A new release to check out! Anton Hunter has released a new live recording of his large ensemble Article XI, from the Newcastle date of our double bill large ensembles tour in 2017. Released on the mighty Sheffield label Discus Music, the set features two new compositions plus new live versions of some AXI classics. Have a listen – it’s great to be a part of this group and I hope we can play live again soon.
Live events all over the world are being cancelled due to the situation with COVID-19. Check my gigs page for the current status of my upcoming dates as I hear about them. In these very uncertain times, please support artists and venues by buying music online, making donations, etc, if you are able to.
Happy new year! A quick post as I ease myself into 2020 after a break from the internet. I’ve updated my gigs page with my dates for January to March and it’s dominated by MoonMot: the Swiss/UK sextet is back on the road in February and March, touring in the UK and mainland Europe as well as releasing its debut album ‘Going Down The Well’ on 14th February via Swiss label Unit Records. In the mean time, you can have a listen to a couple of tracks and pre-order the album (in LP, CD and digital form) on the MoonMot Bandcamp site.
On Saturday 21st December, LUME has been invited to take over Dexter Bentley’s Hello/Goodbye Show on Resonance FM! Dee and I have both appeared on the show before (Sloth Racket played a live set in 2018), and we’re looking forward to filling a whole episode with LUME-related shenanigans. We’ll be playing some tasty tracks and talking about LUME projects, plus there will be a live set from Ti/om (Tom Ward and Tim Fairhall) and one from Dee and me as a duo.
Tune in from 12 noon until 1.30pm to hear what we’ve got up our sleeves…
A lovely couple of mid-December gigs coming up. On Friday 13th December it’s the return of my trio with Otto Willberg and Tullis Rennie, this time at Hundred Years Gallery:And then the next night, Saturday 14th December, it’s the last BRÅK of 2019 at waterintobeer! With a host of Yuletide guests….
Tonight on BCC Radio 3 at midnight, the first episode of a brand new improvised music programme called ‘Freeness’ will be broadcast. It’s presented by my good friend and formidable improviser, writer (of music and text) and organiser Corey Mwamba. This is pretty exciting!
Sloth Racket’s ‘We Decide What’s Next’ will be played on the show, along with me talking about the track. Constructing coherent sentences about my own work was harder than I expected, but I’m sure whatever I said has been edited into something that makes sense and it’s an honour to be part of the first episode.
With the axing and reducing of various programmes over the past few years, this feels like a really positive step by the BBC and I hope it’s the beginning of a new era of improvised music on the radio.
There’s an open call for submissions too: Corey and the Reduced Listening team who make the show have created an email address where artists can send in their music, so if you have some tracks you reckon would fit and you’d like played, send them over to freeness @ reducedlistening.co.uk.
I’m looking forward to tuning in and discovering some new music!
Out today is something I’m really happy to be involved with: Boundaries, an LP on the new multi.modal label. Based at SPARC (Sound Practice and Research @ City), a research centre at the Music Department of City, University of London, multi.modal is run by Tullis Rennie and Claudia Molitor. In their own words:
‘multi.modal is a new London based record label that muddies the borders between improvisation, field recording and composition. Each release on the label will triangulate these artistic spaces and reflect contemporary music practices, which tend to be collaborative and multimodal.’
I was lucky enough to be invited to work with City University Experimental Ensemble in April 2017, making a new graphic score, March Of The Egos, for them as well as playing my piece Off-World (as heard on the Favourite Animals album). We performed the two pieces at IKLECTIK, and it’s this recording that you can hear on side B of ‘Boundaries’.
The title of the release refers to side A of the LP: two interpretations of Chieko Shiomi’s Boundary Music. This 1963 text score reads: ‘Make the faintest possible sound to a boundary condition whether the sound is given birth to as a sound or not. At the performance, instruments, human bodies, electronic apparatus or anything else may be used.’
The Boundaries album is distributed by NMC Recordings and can be ordered from their website. I also have a couple of copies that I’ll be selling at gigs, so come and find me on a merch table somewhere soon!
Lastly I should mentioned the beautiful design work by Alexander Rennie. Look at the gorgeous cover!
