August 2020

Hello 

So yes, it’s now August, and my new studio album, An Ascent, was just released and I wanted to thank everyone who has supported this release so positively. It’s kind of ironic that I can often spend months working away at recordings, editing, re-working them and releasing them into the world when they barely scratch the surface of interest, whilst this new album was completely improvised and recorded live and has proven to be quite a success already. Yes, there’s no logic at all! 

Reviews have been extremely generous so far. Starsend wrote: ‘Giving voice to silenced states of mind An Ascent combines an economy of form and smart surface calculations, and exerts such control over color so as to bare the fullness of a truly eccentric imagination.’ Whilst Igloo called it ‘haunting, eerie, and, well, mysterious. A very subtle, coherent, and beautiful work from a seasoned master.’ 

My dear friend and creative collaborator artist Ursula Berlot created a very sensual video to support the opening track taken from the album. See if you spot her face morphing into mine at one point in the film.

To offer a little more context to the making of the album I also wrote a blog post which you can read in full here. You can now buy the album directly from DiN and even treat yourself to a very limited edition fine art print of the artwork in a signed edition of just 20 copies, which you can see me posing with below. The album is also now available from retail stores, online shops, and at the usual streaming locations such as Spotify, iTunes and more. Happy listening!

I was honoured to be a guest on the playfully named Knob Twiddlers last month, alongside some truly international musical guests – Speedy J from The Netherlands, Deru from the USA, and Surgeon from the UK. We didn’t really up end up speaking about gear or anything especially technical, focusing more on philosophical approaches to creativity and ideas. You can watch the broadcast back here, or even download the chat as a Podcast and listen as you sit in the park. 

By the Code of Soil: (de)Compositions just closed in Berlin this week, which was part of an amazing group show NEAR + FUTURES + QUASI + WORLDS. Unfortunately, because of continuing travel restrictions, Kasia Molga and I were unable to actually see the show which was dispiriting, especially given that we’ve spent the last two years working towards this too. However, I’m extremely grateful to various supporters who kindly visited and took photos and made recordings to share with us. The power of the internet is truly wonderful at times. 

(de)Compositions invited 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 was highly amplified through the space, sharing a sonic world never otherwise heard, so visitors could actually hear all the activity beneath the soil.

My music can be heard in the new film by visionary British filmmaker Andrew Kotting. Because the Rest is Silence reconfigures aspects of his previous moving image works, which focus on the idea of place.  It’s a hauntological wander through images and out-takes from his journeying and his other films Edith Walks, Gallivant, Lek & the Dogs & Watling Street. It’s a work about memory and strangely enough, the memory of memory. You can watch it back in full here. As the celebrated writer Iain Sinclair wrote:

From the most ecological of filmmakers, the deftest re-cycling operation. All those old dreams that never happened, happening again, cards on the table in a newly shuffled order, tarot of fate. Such nostalgia for the unborn. You give hauntology a good name. THANK YOU

I’ve rarely had the opportunity to work with brass players, but back in 2012 I was invited to create new work for BRASS 2012, an entire festival in the UK dedicated to such expressive instrumentation. Interestingly, following on from what I was saying about Andrew Kotting’s new film about memory just now, this new work, Witness, was entirely based upon ideas of how we remember music. Witness was premiered at the extraordinary Victor Pasmore’s iconic Apollo Pavilion on 23 June 2012 and was heard only once. No recordings were to be made of the work. The performance was witnessed by a classical quartet who immediately took their memories of the piece and rehearsed it for a new performance in front of further witnesses. This process was then repeated over a month with each further ‘witness’ passing the piece on. This was done without the use of manuscript or recording technology, relying purely on their memory of the piece.  

As the chain of ‘witnesses’ continued, the project explored the idea of memory and interpretation and how we translate, transform and process information through our personality, history and identity. Assisting the migration of the music across County Durham were local singers and musicians, brass bands, young people and visiting international street bands. There was a documentary made of the project which you can now watch here in full online. 

I was pleased to learn that Bandcamp is continuing its fee waive Fridays on the first Friday of every month. Join up as a Fan on my page and you will receive every new release as part of the package, as well as an absolute ton of back catalogue and unreleased gems exclusively available only to fans. I recently shared The Joys of Listening Whilst Watching installation which took visitors through just a portion of the magnificent riches of the collection in the V&A Museum in London via a soundwalk back in 2010. Combining the natural environment, recorded in 3D/Binaural sound, with new compositions that aimed to resonate with each of the spaces, the work sought to engage and play with a vast terrain, unfolding a new narrative within the Museum. And that’s one of the many delights to be found at my Bandcamp Page. 

So, on Friday 7th August, I shall be sharing a wealth of rare stock items, which I held back from last month so as not to overwhelm people. Then again, I did add 13 more items to the catalogue on that very day! Now expect last copies of CDs and some vinyl that won’t be repressed and exclusive digital editions. 

Since masks have now become mandatory in the UK and in many other countries, it’s been a joy to continue working with curator Edith Garcia and artist and designer Josh Hughes on this COVID-19 mask. It’s really developed since the last update I shared with you, and now it’s even more futuristic and exploratory. 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. Stay tuned for more developments! 

So, until next month, take good care, especially in these strange times, and as always, thank you for your support!

Best wishes 

Professor Scanner

::: listen :::
Alvin Lucier: Works for the Ever Present Orchestra (Black Truffle)
Francisco López: A bunch of stuff (1980-2020)
Kymatik – Midwitch Cuckoos: Anthropological Constants (Paradigm)
Stephen Vitiello: Brood IX (Room40)

::: read ::: 
Jerry Kranitz: Cassette Culture (VOD)
Adrian Tomine: The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist (Faber)
Blank Forms Journal 5
John Cage: A Mycological Foray (Atelier)

::: watch :::
Mimaroglu: The Robinson Of Manhattan Island: Serdar Kökçeoğlu
Bill Morrison: Selected Works 1996-2014
7500: Patrick Vollrath
Personal Shopper: Olivier Assayas

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