In the late naughties, Tujiko Noriko, John Chantler and myself were touring in AU. We played Brisbane the same night as The Fall (was a shame to miss them). The next morning we were on route to the airport and as we pulled up at the lights, The Fall were in a small bus next to us. Mark E. Smith was sitting in the window holding his head. As we finished checking in, we turned around and low and behold Mark E. Smith was right there in front of us. He looked UTTERLY hungover; Pacing around in circles. Rather than let the poor fellow spiral onward John and I decided to pop over and say hello. He asked us what we were doing, and we told him we were touring with Tujiko Noriko. Without missing a beat, he glanced at us and in the most diminishingly elegant way, he said to us ‘so what you then? the backing band?’. I couldn’t help but smirk (caught in the photo too), such a perfect exchange with a frontman par excellence. One who clearly did not have much time for the ‘backing band’. Another great character of our age gone…RIP.
And still it sounded, but who listens?
It’s hard to express how much someone like Éliane Radigue’s work has meant for me over the years. Her pieces have been a critical touchstone for me over a great many years to say the least.
In the past few years particularly I have found myself returning to her final electronic piece L’île re-sonante. In this work of singular beauty I have found myself lost again and again. In my opinion this work brings together the finest aspects of minimal and ambient traditions in a very specific and natural way. It breaths with intent, clarity and calm. It maintains the most profound focus on the softest of impressionist ways of sound-world making.
In early 2017 I wrote a letter to Éliane. I wasn’t sure if she would have time to respond. A few weeks later I had a generous and enthusiastic reply from her. We exchanged some more messages and in August, between concerts, I had the opportunity to visit Éliane in Paris and spend the afternoon with her. It was a real and true pleasure to be sure. A reminder of the lifelong journey that is making art!
During the afternoon, I asked if she might be interested in a commission to create a new solo composition for the masterful Australian artist Cat Hope. She very kindly accepted the invitation. I am so pleased to announce the world premiere of Occam XXIV, which will premiere at next year’s Open Frame. The commission was made possible by Carriageworks, as part of their incredible support for the creation of new works. Here is a photo that shows just how chuffed I was spending time with this inspirational and generous woman!
Because why not…here are the recordings (old and new, released in 2017) that have reached into me, resonated and made me love being alive (even on planes!)…
Tony Conrad – 10 Years On The Infinite Plain
Keiji Haino – Watashi Dake
Mt Eerie – A Crow Looked At Me
Sarah Davachi – All My Circles Run
Felicia Atkinson – Hand In Hand
Omar Souleymann – To Syria With Love
Xiu Xiu – Forget
Geinoh Yamashirogumi – Akira (Symphonic Suite)
Coil – Time Machines
William Basinski – A Shadow In Time
Washington Phillips – Washington Phillips and His Manzarene Dreams
Pan Daijing – Lack
Jaap Vink – Jaap Vink
Giusto Pio – Motore Immobile
Burial – Sub Temple
Morteza Hannaneh – Tchashm-E-Del
Equiknoxx – Colón Man
Alessandro Cortini – AVANTI
Rafael Anton Irisarri – The Shameless Years
Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe – Levitation Praxis Pt 4
DEATHPROD – Treetop Drive
Roland Kayn – A Little Electronic Milky Way of Sound
Midori Takada – Through The Looking Glass
Annie Anxiety – Soul Possession
Various – Tokyo Flashback
also that Moor Mother record is a monster!
Earlier this year I had the pleasure of speaking with Sasha Frere-Jones for NPR, we covered a lot of ground!