Pianist Matthew Bourne plays Café OTO to mark the release of his first ever solo studio album, Montauk Variations (out Feb 7). Bourne's extraordinary physical performance on the intimate venue's grand piano is not to be missed.
With Montauk Variations, Bourne has reinvented his approach by stripping away the clutter and quirkiness characteristic of previous work. Fragility and romanticism have come to the fore while the performances still carry the Bourne hallmarks of unpredictability and intensity. You can hear a selection of songs from Montauk Variations here now. Let me know if you'd like to hear the full album!
Bourne first rose to prominence in 2001 when he won a Perrier Jazz Award, following that with the 'Innovation' accolade at the BBC Radio Jazz Awards in 2002. Since then he's worked with a multitude of different projects, including The Electric Dr M, Bourne/Davis/Kane, Bilbao Syndrome, Nostalgia 77, Trio Grande, Broadway Project and more.
March 2012 will see Bourne head to China as part of a residency programme organised by The British Council and PRS For Music Foundation. Joining Imogen Heap, Jamie Woon and Gareth Bonello, the programme is designed to enable innovative British musicians to explore new musical trerritory, reach new audiences and write new material in the context of an emerging, international market. Click here for more details.
A snippet of Matthew's recent show at Bishopsgate Institute was captured on camera by the team behind the residency programme and is well worth a peek to see the very talented man at work!
In 2011, UK electronic duo Icarus (Ollie Bown and Sam Britton) set out to return to studio production for the first time since their celebrated 2005 album I Tweet the Birdy Electric. In the interim the duo's collaborative electronic music productions had focused increasingly on the possibilities of improvised electronic music performance, perfected through custom performance tools and documented in albums that were either live or edited reinterpretations of live improvisations.
Generativity has been a strong theme in Icarus' composition. Whilst creating their new album, the question arose as to why, with so much ongoing experimental generative practice in both music and art, doesn't generative composition have a foothold in everyday music listening experiences? That such works often run as software is one factor. This automatically introduces a level of obscurantism and is not in keeping with the relative universality of fixed media data files that dominate listener's music collections. Besides that, the consistency of an album, and it's longevity both as an artistic statement and as an anchor for memories and associations is a desirable property in the hands of its owner, even if not in the mind of its maker; We adapt to the repeated listening of a complex passage with heightened intensity more than with the waning of interest through familiarity.
Reflecting on these ideas, Icarus settled on devising not a generative album but a parametric one, one in which the album was a fixed and finite entity, a decisive compositional work, but drawn out over 1,000 smoothly varying versions of the same body of musical content, a unique copy for anyone wishing to posses one, of which they can claim an exclusive ownership unfamiliar to the musical data strewn across iTunes and Spotify, but still thoroughly compatible with these worlds.
The result of this compositional experiment has been rendered in its entirety as 8,000 tracks — 1,000 variations on an 8-track album — ready to be released at the beginning of 2012 via a custom store that destroys each version as it is sold, handing the rights (and responsibilities) of the recorded work to its buyer. The music of Fake Fish Distribution is a natural progression of Icarus' style, weaving chaos and chance into an awkward narrative of stuttering, stopping-starting spontaneity that all the while resembles 'real' music in its coherence and its engagement of the listener, who may perceive either that something has gone wrong in the strangest of ways, or that a door has been opened into an unfamiliar alternative future.