Friday 22nd September

September 22nd, 2017



I’m at BBC Radio 3 in Portland Place talking to producer Felix Carey about the first time I saw a hammerhead shark. It’s for Hear and Now’s new Sound of the Week series in which they talk to composers about a particular sound that’s inspired them and stimulated a composing process. I’m meant to present a recording of this favourite sound. What a decision. One sound out of the many and then to discuss its potency, and yes it has to be a sound from nature rather than something electronic. In the end the decision is easy. It’s the moment when on Galapagos and desperate for access to still water rather than noisy seas to be able to hear life within it rather than the sound of water or water slapping on boats or distant tankers passing…. (yes sharks themselves are silent),  I finally find a completely static pool. It was not beguiling and appeared to be devoid of life, but in desperation I plopped in my hydrophones and bang, it was clicking and clattering with tiny crustacea and plants moving and breathing in the hot morning sun’s watery refracted rays and wow. It’s music.   ….. read more?




Wednesday 20th September

September 21st, 2017

I’m at the Siobhan Davies studio, London playing with Joe Moran and company. We’re working ‘On the subject of being’ which will show at Sadlers Wells  28th-29th September.  I’m making a solid wedge that imperceptibly grows from nothing to a point of intense mass then stops. Working and playing with the David Tudor feedback Max patch as the dancers move with 100% perceptions raging is so focused it’s perfect. As ever, there’s an element of unknown in the bass end. And I wont be there to mix it.

Monday 18th September

September 18th, 2017


I’ve sent my first design idea for Vibrator bike to Nick Martin, engineer-collaborator and maker of the BRI’s first sonic trike. We’ll be working together next week to make Vibrator Bike for presentation in Coventry. Yes. It’s our first bespoke bike for the Coventry Sonic Bike Opera for 2021 and next year should also see us making a Companion Bike. Now time to make final decisions on our materials including the 2nd hand bikes we’ll be hacking, the thickness of plywood for the vibrating chamber, the transducer models and frequency ranges to shake it, their amplification and attachment, the power required to run it all and how and of course budgets.

This first design is modelled on the Christiana cargo bike after field research in Berlin and London looking for the favourite model. Also because I’m wanting to get the cyclist involved in the vibratory ride as well as the one being pushed. Note that although this mkI design suggests one reclining body – a sonic bed on wheels? – of course there’s room for lots of children or at last a couple of people if  intimately reclined.

Friday 8th September

September 8th, 2017


Adolfo Luxúria Canibal played the street poet in Opera fixi. I met him over an incredible Japanese dinner in Braga where I told him about the opera and this character who had a low and dark and grimy voice, and who was needed to sing ‘Because of all the people’, the song by Carlos Costas bemoaning all that we don’t have because of how much we want and more and how many we are and growing and… (listen from 12’03”). And the very famous Adolfo grinned and agreed and the recording was done in a  rehearsal for something else and I later received the file and made the song, but I never saw him in action.

Now Friday night in Porto, I have dinner with the awesome Visões Úteis and lo… Adolfo is playing a free concert afterwards in the city square to launch a new album and we go. Timing exquisite. Adolfo growls. The Porto connection still rocks.

Wednesday 6th September

September 6th, 2017


I’m in Porto to research a new commission for an ensemble of musicians to perform at Teatro Carlos Alberto next year. It’s the first time I’ve been back since Opera fixi 2013 and much has changed. English seems to be the dominant language on the street, pastéis de nata are as available as coffee, it’s super crowded and a few of my friends have sadly moved as they can’t stand the cost (not just the monetary) of this change. I understand. Hackney, my London hood, charges fast along a similar path of destruction. As a friend said, it’s a little like watching your best pal marry a corporate lawyer.

Of course though it’s excellent to be back and I’m at Serralves Museum where some works from the Sao Paulo biennial are installed and the sun shines and the garden is hot and calm and stunning and some old works inside also hit the mark. eg. Joan Jonas (above) exploring time – space – perceptions through bodies moving in space, tangible. Below Jeremy Deller on a collaboration with a female South African architect inside showing a pumping grime dance competition in the dark between girls in the dust in video. Loads of butt. Challenging. Watch it. It works. Especially amongst the trippy transportative surreal quality of the other pieces showing throughout the gardens sublime.

