November 2004

Strom Sixty Two.

Hello

A chance to write as I sit in an ancient hotel in provincial Evreux, France; an enormous glass room above me propelling the sunlight onto the screen. Our overseas Githead debut has just entertained the crowds here, alongside Christian Fennesz, Coh and others in the Feardrop Music Festival. The EP has already charted in numerous places and warmly welcomed by generous listeners. I'm not embarrassed to admit that it's a pop group and celebrates our mutual love of funky popular music!

It has been a month of speaking and performing, of loss and remembrance. The passing of celebrated English DJ John Peel last week of a heart attack whilst on holiday in Peru broke the hearts of many people, a man whose music choices charted my own upbringing and history, introducing me to the wild, unknown territories of a world of sound. Then the sudden death of curator Carol Brown at the Barbican Arts Centre in London at an early age stole another influential figure from our midst. Fine, dignified people evaporating from our world.

Speaking about music has seemingly become almost as valuable as creating it and at a time when American artist Bruce Nauman produces the first ever large scale sound installation at the Tate Modern in London, I've found myself speaking on BBC radio about sound art, the philosophy of sound in Aix-en-Provence, France, The Future of Sound at the Royal Institution in London and delivering the keynote speech for a conference at Leeds College of Music, UK. Is spoken word the new rock and roll?

My work with Belgian composer Jean-Paul Dessy will shortly be released on a Sub Rosa CD, but for the moment we've been creating work with his contemporary chamber group Musiques Nouvelles around Europe. We recently soundtracked a show with fashion designer Hussein Chalayan for the Paris Fashion Week, a work entitled ‘Blindscape,' conceptualised around the idea of how the blind dream, as well as performing in November in Annecy with ‘Play' our new work.

My first trip to Moscow, Russia proved to be an extraordinarily surreal encounter. Working with Random Dance on our Nemesis performance at the Boshoi, I stayed in a 3000 room hotel overlooking Red Square and the Kremlin, and apparently the biggest hotel in the world when built in the 1960s and now soon to be demolished. With a lap dancing club, casino and strip club housed in the basement, security guards on every floor and two indistinguishable lobbies on either side of the cavernous space, with identical bars, staircases, restaurants and staff it was tremendously perplexing to work out where exactly you were. Stranger still to bump into fellow explorer Genesis P Orridge in the lobby, having just performed with PTV the previous night.

November brings many more trips. Over to Leipzig in East Germany to work with artist Maix Mayer to soundtrack a performance in part of the old railway system where all the ancient trains are held, a kind of museum of ghost transport. Each night we will be showing a film with music right beside the live railway tracks.

I'm off to the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (http://www.hcmf.co.uk) in the UK to perform a variation on Scanner Scans Sciarrino with contemporary ensemble Alter Ego, where we collaborate on works by Italian composer Salvatore Sciarrino, then to New York to debut '52 Spaces' at Eyebeam (http://www.eyebeam.org ). Ryoji Ikeda and I will both be presenting our new works in their grand new space.

Europa 25: An Inter-National Anthem' will finally be presented in Brussels towards the end of the month. This project – created in response to a request from the British Council Brussels to find a way of celebrating the expansion of Europe in 2004- represents Europe's diversity and unity. Taking themes from every existing member's national anthem and collaging them into a single sacred song, I have tried to offer an alternative and playful approach to a possible contemporary interpretation of what an anthem might sound like.

The full 30-minute work will then be available as a freely distributed, not for sale CD, via various resources and also for free download. More details on that next month. Europa 25 is not intended to replace the national anthems of the Member States but rather to celebrate the values they all share and their unity in diversity.

Just before you have spent all your Christmas money, it's worth searching out the second edition of Vibro Files (http://www.vibrofiles.com), entitled ‘The Broken Tales Issue,' a seductively packaged CD/book set. Referencing fragmented narratives with nods to films, plays and travel diaries. ‘Broken Tales' offers a sampler of works from Alexandra & Aeron, Aki Onda, Ryoji Ikeda, William Furlong, Serge Comte and Radiomentale. It's perfect material to build up your library of essential recordings.

Until next time

Best wishes

Robin

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::: diary dates :::

2004
06 Nov Play: Musiques Nouvelles Annecy France
11-13 Nov Sound Train: Leipzig Germany
19 Nov 52 Spaces: Eyebeam New York USA
21 Nov Nemesis: Dieppe France
22 Nov Gala Ball: Royal Opera House, London
23 Nov Scanner Scans Sciarrino: Huddersfield UK
24 Nov Sound & Literature Festival: Aarhus Denmark
27 Nov EU National Anthem: Raffinery Brussels Belgium
09 Dec Zo Catania Italy
11 Dec Warsaw Poland (tbc)
16 Dec Moscow, Russia with D-Fuse

2005
13 Jan Lecture: Trinity College of Music, UK
13-15 Jan Triple Bill: White Bird, Portland, Oregon USA
19 Jan Triple Bill: UC Riverside, California USA
22 Jan Triple Bill: UC San Diego, USA
28-30 Jan Nemesis UCLA California USA
08 March Scanner Scans Sciarrino, Granada Spain
09 March Scanner Scans Sciarrino, Sevilla Spain
12 March Githead: Schouwburg Cultuurcentrum Luchtbal Belgium
17 March Nemesis: Danse a Lille Festival, France
30 March Nemesis Creteil, Paris
5-6 Dec Scanner Scans Sciarrino with Alter Ego Lisbon Portugal

::: listen :::
Zane Trow: For Those Who Hear Actual Voices (Room 40)
Aki Onda: Ancient & Modern (Phonomena)
Slowblow (Mobile)
Takashi Wada: Meguro (Onitor)

::: read :::
David Sonnenschein: Sound Design (MWP)
Walter Murch: The Conversations (Bloomsbury)
John Steinbeck: Of Mice & Men (Penguin)
Glenn Brown (Serpentine Gallery)

::: film:::
The Green Ray, Eric Rohmer, Fr
Coffee & Cigarettes, Jim Jarmusch, USA
My Summer of Love, Paul Pavlikowsky, UK
My Father is an Engineer, Robert Guediguian, Fr

::: exhibitions :::

PHONORAMA
A cultural history of the voice as a medium
ZKM | Museum for Contemporary Art
Karlsruhe Germany
http://www.zkm.de
19 September - 30 January 2005
A comprehensive group show exploring the human voice in art. Featuring works by Judith Barry, Joseph Beuys, Christian Boltanski, Marcel Broodthaers, VALIE EXPORT, Asta Gröting, Pierre Huyghe, Golan Levin, Katarina Matiasek & Scanner, Tony Oursler, Dieter Roth, Gerhard Rühm and others.

GRAVITIES OF SOUND
curated by Lawrence English (Room 40)
Singapore
http://www.maap.org.au
14 October - 18 November

As part of 'MAAP in Singapore' an innovative use of public space will be enabled in the transit tunnel between the Esplanade Theatres on the Bay and the Singapore CBD area.
The 80 metre tunnel will be installed with speakers, amplifiers and CD players to transform the practical transit experience of walking through the tunnel into a walk in a sonic landscape.
Artists specialising in 'the art of sound' from Korea, Myanmar, Singapore, Japan and Australia will be programmed over a 6 week period in an alternating program embracing cultural diversity through the expressive audio medium.

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