Handy Tour @ Bournmouth, London, Oxford, Manchester

April 23rd – 26th

A few months ago, the inimitable Laurence Tompkins – music writer extraordinaire, one half of the Manchester Slip Discs label, and resident at Resonance FM – asked for a short piece of music for banjo and electronics, for a four-city, twelve-gig tour called Handy in April. I wrote it, enjoyed writing it, and a couple of weeks ago it all happened. Below one of three shows in Oxford, at OVADA, and a fixed media version of the piece, called Moscow Dancing Bar. The light installations are by Dori Deng.

Handy @ Ovada

There are eleven more of these little chamber music adventures cued up for a release on Slip Discs this summer, and plans to bring some kind of arrangement of it all through the UK and Europe next spring with a crack squad of genuine, authentic, acoustic musicians from various layers of the earth. Watch this space.

Lärmlicht @ The Kitchen, NYC

April 4th & 5th, 2014

It was a great pleasure, together with Jethro Cooke and Jordan Munson, to play two shows in New York this month, as part of The Kitchen’s Synth Nights programme. We hauled our stuff in on Wednesday for an ocean of time to set up and rehearse, and the shows happened on Friday and Saturday. Peep a short clip from the new Lärmlicht below, filmed by Iki Nakagawa.

The space is deceptively big, but you wouldn’t know it from the sound system – whatever’s hanging in there makes it feel like your bedroom, but then with twenty times more bass. Immense fun to play on. Tremendous thanks to everybody at The Kitchen – Tim Griffin, Lumi Tan, Brad Loving, Andrea and  Brittany Spencer – to Nico Muhly for the invitation, to Jethro and Jordan for all their help, and to everybody that came. Hopefully see you all again soon.

OHNO @ OTO, London

March 28th & 29th, 2014

Together with three fine musicians and the support of Sound and Music and Denmark’s organisation for new music SNYK, we brought two nights of outlandishly curated music to London’s Café Oto on the last Friday and Saturday of March. A mini-festival of sorts, it was called OHNO, was wildly eclectic, and will happen again in Copenhagen in early 2015. There’s a video of the weekend, by Ismar Badžic, below.

The lightbulbs were in full attendance, along with the excellent music written and/or played by Sandra Boss, Michael Cutting, Vitalija GlovackyteSøren Kjærgaard, Anders Lauge Meldgaard, Nico Muhly, Claire Simmonds, Lucie Vítková and Simon Steen Andersen. Thanks to absolutely everybody who helped make it happen, especially the team at Sound and Music. Here’s to Denmark next year…

Tired Music @ Luggage Store, San Francisco & CNMAT, Berkeley

Feb’ – April ’14

Three pretty cool shows of a new Lärmlicht coming up: at Café Oto in London on the 28th of March, and the following week at The Kitchen in New York, on the 4th and 5th of April. Also on those American bills is a fresh  A/V piece developed together with Jethro Cooke and Jordan Munson.

While we’re on the topic, there were a couple of sets  of Tired Music over the last few weeks on the West Coast, as below. One at San Francisco’s Luggage Store Gallery spot at Market & 6th courtesy of Outsound, and another at CNMAT over in the East Bay. At that last one, it was my great pleasure to play alongside the Czech composer and improviser Lucie Vítkováwhose most recent release is on this Chicago label, and about which you are already fully ecstatic, with excellent reason.

Snape, J. - Tired Music Tokyo (Credit Shuta Shimmyo)

Finally, thanks to Outsound and Sivan Eldar for the hookups, to the formidable Bob Marsh and Joe Lasqo for a smashing experience at Berkeley Arts Festival, and to everyone at Clementina, full stop. Or maybe period.

Input Place @ TWS + Tokyo Salon + Noguchi Room

Nov’ & Dec’ 2013

After two shows in Berlin last year – one at the strangely fabulous Voo Store and another down the road at ACUD Theater – Rosa van Hensbergen, Shaleigh Comerford and I went to Tokyo, and it was huge and the best. Together, we played a trio of shows and held two short residencies over about six weeks. The first stay was at Tokyo Wonder Site as part of Experimental Festival Vol. 8, the second at the exquisite Noguchi Room in Tamachi. Both were ace, and the project was a pleasure.


Above is a photo of the first show’s opening image, taken by Tomo Ogata at Tokyo Salon. Below is a short tap from my mixer the same night. The sounds, developed gratefully with the feedback of Rosa & Shaleigh, are an arrangement of a piece called Tired Music, which will be out on Simon Scott’s lovely Kesh label later in the spring.

For a better sense of what actually happened, head to this link. Huge thanks to Rosa for organising the whole thing, Shaleigh for her deep skillz, Shuta Shimmyo for his hospitality and steady hands, Tokyo Wonder Site for all of their support, the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation for theirs, to Homma-san and Kakumoto Atsushi, to everybody who joined us at final performance at the Noguchi Room, and to Satoshi Hattori of the Tokyo Max Users Group. Here’s hoping for a speedy return, and plenty more music.

Lärmlicht #5 Prototype

Jul’ & Aug’ 2013

It finally (almost) works. At least, a pretend version of it. But not too many more hours of programming, wiring, drilling and writing before it’s actually ready for a Festival Near You. Here’s a short video, filmed by Daniel Roberts, who is a very kind gentleman.

This one sits somewhere between an instrument and installation, and the bulbs respond to a performer’s touch to trigger samples and scenes and themselves. This frantic slice is Pattern 2, which is one of a lot more patterns. What you can hear are chopped recordings – highly amplified – of the electrical circuitry that drives the system. More footage very soon;  the whole thing will be done by the end of the summer. One hopes.