Needless to say I was chuffed with the way Ruthless Jabiru played "Kick" and the feedback from the performance has been great:
The concert opened with a new work, Kick, by Leah Kardos. This is Ruthless Jabiru’s first commission, and it was a great opener. Kardos uses a small palette of string textures, including long vibrato-less pedals, tremolos and portamento slides, and integrates them into a tightly structured and impressively focussed work.
- Gavin Dixon (classical music critic)
The skill and professionalism of this orchestra, and its founder and principal conductor Kelly Lovelady, was clearly evident throughout the performance, not least in their handling of the first piece – a commissioned work from UK-based Australian composer Leah Kardos, Kick. This fantastic piece evoked visions of a sunrise over an outback property, the building melodies of a single viola and violin sounding out like the Australian bush slowly waking and coming to life.
- Australian Times
Here's a write up about the event that was posted on the Government of Western Australia European Office's news page. It includes details of some of the dignitaries that were in attendance as well as some photos from the night (though it's hard to see, in the last photo I am the one in the blue dress taking a bow with Kelly at the front).
Finally, there is a great article about Kelly and the orchestra by Gavin Dixon, specifically referring to this concert, in this month's Limelight magazine (available digitally here, with print versions available in Australian outlets).
*edit* - I found the Limelight Magazine feature online here.
In the piece, Matt Evans fashions my blathering into what turns out to be coherent and interesting article, in which I appear to know what I'm talking about! Kudos to him! I talk in depth about Feather Hammer, my background and reveal some details about my next piano-centric release, the 'Three Preludes' EP.
If you can't find a printed copy, it's free to read online (I think you just have to register), or available to purchase via iTunes and the newsstand app.
You can access it online here, if you want to.
"I am a composer, producer, pianist and part-time music lecturer at a Further Education college where I teach composing on Music Technology courses at levels 3 (equivalent to A-level) and 4 (Undergraduate/Foundation Degree). A ‘Music Technology’ course, distinct from a ‘Music’ course, often attracts applicants from diverse musical backgrounds; it is not uncommon for a typical class to contain a majority that cannot read staff notation and have taught themselves to play their instrument. Sometimes the student's only experience of music-making prior to the course has been sequencing beat patterns using computer software. Potential students are drawn to music technology courses for many different reasons – perhaps their individual interests lie in sound engineering, acoustics, live sound reinforcement, computer programming or software application design. As a teacher of composing in this context, I am faced with a challenge: how to bridge the knowledge and confidence gaps that exist between students with more and less formal musical experience? I believe that music technology applications can help in this area, particularly with fostering confidence and motivation in less-experienced students. What follows is a student profile and a case study of one assessment task in composing, which will illustrate how such strategies can work."
At the end of the Feather Hammer show, I performed some tracks from You Can't Hide Beat, my Bowie covers EP from last year. I dedicated the songs - Sunday, Lady Grinning Soul and a new version of Heathen - to my dear departed friend Jim Hyde, whom I met on a Bowie fan site back in the late 90s. One of our last conversations was about how much he enjoyed the Bowie covers EP, so it seemed a fitting gesture to make although I very nearly dropped the idea the morning of the show; I wasn't feeling brave at all having not sung in public for years. Liz talked me back into it, and I'm glad I did it. I miss you Jim.
And here is a very cool thing; I've been sampled! During the DJ set after my show, Matt Greasley played this track and it took me a while to register it was even me. Mrs Properly from Uncle Bob's Records pillaged that hour-long ResonanceFM show I did back in September 2011 and found all the various words needed to proclaim my love of kickass beats. Who hasn't wanted to be sampled in a daft dance track? I love it!
Finally, after an amazing run of performances in London, Matt Greasley and I are wheeling our Feather Hammer show into Bedford for one last go. This is it, the very last and final show and I'm so glad it's going to be a home-town gig... not least because I can party with everyone afterwards and stay out late and not have to worry about transporting my heavy piano and kit about on the London underground.
I've never played a show in Bedford before, I hope I can get the locals interested enough to come out for it. If you want to attend, you can RSVP here on the Facebook event page here. I'm even thinking of dropping some My Lithium & Me tracks into the setlist, just for the sheer hell of it! Afterwards, Matt Greasley will be DJ/VJ extraordinaire spinning tracks and projecting weird video art throughout the wee hours. I can already feel this is going to be a super fun gig. The support acts are great too.
