A note on: the last soundings, performing with the great Phil Minton

An amazing privilege it was to perform an improvised vocal work with Phil Minton last October at Kings Place in London. The video of that work is now public, beautifully shot by Ed Prosser.

For over fifty years Phil Minton has been performing, singing, vocalising around the world. He absolutely has shaped, even defined, free vocalisation and improvised sound poetry since WWII. To get to work with him for the first time, with no prior preparation, no conversation about what we'd do before the performance even, was such an honour, and beautiful / terrifying in equal measure. So important for me to feel I'm crossing over with the greats of previous generations

A note on: Lunalia: a lunar sound project with Maja Jantar

One of the most comprehensive sound collaborations I've ever undertaken. One month of recordings, an entire lunar cycle, Maja Jantar and I exchanged sonic responses to the moon over the summer, including poem, songs, found recordings, mixed for publication. I was the 11th collaborator in Maja’s remarkable series. This was a brilliant, often intense process, another lovely moment in a series of works I’ve had the pleasure to collaborate on with Maja. And as before, I learned an extraordinary amount working with her, with her in my mind as I tried to keep up to the daily recording schedule. I’m proud of the result, it’s extensive, a real record of a time in my life.

All 30 files with adjoining blogs are available http://www.stevenjfowler.com/lunalia

Week One

August 18th: Worm-moon Wormwood Scrubs is a place most in London would associate with its adjacent prison. Outside of London it’s hardly known. It’s where I go to exercise, often at night, especially in the summer. It’s totally dark, surrounded by a belt of light, and the industrial trains entering and exiting Willesden Junction. From the middle of the scrubs I can see the moon, first 2/3 blood moon, and by the end of my exercise, the full red moon. I took the recorder to the middle of the open expanse of grass, empty of people aside from the odd dog walker emerging from the darkness and let my exhausted breathing ebb as I watched up. By complete chance, a genuine coincidence, earlier in the day, someone had said to me that I should watch for the super moon that night, that the celts called it the Dispute Moon, others the Hunger Moon, Corn Moon and Wolf Moon....

A note on: Soundings #6 with Sharon Gal

The Soundings project comes to an end for the time being this October with the 7th instalment and the end of the Hubbub residency and I've had an extraordinary time collaborating with 6 artists so far, the latest being Sharon Gal, a major figure on the London experimental music scene since the late 80s.

This is a work I'm very proud of. Sharon's work has been a real influence on me, so it was brilliant to work so closely with her developing a series of performances, embedded in some unusual and industrial / suburban hidden spots of west london, for film. Again working with Ed Prosser, who has filmed most of soundings to great effect, we spent a brilliant day roaming from Kilburn to Kensal, along the grand union canal and into wormwood scrubs, playing with soundscapes, found sounds and instruments. We utilised the possibilities of film, performing in scenes of a sort, to create something original in the edit. Such a privilege to have this opportunity, and once again responding to materials given by Wellcome Library in response to prompts given by Hubbub curators.

my performance in a Parisienne circus for Festina Lente

I've read in Paris before, but I read, and I hope, relatively speaking, those days are temporarily coming to a close. Now is a time to read in public far less, and perform more. So this was an invitation I was grateful to receive from the amazing and intense Chilean poet Martin Bakero, who lives in Paris and curates the Festina Lente in the Circus Electrique, part of the Pantheon of Poets festival in the city. This was all sound poets and sonic artists, and as I've felt with the art writers of my generation in London who've influenced me so much, and are now friends (Pat Coyle, Holly Pester, Hannah Silva etc) this is a real community in Europe. After meeting Jorg Piringer and Heike Feidler last year, here I got to connect to Julien d'abrigeon and the wonderful Maja Jantar, whose performance was spellbinding and I learnt masses from just by watching. It's a privilege to be part of that community, if even peripherally, it is defined by exciting work, by real exploration and intensity and I feel very welcome by the people who seem to be defining it.

My performance piece, mort & homme, was an attempt to utilise mantra like repetition through different vocal ranges, beginning with something like murky song into ulluation and finishing with doom. That was to be contrasted against electronic chinese music, and then a conceptual element Ive wanted to do for awhile, book sawing. I don't really care if the result is a success, but it was a satisfying experience, as I had to go out of my comfort zone, and that's all I want to do at the moment. The piece was new, an experiment and a departure with the only goal that it didn't seem that way. I'm not interested in thinking about the quality of the work, just the experience of making it. I had a wonderful time. Video below. I also managed to snag some videos of some of the other amazing performances that made up the day, one of a series now set up in Paris over the next few years.
Maja Jantar & Martin Bakero https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rdM9zGA2hY