So the wonders of technology have acted devilishly this week and eaten away at my soul, energy and time. A simple update to the OS on my laptop sent me into an ever-increasing whirlpool of chaotic ugliness and frustration. Every time I switched the laptop on I’d be greeted by a hissing, psychedelic glitchy colourful animation. Quite pretty perhaps, but not at all helpful in terms of a working process. As such it’s been a week of erasing all my work, trying to import documents from backups, reinstalling again, learning code, becoming friends with the rarely used Terminal and so on. Suffice it to say I’ve lost all confidence in my handy digital partner.
Thankfully work has, as always, offered a much needed distraction and positivity! Other People’s Stories opened at Black Swan Arts in Frome Somerset in mid August, and was a great success. Thanks to everyone who made the trip to see the work. It featured a bespoke soundtrack to accompany hundreds of found photographs that I’d recently picked up at a local auction. I’m now considering creating a special publication with CD and photographs in a limited edition for those who might be interested. The UK Premiere of Mass Observation went down well too and it was a pleasure to meet some of the lovely people who had travelled a long, long way to attend the performance!
I stayed down in the area for the weekend and made a trip to visit Bath, which remains for me one of the most beautiful cities in the UK. It was a chance to marvel at the church bells in the most confined roof top space in Bath Abbey, and of course to visit, once again, the Roman Baths which remain an outstanding feat of engineering, some two thousand years later! It’s definitely an area of England I would like to explore more in the future.
If you have a spare 75 minutes or so, then download and listen to The Art of Scanner at Esoteric Modulation. I had the chance to sit down and talk with some fine people about my work, exploring such themes as how to bring together a diverse career, uncertainty and forced risk, and even music every now and then. Thanks to Ben Wilson aka Div Kid and Edward Ball for indulging me. And despite the title I rarely talk about technology at all, more about the process of creativity, and the value of visual art in my practice. Tune in here.
I’m delighted to have a work featured on De:tuned for the seventh release in their ten-part anniversary series. It’s a blend of old and new material, deep grooves and inventive textures brought together by venerated producers Jonah Sharp / Spacetime Continuum, Ross 154 aka Newworldaquarium, Leo Anibaldi, and myself 🙂 A heart warming ambient techno trip from start to finish makes for an immersive listening experience. My track is an alternative version of Mothlight from the Earache Records release over twenty years ago! You can pre-order it Juno, Phonica. Bleep, Norman and other places and listen to it here.
The series will continue each month throughout 2019. The artwork of the first 9 releases of the series forms a 3 x 3 poster display. My fine old friend designer Kevin Foakes (Openmind, DJ Food, Ninja Tune) has created all the amazing graphic work too.
And another very unique release is on the way in the shape of New Clockwork Music from Electronic Sound Magazine. Pre-orders are now available for this double LP on orange vinyl, with gatefold sleeve with liner notes and pull-out booklet. I contributed brand new material to this special release, alongside Chris Carter of Throbbing Gristle, Blancmange, Finiflex, Jack Dangers of Meat Beat Manifesto and many more. It’s a twin pop-disc of real horrorshow warbles make no mistake.
‘New Clockwork Music’ celebrates the lasting impact of Anthony Burgess’ ‘A Clockwork Orange’ and Stanley Kubrick’s film adaptation of the Burgess novel, as well as the trailblazing sound world of Wendy Carlos. It’s ironic that this vinyl release has been produced in partnership with the Anthony Burgess Foundation too, since we are working together on something else very unique later this year.
I’ve long admired and read the work of Burgess, beginning with his Earthly Powers when it was first published in 1980. So it was especially pleasing to be given access to his tape archive for a new project on Sub Rosa Records. To hear his answerphone messages, recordings of him playing the piano, and so on was inspiring. I created a new piece, which will be released in November on a compilation of works, and officially launched at the Burgess Foundation itself in Manchester on 21 November. I will be performing another new work, expanding upon the themes of Burgess’s archive, using my little modular synth set up to resample and process Burgess’ words and sounds into something transcendent.
September will bring me to the Gask Gallery in the historical town of Kutná Hora, Czech Republic for its inaugural Day of Sound. The Gallery of the Central Bohemian Region (GASK) is staging this new event, featuring a series of artists from the contemporary visual arts and the current music scene.I will be performing Mass Observation alongside performances by Roly Porter, Petr Nikl, Petr Valek, Agnes Hvizdalek and Billy Roisz.
Then I’m off to Brighton to work with two of my oldest friends, Colin Newman (Wire) and Malka Spigel (Minimal Compact). We used to all live in the same area in London for many years, but now live in quite opposite parts of the country, and with busy lives as everyone seems to have these days, it became increasingly challenging to continue recording our Githead sessions. However, we all missed the sound of fairly constant laughter in the studio together and decided to take a risky move. We will write and prepare an entirely new set of largely electronic music, which will then be premiered at the Rose Hill in Brighton on 20 September. Immersion, which is Colin and Malka in their warm ambient guise, will perform together, I will perform solo and then to end the night we unite again for, well, who knows what it will be. It will certainly be joyful and might even feature guitars. How very thrilling the unknown can be! Details on Nanocluster can be found here.
Staging Silence (3) is the final instalment in a series of autonomous art films by Hans Op de Beeck. Two pairs of anonymous hands construct and deconstruct fictional interiors and landscapes from everyday household objects, taking us on a visual journey through depopulated, enigmatic, often melancholic, but nonetheless playful, small-scaled places. There’s another chance to catch this cinematic work in September at the Romaeuropa festival this month and at Cartoons in Antwerp. Try and see it if you can. It’s such an extraordinary work, but if not watch it back online.
Playtime continues in the studio with all manner of delights that you might enjoy. I took delivery of this very beautiful wooden controller box designed by Meng Qi, the Gesture Arcade, and have been using it to control and create a series of new works. Take a look and listen here and here to see what I mean. Sometimes pictures definitely speak louder than words! The names of electronic instruments in themselves can indeed be very amusing, and quirky and strange enough at times to intrigue, so I’ve also been having a lot of fun with the Pioneer TORAIZ SQUID multitrack sequencer and TORAIZ AS-1 monophonic analogue synthesiser. Watch it here.
Tickets are now on sale for my final London show of the year at IKLECTIK, on 19th October. It’s part of an evening with The Engine Room, which is a Morley College London initiative, continuing Morley’s legacy as a leading centre for electronic and experimental music and sound art. The Engine Room is a platform for the exploration, education and promotion of experimental sound and music. It aims to engage with students, emerging and established artists to encourage and promote new work. And for idea of what to expect this evening here’s edited highlights from a show there earlier this year.
I’m currently acting as a judge on an international sound art competition for The Engine Room, which I encourage you to enter if you can. The deadline is 15 September, so read more details online here and enter! The more entries the better of course!
And so now it’s back to testing my patience with the ‘joys’ of computer software.
Thanks as ever for your support and wishing you a great month ahead!
::: listen :::
Demdike Stare: Stitch by Stitch (DDS)
Sigur Ros: Variations on Darkness (Krunk)
Mzylkypop presents Xzyles ( Do It Thissen)
Cabaret Voltaire: Chance Versus Causality (Mute)
::: read :::
Madge Gill (Rough Trade)
Lucy Ellman: Ducks, Newburyport (Galley Beggar Press)
Cindy Sherman (NPG)
David Crowley: Ultra Sounds (Kehrer Verlag)
::: watch :::
Apocalypse Now Final Cut: Francis Ford Coppola
The Go-Betweens: Right Here: Kriv Stenders
Holiday: Isabelle Eklof
The Great Hack: Karim Armer, Jehane Noujaim