Entry is a fiver, pay on the door. x
I want to play with a very specific sound world for this one: breathy dream-pop, tiny detuned autoharp strings, warm gooey vintage keyboards (Rhodes and Wurly), body percussion, cellos. The text comes from a collection of (slightly poetic and/or poignant) spam emails I've received over the last 15 years.
Recording scheduled for May!
I'm too excited!
... and an extra proud moment to see myself featured inside!
Huge congrats to Pam, it's a fascinating and timely book - I am extremely honoured to have been involved. If you're interested, you can purchase a copy from Amazon, or directly from Oxford University Press.
Here's the lovely lady herself, talking about her research (she even talks a little bit about me at around 3 mins in. Also, notice the soundtrack used is "Core" from Feather Hammer thrown in for good measure! So chuffed!)
Jez and Sarah usually work together creating amazing pin-up and retro styled shoots; when I came to them asking for something "composery", despite not really knowing what I even meant by that, they had loads of great ideas and somehow managed to make me look like a classy lady. I'm so impressed with the results! Anyone out there who needs some photos taken for whatever purpose, you can't go wrong with these guys.
Check out some of the results below, and a few more on the updated photos page. x
- Echoes and Dust
"If I had to pick only one word to describe this self-released debut album, it would have to be ‘captivating’. When I signed up for reviewing it, I was warned it’s going to be ‘a bit weird and tricky’. It turned out to be my own musical Rescue Remedy... "
- Devin Hurd / HurdAudio
"And yet for all its post processing and carefully crafted grooves and textures there emerges this amazingly heavy lightness to the whole recording. The craft and the ideas in this music run deep without overwhelming the sound. It's a startling quality and it's one that invites multiple listening to an expression that explores new directions in studio composition."
- Peter van Cooten / Ambientblog.net
"It's obvious that the piano is the center instrument on this album, but it's the use of recording techniques and special recording effects that really make the difference."... "If it sounds fragile or unstable, that only underlines the solid quality of these compositions. I guess that's what makes this album such a pleasant surprise to listen to."
- Dick Mac (alive!) 2011 - The Year In Review
"Engagingly listenable and attention-worthy, the cuts also work as ambient sound that tickle the brain when you don't even know the sound is there. Hardly invisible, each track is intricate and dynamic, reminiscent of David Bowie's "Low" album."
Amazing, right!? I continue to be floored by the response I've received since releasing Feather Hammer - to know people are out there listening it on their ipods or in their homes and enjoying/engaging with the sounds I made in my little bedroom studio is the best feeling ever. I can't imagine what could top that, maybe sitting in RAH listening to a symphony orchestra blow your face off with your own chord, but I'm a long ways off that ever happening. In addition to those awesome reviews and mentions, I also had the extreme honour of being included in some best of 2011/year end lists, mixtapes and podcasts. Click on the links to check them out; I definitely recommend downloading the mixes, there's so much great music out there to discover.
Headphone Commute’s Best of 2011 : Music For The Frosty Night When I Miss Your Warm Light
New Weird Australia's Releases Of The Year 2011
I Care If You Listen - Winter 2011 Mixtape
Chris McGovern/The Glass - My Year-End Picks for 2011
DFACE (Practice This Video) - Beautiful Song Of The Week (19/12/2011)
Headphone Commute/Ambientblog.org - PvC "stillness" podcast
Click here to go to my artist page on Linn Records. Click here to check out some other great Bigo & Twigetti releases.
Obviously it's also available through Bigo & Twigetti's bandcamp, as well as on iTunes, eMusic and Amazon as a normal download. You can even stream and purchase it through spotify! Never let it be said that I didn't provide you with options.
A few weeks ago I signed with one of my favourite new music labels, Bigo & Twigetti; they're releasing Feather Hammer properly for me and I couldn't be any more delighted! I've followed and admired their artists for a long time so to now be part of that group is a dream come true. From the 25th it will be available to buy from iTunes and eMusic and other online retailers, and there's a free download of DFACE available from their bandcamp site, where you can also pre-order the album before Friday.
The switch from selling the record DIY style to doing it properly through the label means that the 'music' link above takes you to their bandcamp site and not mine. I'm in the process of creating some new music related pages for the website dedicated to my film soundtracks and other stuff. Maybe I'll have a spare moment in December to sort that out.
There's been more radio play, this time in Ireland (Steve McCauley for the BBC - for a limited time you can listen again here and here) Outpost Radio and Lion.fm (Penn State University Radio) in the States. I still feel like pinching myself when I see the company I'm keeping in these playlists.
Finally, you have got to check out these amazing illustrations by super talented Bedford artist David Litchfield - I adore them! See you at the gig! x