Sunday 19 May 2019, 2pm
Food, sound, footage and music to launch two new releases on Jennifer Lucy Allan’s Arc Light Editions, by the neglected composer (of mainly electronic music) Martin Bartlett, featuring Luke Fowler, Dale Cornish and 38b (Eva Rowson and Luke Drozd).
The afternoon will include an interpretation of his piece One Piece For Everyone by Eva Rowson and Luke Drozd. One Piece For Everyone was performed for the Western Front's second anniversary in 1975, a composition where he prepared and cooked a cauliflower curry on a table connected to a hand-built synthesizer, while reading from texts on food. When the curry was cooked, the piece ended, and everyone was fed.
While the curry is consumed, archive footage of Bartlett will be screened by documentary maker and musician Luke Fowler, who made the Martin Bartlett documentary Electro-Pythagoras, and curated and edited the two collections of his work on Arc Light Editions.
Dale Cornish, son of Croydon like Bartlett, will then perform the tongue-in-cheek spoken word and sound piece Three Songs, with backing from Fowler.
Ticket price includes lunch.
British artist, filmmaker and musician Luke Fowler (1978) has developed a practice that is, at the same time, singular and collaborative, poetic and political, structural and documentary, archival and deeply human. With an emphasis on communities of people, outward thinkers and the history of the left, his 16mm films tell the stories of alternative movements in Britain, from psychiatry to photography to music to education. Whilst some of his early films dealt with music and musicians as subjects, in later works sound itself becomes a key concern. Fowler lives and works in Glasgow.
38b Projects is a collaboration between artists Eva Rowson and Luke Drozd that started in 2010 when they began hosting exhibitions from their living room in Peckham. Since 2010, 38b has supported over 100 early-career artists with opportunities (inside and beyond the living room) to share new work and test ideas. www.38bprojects.com
Born, raised and current of London (south), Dale Cornish has released a series of acclaimed albums for Entr’acte, including Ulex (2015 and Aqal (2017) along with releases for labels including Where To Now?, The Tapeworm. In addition to this he has done remix work for artists as diverse as Merzbow, Perc and Billie Ray Martinand collaborations with Powell, Adam Asnan and Andie Brown in addition to a regular duo with Phil Julian, memorably/horribly described as “Coil for the Trump age”.
Martin Bartlett should be a familiar name. As well as working with a who's who of electronic music, he was an inspiring and original thinker, composer, performer and organiser. His music is distinctive for its warmth and fleshiness, for taking joy from the incidental and anecdotal, and it remains a characterful counterpoint to much contemporary electronic music. It is his preoccupation with building aleatoric elements into electronic music that distinguishes his work, and he devised elegant and open interactions for instrumental performers and computer-controlled synthesizers. This included building his own electronic devices, and extensive work on the Buchla 400.
Key influences were Pauline Oliveros, John Cage and David Tudor, all whom he studied under. Like many of his generation, he became interested in non-Western compositional and philosophical practices, and in 1981 he travelled to India to study Carnatic vocal music with V. Lakshminarayana Iyer in Madras and then on to Burma, Thailand and Indonesia where he studied shadow theatre. He studied South Asian music with Pandit Pran Nath, gamelan with K.R.T. Wasitidipuro, and closely collaborated with Don Buchla on live performances and synthesiser design. He was particularly interested in the Javanese gamelan, which led to him founding the Vancouver Community Gamelan in 1986. On his travels to Indonesia he made hours of field recordings, many of which are accompanied by vivid narrations on the rituals and ceremonies he was documenting.
In 1973 Bartlett and seven others founded the Western Front in Vancouver – a cultural cooperative, gallery and performance space that still exists today. In 1982 he was made professor at Simon Fraser University where he remained for the rest of his life. Bartlett died young, of AIDS-related causes, in 1993, but his music remains a rich source of inspiration, and is characterised by an irresistible and unselfconscious charm that renders his sound unique. These selections, along with the companion LP Anecdotal Electronics, and Luke Fowler’s film Electro-Pythagoras, aim to redress this prior neglect, shedding light on this little known personality from electronic music history, who still has so much to say.