June closed with some very sad losses in the world of music, with the deaths of legendary composer and trumpeter Jon Hassell, EMS synth pioneer Peter Zinovieff and American composer Frederic Rzewski. With Hassell in particular it’s a very personal loss, as I grew up with his music and he kindly guested on my Autek album back in 2005. You can still pick up copies of this here.
Scanner Sunday #2 took place in June, following on from my debut Bandcamp Live show in March 2021. This second show, in my new quarterly series of live performances, took place exclusively on Bandcamp. The pandemic forced a reassessment of live work for so many artists, and in so doing gave me an opportunity to perform an entirely new set of material, using different equipment each time, to an audience across the globe. It’s improvised and completely open each time. I only have an idea of how to begin, but with no idea of where it’s going! Here is a short excerpt from the full 45-minute live show.
All Fan Club Members always receive high quality recordings of these shows too, so it’s essentially like a brand-new album every time! And it’s never too late to join up and share in the community and many, many hours of rare and unreleased music, plus a copy of every new release when it’s released. You can also watch back excerpts from the debut show here.
I’m delighted to report that Lost at Sea, my sound installation created for the East Neuk Festival 2018, is to be a new permanent addition to the displays at the Scottish Fisheries Museum. Originally conceived as a temporary intervention within the museum’s evocative fishing boat wheelhouse, this unique work was created for the Big Project as part of the East Neuk Festival in Fife Scotland in summer 2018.
I joined forces with pupils of Waid Academy in Anstruther to create a memorial in sound for men of the East Neuk fishing industry lost at sea. The resulting work draws on material held the museum archives, stories of the men out at sea, field recordings and interviews to evoke the men and their lives. It was premiered at Waid Academy as a live performance and an alternative version was installed at the Scottish Fisheries Museum over the course of the Festival. Amazingly, The Scottish Awards for New Music 2019 awarded Lost at Sea Community/Education project of the year.
Now the Scottish Fisheries Museum has incorporated the work permanently within the wheelhouse of the Brighter Hope II where all visitors are invited to listen and immerse themselves in the stories and sounds of the fishing industry. And for those of you unable to visit you can download the entire work for free directly here. You can read more about it here too!
My most recent new album, Alchemeia, is proving to be popular amongst listeners which is rewarding to learn. Out on the legendary British label Applied Rhythmic Technology (ART), which released early pioneering works by artists such as Carl Craig, Aphex Twin, B12 and Photek, it’s a tribute to the Library music of the 50s and 60s. Imagine Dr Who meets Stockhausen in a school music room! It will be out on vinyl as soon as the pressure on the pressing plants is released. For now it’s digital only.
CDs have arrived for the special limited edition of Fibolae, which will go on sale on the 6th August. Here’s a sneak preview of the artwork. It’s a beautiful production, adding an extra track not previously available on the vinyl release. It’s been designed by British designer Matthew Shaw, with a 6 panel CD digipack in full colour. A special edition poster in a small edition will be available at the same time. To guarantee you don’t miss out, subscribe to my Bandcamp news here. Vinyl is still available for those who treasure such delights.
A little bit of time travel to read when you wish too. I wrote a very playful blogpost about my show with The Prodigy in Norway back in 1996, and the comparative differences between comfort for a chart-topping band and a little indie experimental artist. Read it in full here.
There’s a distinct possibility of live shows happening again from August and September, though it still feels too early to really confirm anything. Like so many people I’m longing to have that bodily relationship to sound again, where the music moves through your entire frame and embraces you!
If you have a couple of hours to spare, get comfortable, grab a snack and a drink, and watch back the long conversation I had with radio presenter Claudio Bustamante over in Washington recently. We touched on many personal aspects of my career and personal trajectory. Watch it in full here.
Now, time for something very gentle and soothing. A little playtime in the studio with this new guitar pedal, the Hologram Microcosm and a little kalimba action. Something rather special emerged!
Stay tuned online too, as I’m engaged in a talk and special live performance for this Immersed Series in July, exploring the wellness of sound and the powerful effects of music on the body and mind. The date is set for 29th July so encourage you to tune in then!
Until next month then, stay safe, and as always, thanks for your support!
::: listen :::
Mogwai: ZeroZeroZero (Rock Action Records)
Stephen Vitiello: A Room Adrift (6×6) (Room40)
Andrew Pekler: Sounds From Phantom Islands (Faitiche)
Jim O’Rourke: Too Compliment (DDS)
::: read :::
David Welch: Protecting the People (British Library)
Fragile Self: Fragile Self
Ursula Block: Broken Music (Primary Information)
Ann Quin: Passages (And Other Stories
::: watch :::
Babyteeth: Shannon Murphy
Da 5 Bloods: Spike Lee
For Dan: Luke Fowler
Ingrid Goes West: Matt Spicer