It’s impossible to separate the personal and the professional at times, and I have always found it invaluable to try and be as honest as possible with people. Indeed, much of my work in recent years has drawn upon this vulnerability to inform its creation and shape. In this light, I want to begin this newsletter in remembering my good friend Eric, who sadly passed away at the end of January. I’d been working on a special vinyl release featuring Eric on epic shred guitar but unfortunately that won’t come to light in this fashion anymore. Having only seen him a week before this happened too, the shock continues to be immeasurable and my thoughts are with his family and friends.
So, this newsletter is now into its 25th year, sent out every month, first day of the month. And I’ve never missed a date in all these years. And yes, I also find that a little remarkable 🙂 To celebrate this quarter of a century, I’ve uploaded 18 more releases to Bandcamp.
When I’m not actually making music in the studio I’m listening to music and my appetite for new sounds is ceaseless. I devour so much music in a day and thrive on discovering new and unusual sounds. I was invited by the Synth Hero website to choose some synth oriented music that had influenced me or inspired me. Naturally, this kind of invitation can be a mighty challenge, so I decided to simply create an hour-long mix of music that I had listened to in the previous week, so in some ways it’s a picture of my listening habits at that certain moment in time. You can read detailed notes on my music choices and listen to the full mix here. It ranges from Maryanne Amacher to David Tudor, Mica Levi to Aphex Twin, Roland Kayn to Johann Johannsson, Modeselektor to Cliff Martinez.
If you happen to be in Ipswich I have a work that can be experienced whenever you visit. Public Record: Ipswich Museum is comprised of texts sampled from, and inspired by, Victorian and Edwardian nature and travel writing, particularly as related to the now-altered habitats of the Suffolk coast as seen in the collection’s cases. Written and produced by Justin Hopper it was a real pleasure to compose this gentle soundscape against the text. It’s free to enjoy whenever you visit.
It’s always a fun surprise when I come across items in my archive that I’d completely forgotten about. I recorded an entire album for Cantaloupe records in New York City back in 2011, but for some reason it was never released. I even found the full artwork for the sleeve which you can see here. Some of the music was subsequently reworked and released, but much of it remains sitting in the archive, perhaps to see the light of day another time!
My latest album, The Signal of a Signal of a Signal, is now also available online. All proceeds from sales go directly to Macmillan Cancer Support. It’s also available now for streaming online at iTunes, Deezer, Spotify, Google Music, Gracenote, Mixcloud, Napster, TIDAL and countless other places. The limited edition wooden CD box sold out in ten minutes, but I heard there will be a very special cardboard box edition available soon too so keep an eye on their Bandcamp page! Remember, that the boxset also features albums from Future Sound of London, Locust, Mick Chillage and many more. And remember, the more you listen and stream, the more money that goes to a good cause. Please support this as much as you can. I also made a video for one track from this release which you can view here.
More shows have been announced for the months ahead. So, I’ll be playing down in Bristol on 21 March for Machina Bristronica for a very special modular music day. Other live acts include Colin Benders, Steevio & Suzybee, Look Mum No Computer, Finlay Shakespeare & Daniel Miller and many more. I’ll be presenting an improvised live set of all new material.Then a few days later on 26 March I will present the London premiere of Mass Observation in a very special night of live AV shows at Bush Hall. Alongside my performance, Richard Norris (The Grid) will be premiering his electronic soundtrack album ‘Elements’ (Group Mind) with visuals from Blue Carbon, and Marconi Union will be accompanied by a filmscape imaged by DOTCA, a flag of convenience for a Manchester based Art Collective. It looks set to be truly a very special night indeed.
April brings me back to London again to support an old friend, American composer William Basinski in London. The show takes place on 22 April at EartH and will be seated, as many people have asked me about this! I’ll be creating something absolutely unique for this occasion too.
Since this has been an especially challenging month let me close with this beautiful quote from poet Rainer Maria Rilke, which can also be seen in the closing credits of the new film Jojo Rabbit. It offers up a positivity that we all need.
“Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror .Just keep going. No feeling is final.”
As always, thanks for your support. And especially so to everyone in Europe. I sincerely hope we can continue to work together and play together, despite this rather absurd Brexit situation. If it wasn’t for your kindness and continued good will I would not have the career I have today, so a huge thank you to you all!
::: listen :::
COME: Box Set (V.O.D)
Nurse with Wound: Cabbalism (United Dirter)
Mark Koren: The Lighthouse (Sacred Bones)
Brunhild Ferrari/Jim O’Rourke: Le Piano Englouti (Black Truffle)
::: read :::
Tony Conrad: Writings (Primary Information)
Alasdair Gray: Lanark (Canongate)
David Toop: Inflamed Invisible (Goldsmiths)
William Black: Monograph (Tate)
::: watch :::
1917: Sam Mendes
Jojo Rabbit: Taika Waititi
Marriage Story: Noah Baumbach
Image Book: Jean Luc Godard