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Fleck, Flob, Flop @ Redon, London / Petrushka Reloaded Tour Dates, PL + DE

Nov 2018 – Feb 2019

Radical! Joe Bates and the merry Filthy Lucre lot invited me and power-Mancunians ACM to do our live-typed text piece from 2015, Fleck Flob Flop at the newly opened Redon club in Bethnal Green, and it was great. Thanks very much guys – your sound engineer was one of the Greatest Of All Time. Here’s a little snap of Vitalija Glovackyte and Robbie Gardiner doubling down on the tough stuff, in a photo credited to Filthy Lucre:

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I’ve been shirking documentarian duties here for a while, but in a good way: so much music got made! First, the new record Joyrobix is actually done–I heard the test pressing on Monday and it’s coming out as SLP047 on April 4th, just before we hit the road with it. Second, here is a tiny slice of the big orchestral refix of Stravinsky’s ballet Petrushka that’s coming up in March, which I said in a previous post would have vocoder all over it. It still definitely does, but more importantly it also sounds like the end of your favourite Disney film. Forgive the mix, it’s a thrown-together demo, but I was too excited to wait until a recording of the real thing comes in later this spring. 🙂

The piece, which is called Petrushka Reloaded, is for the kind of weird little ensembles I cobble together (a quartet this time: SPD & feedback station, electric guitar, vocoder & midi heaven, singer & toys), plus one hundred actual people with real instruments. Thanks to Konstantin and Pauli at the orchestra for their stewardship, and to the indefatigable Christoph Altstaedt and Simon Nathan (who has like literally done Rick Wakeman’s arrangements) for taking my half-baked, chamber-weirdo croonfest and exploding it into something that sounds actually rather like the old master. So fun. There’ll be mad projections from Stanisław Zaleski, too. March 7th we’re at the Philharmonic Hall, Szczecin, March 9th at the Konzerthaus, Berlin, and June 5th we play the Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg twice in one day. Bonkers.

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Who is Raymond? @ Mayhem [DK], AHEAD [LT] / junge norddeutschen philharmonie / Joyrobix

Late 2018

More travelling with my pal Raymond, this time on a train that went on a boat, to Copenhagen’s lovely Mayhem spot. Big thanks to Danielle Dahl for the invitation, and the awesome mini hamburgers. Raymond and I also paid a visit, at long last, to the distant lands of Lithuania, and specifically to the AHEAD electronic music festival. Cheers to Vitalija Glovackyte for the hook up, to Edvardas Šumila and Dominykas Digimas for the wintry fun, especially the rather nifty afterparty in the old railway station.

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It’s been a while since the last entry here, but not for want of work: hermetic noodlings on the next record and making weird art with NYU undergraduates have been the order of days. And there’s a fat load of work to be birthed in the immediate future, huzzah. First, the new record, definitively titled Joyrobix, is in the final stages of mixing, and it’s a carefully deranged half-hour song cycle that sounds like a commercial radio station loaded into a shopping trolley with children’s toys, a few of my uncle’s favourite adult contemporary records, my best Michael Bublé impression, and then kicked down a long flight of stairs. It’s really smooth until the wheels start to come off. Cheeky rough-mix snippet below:

Second, in a new and marvellous development, the fine folks of Berlin’s junge norddeutschen philharmonie have asked me to write a 30’, brightly coloured ode to Stravinsky’s Petrushka for performances next year. Among a bunch of other spots, it’ll be at the Philharmonic Hall in Szczecin, Berlin’s Konzerthaus and Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie, all of which is in equal measures thrilling and terrifying. I’m thinking an abstract portrait of Igor’s little puppet as a heartbroken manic dude, with lots of vocoder. I’m also thinking of that Orchestra Hit sound from those keyboards we had at school. Mmhm, this one.

Finally, two homeboys have records out! You can get Michael Cutting’s beautiful tape machine studies here, and Laurie Tompkins’ explorations of the furthest reaches of Netflix and synth with cellist Ollie Coates, here. Rejoice!

 

Café Oto + Wonder Inn [UK], NYU + National Sawdust [US], Casa del Popolo [CA], Roter Salon [DE], Liverpool Victoria Gallery & Museum [UK]

Dec 2016 – Mar 2017

A fun couple of months bouncing around with four different pieces. Who is Raymond? happened at Manchester’s wonderful Wonder Inn; thanks to Vitalija Glovackyte for the invitation! It also happened at New York University’s Waverly Project as part of ACM ensemble’s residency there, and again with Kinder Meccano at Casa del Popolo in Montreal; thanks to Noam Bierstone and his NO HAY BANDA series, and all of the marvellous audiences.Who Is Raymond [Press]Together, ACM and I gave Fleck Flob Flop its US premiere at National Sawdust in New York, which was every bit the great show we hoped it would be. Thanks to everybody who came out and was a part of making it that, also to Nico Muhly, Courtenay Casey, and Katie Jones for looking after us so amazingly, and to Michael Cutting and Vitalija Glovackyte for being game. And to Robbie Gardiner (below) for playing clarinet like a boss with lips bloody from the cold.

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Herr Andreas Dzialocha put out this very special record on Hyperdelia, the new label he’s running with point man Malte Kobel, and it was my great pleasure to test run some new material at their launch party at the very red Roter Salon in Berlin. Some sounds for your perusal:

Finally, after Aldeburgh Music (May) and Café Oto (December), The House of Bedlam gave Disappointment & Small Relief (Hospital Scenes) its third outing at the Leggate Theatre, erstwhile home to public autopsies, in Liverpool. Some serious synergy between site, sounds & band name right there. Gigantic thanks to the ensemble and to Larry Goves, as ever.