Tuesday 22nd August

August 23rd, 2017

I’m in Münster for the Skulpture Projekte 2017. It happens only once every 10 years, building on what was made the previous time. It has to be one of the most inspiring exhibitions I’ve ever been too inasmuch as the city and its population feels to have this genuine and long term investment in contemporary public art in all its forms. The 1st installation we walk into is Michael Dean who’s chewing gum redolent concrete blobs direct a path through a love garden sculpted from familiar street littered debris, accompanied by the texts of public signs/logos reworked to tenderness, laid out in a vast plastic sheet in the atrium of the Museum für Kunst und Kultur. Pierre Huyghe’s interdependent bio-tech system built into the old ice skating rink, massively excavated making a blasted landscape, tiny lights changing, cancer cells growing in a tank, water, bees buzzing small scale amongst the grey, everything intertwined, the acoustic vast, the visitors quietly investigating curious. The uncertain terrain underfoot sensitizing our every step.


Tuesday 15th August

August 15th, 2017

A summer day visit to the Funkhaus, home to East German radio until the wall came down, designed by Franz Ehrlich (bauhaus) and full of extraordinary recording studios with revolving varied surfaced wooden panels to adjust size and acoustic of spaces inc. sublime clocks to keep everyone working within this vast complex to schedule. I’ve come to decide which space might be best for Sonic Bed to be installed in for LOOP conference in November. We decide that the one you can see to the left of this staircase is too small, and opt for the one on the RHS.  It’ll be the first time a Sonic Bed has been installed in Berlin, surprising, and hopefully, it’ll be able to stay.  Give us a shout if you know of anyone/space that could be interested.  Are you interested in making a piece for it?

Tuesday 1st August

August 1st, 2017


I’m back home to Berlin, and back from Kassel. I’ve been at documenta14 with a bunch of Berlin pals handling non stop rain and the massive volume of work you’d expect to experience there. This was was my 1st time and I’ve wanted to go for years, so again high but also no expectations. Also there’s been loads of criticism, but I’ve come away blasted.

We were only there 2 days but with an unexpected itinerary laid out by our Pav Kreuzberg hosts on arrival, inc. suggested durations between and in each venue, I experienced the entire thing as one vast work. The Tofufabrik was our kick off where a damp fresh meat smelling concrete space is showing Commensal (2017). It’s a new film installation by Véréna Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor exploring the story of a guy who murdered a woman and engaged in acts of cannibalism. The shout around Kassel is that it’s that extreme piece around cannibalism. I think the shout should be that in your face number presenting overwhelming male desire for absolute consumption of female. The guy eats something raw and dark and meaty on screen, having first of all murdered then had sex with and eaten parts of his female victim, talking about it all the while. Go see.

Some of the artists whose work I came away with in my mind were Miriam Cahn and Gauri Gill with Rajesh Vangad, snapped below.  Interestingly, both are female. It’d be good to get to Athens.



Monday 17th July

July 17th, 2017



I’m at the Natural History Museum to visit the new whale exhibition, “Beneath the Surface”. Remembering the “Deep” show at the ArtScience  museum, Singapore some years ago, I’d imagined an immersive, dark and watery experience with underwater sound and floor to ceiling video, the displays and skeletons and facts installed within. However, disappointingly it was a pretty old school British museum style show. Information and new things to learn simply laid out in the dark. Videos small and apart from the echo-location game that no-one could fathom and the humpback whale juke box, not the blast of cetacean inspiration I’d expected.  If this is what you’re after, you might do well to save your £14 entry fee, spend it on a copy of Philip Hoare’s fabulous book Leviathan and watch Inside Nature’s Giants:Sperm Whale instead.

OK. Maybe I should come clean. I’m researching a new project. In search of the Sperm Whale, and I’ve got high expectations. The Natural History Museum is always worth the visit, and donations are gladly given, but gazing up at the Blue Whale skeleton in the Hintze Hall for 20 mins could also just be enough.



Monday 10th July

July 10th, 2017

another taster from Ya slip ta bang in Dublin. Hope you get there to ride. DETAILS