It sometimes feels that I frequently repeat the line ‘my new album is out now…’ or something alone those lines, but yes another month has passed, so time for yet another album release. And yes, I DO sleep.

Solid red cover for album, with white text at the top that reads Scanner Wing Pinger

I’ve always been drawn to instruments that encourage you to think differently about the way in which you interact with them. As a young boy I learnt to play the piano, then aged 13 picked up the guitar and taught myself to play. However, I was always searching for ways to ‘unlearn’ the traditional playing methods. John Cage had shown how you can ‘prepare’ the piano by placing screws and bolts in between the strings to change the physical sound of the instrument, whilst composers like Glenn Branca demonstrated that the guitar could be reconfigured as an orchestral tool and played with hammers.

As the years have passed I’ve collected all manner of strange and wonderful musical instruments, that are as entertaining by name as they are by nature. How about the Macumbista Benjolin, Ellitone Farm Detective Ultrarollz, SqrtSigil exfriend or Mroztronium Grackler? So, when I first heard about the Wing Pinger from Chinese artist and designer Meng Qi I was immediately intrigued.

Some of you might remember some of the videos I previously shared of this extraordinary instrument, but here’s a good example:

After recording many explorations, I decided these could become a release in itself. So now Wing Pinger is out on Bandcamp, as well as Spotify, iTunes and other digital services. It’s one of the first releases on PLAYNEUTRAL, a new label publishing contemporary music by exploratory artists. The first four releases are by Stephen Vitiello/Brendan Canty (Fugazi), Machinefabriek, Aidan Baker, and myself. You can read more about the instrument here in a little blog post about it, and buy Wing Pinger here.

Scanner Sunday #3 took place on Bandcamp in October and a wonderful success. Thanks again to everyone who joined me for this. It was broadcast live with a variety of instruments that I could improvise on, and I closed the show with a special tribute by singing the names of every spectator through a vocoder in a musical melody. It was amazing to see the chat light up as people recognised their name being sung out loud. Here’s some hightlights from the show to give you an idea of the fun, and stay tuned for the next one in a few months time.

Last month I also had a long chat for the Anechoic Chamber stream, with Thomas Bey William Bailey, talking about the artist Mike Kelley, ghosts, and the archaeology of loss in our information age. Hope you might get a moment to have a listen. It’s serious stuff, you know.

And whilst at Soundcloud why not have a listen to a very special mix I put together for the record label De:Tuned, featuring the music of Oval, Autechre, Arovane, Robert Fripp, Loscil, Laurie Spiegel, Fog School, Maggi Payne and many more.

And why make just one mixtape when you can make two! So here’s a much darker one for the winter nights ahead, this time for Russian radio. Tune in here, and keep the lights switched on.

You probably all know by now that Bandcamp is arguably the best place to go to support musicians online, and I ensure that my digital and physical shops remain well-stocked with goodies. In the last month I added the full unreleased soundtrack to the film Frank (2012).

Creepy man with long black hair and distorted clown like make up, all washed out and messy. Just his face grimacing in an intimidating way

Frank is a film directed by British artist Richard Heslop. We’ve been friends for around 30+ years, but rarely actually worked together. Richard worked with Derek Jarman on the seminal videos of The Smiths, as well as working with the band 23 Skidoo on all their visuals, and directing promo videos for The Shamen, New Order, Laibach, Queens of the Stone Age, Happy Mondays, and many more.  

Frank is a darkly surreal and often unsettling film, almost disgusting at points, but also tender and moving. Richard invited me to write a series of piano pieces as well as some more textural and rhythmic parts for the film. Unfortunately for budgetary reasons they ran out of money, a familiar story for indie films, and so much of the music was left out for licensing reasons. No-one has ever heard this very music and thought it might be of interest to share it with a wider audience here. Listen and buy it here.

Play Along (2004) is now available again too, in a deluxe digital edition with previously unreleased material. This album features my collaboration with Belgian cellist Jean-Paul Dessy and his ensemble. We played a series of concerts together at the time and recorded this wonderful album together.

For the first time since 2004 these recordings can now be heard in remastered form, with the addition of 30+ minutes of unreleased material. This includes a live show recorded in Paris at the Fashion Week for the celebrated designer Hussein Chalayan, and two more works that I sketched out in the studio but never released, expanding upon the themes of this exploration. Pick it up here.

Cover of a CD in red, with two men standing beside one another, with a digital pattern across the image, distorting it. Across the top in small white letters it reads 'Scanner and Dessy Play Along'

I’ve been working hard in the studio on a few forthcoming projects. Nine Earths, with London based motion artists D-Fuse, is now showing at the BFI in London. The installation is being shown as part of Green Light: An immersive focus on Climate Change, which aims to remind ourselves that climate change is not only about science, it’s really about stories and the people behind it.

Specifically commissioned by the British Council for COP26, this environmental documentary takes you an audiovisual journey through multiple locations and individual stories, highlighting our excessive demand for the Earth’s resources. It will travel elsewhere in 2022-23, hopefully accompanied by some live performances too. It runs until Sunday 7 November, and it’s free entry. Full details can be found here.

An overhead shot of landscape, with abstract images of buildings below. Text to the left of the image says 'our over consumption is destroying our only planet'

No more live dates set for November, but plenty to keep me occupied and out of trouble in the studio. So, as ever, thanks for your support, take good care and see you next month!


Best wishes

Professor Scanner

A very handsome man with short hair stands in a music studio holding a microphone. He wears a black shirt and stands behind a table filled with electronic music equipment as he stares at the camera.

::: listen :::
Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch: Censor (Invada)
Luc Ferrari: Labyrinthe De Violence (Alga Marghen)
Horacio Vaggione: La Maquina De Cantar (Dialogo)
Bernard Parmegiani: Memoire Magnetique Vol 2: 1966-1993 (Transversales Disques)

::: read ::: 
Kevin Cummins: Joy Division: Juvenes (Cassell)
Paula Rego (Tate)
John Cooper Clarke: I Wanna Be Yours (Picador)
R.A. Lafferty: Best of (Gollancz)

::: watch :::
Kung Fun Master: Agnes Varda
Jessica Forever: Caroline Poggi & Jonathan Vinel
I Start Counting: David Greene
Why Don’t You Just Die!: Kirill Sokolov