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 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!

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:

Lucy Claire Quartet @ BBC London

I never want to see 5:20 on a frosty Saturday morning in London again. Having said that, I had a smashing time playing live on BBC London with the Lucy Claire Quartet. We were performing a couple of Lucy’s beautiful pieces for string quartet and electronics. Lucy writes deeply heartful music and is certainly a name to look out for in the cinematic future. You can catch our performance and Lucy’s interview for one week on BBC iPlayer. Click here to hear the broadcast.

Lucy Claire Quartet

Lucy Claire Quartet

The Invisible World – a review

Click here to read another great review of my quartet’s (the Park Quartet) performance at the Southbank Centre on Monday.

By far the most successful performance of the evening was that of Lutosławski’s String Quartet given by the accomplished Park Quartet. Opening the blanched pages of outsize parts upon their stands like a collection of wings, the players set about conquering this highly original 20th-century masterpiece.

Adam Double – Smoke

A couple of months ago, I played in a live session at Phoenix Sound for a talented singer/songwriter called Adam Double. Here’s the first video:

 

Lamberhurst

On Saturday, I was doing a gig with a group of RCM string players in the beautiful village of Lamberhurst in Kent. I thoroughly recommend a visit there if you’re nearby. It’s my end-of-year recital examination tomorrow, woe betide me. However, Wednesday will see me taking a holiday in Amsterdam. The perfect end to an exciting term!

Lamberhurst, Kent

Collaboration with Klara Kjellen

I’ve recently been working with Swedish singer/songwriter Klara Kjellen who is well underway on her second album. We went into the studio yesterday to record a string quartet for a couple of her songs, which I’ve arranged. I was joined by the combined talents of Marie Schreer, Julian Fish and Phil Kelynack. Watch this space for the finished products!

London Fashion Week & new video

Seldom do I see 7:00 AM on the streets of central Sunday London. It’s actually quite peaceful. I was playing with string quartet ‘Abraxas’ at a catwalk event called ‘Vauxhall Fashion Scout’ near Covent Garden. Surreal but great. Cartoon-style picture courtesy of ‘Paper Camera’ on my Android smartphone – great app.

Vauxhall Fashion Scout

In other news, my jazz trio is releasing a second video from our December session for public consumption. This is ‘Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise’: