Friday 13 October 2017, 7.30pm, OTO Project Space
Three live performances by artists who developed their own, unique ways of making live electronic music performance truly 'live', so that the audience can experience and appreciate the process on a new, deeper level. Each of the acts has different characteristics, from pretty and mesmerizing sounds of Leafcutter John, through haunted soundscapes of Howlround, to more noisy side of the sound-spectrum of Ctrl Freq.
Bradford-born, Wakefield-raised John Burton grew up fascinated by sound, and as a young boy would often drift off to sleep to the diffuse tones of his dad’s progressive rock collection emanating from the room beneath him. His first recordings reached the offices of Planet Mu Records, at which point acquired his artist name, suggested by a friend who compared his creativity and industriousness to that of a leafcutter ant.
He would go on to release three critically acclaimed albums for the label followed by releases on Staubgold, Tsuku Boshi, and Desire Path, as well as joining Seb Rochford’s experimental jazz outfit Polar Bear, and remixing and collaborating with the likes of Badly Drawn Boy, Beck, Capitol K, Imogen Heap, Shabaka Hutchings, and Talvin Singh amongst others.
His most recent album Yes! Come Parade With Us was released on James Holden’s label Border Community in 2019 – weaving field recordings from the Norfolk coastline together with layers of lyrical modular synth, comprising seven bright-eyed anthems that beam with positivity and a sense of place.
‘First coming to prominence with hugely-acclaimed 2012 LP The Ghosts Of Bush, Howlround have now expanded to a sextet (four machines, two people) and create recordings and performances entirely from manipulating natural acoustic sounds on vintage reel-to-reel tape machines, with additional reverb or electronic effects strictly forbidden – a process that has seen their work compared to William Basinski, Philip Jeck, Morton Feldman and even the sculptures of Rachel Whiteread’.
In an age where one can create all manner of electronic music with a simple swipe of a mouse, Howlround prove not only how much fun is to be had in making things complicated again, but conversely just how little effort is sometimes needed to create a genuinely uncanny and beguiling sound-world: the rough underbelly of our pristine, Pro-Tools universe. Since then, they have released four more LPs – 2013’s Secret Songs Of Savamala, recorded almost entirely in a flooded basement in wintry Serbia, 2014’s Torridon Gate, which was created using an ordinary suburban garden gate, 2015’s Tales From The Black Tangle and 2017’s A Creak In Time. They have also released tracks on numerous compilations and one side of a split album The Blow vol. 2.
Kacper Ziemianin a.k.a. Ctrl Freq could be described as circuit bender, sonologist, vagabond, improviser, music producer, audio-hacker, instrument designer, nomad, radio presenter, workshop leader, squatter... the list goes on. His works have been presented in many places across the globe.Currently based in the Hague, NL working as a freelance instrument designer and performer as well as teacher of DIY electronics.His latest endeavor, the ‘LightSeq’, which he is going to use for his performance during this evening, has received funding from Stimuleringsfonds NL and won an award at an international electronic music festival ‘Radical dB’ in Zaragoza, Spain in May 2017. You can see video documentation of this project below, but seeing it live makes much more sense.