Seven Simple Songs for Schulz: Café Oto

August 2015

Argh, the Slip crew are going from strength to strength at the moment. After a couple of great shows in Berlin at Del Rex and London at Rye Wax with folks from across the roster and the world – including sweet debutants Paul McGuire and Sean C. Stevens – they did a night’s takeover at Café Oto. Together with percussionist Delia Stevens, it was a total pleasure to write and premiere a 25′ live-typed text piece called Seven Simple Songs for Schulz (or, The Possible Death of a Man I Did Not Know) on August 4th. It’s about Match of the Day, fatherhood, and trying to understand other people’s losses, and it’s all backed up by the saddest latinate-cum-Nashville chamber music you’ve never heard.

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This shot from the show is by Ralph Pritchard. A lot of Seven will end up on the next full-length effort, but if you’re so inclined, you can give the opening track Veins an early little listen right here. Big thanks to Tom Rose & Laurie Tompkins for setting it up, and to Owen Roberts and Susie Whaites for playing winds on the soundtrack.

Laurie did a two-hour slot over at NTS in the run-up, and the broadcast is available hereBrittle Love featured alongside a host of work by folks involved in the Slip project, and it’s a sweet listen for anybody looking for a way into the scene. Finally, Delia and I done made a recording at the incredible Abbeydale Picturehouse in Sheffield, which is run by Hand Of. Available soon, along with a bunch of new pieces for new people & places, including something really big…

In a quietly concerted way, I’ve been penning short texts on why music is great. One of them is sold-out published over here, another in the Berlin operation BLATT 3000 here, and one happened orally at the stunning Echo Bücher on a glorious evening in April. There are a total of one hundred in the works, stay tuned.

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In other news, there were a couple of Tired Musics for Dear Serge shows down south in May and July; one in Hastings with Bartosz Dylewski and Prinzhorn Dance School, which streamed over at the DFA Records site, and involved the seaside.❤ the seaside.

ACM + Joe Snape: FLECK [EU Tour]

June 2015

Yes! The European leg of the tour with ACM and Sarah Hill totally happened, and it was more fun than I could even have hoped. We met in Amsterdam for early rehearsals with our amazing guest Genevieve Murphy, then went to play the opening gig a couple of days later in Berlin with stalwart Laurie Tompkins. After a show at Aarhus’s Spanien 19B and a seminar at the  Royal Academy of Music there, we headed to Mayhem in Copenhagen with local boy Kaj Duncan David. The van died, Avis was visited, late shows rolled seamlessly into 5am flight check-ins, and in a transitional haze we made it to Amsterdam for a packed last show at Splendor. Here’s a shot by Sarah of our Berlin gig at Del Rex, which was every bit as sweaty and delicious as the one in London the month before.

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There’s a nice little interview about the project in a mixture of Dansk & English about the project at the SNYK site here, and there’s a film of the tour to drop soon. Finally, in July the gang & I were back in Birmingham at Vivid Projects filming Fleck Flob Flop in its entirety, and there’s a bitesized rough cut of that session previewing here. Big thanks to Laura Milner at Vivid, and to Amsterdams fonds voor de Kunst, Københavns Kommune, AUT, SNYK & CLS for their immense support. Without you this simply wouldn’t have happened. We’ll be back on the road in early 2016 in Central & Eastern Europe.

ACM + Joe Snape: FLECK

May 2015

Together with ACM and Sarah Hill I just finished five UK shows that were packed and inspiring: a remarkable privilege to play. After the London premiere, The Biting Point described Fleck Flob Flop, the hour-long piece about an Old Lady and her husband I wrote for ACM, as ‘a total game-changer’ (to the game’s overall improvement, I hope!) and Fluid Radio published this warm, thoughtful and thought-provoking piece about our Vivid Projects show in Birmingham. Filmmaker Ismar Badzic rode with us on the bus from city to city to capture highlights of the thing for posterity: video online soon. Peep this beautiful photo by Sarah Hill of our S1 Artspace Sheffield gig, and put August 4th in your diary: I’ll be presenting fresh Fleck Flob Flopish material with percussionist Delia Stevens at Café Oto that night, as part of the lovely Slip imprint’s festivities there. Before then we go to Europe and we do a summery weekend of filming and recording in the UK, and we’re hungry for it all.

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Massive thanks go out to the band: Michael Cutting, Vitalija Glovackyte, Michael Perrett, Otto Willberg and Sarah Hill; to promoters Jelica Obican, Laura Milner, Yasmeen Baig-Clifford, Louise Snape, Rob Hughes, Jenny Porter, and the International Anthony Burgess Foundation; to our amazing guests Bastard Assignments, Darren Joyce, Andy Ingamells and Sheffield University composition students, Dan Thorne, Tom Cowcher, Mersey Wylie and ACM’s extended line-up; to Ismar Badzic and Sam Hanlan for their documenting prowess; to all those who helped us push the shows; to the Ono label for putting out our tour record of which there are now only a handful left over at Boomkat and Piccadilly; to Julia Haferkorn for her advice and encouragement; and to Sound and Music for taking the gamble on us and having faith in the project from the start. Here, as a little token of our appreciation, is the last track from the aforementioned record for your streaming pleasure. Mmnhm.

