April 18th Tuesday

April 18th, 2017

So this is the instrument. The ELKA I used to make ‘foreigner’ – played last night to a full house at labor sonor. Interestingly it went down pretty well though without much criticism which I crave. Mind you, last night I didn’t ask for it.  As a friend had said  …. ‘you’re playing to a city of artists Kaffe, no-one wants to offend anyone’… and he’d said that after I’d played the sharks at Ausland on Friday.  But then… with a little encouragement… he launched into a full blown thrashing of my aforementioned performance. Wow. How did I feel after that?
Fantastic. Nay, inspired. We discussed the whole thing. Brilliant to hear that essentially he was assessing it structurally. That in fact from his pov I was using a standard electro-acoustic structure, right down to the use of a coda. Coda? Really? Yes, it’s of course possible to hear it like that, but that wasn’t my intention at all. My plan was to take the piece to an obviously more lyrical space where time stood still and listeners could slowly return back to the surface. In truth, as a stand alone, that section’s pretty sickly and yes, good to acknowledge that I know, if I really think about it, that there’s still potential fruit to reveal within the unique end of the sonic spectrum the shark synthesizer can yet produce. Get on with it.

Many thanks to labor sonor for their space and support and all audience remarks last night. foreigner’s making was an interesting stride. Onwards no.2 !

Monday April 17th

April 17th, 2017

Looking forward to playing new composition foreigner at labor sonor tonight. It’s a listening piece I’ve made from the ELKA accordion organ, Concorde 400, made in Italy in the 70’s. Apart from that, this ELKA model seems pretty unknown. A very different piece to shark music, it’ll be interesting to see how it goes down. More on that later. Hope to see you.

labor sonor is at 21:00 | KuLe | August St. 10 | 10117 Berlin

Tuesday 11th April

April 11th, 2017

I’m heading to Berlin this weekend to

  1. play SHARKS at Ausland on Friday 14th and
  2. play a new piece  ‘foreigner’ at labor sonor on Monday 17th.

I’m making  foreigner on the ELKA 400 accordion organ I found 2nd hand in Ghent some years ago. It’s Italian made and fun to play (press and hold a button and a note comes out, with or without an octave above or below plus or not a 5th, with or without different vibratos or percussive or brilliant starts to notes). All I have to do is stretch my fingers and sit and listen to the different combinations which produce astonishing varieties in beatings and rhythms. Tiny variations of pitch and duration and exactly when the notes are played against each other produces more. I’m fast realising I can’t recreate these precisions live so I’m constructing the piece to play from laptop. It’s detailed, arduous and fascinating work. I’m reminded of Sonic Bed music making +theremin but this enables surgeon like precision. The piece is all about listening anyway so no live performance distraction in a great frock from pretty organ is of course a good idea (Not to mention airline restrictions on transporting 50kg of organ)

The pitched narrative of the score is a sonification of the word F O R E I G N E R.  The sonification makes a line, a mark, a shape in space. A border. In effect it’s random, across or through which other notes move alongside, merge, sometimes cross. For some its an easy ride. For others a struggle. Time helps.  foreigner takes shape. More on this after the show.

Friday 7th April

April 7th, 2017

No longer restricted to Coventry’s Millenium Place for sonic bike explorations (CHECK  2015), I’m getting a sense of the whole city. It’s smaller than I thought with run down empty areas now filling with sky soaring accommodation for anticipated students. Unemployment high, cuts extreme, the worse affects of austerity measures are visible everywhere. Good to get out of London to fully understand this. Check the below. The inspiring Venny, a community centre of more than 30 years standing that has grown a wide ranging and creative community of kids and teens making all kinds of music and more, is begin flattened for housing. Coventry’s Youth budget is being axed 100%.

The one hopeful thought is that the Venny’s recording studio plus Dave is being relocated to the Daimler Building, Imagineer Productions HQ. So yes,  it’ll be on Sonic Bike Opera_Cov’s creative door step.