I’m taking a break from regular shows for the next twelve months to finish the follow-up to 2015’s Brittle Love, which y’all can still get at the link you just read past. It’s tentatively titled Joyrobix, and will be touring all of Europe and North America in spring 2019. With my little sister, which is the most exciting prospect.

Who Is Raymond? @ VERANTWORTUNG 3000, Brandenburg + Tuning Speculation, Toronto / A Long Walk To Grimethorpe @ Aesthetica, York

September – November 2016

In early September, 50 artists and musicians came together for the first ever VERANTWORTUNG 3000, a weeklong self-curated residency in Brandenburg organised by the power trio Andreas Dzialocha, Malte Kobel, and Laura Weber, the folks who run BLATT 3000 out of Berlin. It was an amazing and life-affirming thing that happened at an old distillery near the German-Polish border.

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I presented a test run of a 25′ piece I spent a fair chunk of the spring working on while studying with theorist and musician Eldritch Priest in New York. The premise is simple: the protagonist, to whom I bear striking resemblance, finds a scrap of paper on the New York City subway that reads ‘Raymond looking for work’ and that includes a phone number. Following weeks of speculative sleuthing and a couple of emails, he heads off on a wild goose chase across the American south in search of the note’s author and an explanation for the trail of clues it leaves behind. Half film documentary, half music-theatre piece, Who Is Raymond probes the line between truth and fiction, and between staged interventions and real life. Do these binaries even hold water when put to the test? Major thanks to the dozens of festival attendees who took the time to offer feedback on the edit. Here’s an excerpt from the middle of the piece.

Who Is Raymond? is set for a performance-lecture outing in Toronto in November at Eldritch’s Tuning Speculation weekender, and a longer, deconstructed version for Delia Stevens and Abel Selaocoe on percussion, cello and sundry digital devices is on the cards for a wee portrait concert touring the UK in the summer. Finally, a couple more Tired Music shows: at Shapeshifter Lab in Brooklyn in October with Fede Camara Halac and Jessica Rosen, and at Transpecos in Queens in November with David Meier & company. Woop.

Also just in: a film I made three(!) years ago with Sheffield cultural producers Hand Of, directed by Ismar Badzic, has been accepted for this year’s Aesthetica Short Film Festival, up in York in England. In the film I walk the 26 miles from Sheffield University Brass Band’s lockup to Grimethorpe Colliery Band’s evening rehearsal carrying a tuba rigged with microphones, to record sounds for a brass band commission. It also documents the performance of the new work, at S1 Artspace in Sheffield. The walk happened in early January. (Cold). Here’s a trailer:

So many people came together to make this thing happen. Thanks first to Hand Of, and then to the University of Sheffield, Sheffield Town Trust, Arts Council England, and the Yorkshire Film Archive. Sick to have been a part of it. Check out the film, along with work from all over the world, between November 3rd and 6th.

Disappointment & Small Relief @ Aldeburgh Music

May 2016

In a week of outrageous misfortune (Norwegian Airlines please let me know if you find my missing laptop; Suffolk Constabulary give me a call if you ever manage to drag the stolen rental car out of the sea) something amazing happened at Aldeburgh Music with The House of Bedlam, Larry Goves, and Sam Quill with my main man Laurie Tompkins, one of the brains behind Slip. Each of us was charged with putting together a 20′ multi-movement piece for a concert that we’ll take on the road over the next year. Reeds:

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I made a new live-typed text piece called Disappointment & Small Relief: Hospital Scenes, which tells the story of a doomed romance between Our Hero, a photosensitive in-patient at an eye clinic, and You: an ophthalmologist with a strobe-like smile. ‘Each passing day is one thing that is not another: Your ecstacy, and Our Hero’s worsening condition.’ Pretty sad, slightly happy, with drum machines and crass synths and saxophone and a piccolo for good measure. Viddy to follow, here for now is the second movement, in which our two protagonists fall fast and hard and head over heels.

Very warm thanks to Larry Goves, Harry Fausing Smith, Kathryn Williams, Steph Tress, and Tom McKinney for their skills, and to Aldeburgh Music for their amazing hospitality. A bunch of tunes from Disappointment & Small Relief will make it in some fresh fashion onto the forthcoming LP, a manic 45-minute odyssey tentatively titled JOYROBICS, and on track for a spring release. Shows with The House of Bedlam in Berlin and NYC to follow, but first up is at London’s Café Oto on December 5th.

Winter Roundup: London + Manchester + Copenhagen + NYC

January – April 2016

After a weeklong residency at Islington Mill with Kaj Duncan David and Danielle Dahl, Michael Cutting and I played shows in Liverpool, London, Manchester, Aarhus and Copenhagen in January. The thing we made was an hour of loosely organised chaos: flashing lightbulbs, riotous drones, cyborg pop, webcam lego races, sensitive tape machine music, spoken word, all of it unpacked and packed back up every single night. Not any of our most refined efforts, but a thoroughly and bizarrely fun evening. Thanks to all of you who came out, and to Sound and Music for the commission. Rough-and-ready video edit here, brace yourself. It was cold at rehearsals in Manchester.

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An exploratory residency with Erratica also happened in London the same month, and big thanks to Jethro Cooke for the tech wizardry, Liam Byrne for the digs, and Leonie Brandner for food. Tired Music happened a couple of times too: once at Spectrum in NYC – thanks to Michael Rose and to Lester St. Louis – and again at the Old Stone House in Brooklyn, alongside new work by Adele Fournet and Viola Yip – big up to Kim. Finally, I wrote a little number for the New York ensemble loadbang called Big Mouth, for mixed ensemble, click-track and video, performed in a huge room at DiMenna Center. Coming, perhaps, in a one-man format, to a tiny black box near you at some point in the distant future. To close, a deranged cut from the Erratica sessionswhich sounds like how I imagine winter feels in Hawaii.