Update: I’ve been alerted to a lovely review of this record on the Further blog, in which Mat Smith describes CUEE’s performances of my pieces as ‘a vibrant, colourful, euphorically noisy collision between noir jazz and electronics’ (Off-World) and ‘a discordant, joyously sprawling piece wherein each instrument and player seems to be vying for airtime’ (March Of The Egos). Thanks Mat!
Earlier today (Sunday 30th September) I was a guest on Ivor Kallin’s Ambrosia Rasputin Show on Resonance FM. It was a lot of fun chatting to Ivor and playing some tracks by friends and collaborators as well as some of my own, so I thought I’d post links here to the music I played. You can find the relevant albums on Bandcamp by clicking through on the embeds below. The whole show is available to listen to on Mixcloud, and also features two duo improvisations from Ivor (on viola) and me (on baritone sax) live in the studio.
We opened with a couple of my own pieces:
Then I played ‘Bone Machine’ by the Pixies! A classic track that I don’t need to link to here…
Next up was some Entropi:
And then some Article XI:
And a track from the new album by Tom Ward and Adam Fairhall, the first release on Madwort Records:
To round things off I played Dee Byrne’s composition for Saxoctopus:
Big thanks to Ivor for inviting me! It was a lovely way to spend a Sunday lunchtime.
The new Sloth Racket album A Glorious Monster had been making its way to the ears of various music writers this summer, and here follows a summary of their thoughts on our latest output.
Daniel Spicer in the Wire noted the album’s ‘gossamer guitar webs’, ‘free burn’ and ‘doomy plods’, while Nick Hasted in Jazzwise was struck by the ‘deconstructive graft’, ‘squawks and splutters’ and ‘thunderous force’, resassuring readers that the music was ‘less grindingly abrasive than Ripsaw Catfish’ – a relief to all concerned.
Meanwhile on the internet, Ian Mann of The Jazz Mann felt that the album was ‘Sloth Racket at their inimitable best’. Our first review from the Avant Scena blog featured ‘turbulent free improvisations’, and on the Can This Even Be Called Music blog (!!) we were described as ‘bringing forth a slow burn type of jazz, almost akin to doom music’. Gert Derkx on the ever-supportive Op Duvel blog had lots of positive things to say, if my my sketchy Dutch skills and auto-translate assistance are anything to go by, and we were also an Avant Music News pick of the week. Ken Waxman on Canadian blog Jazzword wrote that ‘the hard-hitting Sloth Racket quintet is refining its approach to Free Jazz without losing any of the power that characterized the band’s earlier music.’ Most recently, Paul Margree on We Need No Swords felt that ‘the border between group and individual blurs into an amorphous zone’ on this album, as well as highlighting the ‘mischievous alto pecking’, Johnny’s ‘octopoid wig out’ and ‘a cloud of mesmerising jitter’.
Big thanks to everyone who has supported the album so far! If you haven’t already, have a listen below and see what you think…
Two dates to finish off the summer, both first time collaborations. First, I’ve been invited to be part of Unpredictable Series’ Alterations Residency 2018 at Cafe Oto Project Space. Over four days from 23rd to 26th August, Alterations (Peter Cusack, David Toop, Terry Day and Steve Beresford) are presenting a series of workshops and performances. I’m very flattered to be one of the guest artists along with John Butcher, Gina Southgate, Pierre Bouvier Patron, Max Eastley and Blanca Regina; I’ll be playing a duo set with Gina Southgate on Saturday 25th at 6pm. I’ve wanted to collaborate with Gina since she put her name in the Hat Speaks hat at LUME Festival 2017 (where she was doing live painting for us), and then played a brilliant set with an amazing collection of household objects as part of an ad hoc group. This promises to be fun…
A couple of days later on Tuesday 28th, I’m back at the Project Space as part of John Macedo’s excellent night SOLO:DUO:TRIO. I’ll be playing a duo set with Daniel Thompson. I’ve shared the bill with Daniel quite a few times and we’ve both played at each other’s gig series, but this will be the first time we’ve actually played together! Really looking forward to it.