Systema Naturae [2017]

The year ends with the completion of my final collection of electronic music - Systema Naturae - comprising of tracks from the past few years since returning to the UK. The three-part eponymous piece builds on ideas drawn from the Otoplexus project that was originally conceived in Tokyo around 2011-2012. Lynch Suite emerges out of time at film school while the final track The Enframing is a nod to my continuing interest in the writings of Martin Heidegger.

This collection is dedicated to two giants of electronic sound: Iannis Xenakis & Bernard Parmengiani.

Signal and Noise #68: Chanting at Horinji

Further listening on the Signal and Noise playlist...Buddhist chanting recorded at Nichigai Suzan Horinji Temple, a Japanese temple located in the city of Sarnath just outside Varanasi, India.

This is an excerpt from an hour-long evening ritual performed each day at the temple. Chanting is heard accompanied by temple block, gong and uchiwa-daiko drums; a kind of handheld fan-drum commonly used in temple ceremonies belonging to the Nichiren branch of Mahayana Buddhism in Japan.

The Sound of Crowds and Power

In the early 1990s British guitarist and improvisor Derek Bailey presented a television documentary on the role of improvisation in music. During the series Bailey visits a church on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland where we hear the unusual tradition of Gaelic psalm-singing. This kind of swarming choral effect reminds me of the singing documented on the 1989 album Polyphonies Vocales des Aborigenes de Taiwan. Other references might be Louis Sarno's recordings of the Bayaka People of the Central African Republic as well as Alan Lomax's extensive recordings of prison and work-song in America.

Inspired by these kind of choral textures The Ecstatic Lament for Jerusalem [2017] is a plunderphonic reworking of the famous hymn Jerusalem, which is sung at the Proms every year in the Royal Albert Hall. Using realtime sampling, melodic intervals are stretched, re-ordered and repeated to create an ever increasing rapture of sound and emotion.

Signal and Noise: Clock

The Signal and Noise playlist continues into 2017. At #52 we have a recording of a 19th Century clock made by the Spanish clockmaker José Rodríguez Losada.

Photography: Credit of The Foundling Museum, London (c) • Special thanks to Alison Duke for providing me with this information.

Signal and Noise [2002-2016] Complete

The Signal and Noise playlist is now complete. Comprising of 50 short excerpts of sound and music, the collection brings together a wide range of material recorded in the UK, Japan and Indonesia from the period 2002 up to 2016.

One of my personal favourites is North India Bells from 2008. A montage of bells recorded at different times, in different locations across North India. The ringing of bells together with the incessant noise of traffic - these are my two lasting sound memories of the subcontinent. Other field recording highlights include gamelan recordings made in Java and Bali (particularly the Mangkunegaran Karawitan excerpt) as well as a few interesting sounds from the Japanese countryside and urban environments. Various textures falling under the vague descriptive tag 'ambient' or 'drones' pepper the playlist. Of these pieces Sputnik [2016], Tokai [2006] and Theme for Mysterious Semblance [2013] seem to provide floaty musical respite, lieing somewhere in the domain of Brian Eno or William Basinski. While 'noise' favourites of mine would be the Xenakis-inspired Concret Sferics [2011] piece (here in its 2-minute entirety), Merzinvaders [2016] and the rather simple refrain of Metal on Turntable [2014].

Multiphonic Garbage Truck

I recently setup a playlist of short sound and music excerpts from past and present projects called Signal and Noise. An online home of sorts for sonic odds and ends recovered from the digital archives.

The latest upload is an excerpt from a recording I made in London in 2015 of a crazy free-jazz overblowing garbage truck in West London. Somewhere between the sound of the 1954 Godzilla and the outer-planetary sax explorations of Pharoah Sanders.