Feeling blog blog blog

This room is very very hot. In England, we are not accustomed to high, or low, temperatures. Therefore, please forgive the slugggggggishnessssss of this news bulletin. I’ve been silent for some time, so there’s a fair amount to get through. I’ll be as brief as slug-humanly possible!

Marie Schreer and I have been busy all over the place with our new duo project Mainly Two. We’ve performed a total of six concerts in two countries, a radio broadcast and a recording session. We had an amazing time in the Puglia region of Italy, where one Enzo Bellomo was our local composer and tour manager. We’ve also débuted numerous works in the V&A’s Norfolk House Music Room and architect Zaha Hadid’s very own gallery in Central London. After a shatteringly long recording session yesterday at Konk Studios, we’re taking a break from performing to plan the releases of our first couple of albums. Here’s a video from one of the concerts of one work by Finnish composer, Tomi Räisänen.

I gave my first performance in an Indian music setting in early May with Project Avartan, after teaming up with fantastic musicians Rekesh Chauhan and Alok Verma to create a new blend of music drawing inspiration from Indian, classical, jazz and electronic music. Our début concert was for Sampad in Wolverhampton. We’re off to Lisbon in a couple of weeks to play at the Museu do Oriente. Here are a couple of clips from the gig.

I also joined M.o.o.K (Music of our Kind) on stage for the first time on May 24th at Union Chapel, always a great place to play. This is a really unusual group, featuring a mixed bag of classical, jazz and world musicians, often fronted by a breathtaking Ethiopian singer. Here’s a clip of one of the tunes (I’ve got a music stand for a head).

At the end of June, I’m heading off with The Guastalla Quartet for a brief tour of Germany and Switzerland, where we’ll also be recording our second album. We’ll be giving a live concert online on June 18th, so you don’t even need to leave your house! Click here to find out more. Our first release, featuring the music of Beethoven and Shostakovich, was made available on April 6th. Click on the picture to listen and download!

The Guastalla Quartet - Live @ Konk Studios

If you’re curious as to what I actually sound like, rather than just seeing my verbal spew all over this blog, you can hear me on Hoxton Radio on the catch-up podcast talking to Tina Edwards about jazz improvisation and its linguistic aspect (10am on June 9th). It was a cooky interview with some strange musical questions and answers, and a little fiddle improv thrown in for good measure. Don’t miss it!

Live on Hoxton Radio

Another very exciting piece of news: the music which I recorded in March alongside Nikola Kovacevic, Giovanni Cacioppo and Alok Verma (collectively known as Future Ancients), for the first Boxing Yoga DVD, has been released! It’s quite surreal to hear our music accompanying the incredibly testing work-out of the Boxing-Yoga-ers, but also deeply satisfying. I’m over the moon that they decided to get me involved, and I’m happy to have sparked up an ongoing relationship with the team. There will be more to come from this collaboration! Click on the picture below to get your copy of the DVD.

Boxing Yoga DVD

If you don’t fancy paying for anything, my group Polaroid 85 has released a track called Slow Breeze, available for free download. It’s an ambient, but intense, orchestral/electronic sonic journey (or something like that)… have a listen and share if you like it.

That’s it from me! Thanks for sticking it out to the end (those of you who skipped several paragraphs – you’re only cheating yourselves, as my teachers were so fond of saying). Hope to see you at a gig /reach your ears through your speakers sometime soon. Stay safe.

Dear Diary

Dear Diary,

This has been a good month. Kicking off with a recording session for the music of the official boxing yoga instructional DVD really set the tone for the following few weeks. Can’t wait to see the final cut with music from my new group The Future Ancients (alongside my talented pals Nikola Kovacevic, Giovanni Cacioppo and Alok Verma – big names!).

