January 2011


Into a New Year, a new decade, MMXI, and after a rather ferocious 2010, The Year of the Rabbit, The International Year of Forests and International Year of Chemistry, a curious combination indeed.

Weather conditions all over seem to have been choreographed by some mastermind of special effects in the last month, with the coldest winters on record in many cities, and planes, trains and even footsteps proving almost impossible in the slippery snowy climate.

Rapture in winter

Foolishly imagining I was escaping to bask in an Australian summer in Wollongong in December I was instead caught in a ceaseless monsoon that enveloped the coastline. Safely dry in my apartment I used the time to catch up on correspondence, downloading and deadlines. Thankfully a foggy drive to Sydney one evening through the high hills led to the production of this film

Into the Mist from Scanner

Whilst there Australian laptop artist Pimmon and I played a very intense and special show at ¼ Inch and I spoke about the role of remix culture in my own productions at the University.

Back to Europe for just one day left no time for my alien body to adjust to the time difference and then it was off to perform my score to Stevenson’s classic horror film Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde in France at L’Aéronef, followed by L’odyssée de l’espace at Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille, two contrasting shows united by visionary artists and my sonic explorations of each independent world. An excerpt from the Echoes/Pink Floyd show can be heard here

A train journey across the flat lands towards Amsterdam brought the closing performance for 2010, with Ensemble MAE at Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ in our Nocturnal work, a celebratory evening afterwards and a rare DJ outing from Prof Scanner on the decks, playing music to cheer and unsettle in equal measure.

The long awaited Scanner Shop finally launched in December too. The intention is to offer many exclusive works through this personalised shopping experience, and to begin with you can find the last remaining new copies of Lauwarm Instrumentals , Nemesis and Messe des Klangs, amongst many other CDs. Any vinyl release provides you with free MP3 downloads of the material too. Stay tuned for more updates on this.

The forests that shook three summers' pride

I was very happy to see filmmaker Boris Gerrets receive the NTR IDFA award for Best Mid-Length Documentary 2010 recently with his work, People I Could Have Been & Maybe Am. I contributed recordings to this film that was entirely filmed on a mobile phone. The film was praised for its 'insight into a world where people coexist yet are isolated by the structures and creations of modern society,’ and is an extremely moving exploration of the lives of others, intimately shot.

In January 2011’s edition of the fine music publication The Wire, Issue 323, I fulfilled my ambition of meeting the challenge of The Invisible Jukebox where a guest is tested by listening to recordings unknown to them. Over an intense three-hour conversation I happily picked up on some very obscure recordings by Joseph Beuys and Nam June Paik on vinyl, as well as John Cage, Aphex Twin, Swans, Wire, Coil, Rhys Chatham and others. Only the inclusion of ZZ Top bewildered me and though I recognized it immediately could not place why on earth I was being tested with said item. Only the realisation that my fellow Githead team mate Colin Newman thought it might be playful to suggest I’m a ZZ Top fan re-ignited the conversation. Pick up a copy of the magazine for some rare extremely happy smiling photos of me and then tune into the website for the full unedited transcript soon.

I am currently busily scoring new works for Dutch National Ballet and Royal Ballet of Flanders in 2011, but in the meanwhile I have just digitally released the score for Pavillon d'Armide. Finally available on iTunes due to popular request, this complete soundtrack to a contemporary dance work for Les Ballets de Monte Carlo was choreographed by Matjash Mrozewski in 2009 and takes inspiration from Handel's Rinaldo and is rich in texture and harmony. Matjash and I are working again with for his Amarant work which premieres in Antwerp in February 2011, so further musical adventures ahead.

Echoes caught in flight

And also new on iTunes is an update for my free Whisper App. This free self-generative sound app has now been updated to iOS4 and works in the background too. Especially recommended if you are looking for some intimate whispering in your ears as it reacts to the environment around you. It has even been already used in a musical production by another artist so clearly can inspire too.

Out this month too is the luxurious 10 CD box set, Music for Merce (Cunningham) that
features countless figures from the history of exploratory music, capturing the breath
of the Cunningham repertory and the rich diversity of Cunningham’s musical collaborations, with works by John Cage, David Tudor, Earle Brown, Pauline Oliveros, Christian Wolff and for personal interest my collaboration with John King and Radiohead's Phil Selway for Event in 2005 at the Barbican London. Exact details can be found here

And just in case you wondered. No, there’s no resolution to this absurd Bryan Ferry situation. The dinosaur of the music industry rears its ugly head again and fails to respond to any polite requests from me so it’s going to be processed through the powers of the Musicians Union since his managements discourteous behavior is simply unacceptable and tiresome. Let men in suits talk to men in suits.

So let us begin this New Year positively and wish heartening thoughts to all and sundry.

Until next month

Professor Scanner

Robin Rimbaud [Scanner].

::: listen :::

Wire: Red Barked Tree (Swim)
Joy Division: + - (Rhino)
Jon Hopkins: Monsters (iTunes)
Plastikman: Arkives Christmas Bonus Tracks (Minus)

::: read :::
Georges Perec: An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris (Wakefield)
BFI Gallery Book (BFI)
John Waters: Role Models (Beautiful)
Cabinet Magazine Issue 39: Learning

::: film:::
127 Hours, Danny Boyle, UK
The Way Back , Peter Weir, USA
Breaking Bad DVD Season 2, Vince Gilligan, USA
Strange Creature, Lynn Hershman-Leeson, USA


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 .


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.