Welcome to this fresh new year, he 22nd year of the 3rd millennium and the 21st century, and the 3rd year of the 2020s decade. And don’t forget this is the International Year of Glass, so that’s definitely something to celebrate.
Like almost everybody, life feels quite different than it did in recent years. News headlines seem almost stuck in a groove at the moment, and we are constantly adjusting to new situations.
I finished my travels in 2021 over in Braga Portugal, one of my favourite cities. I presented a new project with Portuguese visual artists Joana Patrao and Adrian Romero at GNration, where we used the sound and imaginary of melting ice in the theatre itself to create this rather epic performance. We are hoping to bring the show elsewhere in the world in 2022, so fingers crossed for that.
At one point before soundcheck, I took a walk through the streets, but could not gain access to my hotel to pick up my belongings as the main street was closed with a security ribbon blocking the entrance. When I looked closer, I saw that there were dozens of tiny green elves standing in the street, prepared to parade through the city Now, how often can one excuse oneself for being late due to crowds of festive elves?!
Meanwhile, for my annual treat I shared some free items on Bandcamp. Firstly, my Christmas album Tis the Season, which features quite alternative variations on some familiar tunes. And then Ringtones.
Back in 2017, I was commissioned to create ringtones for a large American corporation whose aim was to produce ‘perfect communication that can exist between all parts of the world at all times.’ So, I spent some weeks creating dozens of alternatives ringtones, some of which ended up being installed in the commercial devices that now inhabit thousands of offices around the globe. Chances are that you might have heard one of these ringing in an office you either work in or passing through.
Anyhow, many of the ringtones sat left over on my hard drive and in the spirit of connecting the world, I offer them here to you to enjoy in whatever way you wish. They are free to everyone for now, then will be available for a modest price in 2022.
I am delighted to be able to share the trailer for The Dancing Public (Kaaitheater 2021) by Mette Ingvartsen. My work features in this high energy choreographic work, alongside music from Affkt feat. Sutja Gutierrez, Radio Boy, LCC, VII Circle, Kangding Ray, Paula Temple, Ron Morelli, Valanx, and Anne van de Star. This is just a preview of the one-hour performance, which believe me, is impressive to see Mette constantly in flow, solo for the duration! It should be touring in 2022, pandemic conditions permitting, of course.
I’ve been friends with film maker Chris Dooks for many years, so when the opportunity came up to support his daughter, I immediately agreed. Oona was born with an unknown condition and unable to swallow, with joint, muscle, co-ordination and motor problems. But she also has great determination, and heaps of character, and at seven years old she wants to do everything on her own!
Chris approached Touched Music to consider an album to help raise funds for her care, and in a very short time, this developed into Project Oo – an elaborate 5 CD box set featuring 808 State, The Future Sound of London, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith and so many others. The box set sold out within a couple of hours, but it’s never too late to support the cause by picking up the digital files here. Listen to my exclusive work here too.
Thanks to everyone who made the effort to visit LeSon7 in Paris in December. This special sound art exhibition displayed and sold unique pieces of sonic art, not installations or visuals, purely sound. I showed work alongside Stephen Vitiello, Kathy Hinde, Burnt Friedman, Caroline Devine, KMRU, Little Annie and others. The next exhibition will be in Buenos Aires in March 2022.
It’s always a pleasure to perform on recordings of other artists so I’m delighted that the new Minus Pilots release is now out. I worked on a couple of tracks on this EP, alongside some fine friends such as Stephen Vitiello and Gareth Davis. It’s a rather epic release from this British based band and was recorded over the last couple of years. Pick up a copy here.
On a darker note, I was recently interviewed on my experiences regarding the sobering situation of the impact of Brexit on the creative industries in the UK. I was desperately searching for a positive response, but struggled to find anything unfortunately. Read this in full here at The Quietus.
“The people who have been negotiating all this, those in power, failed to understand that there’s an enormous cottage industry of creators,” he says. “It has severely restricted the potential of creatives, and that’s not just in music. There must be so many people on say Etsy who are completely stranded who were quite happily making a living making jewellery or socks but that’s been completely restricted. You feel like you’ve been let down by a system that could actually be incredibly encouraging and positive and bring so much more to people. But it’s just essentially severed all those connections at every level. The whole notion of sharing, physically, is just being destroyed at a time when we’re already feeling incredibly restricted and isolated.“
For supporters of my work on Bandcamp, I can thankfully use the IOSS system which ensures that no additional taxes of costs will be charged to you on arrival in your country. There have been too many horror stories from others of the impact of this, so let’s see what 2022 brings forth.
Speaking of Bandcamp, I added three more archival works last month too. Before Brian Burton became globally famous as Dangermouse, known for the infamous ‘Grey Album,’ and found platinum-selling success with Gnarls Barkley, he was living in East London and we were good friends. We messed around with all kinds of ideas, but this Pelican City vs. Scanner (2002) EP was the only result of our sessions. It’s a kind of trip-hop meets strange electronica, and I’ve always been fond of this little release.
Echo Ricochet (2003) offers a sonic journey produced with sounds from the sixteen communities of the 2003 Smarter than Smoking Cre8tive Challenge. I visited some of the most remote locations in Western Australia, meeting with the schools at the time, which culminated in a huge public event in Perth, when I suddenly felt like a rock star with all the school children screaming and cheering at my arrival ?
What you hear is a collage of the individual community sounds blurring geographic borders to create a unified portrait of Western Australia.
And lastly you can pick my Footfalls (2019) album with bass clarinet player Gareth Davis. Reviews at the time captured the mood perfectly:
“Footfalls is a euphoric trip from two artists that manages to arrive at the perfect meeting point to deliver two hard to shake pieces of dizzying electro-acoustic perfection. Rimbaud´s synth erupts into a Blade Runner-esque epic harmonic section that disappears as suddenly as it arrives – leaving ripples of oscillation in its wake, slowly unfolding into the sound of waves, as it arrives back where it begun: as a full circle, drawn in echoes of sound.”
No live shows planned for the immediate future, but there will be another Scanner Sunday on Bandcamp soon, where I will present new work directly from the studio and engage in a chat with everyone at the end. Stay tuned to Bandcamp for that.
Wishing you a positive start to this fresh new year!
::: listen :::
Alter Ego + Pan Sonic: Microwaves (Die Schachtel)
Topdown Dialectic: Topdown Dialectic (Oil)
John Cage: Number Pieces (Another Timbre)
Roger Baudet: Musique Electronique 1976-1992 (Dee Dee’s Picks)
::: read :::
Pierre Henry: L’ouevres (Philharmonie)
Chris Frantz: Remain in Love (White Rabbit)
Wangechi Mutu: I Am Speaking, Are You Listening? (Delmonico)
David Curtis: London’s Art Labs (JL)
::: watch :::
Antlers: Scott Cooper
Encounter: Michael Pearce
I’m Your Woman: Julia Hart
The Velvet Underground: Todd Haynes