Turquoise Coconut

I’m overjoyed to announce my new musical adventure. Marie Schreer and I have just founded Turquoise Coconut, a record label dedicated to new music and independent artists. Our first offerings will be digital re-releases of our Mainly Two début albums Poetry & Synergy, recorded in 2014. I look forward to sharing some wonderful music with you all in the future. Watch out on May 20th & 27th! Keep life colourful.

Turquoise Coconut

Nahualism

The Future Ancients

Introducing my new group, The Future Ancients. For fans of improvised, chilled, exotic sounds. Follow us on Twitter, or read more about the album here.

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

Mainly Two début concert

Here’s some very exciting news (at least for me) fresh off the press. Marie Schreer and I have found a venue for the first concert of our contemporary duo project Mainly Two. Not just any venue either. We’ll be taking over the Norfolk House Music Room in the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, two Friday evenings on the trot. It’s a spectacular place to unleash upon the world this colourful new music for the first time. As well as premiering the new works by some top composers of the moment (over a dozen in total), we’ll be taking a brief stroll into the archives of the violin duo world, exploring some of the repertoire, giving a bit of context to this relatively unknown medium. All very exciting stuff!

Join us on May 2nd and 9th. More details can be found here.

Norfolk House Music Room

 

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:

Sheep, glorious sheep

Although you may field that this baaahhlog entry ought to be solely on the subject of one fluffy farmyard critter, I’m afraid you are baaahing up the wrong tree.

Enough of dreadful puns and eggceptionally bad jokes (so what if sheep don’t lay eggs). Neighver again (so what if sheep aren’t horses) will I make you, devoted reader, work this hard to read my news. Dig out the mosquito oinkment, wiggle into those wellies, grab your crook, and cock-a-doodle-don’t dally whilst I transport you to the Isle of Coll to briefly recount my recent moosical adventures.

We, The Park Quartet, were invited to the aforementioned island to take part in the Tunnell Trust‘s yearly music festival, alongside wind quintet The Aquilon Ensemble, Catalan piano trio Hyagnis Trio, and piano/cello duo Y-Squared (a talented bunch and all delightful people). With a stunning view over the water, we rehearsed daily and received some smashing tutelage from the likes of Charles Tunnell, Richard Deakin, Jeremy Young and Neil Black. After one week of blood, sweat and tears (quite literally), we gave our first performances of quartets by Beethoven, Vasks and Haydn. Despite there being fewer than 300 people living on Coll, we saw at least fifty enthusiastic islanders at each of the three concerts, cheering us on.

Coll itself is an unusual place, less than twelve kilometres from one side to the other and with scarcely a tree to shelter you from the bitter winter wind which rears its ugly head in November, according to the locals. However, the sea views, rocky terrain and nature sanctuaries made for a peaceful, if not occasionally lonely, retreat. The swimming was invigorating (/numbing), the walks were humbling (/muddy), and the sheep were plentiful (/fertilising). Even if island fever occasionally set in, there was always a friendly face nearby waving good-morning and stopping for a chat (a real shocker at first, as those of you who live in London will understand).

So all in all, I recommend a visit to this alternative Eden, and a big thank you to the Tunnell Trust for having us. Click here to read the festival’s blog, with a cameo entry by the quartet.

Isle of Coll

Back to the other end of the British Isles where my jazz quartet has just released a short video promoting our first EP ‘Live at Trinity Studio’. You can watch it right here, right now:

And on a final note, I graduated last week from the Royal College of Music with a first class honours degree. Here’s to a great four years (although not without its up and downs) and to an exciting fresh start. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to Malta and Dorset (not simultaneously) to swim, sunbathe and get better acquainted with Wagner and Verdi. Toodle-pip!

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.

Different Trains

You can now watch my quartet’s performance of Steve Reich’s Different Trains on YouTube. This was recorded live at the Royal College of Music on February 19th 2013:

Mander ‘Da Man’ Session

U kno wut Iym saying lyk dere iz gud fings on da horyzan n shizle.

Sorry, just had to get that out of my system. Anyway, to translate: I would just like to share with you, my friends, that there are exciting things on the horizon, and shizzle (that last word is lamentably untranslatable). I joined Jane Wilkinson (soprano) and Tamara Young (harp) today to record an album of the music, and folk-song arrangements, of Louis Mander, a talented young composer from London. With a folky English feel, these works delicately bridge the gap between the rich musical heritage of this wonderful country and its exciting contemporary scene. We were lucky enough to record in a beautiful house opposite Christ Church, Spitalfields. It is the first opportunity that I’ve had to share my glorious 12-string violin (sympolin) with the world, and I’m very excited to hear how it sounds on record. More to come soon!

Recording Mander's music, Spitalfields

On another note, my quartet (the Park Quartet) performed Lutoslawski’s String Quartet on Monday at the Purcell Room, Southbank Centre. It is a difficult piece to get to grips with, but incredibly atmospheric if you are willing to accept its unorthodox nature. Click here to read a delightful review of the concert.

Fortunately the Park Quartet came through unfazed in this respect – teasing out the initial subtleties of detail, before investing what follows with a surging expressive charge which was then carried over into the prolonged leave-taking with its vestigial allusions to earlier and dimly remembered events.