Wednesday 5th April

April 5th, 2017

Back in Coventry with a bike to remember the sound and shape of this city. I’m in conversation with Imagineer Productions on the making of a Sonic Bike Opera in a few years. The project involves a vital educational strand working with eight and nine year old kids over three years as well as the opportunity to design and build specialist bikes. Yes, we’re looking long term and the Companion Bike, (check HERE ) is still hot favourite. This afternoon I’m meeting a group of the teachers and being brought up to date on what’s going on in the classroom. A central aim of this entire project is facilitating creative making and thinking skills through collective and hands on Imagination Making beginning in the classroom. Stage 1 therefore is working with teachers to teach and understand how to go about this the Imagineering way. Interesting and horrifying to discover what can and cannot go on in classrooms these days with restrictive Governmental systems and emphasis on quantifiable action and assessment. Language, ie. sharing ‘fact’ knowledge and ‘meaning’ through words seems even more important than ever.  Fortunately we get down to making and Alex, me and Cheryl produce the below. Roll a ball across a table the Rube Goldberg way is the instruction. Have a go with a couple of folk you don’t know.  You’ll learn loads about how we humans communicate and how we behave asked to do something daft but really important in 15 minutes.

Friday 31st March

March 31st, 2017

A celebration to launch the successful completion of the Meta Gesture Music project with a live concert and CD release tonight for which I contributed a track of shark driven music.

Looking forward to the live performances from the gestural players which includes, Sarah Nicolls  Suspensions for gestural sensor and piano,  Laetitia Sonami  and her Spring Spyre instrument , Rebecca Fiebrink’s Wekinator machine learning system,  Atau Tanaka on sonifications of his neuron impulses, Tom Richards Mini Oramics, Renick Bell and Steph Horak vocals, Dane Law on headless computers, and Ewa Justka lighting light and generating noise.

In the bar at Rich Mix where Sonic Bed and music for bodies were installed for six months ten years ago. Ticket price includes a copy of the CD. Published by the WIRE Magazine and Goldsmiths, it’ll be distributed to subscribers of the WIRE in their Beneath the Radar series, and published by Goldsmiths Press. Further INFO

Friday 17th March

March 17th, 2017

Good. I’ve completed and sent my chapter for ‘Oscillate 1′. It will be a limited edition of risograph printed books of writings by artists who featured in the ‘Oscillate’ series at Turner Contemporary  during 2015-2017.  I perfomed Love Shark live there in January, and even though I am writing about making music that changes as it moves through outside spaces with different communitites, my conclusion is the realisation that making new music live in front of an audience, for us to witness solo human struggle and see and hear unknown music unfold in front of us seems once again vital.

Even better news is that the other contributors to Oscillate are Evan Parker, Matthew Herbert and Mira Calix. Honour.

Curated by Robert Stillman and made in collaboration with Canterbury Christ Church University School of Music and Performing Arts, it’s due to be published by Compost and Height this summer 2017.



Monday 13th March

March 13th, 2017

I’ve held a secret passion for the companion bicycle and sonic biking potential since discovering one at the Coventry Transport Museum back in 2015. Interesting news in that there could well be a possibility to make one and even more within a new sonic bike opera over the next years.

Monday March 6th

March 6th, 2017

Many thanks to Philip Tagney and Sara Mohr-Pietsch for arranging and hosting such a fabulous OPEN EAR concert at Hackney St John’s church on Thursday. Having lived in Hackney for 22 years, it was a delight to finally get the chance to play this huge space. Reworking the three sectioned “in locking” composition I’d made for inside the St Pancras lock (photographed above) to 20 mins in 4 channels within the precision of my small studio, to being inside that vast resonance was a challenge. However, Jack of the beeb was ever patient and helpful, the equipment of course fantastic, and with a productive struggle of a sound check, I had things under just enough control by performance time.  With the arrival of such a large and enthusiastic audience, inspiring performances by Xeniua Pestova, Plus Minus Ensemble, Tim Etchells and Aisha Orazbayeva, ‘in locking’ the concert version could only work.

Many thanks too for Jo Hutton out in the van making a binaural recording.  You’ll be able to hear the entire concert on BBC Radio 3, 19.30h this Wednesday 8th March, International Women’s days HERE.  Hoping you can tune in.

Wednesday March 1st

March 1st, 2017

White Rabbits! Very much looking forward to revealing some hidden mysteries of inner canal life at Radio 3 Open Ear concert at Hackney St Johns tomorrow. Fantastic musicians playing too. DETAILS