The following weekend I was back in the studio (missing the sun again, curse you fortune!!!) with The Guastalla Quartet. We’re going to release the resulting album in a couple of days. Very excited for this one! Gotta love a bit of Beethoven and Shostakovich. We messed around a little at the end of the day and came up with this fun Super Mario cover…

After an appearance with Kate Simko and The London Electronic Orchestra (featuring Mainly Two’s début performance whoo yeah!), it was back into the rehearsal room before a full-on recording session with The John Garner Quartet. Can’t wait to get these tracks mixed and out there (will be funny to see people’s reaction to jazzed up versions of Pearl Jam tunes and such).

The John Garner Quartet @ Konk Studios

The last week of March was mental. Three jazz gigs in one week? Too many note choices to make… It was a great start to the Guildhall Jazz Festival for me with The Interplay Series, spearheaded by Kate Williams and William Goodchild. I had a great time leading the orchestra on stage with The Kate Williams Trio. The music of Bill Evans like you’ve never heard it before! Had a great time on the 26th with a small group performing some vintage jazz (nothing from 1940 onwards allowed). We scratched and scraped our way through some bawdy classics.

Interplay Series Orchestra

Vintage Jazz Group, Guildhall Jazz Festival 2014

Finished off the month in a great way with a live video session with Polaroid 85 filmed by rising stars Flyotw Film. This is going to be a smashing video of a new track.

Next up BBC Symphony Orchestra recording with Sir Andrew Davis and a tour to Switzerland with Sakari Oramo!

Night night Diary! xx

Something Like That…

My new group Emanata has today released its first EP, ‘Something Like That’, on Love Buzz Recordings. You can check it out below. If you like it, please download it and share it with your friends, family, grandmas, farmyard animals and various household domestic appliances.

Emanata début

It’s finally here! My project Emanata is finally seeing the light of day! Our début EP ‘Something Like That…’ will be released on Monday 24th February on Love Buzz Recordings. This EP has been in the works for quite some time, and features input from some incredibly talented musicians, from groups including AZEDIA, Ruby & The Vines, Polaroid 85, The Fenchurch 3io and Invisible Soul Assassins. I’m very proud to be spearheading this amazing project. In the meantime, here’s the music video to ‘Keep Off The Grass’, performed by Ana Mrdjanov and filmed by Ben Rider:

Bai Gum Feller

Ere be koopla things for ya weery eerz. Ta begin, a big ole jump from spayce with sum smashen droom en bayce from Perleroyd Ayteefoive (Translation: Good day to you! Here are a couple of things for your tired ears. Firstly, an impressively large jump from space accompanied by some rather pleasant liquid drum and bass from Polaroid 85.)

Below’sa kernel uv devel moosick for yer an all. (Translation: Please find below a new record from jazz quartet ‘BLAM!’ on which I was delighted to feature with a string quartet.)

BLAM! attached/detached

Mooven taward thay oareyent, eres a collaberayshion frum Projeckt Avertan (Translation: Moving onto Eastern inspired music, here’s a recent track from my ongoing collaboration with Alok Verma and Rekesh Chauhan, Project Avartan.)

Un wun moar thing. Be it grarfick potrayells uv yung lectronek wippa snappaz ye fencee, ere they be. (Translation: On a final note, if you have headed in this general direction seeking pictorial representations of young people, presumably of an electronica persuasion, you’ll find a couple below.)

Auf wiedersehen, Pet

A very merry festive greeting to you from South-West Germany, where it is neither snowing nor frosty. In fact, it feels rather similar to London. IN FACT, the last couple of times that I had the fortune of visiting Paris, it rained and rained and rained. There is a weather conspiracy going on. I suggest that we wipe from global consciousness the idea that the UK is a miserable place with miserable weather. We are not alone with our slate skies and soggy socks. But this is a subject for a different blog, a different blogger and another time. Back to business.

The run up to Christmas has reigned upon me one of the busiest times of my life, proving both immensely satisfying and tear-provokingly stressful. However, I have survived and am here to tell the tale to you, faithful reader.

