Hello As the days blur into one another, certainly here in the UK, where lockdown is still enforced, I’m rather losing track of days and weekends! And again, it’s been an exceptionally busy month, filled with some positive news to share.
I’m thrilled to announce that my new studio album, An Ascent, is out on 17 July on DiN. This was recorded in March this year, at a time when the onset of this global virus had shut down much of the world around us and for many creatives, such as myself, the immediate cancellation of all live performances. Rather than sit back and worry I felt it was important to immediately embrace the tools at hand, and use the power of technology to respond positively. So, to replace a cancelled show in Bristol, I chose instead to broadcast a live performance directly from my studio on YouTube, which garnered an audience from across the globe. You can still watch this live set back here.
Watching and listening was DiN label boss Ian Boddy who immediately got in touch to invite me to produce an album for his highly respected label. With the equipment still set up for the live show, I then spent the following week recording 90 minutes of new music which were then curated down to this debut album for DiN. You can listen now to a demo mix of the entire album on Soundcloud to offer up a clue as to the mood of this album. Listen here.
An Ascent will be available on CD in a limited edition of just 500 copies, as well as digitally, and on all online at all of your regular digital listening posts. I know that UK and USA distributors have ordered a fair amount of these so the album should be available locally to many of you too. Or you can buy it direct from the label. And just to let you know you, the link will be live about a week before the official date so check into the DiN site then if you want to pick up a copy. A very limited edition print of the album cover will also be available on the Bandcamp page.
By the Code of Soil: (de)Compositions is opening in Berlin this week, as part of an extraordinary group show NEAR + FUTURES + QUASI + WORLDS. The exhibition explores the vital role that collaboration in scientific, technological, and artistic domains can play in furthering contemporary research and integrative forms of cutting-edge artistic creation. For my own practive collaboration is key, and indeed working with Kasia Molga on this project has been extremely rewarding.
(de)Compositions invites viewers to take part in a multi-sensory experience observing how the artwork – a fragment of the “land” – changes through time – as form, sound and even smell are determined by the activities of the earthworms living within the artwork. The sound of the movement of the earthworms is highly amplified through the space, sharing a sonic world never otherwise heard.
Curated by Manuel Cirauqui with the collaboration of Silvana Fiorese, the show also includes work by Refik Anadol, Ralf Baecker, Evelina Domnich and Dmitry Gelfand, Félicie d’Estienne d’Orves, Forensic Architecture, Iris van Herpen, Julia Koerner, So Kanno, Egor Kraft, and Etsuko Yakushimaru. It’s such a pity that with COVID-19 we are unable to visit the exhibition or even see our work for the very first time in this way, so encourage any of you in Berlin to hurry along to see the show! It opens on 2 July.
A few pretty pictures for you to look at (and not just of me of course), can be seen at this recent interview with Headphone Commute, where I talk about The Robin Rimbaud Art Foundation in more depth, the appeal of light and space, my love for modular synthesisers and books and much more. Read it in depth here. And if you were interested in more detailed stories and hear me telling them, there’s a fabulous interview with me on the Art + Music + Technology blog with Darwin Grosse, where I talk in much more detail about my life and career, the surveillance state, the value of literature in an artist’s life, and making a career without surrounding yourself with managers, agents and publicists. And really, it’s not as heavy as that might sound! Listen here.
I am thrilled to be part of freq_wave, this massive project that launched in June. It features a roll call of some of the most inspiring characters in sound and music over the last few decades, so I’m truly honoured to feature as part of this. A freq_wave is a rogue wave: unpredictable, sudden, and can impact with tremendous force. The project has been curated by Carl Michael von Hausswolff and co-curated by Alonso Vázquez, and features the work of 84 sound artists whose compositions integrate hydrophone recordings within the aquatic frequency ranges audible to the human ear. The project can be experienced through a clever interactive web-based collaboration, where you can literally mix up the levels of the different artists work. Open up different windows in your browser and then you can even mix up several layers. I find it satisfying to just leave it running in the background, like the ebb and flow of the ocean around me.
Now, Bandcamp has been the saviour of my life recently, well, that’s to say at least those of you who have supported me through buying any of my music catalogue. I most recently added two of my most popular albums from the 1990s – Spore(1995) and Delivery (1997) in deluxe digital editions, each featuring an hour of additional unreleased music for each album. This week Bandcamp will feature another waive fee day on 3 July so it’s the best time to go shopping. Just last week I took delivery of four boxes weighing over 60kg of product from a London distributor, featuring the last copies of many releases on CD and vinyl. Many of these are out of print so this is your last chance to pick them up.
I’m also continuing my series of back catalogue releases, with Scanner 1 (1992), Scanner 2 (1993) and Sulphur (1995) available in deluxe digital editions, all remastered, and with unreleased material. These will also go live on 3 July. I shall be continuing this for the remainder of my catalogue over the months to follow, so stay tuned or subscribe/follow me on Bandcamp to ensure you don’t miss out. Just click the Follow button beneath my photo on the page.
