On the 29th March, Harry Matthews and I were delighted to be invited to perform in Birmingham’s Post-Paradise concert series, which is held at the Centrala gallery in Digbeth every month. Although we have performed together many times before as part of OUT-TAKE Ensemble, this was our first performance as part of a new duo project that we have been talking about for a while.

We started our set with the premiere of Harry’s new noise-pollution inspired work electric guitar, in Southmead (1m55sec), which the two of us have been working on together for several months. This was followed with the first performance of my latest work, Quiet Pint at The King Bill, for electric guitar and synthesiser, which explores microtonal tuning systems and polyrhythmic delays, to expand on ideas that I began investigating in 2017’s Quiet Pint at The Butcher’s Hook.

You can listen to a newly released recording of my piece here:

Recent OUT-TAKE performances

I have been very lazy about updating my website recently, so in this post I am retrospectively writing about several OUT-TAKE Ensemble concerts that I was involved in over the past few months.

Firstly, we completed our first mini tour of southern England, including dates in Southampton (Arch 4, 14/11/18), London (The Harrison, Kings Cross, 20/11/18) and Bristol (Cafe Kino, 7/12/18). These concerts included performances of a newly commissioned work by Australian composer Alexandra Spence, which was titled to fade, humming, and was performed by myself and Harry Matthews. The Bristol concert also included a performance of my Silent Doom Disco.

Next, we headed to York, to perform Silent Doom Disco again in the inaugural concert of the newly founded Amok performance series, at St Martin-cum-Gregory Church on 6/2/19. We had a great time performing in the north for the first time, and are very grateful to our hosts for putting on such a great concert.

Finally, we returned to Southampton’s Art House Cafe on 19/2/19, where I played guitar in Joe Manghan’s unusual piece It Wasn’t All Yellow. This piece asked the audience to participate in the compositional process by voting on decisions about how to manipulate the source material, taken from Coldplay’s Yellow. This created some challenging sight reading for myself and guest trumpeter Adam Stockbridge, but resulted in a fun and unique performance.

Performance of ‘Tapping Piece’ in Freiburg

On the 8th December I was delighted to travel to Germany, to visit the Freiburg Hochschule für Musik, and hear the school’s percussion ensemble perform my Tapping Piece (2016), for four electric guitars played with percussion sticks. The piece was performed as part of an excellent concert, which paired concert works with traditional music from Italy and Mongolia, including a spectacular throat singing performance that paired excellently with my piece’s exploration of the harmonic series. It was incredibly exciting to hear my work performed in Germany for the first time, although my travel schedule was extremely hectic – I had to leave straight after OUT-TAKE Ensemble’s concert in Bristol the night before, and take an early morning flight to Basel (before travelling onwards to Freiburg by bus) in order to arrive on time!

I’m very grateful to the musicians for the work they put into my piece, and to faculty members Håkon Stene and Bernhard Wulff for programming my work in such an excellent concert.

Performance of Linda Catlin Smith with OUT-TAKE

On the 23rd April, OUT-TAKE Ensemble performed our latest concert in our series at The Talking Heads in Southampton. My contribution to the programme was a performance of Linda Catlin Smith’s magnificent Drifter, for electric guitar and piano, with Harry Matthews on piano. We’ve spent a lot of time rehearsing this piece over the last couple of months, and felt the performance went really well. However, there is always room to improve, and we hope to play the piece many more times and get even better at it! Harry and I are hoping to look for more opportunities to play together as a duo, as we’re both now living in or near Bristol, so watch this space for any upcoming gigs.

Plus-Minus perform ‘Silent Doom Disco’

On the 27th March Plus-Minus Ensemble performed my piece Silent Doom Disco as part of their ‘Community of Objects’ programme in City University’s Tuesday concert series. The concert also included some interesting pieces by Oliver Thurley, Alice Jeffreys, Monika Dalach, Caitlin Rowley and Lawrence Dunn. It was great to see my work performed by such outstanding musicians, and as part of such an exciting programme of new works. I’m particularly grateful to Alice Purton, Mark Knoop and Serge Vuille for the effort they put in to performing my piece, which is rather physically strenuous!

Upcoming premieres in November

I have two upcoming premieres of new works in November. Having not had any new works performed so far in 2017, due to focusing on finishing my PhD, I now have two taking place within a week of each other!

The first is a solo piece for electric guitar, which I will perform alongside Laurence Crane’s Bobby J in a concert at The Butcher’s Hook, Southampton, on Tuesday 14th November. I haven’t given it a title yet, but it uses techniques of scordatura and harmonics to create microtonal pitch structures, and also a digital delay effect to explore some interesting rhythmic ideas. This concert is part of the fantastic Playlist series, which I’m really delighted to be contributing to in my own small way.

The second is Silent Doom Disco, which will be performed by OUT-TAKE Ensemble in our concert at The Talking Heads (also in Southampton) on Monday 20th November. It’s probably the weirdest piece I’ve written so far, and involves performers ‘head banging’ in silence, coordinated by audio tracks which they listen to through earphones. The concert also features works by John Cage, Matthew Shlomowitz, Nomi Epstein, Alexander Glyde-Bates and Alex Garden, plus a guest appearance by Jamie Howell, who will perform a new work for electric guitar and looper pedal.