Hello Welcome to a fresh new year, the 19th year of the 21st century, and the 10th and last year of the 2010s decade. Most exciting is that 2019 has been designated as International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements, so here’s to a truly neon, tellurium, samarium year ahead!
After a few physiotherapy sessions at the hospital and a series of exercises my body is behaving much better now so once again the NHS system proves its worth, over and over again. Good timing too as 2019 is already shaping up with some wildly eclectic projects. More on this later.
Now let’s start the year with a special sonic review of 2018, only available to supporters of this newsletter. I realise that many people never have the chance to experience projects I’ve worked on, or perhaps they are just experiments in the studio and never heard outside. So here’s a chance to hear everything from the sound of rain in Liverpool resonating in the shopping centre, outdoor sound sculptures in Christchurch New Zealand, a reworking of the Kirikou ballet from 2007, works made with guitar pedals only and no instruments, a Vostok synth getting dirty, church bells in Saskatoon, modular synths going crazy, orchestral demos for live players and much more. All unreleased. The mix will be deleted within 7 days so don’t be slack! And it will not be available after this. Yes, that’s pretty much an entire album for free 😀
By the Code of Soil launched in December, a special collaboration with media artist Kasia Molga. What’s really intriguing is that at present no-one has experienced as it’s meant to be. Once the app has been downloaded by the designated number of people it will suddenly kick into life when you least expect it, so keep an eye on this! It uses live data streamed from satellites regarding the soil quality in Europe so stay tuned for its imminent birth.
When I was a teenager there was a series of hit records under the umbrella title of Stars on 45, where popular songs of the day would be combined into a medley, with a common beat and tempo underneath. It was like a kind of greatest hits of a certain artist or style of music, squashed into around 4 minutes. It was a novel and playful idea, and in conversation with my old friend Carsten Nicolai many years ago I joked about making one for him. So, almost two decades later, I finally made time over a quieter Christmas period to create a series of very special mixes.
Each mix of On 45 exclusively features only the music of one artist and a little drum machine. Nothing more and most certainly nothing less. Each mix was created entirely live using Native Instruments Traktor and Traktor Kontrol S2 and nothing else. What you hear is what happened in real time. Even the mistakes are left in. And as I’m not a DJ the mistakes take priority of course.
The series began with the work of German experimental artist Carsten Nicolai, aka Alva Noto, and, so far has continued with American producer Holly Herndon, British tech dub artist Andy Stott, American avant garde superhero Laurie Spiegel, British hyper-flamboyant artist Sophie, Italian musician and member of Nine Inch Nails Alessandro Cortini and others. I suspect by the time you read this this list will have expanded even further. The choice of artists reflects my own collection of music so hope you will enjoy the series as it develops over the weeks, months and perhaps years to follow. If the energy permits of course!
And since I’m still frequently referred to as ‘DJ Scanner,’ despite rarely ever spinning records in public (it’s probably over twenty years since I last even did this!), I thought I might as well use On 45 as a way to justify the title.
I will be infiltrating living rooms around the North of the UK and further afield throughout January, with the launch of FOURWORDSFUTURE. I designed the sound for this 30-second animation that will be screened 60,000 times on Channel 4/All 4, reflecting on the future of auditory media, football, faith, technology, the world, employment, and online youth.
Curated by Alan Dunn the work connects the dots between The Redmen: Independent Liverpool FC News, Scanner, Amina Abbas-Nazari, Mark Stewart, Graham Hibbert, Karl Bartos and Harthill Youth Centre. All in just 30 seconds. I hope you can get to view this.
Mass Observation (Expanded) and Ash 1.7 received a very positive review in the latest edition of The Wire Magazine. “The flickering density of what Rimbaud et al do is still astonishing: swimming keyboard lines, dial tones are percussion loops, distorted voices used as pads…rich with the hidden texture of everday life.” You can buy the CD of Mass Observation (Expanded) and digital downloads of both are available at Bandcamp.
January will be busy developing Mass Observation as a live performance, with the world premiere at Pompidou Centre in Paris, at the kind invitation of IRCAM. The show will be part of “Mutations/Créations 3,” which conjugates engineering and creativity in an evening of electro music composed of artistic experiments and performances. The audio visual show, and each subsequent performance, will be completely different from one another, using live radio signals and sonic data, improvising around the role of surveillance in our culture.
Gift time again. Klingklang is the private music studio of the band Kraftwerk, a name taken from the first song on the Kraftwerk 2 album. Back in 2016 I was invited to contribute to a CD as a tribute to this fine group. I chose to cover this tune from 1972, which unusually featured flute, guitar, violin, bass but strangely no synths! To reflect this, I decided to perform it completely live, without tidying up the recording. Unfortunately, due to legal issues, the album never came to light so hope you will enjoy this rather special mix that has never been heard before. So rather than it gather digital dust it’s now a free download for you all 🙂
I’m still receiving responses from folks who caught me on Channel 4’s Grand Designs House of the Year, talking about my permanent soundtrack to Vex house in London. The CD is still available here and digitally too. And all copies of the CD come with a signed postcard and special Scanner stickers. Listen/Buy it here.
January is nothing if not eclectic. I’m busy working on a film score this month for a Belgian artist, researching a special project in Cornwall about communication networks, scoring a new BBC documentary series on sexual consent, developing work for this forthcoming Luc Ferrari festival in London in February, and working towards something very special in Cologne Germany in May, alongside other strange and wonderful things!
Until next month, thank you so much for your support and see you next month! Have a wonderful and positive 2019!
::: listen :::
Touched Music: Covert 3 (Touched)
Jonathan Fitoussi: Diagonals (Hands In The Dark)Bernard Baschet, Deneuve, Dumont: 4 Espaces Sonores (Transversales Disques)
Takehisa Kosugi: Catch-Wave (Superior Viaduct)
::: read :::
Genesis Breyer P-Orridge: Nekrophile (Timeless)
Neil M Denari Architects: MassX (Adcu)
William Frame: James Cook The Voyages (British Library)
Oceania (Royal Academy of Arts)
::: watch :::
The Ritual: David Bruckner
Norsemen: Jon Iver Helgaker/Jonas Torgersen
Three Perfect Strangers: Tim Wardle
Le tout nouveau testament: Jaco Van Dormael