And, without wishing to sound like a broken record, there’s never been a better time to join up as a Fan. Every week since March, Fans have received exclusive unreleased material, and in the last weeks have been treated to Vietnamese pop songs I wrote in 2003, a film score, the complete music only score to my Dinner for Two with German musician Hainbach and much more. With such an expansive archive at hand, there’s a vast amount to choose from, and I’m so excited for all the material I have coming soon to share with you all.
And speaking of the archives I uploaded this early live concert from 1996, at The Lyric Theatre East Sydney, Australia, on Friday 4th October. Live scanned mobile phone calls picked up from the airwaves in real time were mixed in with the improvised music, very much the spirit of the times for my work. Watch it in full here.
If you happen to read this newsletter in time you might also be in for a chance to buy one of only five 7” singles that have been produced for sale to support a very good cause. With small businesses and independent music venues struggling during these uncertain times, Champion Sound have teamed up with Machinefabriek and myself to put together 5 x double A sided 7” lathe cut records to help raise money for IKLECTIK. This venue is one of my favourites in London and I’ve had the honour of playing there a few times now, so it’s good to try and offer something back. It’s a self-funded, non-profit art organisation based near Waterloo, London and run by a devoted group of individuals who provide incredible support to the alternative music community. Each of the 5 singles will be for sale on eBay, with no digital format and no further copies produced in the future. The 5 auctions will run until Sunday, 5 July. Follow this link if you are interested in picking one of these up.
I recently contributed music to this amazing dance performance at the LWL Museum für Kunst und Kultur in Münster, Germany. With the museum closed to the public, seven dancers of the dancing department at Theater Münster brought the works of Norbert Tadeusz to life! They created dialogues with the bodies, situations and emotions of the figurative painter. Under the artistic direction of Hans Henning Paar, the dancers transfered Tadeusz’ artificial, sometimes opulent statements from the two-dimensional canvas into the three-dimensional exhibition room. The result was an impressive dynamic play with forms, colours and bodies in an extraordinary location. Another positive response to the pandemic! Watch it here.
I was sad to read about the death of Florian Schneider of Kraftwerk recently, who died just after his 73rd birthday. His influence and contribution to popular electronic music will never be forgotten, and I was truly honoured to have the chance to speak about him and the band on Athens441 recently, alongside Vince Clarke of Depeche Mode/Yazoo and Steve Albini. Tune in here.
So, let’s close with another very positive creative response to the pandemic. I was recently invited by the artist and curator Edith Garcia to contribute a design for a unique COVID-19 mask. Working with Josh Hughes, the design of this mask reflects the times we live in. With face recognition technology at airports and on your smartphone, CCTV cameras on every street corner, the mapping of our movements, and public unrest at the highest levels in years, it’s a protective response. It protects the wearer from viral infection, as well as reflecting upon the political, social structures that shape global digital communities.
For this design, the reflective qualities of the mirrored materials are used as a metaphor towards the concepts of surveillance, as well as cultural theories around our fabricated and curated multiple digital identities. Most interestingly the surface design of the mirror material will be a visual graphic of a sonic map that tracks the movement of one of my daily journeys, translating these movements into a graphic design that you can only see by the slightest movement of the mask on the wearer’s body. And we will etch an exclusive soundwork on the interior of the mask so it could actually be played on a record deck! Read more about this extraordinary project here. They will be online sale in a special edition soon.
So, wishing you well and as ever, thanks for your support.
::: listen :::
Various: Behind The Sky Presents Portals (Behind the Sky)
Jim O’Rourke: Shutting Down Here (Mego)
Stephen Mallinder: Pow Wow (Ice Machine)
Panasonic: Remix EP (Sahko)
::: read :::
Derek Jarman: Protest (Thames & Hudson)
John Cage: Writer, Previously Uncollected Pieces (Limelight)
Anthony Burgess: Puma (MUP)
Christian Wollf: Cues (Texte)
::: watch :::
Desolation Center: Stuart Swezey
I see You: Adam Randall
The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane: Nicolas Gessner
Take Me: Pat Healy
NEAR + FUTURES + QUASI + WORLDS
State Studio Berlin
02-26 July 2020
This exhibition explores the vital role that collaboration in scientific, technological, and artistic domains can play in furthering contemporary research and integrative forms of cutting-edge artistic creation. By the Code of Soil: (de)Compositions invites viewers to take part in a multi-sensory experience observing how the artwork – a fragment of the “land” – changes through time – as form, sound and even smell are determined by the activities of the earthworms living within the artwork. The sound of the movement of the earthworms is highly amplified through the space, sharing a sonic world never otherwise heard.
Curated by Manuel Cirauqui with the collaboration of Silvana Fiorese, the show also includes work by Refik Anadol, Ralf Baecker, Evelina Domnich and Dmitry Gelfand, Félicie d’Estienne d’Orves, Forensic Architecture, Iris van Herpen, Julia Koerner, So Kanno, Egor Kraft, and Etsuko Yakushimaru.