With the clocks changing and a seemingly global recession about to devour us all it’s been a dark month literally and metaphorically for many people. I’ve continued to escape through constant disappearances across the world and burying my head into sunnier holes.
I have just returned from the cloudy air of Kiev Ukraine where I took part in the Kvitnu Festival, where I learnt that the concept of time takes on a complete alternative reality. ‘Five minutes’ as in ‘we will be there in around 5 mins’ or ‘I will pick that up for you in 5 mins’ actually translates as around 90 minutes in practice. As such I was rather concerned how long an actual hour-long live set should be given this awkward translation. Playing after a nostalgic shoegazing set by British group Seefeel, reigniting a musical force that has remained dormant for the last decade, I was unsettled to find the venue rapidly empty at the close. Seemingly the secret police were raiding the venue to collect ‘taxes’ at 22.00 on a Saturday night. Curious indeed.
Premieres of new works of mine with Italian contemporary ensemble Alter Ego took place in October in both Oslo and Venice at the Biennial and proved to be great successes, utilizing live piano, flute, saxophone, violin, cello, theremin and electronics. Performed alongside dark cinematic works by Deathprod and American composer William Basinki, I nervously sketched sounds across lean works of a keening luminosity.
And in the slippery heady world of rock and roll Githead played an alternative reality at the Arnolfini Gallery in Bristol UK in our Art Git incarnation, premiering a series of new works to the very polite crowd. We are hoping to set up UK and international tours in 2009 so don’t wash your jeans yet in preparation.
This month I’m finally allowed to speak openly about a major project I’ve been collaborating on for the last year with Philips in The Netherlands. Available in the stores now in Europe is the new Wake-up Light 2008 which evokes sunrise for a more pleasant and natural waking experience.
As a dawn simulator, no matter what time of day you wish to wake up of course, the Wake-Up Light combines a reading lamp with an alarm clock and offers a far more pleasant way to start a day, simulating a sunrise to echo the natural rhythm of the body. With the light slowly increasing in intensity over 30 minutes prior to the set time it produces a far gentler entry into the day. I consulted on the project and then designed several sound environments to balance this awakening, using natural sounds through to chimes and more musical shapes. Once fully illuminated, the lamp recalls a sunset on the horizon via a divider between the luminescence and the dark part of the object. So finally I’m able to get inside the bedrooms of unsuspecting people, into their innermost sanctums and fuse into their environment without detection!
Back in the UK my collaboration Riff with award-winning choreographer and dancer Matthias Sperling will have its London premiere at the Linbury Studio at the Royal Opera House this month on 14 and 15 November. Exploring the concept of sampling choreography Riff draws directly on excerpts of three other dance works, William Forsythe’s Solo, Shobana Jeyasingh’s Transtep and Laila Diallo’s Out of sight in the direction of my body.
Riff sets out to create a new and autonomous work using only the choreographic material of these sampled excerpts, each 30 seconds long. Through an intricate process of segmenting, recombining and manipulating the sample material, a highly personal journey toward
the evolution of an individual choreographic voice emerges, accompanied by a complex weaving exploratory soundtrack. With previous performances at Holland’s Springdance Festival earlier this year, critics called it “a captivating performance and a successful experiment” and “a staggering feat of bodily control… a pleasure and a delight,” so try and sample this yourself.
Continuing this idea of sampling and finding new stories in recombining disparate parts, this month also features the premiere of  Project at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival. Celebrating the 60th anniversary of musique concrète and the pioneering work of pierre schaeffer by commissioning 60º the work is the result of the involvement of 60 of the world’s leading electronic artists, a real gem of a list, with Christina Kubisch, Christian Fennesz, David Toop, Terre Thaemlitz, Janek Schaefer, Steve Roden, Douglas Benford, Lawrence English and yours truly all feeding into the grand mix. Later on the work will be released on the Canadian label empreintes DIGTALes
November will keep on my toes and racking up the air miles with trips to Vilnius Lithuania for World Music Days 2008 Festival, a live improvisation with American composer David Shea at the All Frontiers Festival, the nerve-wracking premiere of a completely solo guitar set, and then directly off to Richmond Virginia and New York City to close the month.
So wrap up warm, stay safe and see you next month.
Until next time
::: listen :::
23 Skidoo: Culling is Coming Re-issue (LTM)
David Grubbs: An Optimist Notes the Dusk (Drag City)
Travis & Fripp: Thread (Panegyric)
Nico Muhly: Mothertongue (Bedroom Community)
::: read :::
The Royal Lodge: Learned Helplessness (Houldsworth)
Cold War Design 1945-1970 (V & A)
Cabinet Magazine Issue 31 ‘Shame’
Cildo Meireles: Monograph (Tate)
Burn After Reading, Coen Brothers, USA
The Hired Hand, Peter Fonda, USA
The Last Detail, Hal Ashby, USA
Hunger, Steve McQueen, UK
Linfield College Art Gallery, McMinnville, OR
15 October -29 November 2008
A group show about the origins of ideas, not complete thoughts; about subtext than anything else - the building blocks, parts, pieces - without a practical narrative. With Nayland Blake, Jack Daws, Harrison Higgs, Jesse Paul Miller, Rimbaud/Scanner, Stephanie Robison and others.
By Sukhdev Sandhu
Design Mind Unit
Sound Design Scanner
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 .
Bittersweet Songs for the Sleepless City
NightJam is the latest project in Artangel Interaction’s Nights of London
series of artist-led collaborations with people who have a special view on
a hidden side of the nocturnal city. Scanner invited young people at New Horizon
Youth Centre in King’s Cross to collaborate on a creative project that
expresses how the city at night looks and sounds to their ears and eyes. Through
music and voice workshops they explored the sense of freedom and fear, celebration
and solitude of the concealing darkness. Meanwhile, they captured their nights
on disposable cameras, taking images that are at times eerie, startling, contemplative
and funny. NightJam presents two elusive visual and musical journeys through
the city’s ‘quiet’ hours.
NightJam presents two music tracks, a film, photographs, that can be experienced and freely downloaded. Now featuring remixes of NightJam by Stephen Vitiello, Hakan Lidbo, Troy Banarzi, Si-cut.db and Pete Lockett.