As if always in transit, I’ve just returned from Groningen in The Netherlands for the European premiere of Split, a new work by Australian choreographer Lucy Guerin. We previously worked with Rambert Dance on Tomorrow, a hugely ambitious project with live orchestra, dancers and electronics back in 2016, but this is a far more modest but equally powerful work.
In a set piece as if designed by Samuel Beckett, there is a square, a stage, a world, a life. The space is tight and time getting shorter. In Split, the dancers Melanie Lane and Lilian Steiner, one clothed and one naked, are framed by ever-diminishing dimensions of space and time with escalating intensity, reflecting the dilemmas of negotiating with oneself and others in a world of increased pressure and reduced resources.
The score is a deeply resonant, unadorned work, repetitive with a heartbeat-like pulse to it, running to almost sixty minutes. Given that I’ve now composed over 65 dance works since 1996 I’m now considering releasing a generous special edition box set of many of these works, largely unheard and unreleased, if there is enough interest that is!! So let me know if this might be of interest to you as a listener. I’m trying to gauge interest to see if it’s worth actually manufacturing. The show itself will continue off to Germany, Denmark, Japan, New York, Paris and other places in the year to come so keep an eye on dates to see this very special show indeed.
Prior this to this trip I was in Saskatoon Canada to present my live soundtracks to film by Alain Resnais films and Michelangelo Antonioni, both remarkably blessed by the directors themselves. It’s unreal sometimes to consider how open and supportive such people can be. The show at the astonishingly grand Remai Modern Museum was a huge success and given the level of interest from promoters in Toronto and Vancouver I’m now also planning on coming out next year to perform a series of live shows, each unique to the location. Stay tuned for these forthcoming dates.
An amusing moment on the evening of the performance itself was an elderly spectator who greeted me with me the unforgettable line “I thought you’d be taller,” to which I answered I had always insisted on having my photograph taking with smaller people than me, and tiny models of buildings created so that I towered over them. People can indeed be so very quirky.
Then it was off to The Netherlands to spend some time in the studio in Amsterdam with one of my oldest friends Tez, who continues to work on productions that cross the boundaries between science, wearable technology, music and maths. Check out his work here. We are working on a new release in 2019 and some possible Dutch shows too.
Next month I’m performing live at the Modular Day Barcelona event on 8 September, which looks set to be a very fun event. I’ll be performing at the beautiful industrial space of Hangar Ricson, alongside Maria Teriaeva and Puntalaberinto, probably already having exhausted myself exploring the Modular Meet and chatting with so many people during the daytime! I love the social side of these events.
My work will also be presented the same week at Gaudeamus in Utrecht in The Netherlands but unfortunately, I can’t there. I composed a new work based around Jazz Standards for electronics and bass clarinet. This composition began as a conversation between Gareth Davis, the live performer, and myself, towards making some new recordings together. I was drawn to his suggestion of reconsidering ways forward through music of the past, and we agreed that using a jazz standard could offer many sonic possibilities. Influenced by musique concrète and earlier works that combined recordings and live instruments I composed this work around the popular tune, Fly Me to the Moon. Taking something overly familiar and deconstructing the themes offers a fresh way of hearing the music. For the live performance, I have offered a guide to Gareth through the sections of the work but he also has a lot of freedom, and responsibility of course, to make it his own too! Here’s to an ever-changing living piece of music. I’m sad to miss the show myself but hope some of you might be able to tell me what it’s like!
My work can also be heard in rather an unusual show this month too. Andy Superstar is a dance evening about the lifestyle of the 1960s based around Andy Warhol. In addition to my music will be recordings by The Lovin Spoonful, Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, The Troggs, The Velvet Underground, Bobby Vinton, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Joe Cocker, Burial, Annie Gosfield, Bob Dylan and Anders Trentemøller. Choreographed by Jutta Ebnother & Orkan Dann, the show runs from September until 2019 in Germany.
I recently treated myself to the amusingly named Moog Drummer from Another Mother, ostensibly a drum machine which can in fact be so much more. Within the first hour I’d already recorded this strange little piece which you can watch here.
I’ve always enjoyed music playlists, especially when it offers an opportunity to enter in the world and minds of other artists you’ve long admired. What DO they listen to at home, in the car or whilst washing up? Does the minimal electronica musician exclusively only listen to reductionist bleeps and bloops in their white-washed futuristic living room, or do they hammer out Beyonce tunes for pleasure?
With the recent publication of David Stubbs Mars by 1980: The Story of Electronic Music I wrote a piece about playlists, as well as contributed three tunes to an invitation from the publishers which you can read all about here. Such a joy to find my listening suggestions alongside those of Cosey Fanni Tutti of Throbbing Gristle, Stephen Mallinder of Cabaret Voltaire, Trevor Jackson, Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream, Chris Frantz of Talking Heads, Lady Modular and others. Read the entire playlists here.
Until next month
::: listen :::
Stephan Mathieu: Radiance (Schwebung)
Kai Niggemann: Heart Murmur (Kalakuta Soul)
Anna Meredith: ANNO (Moshi Moshi)
Chris Watson: Locations, Processed (Moog Recordings)
::: read :::
Matthew Herbert: The Music (Unbound)
Alex Prager: Silver Lake Drive (Thames & Hudson)
David Wojnarowicz: The Weight of the Earth (MIT)
Lumia: Thomas Wilfred and the Art of Light (Yale)
::: watch :::
Ant-Man & The Wasp: Peyton Reed USA
Al Autor: Manuel Martín Cuenca Spain
Come Inside My Mind: Marina Zenovich USA
BlacKkKlansman: Spike Lee USA