These months are just speeding up, aren’t they? Or is there some form of gigantic invisible monster that greedily devours them? I honestly don’t know, but here we are and it’s October already. Once again, I should be sharing entertaining stories with you about my recent live shows in Spain and France, and a very special project in Portugal, but sadly I’ve only managed to travel as far as the local supermarket and post office in the last month.
Let’s start positively with some good news. Out on 22 October is a new collaborative album on vinyl with the French artist Geins’t Naït, one of the most challenging names to pronounce yet! GN features all new material, moving between epic industrial rhythms and ambient harmonies. GN is out on the Offen Music Label and available from the usual shops, from Bleep to Norman Records. I hope you will be able to pick up a copy! Digital will follow soon too.
A positive side to this lockdown has been the ability to make a commitment to projects that would never ordinarily happen with such ease. One of these is my new album with my fine creative friend, sound artist Stephen Vitiello, over in the USA. We had been speaking for ages about a project that nodded appreciatively to the music we were both fond of in the 1990s and finally had the opportunity to record this. With Stephen on guitar and electronics and me on bass, drums and electronics we picked up on our love of Tortoise, Seefeel, Public Image Limited and Neu. I’m currently trying to gauge interest from labels but here’s a track from the release as a teaser. Listen here.
Lockdown also offered an opportunity to work through the archives and another fine old friend Lawrence English of Room40 in Australia followed a similar pattern and discovered a project we recorded live back in 2003, with David Toop. Recorded for The Sprawl at the Lighthouse in Farringdon on 16 January 2003, it’s a completely improvised work. Returning to it today reveals a very unique character and captures a moment in all of our lives at that point. Interestingly for me I was able to look up my diary entry for the day and record exactly how I felt and how I prepared for the show itself. I wrote:
“Such a tiny place, not sure that I actually like a smoky, crowded bar but it worked out extremely well. Soundcheck was just chaotic. David, Lawrence and I could barely hear one another. The performance itself later on was surprisingly fluid and beautiful. We all agreed that it had worked surprisingly well. Sound system was grungy, but somehow we were able to overcome this and make a rather elegant piece of work’.
The album is out on digital on 2 October. Buy it here.
Most of you are aware of the crisis in the Arts at the moment too. It’s truly dispiriting to note how many venues are closing down, from grand theatres to tiny independent music venues, and with that the loss of so much opportunity. I’m trying my utmost to support the work of others too and recently engaged with the choreographer David Dawson in a project to highlight these issues, and bring something beautiful to light.
7 PORTRAITS OF SOLITUDE is a specially curated online collection of short dance film works. Together, 7 dancers – 7 composers – unite to create 7 worlds and offer you a message of hope, remembering that we are all connected, even when we feel so alone. For my film the Dresden Semperoper Ballett dancer Houston Thomas performs Portrait #6 to my music. Other works feature the music of Max Richter and Gavin Bryars, amongst others.
You can also watch the entire series online at David’s website. The music is taken from my album The Signal of a Signal of a Signal album which only ever appeared on a very limited CD at the beginning of the year. Ironically, I’m currently awaiting the test pressings for a very special vinyl picture disc of this album. Working with Touched Music we’ve devised a beautiful and collectable product that will hopefully be out just in time for Christmas! Stay tuned for that.
My recent Podcast for Sound On Sound magazine is now available to watch as well as listen. It’s now illustrated so you can actually see what I’m talking about, rather than allowing your imagination to run riot! Tune in here.
I’m also currently in communication with a fantastic designer who is working on An Ascent, Descending, an expanded version of An Ascent which came out recently on DiN. I’d received such a wealth of interest regarding this on vinyl but didn’t want to simply replicate this release on vinyl, nor alienate anyone who had bought the CD already. So, it will feature two tracks taken from the original album, one in an alternative mix, and four new works, recorded at the same sessions. Once the design is confirmed the masters will be sent off to the pressing plant!
Many of you are aware now of these Bandcamp fee waive days, when they give 100% of their proceeds to the artists which is incredible. They take place on the first Friday in the month, so this week on Friday 2 October I encourage you to shop with everyone you can online! I shall be offering some exclusive last copies of CDs and vinyl for this special day and a few other treats. So, this Friday, you’ll be able to pick up Electronic Garden (2014), a live album recorded in 2007, Rail Cables Double LP ((2015), and for Fan Club members only the full soundtrack to the film Alien Tourist (2016) by Maria von Hausswolff.
And whilst at Bandcamp, DiN have prepared a very special bundle of An Ascent. Limited to 6 copies only it includes a signed CD and a copy of the Giclée Print of the cover art on Fine Art Rag Paper signed by the artist Wendy Carroll. I have one and it’s a gorgeous work of art. And there’s 25% of all their releases, including An Ascent, so there’s never been a better time to pick up some new music!
And without fear of repeating myself there’s never been a better time to become a supporter through my Fan Club. For less than the price of a fancy artisan pizza a month you can have access to a wealth of music, all new releases included, and exclusive tracks only for Fans. And of course, most of all, you get a wealth of LOVE from me as in these challenging times this is my only income. So, truly, your support means the world to me! Find me at Bandcamp.
As ever, thanks so much for you support, and wishing you well in these strange times
::: listen :::
Suzanne Ciani: Music For Denali (Finders Keepers)
Carl Stone: Stolen Car (Unseen Worlds)
Jon Collin & Demdike Stare: Sketches of Everything (DDS)
Process Blue: Control Panel (Dark Entries)
::: read :::
B.S. Johnson: Can I Come In and Talk About These and Other Ideas? (Texte und Tone)
Hoffman: Modern Magic (Martino)
Robert Wyatt & Alfie Benge: Side by Side (Faber)
Mika Vainio: 50Hz (Kiasma)
::: watch :::
Border: Ali Abbasi
Cut Bank: Matt Shakman
An American Pickle: Brandon Trost
The Amazing Johnathan: Benjamin Berman