February 2006



The sound of drilling and sanding has paused for a moment whilst for a moment I try to engage with other things, rather than the removal of walls, the building of over 70 book and vinyl shelves and trying to keep this evil layer of dust at bay. Yes, Scanner HQ moves towards completion.

Less traveling the last month, so it’s been a chance to re-charge my physical and emotional batteries and concentrate on the projects that occupy my day and frequently night hours. I’m currently working on a yearlong project with London based art producers, Artangel, on Night Haunts (http://www.nighthaunts.org.uk), which launches on 4 February. Writer and historian Sukhdev Sandhu is writing a nocturnal journal unfolding over the course of 2006. His postings will appear sequentially at this site, as well as being serialised in the Daily Telegraph newspaper. Sandhu's forays will see him prospecting in the London night with the people who drive its pulse, from the avian police to security guards, zookeepers and exorcists. Ian Budden of Mind Unit and myself are composing the shape and sound to the site.

In the course of his Night Haunts adventures Sandhu will reflect on the nature of the urban night: does the quality of night change between 1am and 4am, and between the East End and the West? Has 'night life' been gradually corroded and colonised by light and entertainment? What are the invisible economies that pulse through the sleeping city? Does the Thames change its character at dusk? Is authentic darkness impossible? These intriguing ideas and proposals will be followed over the twelve month period and at present none of us has any idea of how it will develop which is a most enticing prospect. You can also subscribe to the writings at the website too.

Another interesting project is just kicking off at the Winter Olympic Games in Torino Italy, entitled Echoes From the Mountains / Suoni in Alta Quota, tuning into the forces of nature and of art. Its goal is to stimulate the public to pay more attention to the world of sounds and to learn to interact with it. 11 international artists were commissioned to create sound and music installations as well as performances which will be positioned and presented in a few of the ski-resorts that will be hosting the Games, amongst them Joe Diebes, Stephen Vitiello, Enrico Glerean and ZimmerFrei. The eminent Charlie Morrow will also present his Sound-Cube which will showcase sound-works by Olivia Block, Steve McCaffery, Miya Masaoka, Vlada Tomova and myself.

I’m presenting A Natural Love, a surround sound piece, that explores the astonishing sounds of seduction and passion in the natural world, using wildlife recordings of matings calls and sexual activity in such creatures as bats, albatrosses, tungler frogs, asian lions, billygoats mute swans, elephants, puerto rican tree frogs, peacocks, swallows, beluga whales, capuchin birds, blue tits, cats, bees, grey lions, toads, satin bowerbirds, grey seals, hammer headed fruit bats, swallow gulls and elephant seals. It’s an unusual chance to broadcast animal pornography across the mountains, so goodness knows that the skiers will make of these sounds!

And still wondering about ways in which to shed a few extra pounds or kilos after that Christmas binge? Well, my new Tinnito CD on Persistencebit Records, a collaboration with Italian minimalist funkers Rolf & Fonky, has finally struck daylight and emerged from the archive, might offer a few pointers. Beautifully designed by Nenadot, it’s a punishing album of sonic headstrong beats and skull crashing rhythms, aimed directly at your hips and feet. It’s like a little dinner party between DFA, Jeff Mills and Kraftwerk, whilst the Chemical Brothers serve cakes and tea. Wear loose pants whilst listening!

Fancy a lovely song instead? Perhaps something a little moodier and nostalgic? Next To Nothing, a new CD out on Optical Sound from France, is entirely composed of covers of the legendary Tuxedomoon – a Californian group in a state of perpetual exile since the beginning of the eighties. The learned fan will find himself lost in a very improbable place, sort of a Gothic cathedral where the gargoyles are blinking at each other; others will recognize the sonorities of a distant melody, a part of the soundtrack of the eighties, as heard by nowadays' ears. Alongside friends like Simon Fisher Turner and Norscq, I have performed and sung a cover version of my favourite 1980s song, ‘(Special Treatment for the) Family Man.’ And yes, you did read that correctly, I sing on this fine record.

And how about some free music too? Tune your URL to http://www.godxiliary.com/ and download the massive .zip file of a year long project, where 20 songs were built and destroyed by 20 musicians, so it’s been a constant recycling of each other. Most entertaining!

I’m off to the icy windy city of Minneapolis this month to present my work at the Spark Festival in association with http://www.free103point9.org, a project which you can either support locally by attending or else listen to online. Interestingly I’ll be using audio and video from a gallery in Brooklyn that will be webcast to Minneapolis where I’ll be performing in person, in collaboration with the Brooklyn performers, to a live Spark festival audience. Tune in and pretend you were there!

Best wishes as always and wrap up warm

Robin Rimbaud

::: listen :::
Coil: The Ape of Naples (Threshold House)
Cycla: Level (Spekk)
Meat Beat Manifesto: Off Centre (Thirsty Ear)
David Byrne:The Catherine Wheel (Sire)

::: read :::
Anthony Burgess: Here Comes Everybody (Hamlyn)
Mike Nelson: Between a Formula & a Code (Koenig)
Steven Berkoff:Plays (Faber & Faber)
Gerard Manley Hopkins: The Major Poems (Dent)

::: film:::
Birth, Jonathan Glazer, USA
No Direction Home, Martin Scorsese, USA
A Cock & Bull Story, Michael Winterbottom, UK
Epidemic, Lars Von Trier, Denmark

::: exhibitions :::

Echoes From the Mountains / Suoni in Alta Quota
A sound project conceived for the XX Winter Olympic Games
Val di Susa (Torino) Italy
11 – 26 February 2006

Conceived and curated by Ombretta Agrò Andruff in collaboration with One Off Gallery, 11 international artists create sound and music installations as well as performances which will be positioned and presented in public places in five of the ski-resorts that will be hosting the Games.

What Sound Does A Color Make?
Centre for Art & Visual Culture
University of Maryland
Baltimore MD USA
27 January - 07 April 2006

The premiere of What Sound Does a Color Make? features contemporary and historical works by an internationally diverse group of artists who manipulate sound with image and image with sound. The show includes artists who likewise use technology to inspire a renewed consciousness of highly un-technological experiences -- physicality, human cognition, and perception. Featuring work by Scott Arford, Jim Campbell, D-Fuse with Scanner, Granular Synthesis, Gary Hill, Atau Tanaka, Stephen Vitiello, Nam June Paik and others.

What Sound Does a Color Make? is a travelling exhibition (2005-2007) organised & circulated by iCi, curated by Kathleen Forde.


Night Haunts
By Sukhdev Sandhu
Design Mind Unit
Sound Design Scanner

04 February 2006 – 04 February 2007

Artangel Interaction invited writer and historian Sukhdev Sandhu to write a nocturnal journal unfolding over the course of 2006. His postings will appear sequentially at this microsite specially designed by Mind Unit. Sandhu's forays see him prospecting in the London night with the people who drive its pulse, from the avian police to security guards, zookeepers and exorcists. Acclaimed artist and musician Scanner has collaborated with Sukhdev and Ian Budden of Mind Unit to compose the sound for the site. If you would like to be kept informed as each episode is posted, join artangel‘s mailing list by clicking here.