March 2011


With an already intense schedule lined up it’s reassuring to remember that the origins of March are from ancient Rome, celebrating Martius aka Mars, the Roman god of war, so it’s into battle for another month.

Farewells break me in two

Though shorter than every other month February brought with it a fair share of adventures, from the personal to the public. I even relived that nightmare, seen repeatedly in movies, where I lost my house keys in a giant industrial domestic rubbish container and had to physically climb into this clammy dark vessel and dig deep into a sopping spongy nothingness to retrieve my keys. Not a charming adventure at all and several obsessively scrubbing clean showers later not one I wish to repeat.

The premiere of the Amarant ballet took place in early February at Opera in Antwerp, with the Royal Ballet of Flanders. Alongside virtuoso works from Bill Forsythe, David Dawson and Garry Stewart, Amarant was generously reviewed in The Observer newspaper as a work of ‘corrupted grandeur set to a resonant and mysterious score by British sound artist Scanner…
Moving from strident grand allegro to dreamy adagio, high-lit with showy duets, its rococo detailing is emphasised by Isabelle Lhoas's flagrantly gorgeous costuming. You note, as you succumb to Rimbaud's narcotic score, exaggeratedly arched backs, sensually curved necks, languorously spread fingers
.” I could stand with my head held afterwards, though apparently could learn to bow better on stage as was duly noted afterwards.

Before us, drawing us in

With barely time to wash the lipstick off my collar I was off to Paris to rendezvous with United Visual Artists (UVA) at La Gaîté Lyrique, a uniquely grand theatrical space opening the first week in March to present concerts, installations, talks, a library and all manner of digital good will to Parisian and other visitors. UVA have spent the last year developing a series of responsive installations for the official opening of the building, that slip from menacing to seductive in equal measure. A chance to see inside the development of the project can be seen on Vimeo

Les FenÍtres by scanner

I have created new work for the Chambre Sonore, a ten channel audio and light room.
Based upon writings by the poet Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867), Les Fenêtres uses readings of the text sliced and choreographed into a spiraling pattern of words, breathes and the spaces in between words. A generative light system created by UVA responds in real time to the sound, building to a synesthetic peak. For anyone interested in experiencing the work who is unable to visit Paris I’ve created a more limited but representative stereo mix to freely download at Soundcloud

Over at the Financial Times newspaper my work was recently featured in an article in House & Home, alongside fellow sonic adventure Lawrence English of Room40 in Australia. I spoke about my sonic art commissions for both commercial and private spaces and you can listen to some examples online there too.

And as an echo of my dark teenage years in the 1980s I recently made a cover version of British heavy metal band Judas Priest’s classic song, Breaking the Law, freely available to download at Soundcloud. Most definitely tongue in cheek but filled with a romantic intent. And yes, that is my singing on it.

Breaking the Law (Zee Valentine's Mix) by scanner

Me - every body, a physical dance performance opened at Göteborg Opera House in Sweden last month and will continue on 2,4,11 and 16 March 2011. Developed over the last ten years by choreographer Olof Persson, the piece will also be accompanied by a limited edition vinyl and CD edition of the score. I contributed material alongside Mike Skinner, Jean-Louis Huhta and others to this very unique release.

The Punkt DP 01 phone I created all the sound for last year is now available in stores and to promote the handset at Maison&Objet in Paris this year, I designed the animation sound for this cute little film directed by Rosie Lees in London. The simplicity of both the sound and image reflect the philosophy of Punkt

And slowly we unfold

After our extremely well received show with Einstürzende Neubauten last year, Jochen Arbeit and myself are setting up additional dates this year, two already announced for Ghent Belgium on 7 May and in Munich Germany on 31 May, so still time to pick up some earplugs.

So another reason to dress up this month for the official opening of La Gaîté Lyrique, then back to the mixing desk to work on mixes, production and new projects in the following weeks. Certainly there is no rest for the wicked.

Until next month

Professor Scanner

In what could have been, in what once was

::: listen :::
The Fall: This Nation’s Saving Grace (Beggars Banquet)
Burnt Friedman & Jaki Liebezeit: 5 7 (Mark_Ernestus_Mix) (Nonplace)
Moritz Von Oswald Trio: Horizontal Structures (Honest Jon’s)
Amon Tobin: Chaos Theory Remixed (Remix) (Ninja Tune)

::: read :::
FoxtrotEchoLimaTango/Felt fanzine (Johnston Vock)
Kevin Cummins: Joy Division (Rizzoli)
William Blake: Seen in my Visions (Tate)
Cut & Splice-Transmission (Sound & Music)

::: film:::
Jack Goes Boating, Philip Seymour Hoffmann, USA
Deux de la Vague, Emmanuel Laurent, France
Paul, Greg Mottola, USA
True Grit, Coen Brothers, USA


Breath Taking
Revealing a new wave in British glass blowing

Callendar House, Falkirk: 07 May – 02 July 2011
Durham Art Gallery: 08 July – 29 Aug 2011
Aberdeen Art Gallery: 01 Sept – 29 Oct 2011
Wrexham Art Gallery: 02 Dec – 28 Jan 2011/12

The new Crafts Council touring exhibition Breath Taking presents cutting-edge work in blown glass, by 22 UK makers. Through their creative use of glass-blowing techniques these makers ask us to consider the medium ’s possibilities for new ways of expression.

Sing in Sand and Roar in Furnace Fire from Neil Wissink on Vimeo.

Scanner collaborated with filmmaker Neil Wissink to produce this film which is installed in each gallery, based on recordings of the Stuart Hearn glassblowing studio in London.
Choreography: Matthias Sperling
Dancers: Matthias Sperling and Robin Dingemans

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.