Susanna and Jenny Hval are releasing a collaborative album titled Mesh Of Voices, on Susanna's label SusannaSonata. The ideas for the record began as an exchange of letters in 2009 and was further developed into two live performances. The material is inspired by Maya Deren and Alexander Hammid's film Meshes Of The Afternoon from 1943, and the duo will perform the record at Ultima Festival on 12 September. Mesh Of Voices is released in the UK on 18 August. Listen to "I Have Walked This Body" from the record below.
Next Thursday (31 July) is the third birthday of our Rewired radio show on NTS. To mark the occasion, Daisy Hyde, Shane Woolman and Katie Gibbons will all be in the studio talking to Pan records founder Bill Kouligas on the development of the label and its future direction, discussing his formative influences and current listening, and playing some unreleased exclusive tracks.
On the same day (12-1pm), NTS will be broadcasting a Pan showcase, with other artists from the label playing back to back ahead of their show at Dalston Dance Tunnel (full listing here).
Rewired broadcasts 6-8pm every other week on NTS live. All shows are archived online.
"When I'm on location, it's a totally solitary activity. You put some headphones on, and at that moment, nobody can hear the world like you can." Chris Watson is talking to me over Skype from his home in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, explaining the details of a soon to be released smartphone app, which contains a cherry-picked collection of his sound recordings made as far back as the 1990s. Many originally appeared on CD (via Touch, who now also have an iPhone app), but Watson is enthusiastic about finding new formats such as this for his work. "The app is going to be used by individuals, and that means there's an individual at either end of the chain," he says. "I like the idea that wherever you are, you can drop into this environment."
Built by Brighton arts collective The Nimbus Group for Brighton Digital Festival, the free app, Nimbus, will be released on 10 September. As well as 14 of Watson's field recordings, it also includes four sonic games: a sound based navigational game, whereby players have to find their way to a destination purely by listening to the directional sounds; a game which uses the north-south auditory axis; a collection of sounds for insomniacs; and one sound which will only unlock when you travel at the velocity of a diving peregrine falcon (300 km/hr).
Designer Carina Westling describes the app as a paint box – "in line with Chris Watson's perception of his practice as a 'sound painter'," she explains. It allows you to "reposition or reframe your day to day experiences, by travelling within portable sound environments from unique situations that would be impossible to inhabit in any other way".
Watson's recordings have always been based around the premise that we have become desensitised to the precise character of our environments. "I'm convinced that a location – part of the sense of place and spirit of anywhere – has a sense of character and spirit which we can tune into," he says, "and I think a lot of that is to do with the sounds of the place, and the acoustics of those environments – something that we're very sensitive to but have probably forgotten how to use."
The chosen recordings offer stark contrasts to the common sounds of Brighton and other UK cities and suburbs: vultures eating a zebra, insects, a nightjar in Mozambique, sounds from the Sgurr na Lapaich mountain in the North Highlands, and what Watson says is one of his favourite recordings: elephants sleeping at night in the Maasai Mara Nature Reserve in Kenya, originally released on Outside The Circle Of Fire. "We stopped at two in the morning just to have a flask of tea, and these elephants came out of the grass and into an open area," he says. "There was a matriarch, the lead female, with one of her babies, and others, and they followed her in silence and came around our vehicle, totally ignoring it. Then 100 metres in front of us, this matriarch – the lead animal and the largest – drops onto her knees and just rolled over and went to sleep. I've never seen anything like it! Right in front of us, and all the others took their lead from her. I was on the roof of the vehicle with a directional microphone on a pole, so we sat for about two hours and recorded them.
"I really love the way it ebbs and flows,” he continues. "Sometimes you can hear it and sometimes you can't – they have huge lungs, so the breathing cycle is quite long, and it sounds like waves on a beach. It really stuck with me that sound, it's harmonically very rich and it's very musical."
Nimbus will be available for free on iOS and Android from 10 September 2014, during the Brighton Digital Festival, at which there will be a live event. Chris Watson also performs this weekend (24-27 July) at Port Eliot festival in Cornwall.
Following the recent glut of 100th anniversary items including coffee and perfume, Strut has announced a new Sun Ra compilation, put together by Arkestra bandleader Marshall Allen. The 20 track set includes a cross section of recordings by Sun Ra from the 1960s up to the 80s, plus key Arkestra members. In The Orbit Of Ra also includes unreleased tracks: "Trying To Put The Blame On Me", an acoustic track recorded live in Rome in 1977; an extended version of "Island In The Sun", and an unheard part of "Reflects Motion" (originally on Secrets Of The Sun).
