Poetry

After over one year of hard work on innumerable people’s behalf, my violin duo Mainly Two has released its first studio recording, Poetry. There are too many people to mention who have had some involvement in this project, but a major thank you goes out to all the composers for their beautiful music and their patient collaboration; to Anna Lawrence for her magical artwork; to the selfless Josh Green for his unceasingly generous hard work in getting these studio recordings sounding as crystalline as possible; and to my wonderful duo partner Marie Schreer for making our work together such a joy. You can listen to the album right here, right now! Follow the links in the player to download (or preferably purchase) your very own copy. Physical copies will be available in the coming months. Poetry features music of a vaguely neo-romantic nature, and is sure to caress your ears, whether you be driving, chilling or heading off to sleep!

 

The follow-up LP, Synergy, will be released in just five day’s time. It features the more contemporary of the compositions, for those of you interested in new sounds and ideas. Keep your eyes peeled!

Meanwhile, I’ve been active in other interesting areas recently. I’m delighted to be working with a talented bunch of artists on a collaborative project called ‘Spun Through Shadows’. It’s a fascinating convergence of music, electronics and dance, all tied together in an immersive performance. We’re giving our premiere on December 6th, and will be reprising several times in 2015. Check out the official website, and the video below, for more information.

My group Project Avartan has been invited to perform at the prestigious Sage Gateshead on December 18th. Having never played there before, I’m over the moon about it. It’s going to be a smashing gig with my talented colleagues Rekesh Chauhan and Alok Verma, so if you’re in the area, grab a ticket and head on over!

Project Avartan @ Gateshead

Recently, I happened to spot myself mentioned in Jazz UK magazine, which is one of the first official indications that I play jazz! It’s a small step for mankind, but a landmark leap for John Garner. See if you can spot me in this interview with radio DJ Tina Edwards.

Jazz UK Tina Edwards interview

I’ve been particularly busy in the studio recently with Emanata, The Future Ancients, The John Garner Quartet and MooK. There’ll be a plethora of new sounds heading your way within a short while. Here’s a shot from my recent recording session at Konk Studios with MooK. Début studio recording on its way!

Mook @ Konk Studios

Lastly, here’s a lovely video by Aesop that The Guastalla Quartet can be heard playing on. We recorded this recently for composer Josephine Stephenson. Enjoy!

The Guild of Artisans from Aesop on Vimeo.

‘Fragile’ – Project Avartan

Here is ‘Fragile’ by Project Avartan, the first release from a new group with which I’m involved.

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!

East meets West

I had the great privilege this afternoon of jamming with pianist Rekesh Chauhan and percussionist Alok Verma. These guys are extremely talented and are recognised as such by many seriously respected musicians. I’m very excited about the future of this project. We’ll be bringing you ear candy very soon!

East meets West

Travels in China & my Sympolin

Happy 2013! I hope your year got off to a good start and continues as you would hope.

I returned yesterday from a tour of China with the Kent Sinfonia orchestra. After two thirteen hour flights, several internal flights, innumerable coach and train journeys, I’m feeling rather wrung out. However, China is a fascinating place. We visited cities including Zigong, Foshan, Kunming, Nanning, Yibin and Shanghai and got a real flavour for some of this monumental country. Despite an obvious language barrier, the people were always full of warmth and a genuine desire to lend a helping hand. Although the cities are generally sprawling concrete jungles, we were never short of an unusual distraction, whether it was a street vendor selling bizarre foods, a market full of eastern oddities, or another example of an incredible usage of the English language (‘Stop namely to walk namely’… prizes for translation). My highlights of the tour were a trip up the Jin Mao building in Shanghai and a river boat ride in the Guilin province where we saw some breathtaking karst mountains.

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SympolinOn an equally exciting note, I have just today collected my new Hardanger fiddle hybrid violin (dubbed the ‘sympolin’)  from David Bruce Johnson at Moseley Violins. He has done a fabulous job on this experimental project; the instrument looks and sounds absolutely stunning. It has 12 strings: 4 playable and 8 sympathetic. I will be doing many concerts and recordings with this instrument in 2013. Watch this space.

Highlights already planned for my diary this year include performances and recordings of the music of Louis Mander, a collaborative venture with Rekesh Chauhan, performances with the Park Quartet and the first release from my new jazzy groovy group (unnamed as of yet). See you during the year!