Firstly, it should be noted that new pages now exist on this very website, notably, those of groups The Guastalla Quartet and Emanata. I am very excited to finally be getting these groups out into the public eye. The Guastalla Quartet takes the place of The Park Quartet as my active string quartet, with a fresh line-up and renewed enthusiasm. We are slowly working through our to-do list on the path to global domination: coming soon to a billboard, TV screen, airport advertisement or milk carton near you. Emanata is an entirely different kettle of fish. With a sound fusing jazz, hip-hop, electronica, world music and other things, we are based in the recording studio, capturing the group improvisation and discovery. I am very excited to releasing our first EP on Love Buzz Recordings in a few weeks. We’ve even got superhero alter-egos to go with the music (Emanata is a comic-book term… Google it!). Head over to the dedicated pages in the ‘groups‘ section to find out more.

Emanata in the studioThe Guastalla Quartet

Another new project that is just about to hit the shelves of your local internet supermarket is ‘Project Avartan’. I’ve teamed up with Indian musicians Rekesh Chauhan and Alok Verma, both powerhouse musicians of impressive repute, to create an unusual new group fusing classical, Indian, jazz and electronic music. We’ve been into the recording studio twice already to record a few demo tunes, which will be released soon. Look out for the soaring vocals of Andri Antoniou featured on one track. Check out our trailer below:

To sum up some smaller bits of exciting news… In November I went into the studio with Greek composer Othon Mataragas to record the solo violin for a track from his forthcoming album ‘Pineal’; keep an eye out for this – it’s going to be worth a listen. We good folks at Polaroid 85 are very pleased to be working not only with record label Reel Me Records, but also with agency Wormfood; 2014 is going to see a massive shake-up in the Polaroid 85 world – watch this space. Good friends of mine, AZEDIA, have just released a new album. If you like electronic music, this is a must – check it out here. Lastly, my jazz quartet were delighted to be invited to play at the Swing Unlimited Jazz Club in Bournemouth recently. We had a great time, quartet and audience alike. We were also very chuffed to see our poster sitting just above another one featuring the Alec Dankworth Trio – jazz royalty! We shall hopefully be back at the SUJC in 2014.

John Garner Quartet at SUJCP85 live in Hackney

And so, all that is left for me to say is fröhliche weihnachten. Have a wonderful Christmas holiday, and a smashing New Year. Thanks to everyone who has been a part of my life this year; it has been a great one. Bring on 2014!

Escapist EP – Out Now!

Escapist EP Out Now

‘Escapist,’ the brand new EP from orchestral-electronica band Polaroid 85, is out now! Click here to get it exclusively on iTunes. Available elsewhere from June 30th.

Escapist EP out on Sunday

Polaroid 85 new EPAfter well over a year of blood, sweat and tears, one of the groups I play with, Polaroid 85, is releasing its second EP. ‘Escapist’ is a sonic voyage through an intense world of melody, dance music rhythms and ambient sounds, bringing together a wealth of influences and instruments including strings, guitars, percussion, winds, all manner of voices and electronics. (it’s also really great to listen to!)

‘Escapist’ is available to download on iTunes on June 9th on Reel Me Records. In the meantime, there are previews you can check out here.

To celebrate this exciting release, Polaroid 85 will be playing a big gig at the Bussey Building on June 15th (click here for more event info and tickets). This promises to be a mahooooooooooooooosive set, featuring the band, string quartet, guest vocalists, new songs and more! Come along and help us partay like it’s 2999.

Whilst you’re counting down the seconds to the big day, you can listen to our first EP right here. It’s also available to download for free. Spread the word and help us share what we love doing!

Freefall

Polaroid 85 live in the studio

A happy belated white Christmas to you all. Snow just makes everything seem better (‘seem’ being the crucial word). Here’s a video by my band Polaroid 85 of a live session that we did in the autumn of 2012. You can download our first EP here for free. Our second EP is coming very soon!