UK & European Tour with ACM

May & June 2015

Together with Manchester’s ACM, Sarah Hill, and the support of Sound and Music, we’re putting together a super fun and utterly poignant touring programme with new commissions of some of our favourite artists. It’ll feature new pieces by ACM founders Michael Cutting and Vitalija Glovackyte, alongside a fresh work by childhood hero Darren Joyce of Modified Toy Orchestra, to name but a few. All of these new compositions will happen in various dialogues with a monstrous hourlong piece called Fleck Flob Flop that I’ve been making this past year. Aesthetically, it’s like an explosion of the Brittle Love record from March, arranged for mixed four-piece ensemble, electronics, sound recordings, and live text projections. The band, photographed by Andy Sawyer, looks like this.

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Our nine European dates in May and June – hopefully you can catch us somewhere along the way – look a lot like this:

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For more info and tickets, click here and scroll down. In the meantime, there’s a morsel of other exciting news: a tour-only release of seven tracks from the project via Manchester’s stalwart Ono label. The disc will feature artwork by Ono’s Michael Holland, a track each by Michael and Vitalija, and a 5-piece suite of reimagined Fleck Flob Flop material. Here’s an early mix of the second of those five pieces, called Happiness.

If you want even more, you’ll find a series of essays about the project over at ACM’s part of the Internet; stick the kettle on and check them out. Finally, to the swathes of people involved so far: thank you! It’s going to be good, and without you it wouldn’t be happening.

Records Roundup + Summer Shows

April 2015

Last month, I put out two quite different records at the same time via the Slip and Kesh labels, and you can find them here and here. Playing shows in their support has been a remarkable and pretty life-affirming few weeks: a big thanks to everybody who has been involved so far. Here’s a quick round-up, beginning with Paul Daly‘s beautiful video for Brittle Love‘s Lada, lovingly shot on 16mm film:

In other corners of the Internet, you’ll find this long-form interview on Brittle Love with ATTN‘s Jack Chuter, and this joint review of Brittle Love and Tired Music over at Fluid Radio. With a bit of extra Googling, you might find moreBrittle Love physicals sold out from Bleep in the first couple of weeks, but I have it on good authority that they’re back in stock; Tired Music is digital and therefore infinitely achievable. Listen to a slice of it here, played on Stuart Maconie’s BBC6 Freakier Zone a couple of weeks back. Video of a full Tired Music set from Berlin’s beautiful Quiet Cue space should be online soon.

Finally, there are a few shows I’m very excited about lining up for the summer, spread between other projects, including a fresh double album for Slip and a big processed organ piece with the second-to-none Will Gardner. Listen to mad bass here, read dates below, and expect more to follow.

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Two Releases & Twelve Shows

March & April 2015

I’m super pleased to announce two records coming out in March. The first to drop is called Brittle Love, and is a suite of unsung love songs made with a laptop, a lot of samplers, and old fashioned point-and-click mouse skills. A huge thanks to the Slip imprint for all their support in getting the music to this point over the last half year. Here’s the record’s lead track, Yesterday’s Bread Was So Much Better.

Artwork is by Dori Deng, and the 100-copy physical version includes a large-format print and forty minutes of conversation about the music, recorded in January in a favourite, now sadly departed, Neukölln bakery, dubbed onto recycled Children’s Bible cassettes and housed in a container made from soundproof foam. Got that? Right. On March 1st there’ll be an hourlong transmission on London’s Resonance FM during which I’ll talk to Laurie Tompkins about the record, some of my favourite-ever music by other people, and the relationship between those things. Fun sounds you almost certainly haven’t heard yet; tune in at noon.

The second, contrasting, cut is coming out March 16th and is called Tired Music. It’s a piece I’ve been playing for about a year since its first outing at Tokyo Wonder Site, and it’s taken care of by Simon Scott‘s beautiful Kesh label, home also to long-time heroes Machinefabriek and Lorenzo Senni. The aforementioned Rutger Zuyderveld took care of the artwork, and distribution is through Morr Music. As with the Slip release, it’ll be available via Bandcamp, Boomkat and Bleep, and also at iTunes if that’s how you like it. Here’s a dark snippet from the middle of the 24-minute piece.

It’s a great privilege to be out in a context like this, and so a major thanks to Simon, who is about to head on a North American tour. Also to Rosa van Hensbergen and Shaleigh Comerford, who listened and responded to an early version of the piece more than anyone else back in Japan.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be playing many shows in support of these records – especially Tired Music – in the UK and Germany. Particularly exciting is a show with Arts Assembly and the mighty Richard Skelton at the De La Warr Pavilion on the 21st. See you somewhere along the way? Dates below.

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