Wednesday, 22 December 2010

PRSF New Music Plus performances

It was a busy week for me last week, particularly the Thursday (16th Dec), when I played at two consecutive performances to mark the culmination of the PRS for Music Foundation's New Music Plus partnership. The New Music Plus project consisted of a set a of year-long partnerships between the PRSF, new music producers and prominent venues and cultural organisations. The two performances I played in on the final night were:

'The Intergalactic Mashup King'
Organised by Ross Dalziel
with his partnership organisation, National Museum Liverpool - World Museum. We got to play in the planetarium at the World Museum, performing along to the planetarium's show about the solar system and the Universe. A dream come true! In fact, this concert was the first of its kind at the planetarium, and was to mark the 40th anniversary of its opening. As well as Ross and myself performing, there were also Glenn Boulter and Mark Pilkington. We started out with a composition of Mark's that melted into one of my compositions, before we all started improvising along together. Great show, and amazing how dark it gets in there!

Setting up at the planetarium

Opening Party for FACT and Tate Liverpool's Nam June Paik exhibition
The next gig was organised by Glenn Boulter in partnership with FACT and Tate Liverpool, and was the opening event for their joint exhibition of the work of Korean artist, Nam June Paik. The event took place at the Kazimier, which is a great venue. The group this time was a new duo that myself and Adam Webster of Frakture have set up called 'the white snow leaves imprints in the dawn'. In fact, we set up the duo in response to the commission to do a Nam June Paik inspired piece, but we're planning to take the group further and have a second work ready to go. The piece we created for this performance was called One, after Paik's piece of the same name. While Adam played the cello, I affected his sonic output. We then simultaneously sent out the clean and affected signals to the PA. At the same time we projected some of the computer generated visuals I've been working on, using a second projector and a camera to capture the visuals and project them back into the same space, creating a visual feedback loop.

Photos by Glenn Boulter

Friday, 3 December 2010

Sound Relay

Last month I played in a project called Sound Relay, which was a collaboration between Ensemble 10/10 (the Liverpool Philharmonic's contemporary music ensemble), and the a.P.A.t.T. Orchestra. The project was part of the Liverpool Biennial's Long Night.

The musicians were split into groups starting at different locations. I was stationed initially at FACT. Starting at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, the first group of musicians walked to FACT, playing along the way; then we went to the Bluecoat, still playing; and made our final stop at Tate Liverpool, where we split up into different groups, each in a separate room in the gallery.

Here's a video with highlights of the whole event.

Resonating vans, Neon Party in the Car Park

Here's some footage of last month's Noise Club gig in Dundee at Neon Party in the Car Park, which, as the name suggests, was actually in a multi-story car park in Dundee. Mike Loftus and myself were the performers.

During the gig I resonated a van that had been hired for us using feedback, manipulating the sound with the panels on the van and effects, while Mike, among other things, recorded sound live from the performance onto megaphones, which he then placed around the car park, looping the recorded sounds.

Up the Wall, Chester

Here are some pictures from my recent installation at Up the Wall in Chester. Up the Wall is a site specific, installation and live art festival along Chester’s ancient city walls run by Chester Performs. My installation was a 49-speaker installation called Jericho's Revenge. It was created under the Noise Club name as a site-specific work.

Jericho's Revenge is an interactive sound installation that turns the biblical story of the fall of the Walls of Jericho on its head.  Instead of bringing the walls tumbling down, here, a wall is constructed from the sound of trombones, a viewer-playable, 49 strong orchestra of powerful and dissonant sounds, giving new resonance to an ancient tale.
Jericho's Revenge uses dense harmonic structures to create clouds of sound that are simultaneously static and continuously changing. Musically, the piece pays tribute to the choral music of the Renaissance; in particular, to Thomas Tallis' motet, Spem in Alium, which uses 40 independent vocal lines to create, in places, an intensely powerful wall of sound. The idea in Jericho's Revenge was to use Tallis' techniques within a modern musical idiom.
 The trombonist was Alex Scott, and my assistant on the project was Anthony Thomas.

Photos by Tamsin Drury

Here's a video of the festival as a whole, including my piece.

Up the Wall 2010 from Chester Performs on Vimeo.