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November 2010

Hello

I write this as Halloween strikes and all the monsters appear around particular locations in the world,  so I hope you all survive safely.

This has been an exceptionally active month, where not only my own work but also that of others has occupied my time. It felt like returning to those heady student days of the eighties when I spent an entire week listening to live music, one that included dynamic performances by Einstürzende Neubauten, Hitman’s Heel, Pierre Bastien, Male Instrumenty, Seefeel, Hallogallo, Nosaj Thing, Free the Robots and potentially the final performance of Throbbing Gristle since the departure of Genesis P-Orridge last week. So you can only imagine my week of very mixed up and exhausting nights.

Shadows dreams and forms

October began with rehearsals in Amsterdam with the MAE Ensemble in preparation for our forthcoming shows in Den Bosch for the November Music Festival on 12 November. We are premiering a new work I’ve written for piano, trumpet, guitar, percussion and electronics, Nocturnal, which will also exclusively feature photos courtesy of artist and designer Erik Kessels, director of Kesselskrammer. The images are taken from his publication In Almost Every Picture 6, where a woman collected and documented her passport photos over sixty years, declaring her existence as if only to herself. The performance piece will be available with the book in an edition of 50 copies only at the show, with an exclusive DVD with my soundtrack. The following night I will also perform a more rhythmically led solo set so please bring your dancing shoes.

Back in the UK I performed a couple of very special shows In the last month. At The Firestation in Windsor I premiered An Opera for Stolen Voices, a new work echoing my first publicly recognised work focusing on stolen mobile phone conversations, drawing in live voices from all around for this piece.  Then the lightning striking collaborative performance with Jochen Arbeit for the 30th anniversary tour of Einstürzende Neubauten, where we metaphorically set the house on fire. With electronics and live guitar the work took on a life of its own in the most intensive manner. Read all about it here at The Quietus.

Both shows were recorded as they were irreplaceable events so will be available in the coming months I can guarantee.

The most bizarre tale of the last month has been the appearance of Bryan Ferry’s new Olympia album. Not for the release itself, which is a rather mediocre pop record, but for the story surrounding it. Ferry and I worked in the studio around ten years ago on a few tracks when he was admittedly a little lost in direction, and as far as I knew nothing was ever to come out given that the Roxy Music took priority afterwards. Then suddenly like a bolt out of the blue last week the album was released, including two of the songs I’d worked on, Tender is the Night and the lead single off the album, You Can Dance, of which I knew nothing.

As such I contacted his office. I waited, and nothing. I contacted his office again. And again, and then finally a response from the studio assistant to confirm that I’d been credited on the release but mistakenly as Radar, not Scanner. How unrewarding indeed. Wondering as to why I might have sounded perhaps a little unsettled at this revelation I explained if I were to release my new Scanner album featuring a singer, credited as Dione Berry and not in fact tell him about this and then not even apologise, then it might seem a little odd to them.

At time of writing I’m still waiting an apology, confirmation that my credits will be added to the release and even copies of the officially released CD, but of course nothing has arrived. Ah, the beautiful appeal of the music industry. Stay tuned for further reports on this tale

Headlong to the skies

If you are in the mood for a little education then tune in to Sound and Music for their case study on my work, where a relatively intense and humorless interview is there to offer advice on developing your artistic practice.  How useful this actual advice might actually be is arguable though!

And just like buses and trains when you are waiting, two releases come out this month at the very same time. Finally released and almost sold out before it's available, the Banabila/Scanner 10" special limited (300 hand numbered copies) vinyl edition marks the first time collaboration between Dutch composer Banabila and Scanner. Read more details at the special site, where you can also listen to every track in full on the release. And remember this might be your only chance to get hold of Scanner's 10"! :-)

On another tangent "Blink of an Eye”, my full-length album collaboration with the Post Modern Jazz Quartet ensemble, led by pianist Matthew Shipp and vibes man Khan Jamal is out on Thirsty Ear this month. Reviews are already coming in, with delightfully supportive words such as “Scanner takes the sounds the quartet generates and filters them (literally) through a modern-day electronica sensibility, tweaking and warping them in wondrous, surprising, and often subtle ways." It’s been a very exploratory and risky step for me to take so hope that you might enjoy it once you get to hear it. Two teasers can be heard at Soundcloud.

The artwork features a series of photographs I took and can also be found digitally at iTunes. Don’t forget that Scanner can now be found on Ping, Apple iTunes new social network, so please come along and join in some potential fun.

Opening this month at the Maryland Institute College of Art Baltimore is
SIGHT.SOUND [INTERACTION] an annual exhibit curated by Jason Sloan. This year my film Soul in Reverse featuring Michael Jackson in both image and sound will be shown, a short work that plays with the notion of a life lived in reverse, touched with a melancholic edge since the work anticipated Jackson's death by six months.

Washing away another day

Australian label Room40 celebrates its tenth anniversary this year and to celebrate London’s Café Oto will host two nights dedicated to the label in an Open Frame context. On 4 November I will be appearing as part of the reunited I/O3 with head honco Lawrence English, David Toop, Tam Patton and Heinz Riegler, which looks set to be an epic and caustic experience. Following our set The Necks celebrated pianist Chris Abrahams will play a rare solo piano performance, which looks set to be truly unforgettable. Tickets are available here

November will also see the premiere of a new work in collaboration with London based visual collective Seeper, for Gleam: Festival of Light, with a spectacular outdoor light and music performance mapped across the Quad building art gallery in Derby UK. Seeper create intricate and sophisticated light mapping projections across architecture and the event is free and performed over several nights so pop along if you can, but video footage will be viewable online afterwards too I’m certain.

And to escape the impending chill and rain I depart to Australia at the end of this month to give a keynote speech at a conference about the art and science of remix cultures and open source ideas on 1 December. It will take place at the University of Wollongong, just south of Sydney. I promise to think of the rain in Europe whilst there, if only for a moment.

Until then, have a lovely month

Robin
Professor Scanner

In silence, calm and sunshine


::: listen :::

Swans: My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky (Young God)
Lawrence English: Incongruous Harmonies (Touch)
Eskmo: Cloudlight Come Back (Ninja Tune)
Amiina: Puzzle (Amiinamusik)

::: read :::
Mark E Smith: VII (Lough Press)
Alasdair Gray: A Life in Pictures (Canongate)
Max Jacob: The Dice Cup (Atlas)
David Stubbs: Jimi Hendrix, Story Behind (Carlton)

::: film:::
Despicable Me, Pierre Coffin, USA
Monsters, Gareth Edwards, UK
The Social Network, David Fincher, USA
The Kids are Alright, Lisa Cholodenko, USA

Exhibitions

SIGHT.SOUND [INTERACTION]
Rosenberg Gallery
[2nd Floor / Brown Center]
Maryland Institute College of Art

01-18 November 2010

Scanner will be showing his film installation Soul in Reverse as part of SIGHT.SOUND [INTERACTION] which is an annual exhibit curated by Jason Sloan, at Maryland Institute College of Art. Soul in Reverse is a short work that plays with the notion of a life lived in reverse, touched with a melancholic edge since the work anticipated Jackson's death by six months. Other artists include Eva & Franco Mattes aka 0100101110101101.org, Chang Park, Timo Kahlen, Mr Doob and others.

www.sightsoundmica.org

Night Haunts
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 .

www.nighthaunts.org.uk
www.artangel.org.uk


Bittersweet Songs for the Sleepless City
Artangel Interaction

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. Additionally it features remixes of NightJam by Stephen Vitiello, Hakan Lidbo, Troy Banarzi, Si-cut.db and Pete Lockett.

www.nightjam.org.uk