Welcome to a fresh new decade, the 20th year of the 3rd millennium and 20th year of the 21st century. For many the last decade has been a troubling one in many global ways, but I remain positive that good things will follow, and we will learn from everything that has passed. And now the fireworks have finally ceased here, here’s hoping for at least a quiet day ahead here.
Just after I sent my last newsletter out a couple of releases suddenly made an appearance, before I could even share them with you! Like magic my new album made an appearance and subsequently sold out in less than ten minutes for the limited edition. The Signal of a Signal of a Signal is now available online, but let me offer a little more context.
Losing someone is never an easy process. Just five years ago I lost my mother and brother in the space of one year, both to cancer, and both completely unexpected. In one of my most personal posts ever online I shared intimate details of what informed this album and how such losses contributed to the decision to give my album away through Touched Music. I recorded it as part of an elaborate 11 album boxset, plus a compilation album. The scale of this release is quite epic. New albums from the likes of The Future Sound of London, Locust, Mick Chillage, a compilation featuring material from The Orb, Richard H Kirk and so many more. As I said, the special wooden box set sold out within just ten minutes, and Martin Boulton, who runs the label, told me that so far, the releases on his label have raised over £100,000 for Macmillan Cancer. How truly amazing. Martin is a shining light for such support!
So, not only do you get a brand-new album recorded by me for a very low price, but you also get that warm fuzzy feeling that you’ve done something positive for others too. Please do your utmost to support this release and others on Touched Music, and know that every penny spent goes towards a charitable cause. Read more of the context here in detail.
My other album release was a very limited cassette but again that sold out within an hour and there’s no digital available of this unfortunately, as that is the choice of the label, The Dark Outside. The tape featured two works otherwise unheard since the 1990s. Side one featured an edit of my score for Jean Luc Godard’s Alphaville (1999) which I performed live at the time from San Franciso to LA, from London to Italy. The B Side featured the soundtrack for a temporary exhibition at Tate Modern in London, focusing on the work of Jean Luc Godard, the director of Alphaville. Thankfully you can still listen to highlights of this online here.
And if you are finding it hard to part with your money I also made a couple of items completely free for you to download online. The first of which was a response to the recent UK elections. After the results of an election that was plagued and stained with lies and fake news, we are now left in a very precarious position in the UK. Many friends were left feeling very dispirited and lost. So, I sat in the studio on the morning that the results were announced and improvised live to the celebratory speech of the winning party. In response to the situation I then reversed parts of it, as well as using a recording of this very speech and buried it deep within the music, again playing backwards. It’s clear to many that this political situation is not taking us forwards, but rather back to a nostalgic and challenging past. So, for this moment, you can use this music to relax and switch off the news. Download Backwards to go Forwards here.
A few live shows for 2020 so far are currently coming into shape. First up is a special live set at Machina Bristronica in Bristol, as part of a fabulous day of electronics, talks, hardware demonstrations and more, on 21 March. A few days later I’m off to London for a show at Bush Hall on 26 March, alongside Richard Norris of The Grid and Marconi Union, in a night of video projections with live music, where I shall be presenting the London debut of Mass Observation. The following month I’m supporting an old friend, American composer William Basinski. It takes place on 22 April at EartH and looks set to be a very special night indeed. I’ll be creating something quite unique for this occasion too. More details on the show here.
Footage of my show at SEMIBREVE Festival 2019 in Braga Portugal is now available to watch online. It was a collaboration with filmmaker Miguel C. Tavares who created the beautiful visuals. This was a very risky adventure as I was on a short residency writing an entirely new live set using a synthesiser set up from Portuguese manufacturer ADDAC that I was completely unfamiliar with! Now, that was partly like being back at school, learning so much in such a compressed time, and taking an absolute risk in front of a capacity crowd at Theatro Circo.
Out now in record shops, well the good shops at least, and certainly online are other recent releases. Footfalls, my album with clarinet player Gareth Davis, is out on Miasmah Recordings. Conversations with the Anthony Burgess Cassette Archives (1964-1993) on Sub Rosa is out on vinyl and CD.
And as we have just closed up another decade and move into the next, it is perfect timing to reassess the past, present and future of technology. In a little interview with Sonic State I had a chance to share my thoughts about musical technologies that have inspired me and continue to do so. It was filmed at Synthfest in Sheffield, quite literally just as I walked through the door, so I wasn’t at all prepared to answer these questions, so hope they still make sense to you all!
So, now it’s back to the studio and preparing for the year ahead. There are many more sonic adventures to follow in 2020! Thanks for your support over the last decade and beyond and here’s to many more in the future!
::: listen :::
Robert Fripp: The Kitchen NYC 1978 (DGM)
Jimi Hendrix: Songs for Groovy Children The Fillmore East Concerts (Sony)
The Pop Group: Y [Definitive Edition] (Mute)
Abul Mogard: Kimberlin (Ecstatic Recordings)
::: read :::
Charles Dickens: A Christmas Carol
William S Burroughs: Bladerunner (Tangerine Press)
Anthony Burgess: Earthly Powers(Vintage)
Adrian Henri: Total Artist (Occasional Papers)
::: watch :::
Too Old to Die Young: Nicolas Winding Refn
L’Amant double: Francois Ozon
Bikram Yogi, Guru, Predator: Eva Orner
Long Day’s Journey Into Night: Gan Bi