Longplayer Day 2017

This year, on 21 June, I'll be celebrating the longest day of the year with the inaugural edition of Longplayer Day. I've been lucky enough to have the opportunity to curate proceedings with the wonderful Helen Frosi (see Helen's Soundfjord project here). The day features some extraordinary artists, writers and screenings. Some of those involved include: Steve Beresford, Rosie Bergonzi, John Cage, Angharad Davies, Jem Finer, Cathy Haynes, Charles Hayward, John Latham, Michael Morris, Dominic Murcott, Áine O’Dwyer, Pauline Oliveros, Tim Spooner, Blanca Regina, Dan Richards, Adam Scovell and Robert MacFarlane, Siswå Sukrå, The Study Group, John Tilbury, John White, Richard Wilson (with Ansuman Biswas and Sean Dower).

You can find up to date information about the programme on the Longplayer website here, and a Facebook event page here. The image below is of the limited edition artwork for the day by graphic designer Joe Hales.

 

longplayerday_edition_joe_hales.png

The woman who could 'draw' music

Some nice words about Daphne Oram, a recent play on Oram's life in Glasgow, and a section about last year's performance of Still Point (from the BBC's Holly Williams) here: http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20170522-daphne-oram-pioneered-electronic-music?ocid=fbcul

The Oram Award was launched this month in her honour by the PRS Foundation and the New BBC Radiophonic Workshop to “celebrate women innovating in sound and music”. An Individual Note was reprinted recently as a coffee table book and her archive is available to study at Goldsmiths University in London. The Science Museum exhibited the original Oramics machine and Apple has released an Oramics app. Last summer, her mythical composition Still Point – conceived in 1949 but never performed – finally came to life thanks to Shiva Feshareki, James Bulley and the London Contemporary Orchestra.

Oram was only 23 when she wrote Still Point. A wildly ambitious piece, it predates equivalent experiments by the likes of Pierre Schaeffer and Karlheinz Stockhausen. The piece is a sort of warped call-and-response between the orchestra and 78rpm records, using turntables and microphones to live-manipulate the sound. Its long-delayed debut was hailed as a triumph, Oram’s visionary take on electro-acoustic composition finally unleashed.

'Longplayer' partnership with Goldsmiths

Over recent months, I've been fortunate to have been involved in the creation of a partnership between Goldsmiths, University of London (where I am currently completing my PhD) and 'Longplayer', a beautiful work by Jem Finer that currently finds physical presence at Trinity Buoy Wharf in London. 

A memorandum of understanding has recently been publicly announced, which will be the start of many exploratory projects surrounding the ideas that underpin the piece, and its longterm preservation.

 

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BRICKS FROM THE KILN #2 Launch Event

BRICKS FROM THE KILN #2
Edited by Andrew Lister & Matthew Stuart

Book Launch / Exhibition 30th March, 5–8.30pm
Exhibition on view from 28th March–3rd April

at

umlaut
53 Fashion Street
London, E1 6PX
United Kingdom
http://www.umlaut.london/

The exhibition opens on 28th March and remains on view until 3rd April. It presents issue 2 as both unbound sheets and a bound publication, and is accompanied by a soundscape of field recordings made by Daphne Oram in Trinidad & Tobago and compiled by James Bulley. This latest issue of BFTK features contributions from (in order of appearance) Ryan Gerald Nelson, James Bulley, Daphne Oram, Céline Condorelli, James Langdon, Scandinavian Institute for Computation Vandalism, Mark Simmonds, Dave Whelan, Flights and Fissures, Ron Hunt, and Rose Gridneff. And includes pieces on, among other things, the sound-film work of Daphne Oram and Geoffrey Jones; monuments to Kazimir Malevich, Rosa Luxemburg and Walter Benjamin; the relocation of a defunct bookshop from Amsterdam to Epsom; a conversation on the politics of display and ‘Agatha Christie smoking Asger Jorn’s cigar’. 


Copies of BFTK#2 are available for a limited preorder price (£10 standard edition / £12 with limited edition signature-wrap print / £18 combo: BFTK#1 + #2) through the website up until the beginning of April. On the night, copies will be on sale for £10.

'Still Point' article in FACT

Still Point at St. John's Smith Square, June 2016. Photograph: Alice the Camera

"The success of the performance at St John’s Smith Square is palpable, and Feshareki and Bulley’s achievement is huge, but whether ‘Still Point’ becomes canonical is anyone’s guess. The material is certainly there – the duo have been meticulous in their documentation, collating notation, Oram’s and Davies’ writing and orchestral instruction onto a single score – but it remains singular, without clear successors. The muffled, hypnagogic records of Indignant Senility or The Caretaker might be the closest in actual sound, but certainly not in spirit. Both have incorporated repurposed and anaesthetised classical passages in their music – Wagner for the former, myriad Romantic piano pieces for the latter – but these are used for textural and nostalgic effect. Oram’s score, on the other hand, was entirely original, and her specific manipulations tied into a loftier artistic ethos.
But the mere recognition of the piece feels just as crucial. Oram must have felt intense frustration in 1949, knowing that she had produced a radical work. It predated both the concrète proto-sampling of Schaeffer and Pierre Henry (of whom Oram was vaguely aware at the time) and the purer electronics of Stockhausen and the Cologne School (of whom she was not) in its use of sampling, recording and electronic manipulation. In Britain, where Benjamin Britten and Vaughan Williams represented the apex of experimentation, Oram’s leaps of ambition were especially unprecedented."

The full article can be read here

'The Original Turntablist' - Daphne Oram by Shiva Feshareki

 Daphne Oram, courtesy of Oram Trust and Fred Wood

Daphne Oram, courtesy of Oram Trust and Fred Wood

"I then noticed a small, hand written piece of paper written by Oram which stated “Still Point: For Double Orchestra, Microphones and Three pre-recorded 78 RPM discs (1949)” and I was stunned to realise this piece was for turntables and orchestra! It is likely that had it been performed in 1949, it would have transformed the development of electroacoustic music as we know it today.
At the moment, it is a stand-alone piece, that doesn’t fit into any known medium of the time. For me, it was particularly stunning, as my compositional practice is centred around concert music for turntables and orchestra, and I have always seen the turntable as a classical instrument. All of a sudden, the way I had developed my turntabling practice for the past decade, made sense to me. It all felt very surreal and destined."

Read the full article here

Jones/Bulley Music Hackspace talk

Tonight, Daniel Jones and I will be talking about our recent collaborative work and a future project at Music Hackspace, Limewharf, Vyner Street, London.

More details here.