We’ve been visiting Old Chapel Farm, near Llanidloes, since 2011 and its a special place for all of us. Fran and Kevin, who run the farm, have become friends, and people whose commitment to a way of living we have the utmost respect for. This is how they describe what they are trying to do:
At Old Chapel Farm we endeavour to live close to the land – growing our food, tending livestock, practising ancient crafts, living together, celebrating the seasons in their passing.
On our trip in 2018 my daughter Bea and I collected objects we found around the site and gathered them together in a straw bale hut suspended over a stream in a wooded valley which the farm’s owners made available for us to use. We recorded small performances with them, brushing, scraping and rubbing them to produce a wide range of intimate sounds. We also made field recordings around the site, including using a piano which had been exposed to the elements for some time.
Back in the studio in Brighton, I arranged the recorded sounds into a new work. I wanted to try and communicate some of the mystery and revelation I’ve experienced on my visits, and the connections I feel with the land and people I encounter when I visit the farm.
I’m pleased that Crónica agreed to release the work, and Miguel Carvalhais from the label did a brilliant job mastering it and making a sleeve. It will be released on May 11th as a limited edition cassette, and is available now on pre-order.
Absolutely delighted that the new Muster album is out in the world! _am_ was partly recorded at the excellent Horse Improv Club in 2019, back when we were still able to do gigs, and partly recorded during the pandemic via a series of tape swaps. Paul Khimasia Morgan was kind enough to put it on Slightly Off Kilter as a download, and its also available as a CD in a beautiful hand screen printed sleeve designed and made by Sito Press.
The last track is the Horse recording and was taped live by Saint Austral Sound. The remaining tracks are the product of a distance collaboration during lockdown with each of us submitting an improvised track which the other digested over successive listens before recording a response. The two tracks were then mixed together and edited.
A while ago I posted about the installation by @c which I contributed some small sounds to. The show was organised as part of Porto based label Crónica’s 15th anniversary and I got a booklet and cassette documenting the exhibition in the post on Wednesday.
There are two more releases coming up. Four walks at Old Chapel is a record of visits to a favourite spot in Wales, and is released on Crónica, They released At Cuckmere and I’m really pleased to be working with them again!
_am_ is the second album by Muster, the duo I formed with guitarist James O’Sullivan, and was during before and during the global pandemic.
I’m really pleased to say that the album I recorded with guitarist James O’Sullivan as improv duo Muster is out today. Find a City to Live In is on Invisible City records for streaming, download, or as a limited run cassette.
To make this album we swapped solo recordings and made live responses to each other’s work. James listened to each track multiple times, then recorded a live response, I listened to the track once and made a live score to work from when I made a recording.
The resulting tracks were mixed in London and Brighton, and mastered by Mark Beazley. The beautiful cover art is by Alexandra Hobson.
About two years ago my friend and fellow sound artist Henry Collins (ex Shitmat) got in touch about a project he was working on with KIKS/Gfr collecting field recordings of fridges. As there have been plenty of times late at night when I’ve sat in my kitchen listening to the appliances singing to me, I made a recording and sent it off.
It took a couple of years but the album is out and comes as a download with a lovely CAD print of a fridge’s cooling system. Its great to be in the illustrious company of Graham Dunning, Leslie Deere, and Simon Whetham. Thanks to Henry, and Ben at KIKS/Gfr, who is donating the profits to a foodbank in Nottingham.
The new album by The Static Memories is out on Linear Obsessional. Here it is:
Thank you to:
Gus, for asking me to get together and play a gig 12 years ago. Richard Sanderson at Linear Obsessional, for putting the album out. Sara-Jane Glendenning for letting us use the Coach House to make the recordings. David Little for the fine design, Pranciškus at Blokas, and Geoff and all of the Spirit of Gravity, Safehouse and Lost Property people for their help and support.
All the promoters who’ve put us on, and all the people who’ve said nice things about us, and played our stuff. And to Dave and Matt, and all of my friends and family who aren’t into the music, but support what I do.
I had a great day out at Fort Process, although I missed a few acts I really wanted to see as I was busy talking about my piece. A lot of people came in and had a go at their own mix of my electro acoustic piece about the Fort, and I had a generally warm response to the work.
So I missed out on seeing The Larsens, which was a shame as they are amazing, but got to see most of the other installations. The stand out for me was Louise Mackenzie’s work which attempted the alter the DNA of microorganisms in seawater using sound.
This is the film I made of the objects from the collection I worked with, and a studio mix of the audio.
And this is Agata Urbaniak’s film of how it looked set up in the space
I was asked a few months ago by Crónica to submit some audio artefacts for an installation they showed at oMuseu in Porto to celebrate the label’s 15th anniversary. I didn’t see the final piece until recently and it looks amazing!
An installation by Pedro Tudela and Miguel Carvalhais, developed from sound objects by guest authors. The artwork establishes an area for a multi-sensory immersive experience that dialogues with the architectural space and the permanence of the visitor. Speakers, flooring, light, fragrance, and a hovering frame create an infrastructure for three sound pieces for computer and speakers, to be presented for one month each. These are fed by the contributions of the guest artists, articulated in non-linear, generative and open algorithmic compositions
I’m really pleased that the people behind Fort Process asked me to do an installation at Newhaven Fort on 22nd September. Fort Process is ‘…an expansive multidisciplinary music and arts festival that takes place in the evocative spaces of Newhaven Fort in East Sussex, with an extensive programme featuring site-specific sound installations, international musicians, talks, films, poetry and workshops.”
I played at the first one four years ago, and managed to miss the last one in 2016. The lineup looks amazing so I’m hoping to get out and see what other people are up to. More here
I’m working on a piece which uses 16 artefacts from the Fort’s archive, I spent a fun afternoon in the archive with Bea trying to work out which objects made the best noises. The sounds they make will be made into a sound work, and some of the tracks will be set up so that the audience can interact with them.
The video element uses 3D scans of the artefacts, courtesy of the Brighton Eagle Lab, who let me use their 3D scanner for free. I’m mixing the scans with degraded footage of the objects. This is an early test:
The artefacts will be displayed in a museum case. There are a few ideas in my notebook about how they can be labelled, so I’ll see which one rises to the top.
I did another performance of the Chris Marker project at Splitting the Atom a few weeks ago, Agata Urbaniak was there and recorded part of it. I like her work a lot, and she’s possibly the only person who can make me look OK on film, so here it is
There was a great set by Robin Slow Listener, it was really great to hear him play again as he was saying he hasn’t played live much lately. Plus other good stuff including Thee Bald Knobbers beating the boundary and the usual array of oddness. More of Agata’s fine work documenting the show here
Chris Davies asked me to do something at Bleeding Hearts Club in February, and I decided to try out my new setup which includes a contact mic’d metal tray, Raspberry Pi with a Pisound HAT, small mixer, and the usual array of effects. Here’s a picture of it:
I like this setup as its nice and compact, it all fits in a small suitcase so I can take it on the train to performances.
I’m a big fan of Chris Marker and have been wanting to do something related to his work for a while. I chose Theorie des Ensembles, and AnOwl is an Owl is an Owl with a view to improvising a new soundtrack to them.
In Theorie des Ensembles two owls explain set theory to Noah on his ark. The images were made in an early version of multimedia authoring tool Hyperstudio, and have a fantastically odd texture. The original soundtrack is a piece by Alfred Schnittke.
An Owl is and Owl is an Owl is the third in the series Chris Marker’s Bestiary and is a series of shots of owls looking slightly mysterious.
The performance went pretty well, Matt Benzie made a nice recording of it which I laid over the visuals. I’m pleased with the result, here it is: