still Moves 3 (Slow Fuse)

::: read ::: 
Lee Bul Monograph (Hayward Publishing)
Georges Perec: Wishes (Wakefield)
David Stubbs: Mars by 1980 (Faber)
Nick Soulsby: Swans Sacrifce and Transcendence (Jawbone)

::: watch :::
Calibre: Matt Palmer UK
Skyscraper: Rawson Marshall Thurber USA
Finding Your Feet: Richard Loncraine UK
Incredibles 2: Brad Bird USA

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