In The Orbit Of Ra is released on double CD and vinyl on 22 September, and sleevenotes include an interview with Marshall Allen and previously unpublished photos by Val Wilmer. A full tracklisting for the compilation is online here.
ST Holdings, who distribute music by a number of UK independent labelsm, are shutting up shop. In May the company pared back its customers from 200 labels to 30 in order refocus operations. All payments will be brought up to date by September, and the company's sales manager Mat Harwood has launched his own vinyl distribution service via newly opened Bournemouth record shop Unearthed Sounds.
[Hat Tip: CMU]
Semibreve festival in Portugal has opened applications for its first new media art residency. The residency will take place over the course of a week between 1–8 October, and will culminate with an installation at GNRation and a workshop over the weekend 9-12 October. Semibreve takes place in the small city of Braga in the North of Portugal, with the chosen artist also spending time with Braga's arts and technology lab EngageLab.
To apply, detail your proposal and fill in the application form online here. Deadline for submissions is 10 August. Musicians programmed for the festival so far include Demdike Stare, Karen Gwyer, Patten, Roll The Dice, Ryoichi Kurokawa and Sensate Focus, with more to be announced in the coming months.
Following up their one dayer earlier this month, Tusk has announced dates and the first batch of acts for its 2014 festival. Taking place between 8–10 October in and around Newcastle's Star & Shadow, the festival hosts performances by Hijokaidan, Borbetomagus, Norbert Möslang and Aine O'Dwyer, with more to be announced.
Tickets are on sale now, and there's a deluxe early bird offer that comes with a copy of Ambarchi/Campbell/Flower's Live At Tusk Festival 2013 LP. More acts, plus talks and a film programme will be added in the coming months. More details here.
Japanese free jazz critic Teruto Soejima passed away on 12 July at the age of 83. Since the late 1960s he had been a tireless booster of free jazz in Japan. In 1969 together with Masayuki Takayanagi, Masahiko Togashi and Masahiko Satoh, he helped found the New Jazz Hall, Tokyo’s first dedicated free jazz venue.
Unusually, Soejima viewed promotion and production as essential components of his job as a critic, and he was closely involved in record production and arranging concert tours. He enjoyed a particularly long and fruitful relationship with the Moers Festival in Germany, where he arranged appearances by over 130 Japanese free musicians between 1977 and 2006. He was equally committed to promoting Japanese tours by Western free jazz musicians (particularly those from Russia and Korea), including Peter Kowald, Christian Marclay, the Seoul Free Music Trio and Jazz Group Arkhangelsk. His books included History Of Japanese Free Jazz (2002), a valuable first-hand account of the music’s development in Japan, and The Story Of Free Jazz Around The World (2013).
Christian Marclay recalls: "In 1986 he organized a tour of Japan for David Moss and I. We performed all over the country traveling in a van for a month. To be Soejima-san's guest was a great honor, he was a thoughtful guide and it was a privilege to discover the country through his eyes and ears. I'm also very grateful to him for introducing my work to a new audience. Through him I met many musicians, among them Otomo Yoshihide who was helping him organize some of the gigs. Teruto Seojima was an important contributor to the development of the music avant-garde in Japan."
Christian Marclay will be appearing in the studio on Thursday 24 July, talking to Chris Bohn about Teruto Soejima in a short one hour tribute. Adventures In Sound And Music broadcasts every Thursday 9-10:30pm on Resonance FM. All shows are archived online.
Brian Eno is designing acoustic environments for Chelsea and Westminster hospital's A&E department. Eno is volunteering to refine the acoustics and possibly record sound for the A&E, along with other artists who will create new visual and sonic features for the ward.
Eno said: “Music can be designed to help improve the atmosphere and environment for people going through difficult times...I don’t go to hospital much myself, but on visiting, I thought, this is really the way we should be thinking about hospital."
The £10million redevelopment aims to create a more soothing environment that is less frightening to distressed patients, working on the same technique used in burns wards to distract patients from pain and reduce the administering of painkillers.
[Hat Tip: Evening Standard]
Scott Walker and Sunn O)))'s collaboration, Scott O))), has been given a title and tracklisting after its recent announcement at the beginning of the month. Five tracks run to 50 minutes long, and is titled Soused. Scott Walker also produced the album along with Peter Walsh and Mark Warman. The release date has also been confirmed as 22 September, and it will be released on CD, vinyl and digitally.
A tracklisting is on the micro site here. No word on whether we're supposed to pronounce the 'O'.