My new album Rococochet will be out on Sept 5th. It is now available to pre-order, and the track 'Cat's Eye' is available to stream.
I was gearing up to write a bit of a blog post about the piece, to explain where I was coming from and the significance of the title… but it's actually best explained with this image collage:
This record is my palate cleanser, something to counter a growing feeling in myself and how I perceive my little corner of the ‘contemporary classical’ landscape, which can sometimes feel very serious and a bit humourless. For my own personal rococo statement, I wanted my music to feel fresh and fun again: to make space for moments of wit and charm; use strong colours; to completely shed any self-seriousness and be open to possibilities.
The album has been created using analogue instruments and recording techniques at Visconti Studio in London. I brought in some amazing players: Paul Glover on drums, Ben Dawson on piano, Lara James on sax, Charles Mutter, Patrick Savage and Richard Harwood on strings. I turned my inexperienced hand to tuned percussion (vibes, marimba, glocks and bells), and vocals. Rather than use virtual instruments and samples (like I usually do) this time I played the CP40, MiniMoog, Moog Sub37 and Mellotron.
I can't wait for people to hear it. x
The new Oxford Handbook of Technology and Music Education is finally here! I was so honoured to be asked by Alex Ruthmann & Roger Mantie to contribute to this exciting volume. Look a that list of names! It's nuts that I'm in there with them.
This 700 page volume has contributions from 42 authors sharing their diverse perspectives and further commentaries on provocation questions at the intersection of technology and music education. If anyone is interested in reading my little contribution, you can find it here.
My article is called "Bowie musicology: mapping Bowie’s sound and music language across the catalogue", built around a fun research idea that was initially sparked in a friend's front room a few years go. I've spoken about bits of this work at the 2015 Bowie themed conference at ACMI in Melbourne and later in a special keynote at Cambridge. It feels really good to have it published now. Thank you Sean Redmond and Toija Cinque for the opportunity to be part of this. <3
If anyone's interested in reading the article, it's here: http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/ccon20/31/4
and here: https://www.academia.edu/33892304/Bowie_musicology_mapping_Bowies_sound_and_music_language_across_the_catalogue
Check it out, if you wanna.
Listen to the radio program in full here: http://fbiradio.com/945fm/programs/ears-have-ears/2017-05-18/
Seeing my name appear on a list along side this guy… *squee*
"Over the course of an hour, eleven artists (twelve if you count the duo) adopt what they wish to salvage or repeat in the work of the prior contributor. As expected, the piano and strings continue to sound like Kardos in Madeleine Cocolas’ “Stalactite”, which comes across as a reinvention. But as the markers are blurred or erased (like pencil lines, faded yet still discernible), the song begins to morph. Put to rest any fears that listening to The Exquisite Corpse is like listening to a long remix album, because it’s a set of constant change.
New elements enter almost immediately ~ voice in the first, followed by Ed Carlsen’s peculating percussion in the second. Tambour knocks the music back to modern classicism, adding a sense of sudden poignance. One begins to realize the importance of tone in interpretation: more than just the notes, but the feeling embedded in the notes. And oh, those bells! The opening minute of Jim Perkins’ “Flutter” turns the proceedings decidedly dark (blame the cello!), but when the deep drums enter, the track becomes a battle between darkness and light, the final victor yet to be decided. Lorenzo Masotto wrenches the piece in the direction of the sun ~ which is when an unexpected visitor appears.
Look what they’ve done to my song, Ma! Yes, it’s Kardos herself, pressing reset, reeling it all in. But instead of being horrified, she seems pleased, making only minor modifications, ending in static ~ a thread picked up by Mark Harris at the beginning of his elongated entry. Holkham pushes things even further, adopting the ambience of Harris for a nearly nine minute extension. Where is the original? By now, it’s hard to tell. When applied to the process, the title of Antonymes’ “Half Life” says it all. The elements break down over time. Jacob David and Thomas Haahr slowly spin down into a segment of quiet field recordings before Linghas brings it full circle ~ a cylinder instead of a straight line. We can start again from here. The corpse is exquisite, but very much alive." (Richard Allen)
It’s in the subtle textural details of Leah Kardos’ ‘Novice’, where the percussion flutters in the right channel and the high notes dart between, or the mechanical chirp that gives way to noirish mood-setting on Re/search/er’s ‘Love Will You Love Me When I’m Not The 1’, or the wooden tapping on the keyboard on Luke Howard’s cover of Telling’s ‘Monuments’."
My piece was created in an evening especially for this compilation. Earlier that day I had been listening to my “Ultimate Shuffle” playlist of Spotify, which threw up Michael Jackson’s ‘Stranger in Moscow’ (great track) and I was struck by the super quiet piano solo and how cool the chord progression is in the verses. I ended up ripping both those details off for my piece ‘Novice’. I called it that because it sounded so tentative to me at the time, like a piano solo that was afraid to speak up. But then when you layer enough of those soft voices you can get a sense of confidence, depth and detail. I guess that was the feeling I was reaching for.
Really cool to be featured in this piece from Second Inversion:
Big & Twigetti have announced a new collaborative album in conjunction with Moderna Records. ‘The Exquisite Corpse’ is based on the surrealist game of the same name. Taking my piece 'Little Phase' from the Bigo & Twigetti Summer compilation as its starting point, the piece has been/will be reworked by a series of composers and producers to create an album of tracks which continually evolve as each new version is passed from one artist to another, adding to and transforming material from the original piece.
The group will be releasing a new track from the album every 2-3 weeks with the full album available in April 2017. My own contribution, in addition to providing the first move, is track 6: Contact Mic.
In late October a few friends and I went in to Visconti Studio to make a track and 'learn how to use the new kit'. The timing was good, as the God Is In The TV Zine had recently asked me to contribute to their Scott Walker covers compilation Plastic Palace People. With help from fellow KU music colleague Alex Evans, and my very good friend Andrew Wiggins, we knocked out this version of Duchess in an evening: me on piano, vocals, drums and mellotron, Andy on guitar, percussion and bvs, Alex on Hammond organ, mellotron, percussion and bvs. Fun!
Kingston University, London is proud to host An Evening With Tony Visconti - legendary record producer in-conversation, discussing highlights of his career. The evening will take place in the newly opened Visconti Studio and draw particular focus on Tony's work in arranging for strings.
There'll be time for Q&A, and a drinks reception afterwards. Tickets are available to book via this link:
******** UPDATE ********
What a great night! Definitely one of the coolest things I have ever been a part of. Photos by Alex Evans:
I was so pleased that The Shortlist Magazine included by latest track Little Phase in their Shortlisten list/playlist. I'm number 360, sandwiched between Ronika and Love Thy Brother. What an honour! The track has also received some love/airtime on the excellent Utility Fog show, FBi 94.5 FM in Sydney.
"Who? Leah Kardos
What’s the story? Making interesting and arresting ambient music is not an easy thing to do, but we wrote earlier this year about a fantastic track from The Daydream Club, who'd managed it with aplomb. Now along comes another beautiful five minutes of 'ambient plus' music from Australian-born composer Leah Kardos, which gently builds, beginning with pulsing piano chords, adding in delicately textural strings, before seeming to collapse in on itself until beats are brought in to restore order and take things to a conclusion. It could nestle in perfectly on The Album Leaf's 2004 classic In A Safe Place, which gets it the big thumbs up from us. The track features on a compilation of experimental music called Summer - you can check out the other songs and buy it here.
For fans of: Brian Eno, The Album Leaf, Jónsi & Alex
In three words: Captivating, blissful music"