Powerlines Live at Manchester Literature Festival 20/08/2016

Coming up:

20th October 2016, 6.30pm

Manchester Central Library,
St Peter's Square, Manchester

I will be performing a live piece commissioned for this project:

Powerlines: New Stories From The Urban Edge 
Some people struggle to get from one end of the day to the other – but their stories are not being told. Five artists have worked with people in Salford to explore the lives unfolding far beyond the aspirational city of artisan coffee shops and slick new builds. Join poet Jo Bell, graphic novelist Darryl Cunningham, sound artist Gary Fisher, short story writer David Gaffney and novelist Stephen May as they place these stories centre stage.
These stories will make you cry, laugh and shout with rage at inequalities perpetuated by a social security system that is no longer social or secure. Produced in partnership with Church Action on Poverty, Salford City Council Welfare Rights Service, and The University of Manchester's Centre for New Writing, Powerlines will shed light on some of the too-little considered realities of life in the Northern Powerhouse.

 I was commissioned by one of the organisers of the Powerlines project- based in my home City of Salford- to produce a live sound piece based on short stories written by people from Salford about their experiences of having to live on welfare benefits. The group I worked with had some interesting, tragic, funny and very personal stories to tell. I have recorded each of them reading their own works and I am currently working on weaving their voices into a live soundscape performance with fragments of the stories filtering through like memories or disconnected pieces of dreams.

I also produced this preview trailer:

For booking and links to more info on the project, artists and the festival: http://www.manchesterliteraturefestival.co.uk/events/powerlines-new-stories-from-the-urban-edge-37253


The Other Room 13/04/2016 report.

On 13th April 2016 I made a performance for The Other Room's 8th Birthday in Manchester.

The Other Room is a reading series presenting experimental writers at The Castle Hotel in Manchester.

I usually let some time pass before reflecting or reporting on a performance.

This was my first performance for a while and I could not have hoped for a better night. The other performers were excellent too.

I always like to try new things so this time I produced a free hand out with a drawing of my set up and list of sound sources. This was the first time I have composed live using mainly playback devices with pre recorded sounds including some of my own field recordings, a mobile phone app of relaxation sounds and the FM3 Buddha Machine. On a whim, I also brought along my lucky cat to provide some visual rhythm. And good luck.

Free photocopied handout from the performance.

During set up the synthesiser shown in the drawing was replaced by my trusty amplified book which just seemed more appropriate at the time and provided some nice acoustic sounds to go with the other noises.

The initial idea was to make a piece along the lines of Musique Concrete and ended up as something breaking probably every rule of that.

A video of my performance:


Coming up in April: The Other Room 8th Birthday 13/04/2016

From The Other Room 8th Birthday on facebook:
The next Other Room is a sound special, featuring Stuart Calton, Gary Fisher, Linda Kemp and Rosanne Robertson. It's also our eighth birthday and the launch of our new anthology. Come along and help us celebrate on Wednesday 13th April (7 pm) at The Castle Hotel, Oldham Street, Manchester M4 1LE. Bookstall. Free admission. Details of all performers below, with previews of each to appear at http://otherroom.org/ over the next month. www.otherroom.org
At the moment I'm thinking of doing a live mix for this with some of my old field recordings and found sounds on playback devices like mobile phones and digital dictaphones and maybe some kind of graphic score or visual piece to accompany. More on this later.


Live recording from Sluice Art Fair 2013

New live recording published on Soundcloud

In October of 2013 I was invited by The Penthouse to the Sluice Art Fair in London (see Oct '13 in the archive). I had done a residency for The Penthouse earlier that year, where I made new improvised works and performances, and was invited to help represent them at the fair. On the final night of the fair I made a live performance that would on reflection be one of the noisiest and less compromising of my performances.

Not being as careful at documenting my own performances as I probably should be I had forgotten that a friend who was present had recorded the gig- and I guess he forgot too, since it arrived in my inbox only last week. On listening back two years later it reminded me of being quite relaxed at the time and just letting the waves of sound and feedback build up further and louder than I would usually before turning some channels down and other up. It wasn't really planned that way but my travelling from Manchester with a limited set of equipment and the atmosphere at the event not being one conducive to people listening intently influenced my decision to make something more direct and reactionary and less abstract or quiet. At some point I asked for a microphone that was not part of my set-up to be switched on and stood for a while playing the FM tuner into it while the Loopstation did some of the work, then left the FM tuner on the floor in front of the audience which can be heard at the end playing out static before I come over and turn it off. With the benefit of hindsight I can say that this performance relates to my interest in using instruments and technology in ways which they were not designed for and adapting to situations and environments as part of improvisation. Something I would go on to explore as part of my MA in Sound Arts and continue to do.

Some pictures from the event: