It was really great to hear my new piece ‘Power Trio’, for electric piano, electric guitar and drum kit, performed in a workshop on 6 July by musicians visiting the university from Brussels. The workshop was part of the annual composers’ ‘Get Together’, and the players were Primož Sukič, Carlo Prampolini and Rubén Orio. The piece I wrote explores the timbres of heavy metal guitar idioms and extreme juxtapositions of musical textures. I then continued my celebrations of all things loud and heavy by going to see stoner doom legends Sleep play in Kentish Town that evening, rounding off a great day!
I wrote a blog post for the University of Southampton music department about my recent dialogue with Bath Spa PhD composer Louis D’Heudieres, and my performance at Weisslich. You can read about it here.
My next concert will be a performance of Construction in Metal with Mark Knoop at Hundred Years Gallery in Hoxton on 23 April. The concert is part of the Weisslich series, and I’m very much looking forward to bringing this piece to London.
See weisslich.com for more info.
On 3 March I took part in a fantastic concert at the John Hansard Gallery in Southampton. The evening featured electroacoustic and amplified music by various different composers, including several great pieces from my some of my colleagues at the university. These were performed across two rooms within the gallery, which proved to be an excellent space (a shame they are moving off campus soon!). We had a really great turnout and I think most of the audience enjoyed the music.
My contribution to the night was performing two solo electric guitar pieces-Morton Feldman’s The Possibility of a New Work for Electric Guitar (1966) and Christian Wolff’s Another Possibility (2004), and a performance of my Tapping Piece, for four electric guitars, to close the concert. This piece involves an unusual method of playing the guitars, striking the bodies of the instruments with drumsticks to produce a droning effect, and varying the harmonies produced by using volume pedals. The piece seemed to go down well, and I’m grateful to Joe Manghan, Harry Matthews and Máté Szigeti for helping to perform the piece (a task requiring both mental and physical stamina).
Here is a short taster clip of the piece that I produced to promote the concert (I hope to make a full recording soon!):
On 2 November, Mark Knoop and I premiered my piece Construction in Metal (I’m rather proud of the John Cage pun in the title!) in Plus Minus Ensemble’s concert at the Turner Sims, Southampton. The piece is scored for electric guitar and a Guitar Hero Xbox controller triggering samples from various classic rock tracks via a computer set up. The piece also involves various choreography based on stereotypical ‘air guitar’ moves. This was quite a departure and a challenge for me as both a composer and a performer, as I have not previously incorporated visual elements into my work, but it was also a lot of fun! Mark’s expertise in performing this kind of repertoire, and in developing the computer set up for the controller was invaluable and much appreciated.
My article ‘Rock Spectrale’: The Cultural Identity of the Electric Guitar in Tristan Murail’s Vampyr! is published in the October edition of Tempo. It is based on my PhD research about the influence of the electric guitar’s popular cultural identity within contemporary music, and focuses on a piece for solo electric guitar composed by Murail in 1984. This is my first time publishing in an academic journal, and I found it to be an interesting, although at times rather scary(!) experience. Going through the long process of drafting and re-drafting my work, presenting at conferences, and finally going through the editorial and production process was tough, but rewarding, and has helped me developed valuable skills as an academic musician.
My article can be read on the Cambridge Journals website here: