Apologies if you have been visiting this site expecting the latest and most exciting in new music news. I’ve been super busy these past few months between teaching, writing, performing, and recording that this part of the Internet has developed one or two cobwebs. If you are interested, please see below some of the things I have been up to over the past while.
My repertoire of electronic music is ever-expanding! You can hear some of my recent pieces here.
There are some older pieces that are the results of me just buzzing around with the hardware, but things are becoming clearer in my mind now, (as I become a more experienced synthesist) and I’m more sure about what I’m doing and why I am doing it (these things take time). My more recent pieces are realisations of notated scores and there are a number of different guises they can take. They can also be performed by any number of other musicians with or without me, which can lead to a multiplicity of interesting results. I’m becoming more and more interested in this way of working and it’s doing wonders in relieving my anxiety! Feel free to leave comments if you think it is good/useful/bad/useless.
A few months ago in March the ConTempo Quartet gave the first performance of my latest string quartet, Four Lines of Music Slow Down and Eventually Stop. The ConTempo Quartet gave a fantastic performance, and the piece got stronger and stronger as they toured it throughout the month of March. What a difference it makes to have one’s music performed repeatedly, allowing the musicians to settle into the piece and become familiar with all of its eccentricities. If only every commission could be like this! I hope to be able to post a recording of one of the performances here soon. In the interim, if you are interested you can read a review of the piece here.
Frontiers Festival, Birmingham
At the very end of March I gave the first performance of Schematics Book I in Centrala in Birmingham as part of Frontiers Festival. This was my first solo show as a synthesist, and I was incredibly happy with how the gig went. It is a nerve-racking experience to perform for 70 minutes on your own on instruments that you’ve only been learning for a short period of time, but I think it was a great success from the concept to the soundworld, and execution. You can find a video of the piece here and an audio only recording here. I have really taken to this way of working and am excited of the potential of future engagements, and more and more pieces.
Workers Union Ensemble
In April Workers Union Ensemble gave two performances of my 2016 piece Seven Lines of Music Slow Down and Eventually Stop as part of NonClassical in London and Playlist in Southampton. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make the concerts owing to geographical location, but Workers Union are a fabulous group of musicians and I have no doubt that they did a wonderful job.
Katie Kim & Crash Ensemble
Also in April, Katie Kim & Crash Ensemble performed again my arrangements of Katie’s album Salt as part of the Musictown Festival 2017. This collaboration has been one of the highlights of my career, not only because Katie’s music is so utterly brilliant, but because it also afforded me the opportunity to work with people in a completely different way than I’m used to. Things are less fixed and the music comes together more collaboratively, a lot more like being in a band. I’m appreciating this way of working more and more these days, especially with top rate musicians. Katie and Crash continued with this project with another performance at Body & Soul Festival. I hope there are many more performances in the future, and maybe another opportunity to work collectively together again. If you’re interested, there’s a video here, and you can read a review of the Grand Social gig here.
Coda Festival, Birmingham
In June, I had two pieces featured in the Coda Festival in Birmingham. One of my students Daniel Blanco Albert performed a new solo trumpet piece called Blanco Slows Down and Eventually Stops, which he did a wonderful job on, and I also performed as a synthesist with the violinist Simon Goff in new piece with flexible instrumentation called Twenty-Six Minutes of Music on the Subject of Coming and Going. This piece was the last performance I gave in Birmingham Conservatoire’s old building before it was demolished and was based around Frederic Rzewski‘s seminal piece Coming Together (The first piece I ever saw performed in Birmingham Conservatoire). We didn’t always see eye-to-eye on every detail of the piece’s realisation, but it was good to work with Simon, who made me think about certain things differently. We plan to do more together in the future and this will hopefully lead to some recordings. I also hope to be able to post a video of the performance soon.
Incidentally, Simon has a very nice record out at the moment which you can hear or buy here.
Last week in mid-July, Crash Ensemble performed my recent piece Eleven Lines of Music Slow Down and Eventually Stop as part of their ambitious Crashlands project, where they are presenting 20 new pieces (in celebration of their 20th anniversary) in remote parts of Ireland. It such a great honour to be included in this project as I am featured amongst some of my favourite composers, and Crash are just the best musicians to be working with. They were sounding absolutely fantastic during rehearsal last week, though I unfortunately had to miss the concert at the Carrick Water Music Festival owing to a hospital appointment. I’ll be very much looking forward to the complete performance of all 20 pieces in November! If you are interested, you can watch a video detailing the whole project here.
I have recently been playing with an improvised noise band called Oilbag, lets see if anything comes of it.
In the next couple of weeks I will be going into Guerrilla Studios in Dublin to make a studio recording of Schematics Book I. This will hopefully be released by the end of 2017 or early 2018.
Finally, I’m delighted to say that I have been promoted to senior lecturer at Birmingham Conservatoire!
Here is a list of some things I have found interesting over the past few months or so: The work of my Students at Birmingham Conservatoire, Golden Oriole/Staer, IMMA, The city of Rome, Supersonic Festival, Generative Compositions 1998-2006 by Dave Noyze, and everything that Mika Vainio did.