November 2020

Hello

As if a global pandemic wasn’t enough this year, then getting flooded at home with 1000 litres of water, then the loss of all paid work for the last 8 months, I’m currently recovering from surgery on my forehead for cancer. A biopsy had recently revealed some potentially worrying material under the skin and so I spent time in Guy’s Hospital London whilst doctors cut a 4cm hole in my head, dug out rather more tumorous matter than they’d expected, and then sewed me up again. And then sent me home, without any painkillers.

Given the current health climate though this was far more complicated than you might ever imagine, with the entire NHS reservation system switched off and it was only by pure chance that I was able to be seen. These are most worrying times for so many and I’m extremely grateful it was a success. I’ll now be modelling a tough looking wound on my head, which I will present as my gangster scar, and not ‘hamster scar,’ as Autocorrect wanted to suggest!

And, as such, the last month has been a slower and quieter one for me, with more horizontal hours than usual, but don’t worry I’ve certainly tried my utmost to keep busy!

Vinyl LP record artwork of Scanner album The Signal of a Signal of a Signal, featuring photos of rippling water and modular synths

On 6 November, a very special limited-edition picture disc, on heavyweight vinyl, of my album A Signal of a Signal of a Signal, has gone on presale at Bandcamp. It’s a collaborative production with Touched Music who have raised huge funds for Macmillan Cancer in the UK with their catalogue of releases over the years. The album was previously only available in a very limited wooden box with albums from Future Sound of London amongst others, so this is the first time it’s out on its own!

My album with underground cult French artists Geins’t Naït also came out last month on the label Offen. I must admit I absolutely love how, in the absence of a press release, a record shop will try and describe the music. This has to be one of my favourite descriptions ever:

Outstandingly creepy collaboration from industrial mutant Geins’t Naït and ambient pioneer Scanner, pushing each other into darkly surreal crawl spaces. The loop-based pressure becomes more spaced out and druggily affective over the EP’s six tracks; helming to a heavily depressed pulse that hovers around the 50bpm mark for a truly stygian trip wrapped in lemniscate ambient envelope folds and strewn with eerie voices from the ether. No doubt, it’s a must check for fans of Coil at their most slithering, or the possessed atmospheres of Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement

Wow, now who wouldn’t want to hear that after this? It’s a very limited vinyl pressing too, so don’t miss out if you were keen to hear this. Buy it here, amongst other places. And for anyone that doesn’t own a record deck these will be available digitally by the middle of the month. More details once I have the link!

Record sleeve design for Scanner album with image of nature and trees breaking through into the sky, in an autumnal way

I was also honoured to recently produce this very dark and rather oppressive remix for my good friend Seb Patane, aka Fog School, for MFZ Records. He offered me the freedom to go where I wished with my approach, so I literally dragged it into slow-motion. Have a listen and you will see what I mean.

This slow healing process has allowed a little playtime in the last week at least, and meant I’ve been uploading more studio sketches to my YouTube account. You can always subscribe to my videos to ensure you keep up with things there. I received the most extraordinarily beautiful instrument in the last month, the Wing Pinger by Meng Qi, which looks and sounds quite unique, and so began experimenting with it. You can see what I mean here. 

Then I got a little groovy with this desktop set up of instruments with unusual and surprising names. How about the Lorre Mill Double Knot and Keyed Mosstone, with the Bugbrand PT Delay anyone? Or how about the Ciat-Lonbarde Tetrax with the Bugbrand? And how about a very reductive and minimalist performance with the Teenage Engineering OP-1? And no, I’m not making this names up!

And let’s remain positive for 2021, as I have a new show booked for 6 April 2021 at EartH in London, where I’m performing alongside my old friend Christian Fennesz. It’s funny to think how back in 1994 I gave him sounds to make music for one of his first ever releases which came out on a 7” single in an edition of just 100 copies. And then over 25 years later we are still sharing a stage together.

For the regular Bandcamp waive fees day it’s the best time to support all your favourite artists online. I am offering up some more exclusive delights again, including these copies of A Signal of a Signal of a Signal on vinyl, plus last CD copies of various releases. If you join up as a Fan Club Supporter you also get all every new release included on digital download, and exclusive items. Last month supporters received an unreleased film score for Maria von Hausswolff’s film Alien Tourist, and new material with American musician Stephen Vitiello.

Photograph of a compact disc cover, with a bright yellow lightbulb in a black space, with Scanner Lauwarm Instrumentals text printed across it in a dramatic way

So, as of today I’m offering up Lauwarm Instrumentals (1999) in a deluxe digital edition with 40+ minutes of unreleased material, Diary (2000) in a deluxe digital edition with 26+ mins of unreleased music, and Into the Blue (2002), a soundtrack to an exhibition, never before released.

And something rather fun will also be released on this same Bandcamp Friday. It’s Not What It Seems is a CD compilation of tracks inspired by the post-punk / DIY / cassette scene which flourished in the early 80s. Featuring Belbury Poly, Pye Corner Audio, Keith Seatman, Lagowski, Sculpture, Renaldo and The Loaf, and myself of course! Now what makes this especially interesting is that each artist operates under a secret disguise for this release and only The Burning Trestle knows for sure who did what! See if you can guess which is my track once you listen here. And, whilst you are playing this guessing game, see if you can spot my voice in this fantastic new tune from the cult underground artist The Metamorph, on his Wisdom of Orac release.

Photographic collage on a compact disco sleeve artwork with Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and a skull, all in black and white, surrounded red text. Designed in the style of American artist Barbara Kruger

Noise is all around us, though even with this pandemic the world might seem quieter, it’s never absolutely silent of course. So, I wrote a piece exploring noise and how it’s inspired artists, myself included.  A river of noise flows through our lives and I think it’s invaluable at times to simply sit on the virtual riverbank and marvel at the current, the tide of our lives. Have a read of it here.

And for everyone that has asked I’m still intending on releasing An Ascent on vinyl but it will have to now be in 2021. The COVID19 situation has meant that pressing plants are running quite behind with their schedules unfortunately so I will announce this as soon as I have confirmed dates. The last remaining copies of the CD are available from DiN.

So, until next month, try to avoid the news and let’s see what will happen in the next month then! 

My warmest wishes to you

Professor Scanner

Photograph of a short haired man, Robin Rimbaud, standing at a table, wearing a black shirt, leaning over a computer, in a live musical performance, with a huge projection screen behind him, in a very dramatic pose

::: listen :::
Atom Tm: <3 (Raster Noton)
Autechre: SIGN/PLUS (Warp)
Zoviet France: Chasse Vol 2 (VOD)
Jim O’Rourke: In all due deference (Matière Mémoire)

::: read ::: 
Brick (CentreCentre)
The History of DC Comics (Taschen)
Aubrey Beardsley Monograph (Tate)
Ming-Yuen S Ma: There is No Soundtrack (Manchester)

::: watch :::
Pixie: Barnaby Thompson
The Whistlers: Corneliu Porumboiu
The Peanut Button Falcon: Tyler Nilson/Michael Schwartz
On the Rocks: Sofia Coppola

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