Sunday 14 October 2018, 2pm

Blue Tapes presents: TODD BARTON + THANK YOU, MERCILESS ONLOOKERS – Matinee show

Please note that this is a matinee show – doors will open at 2.30pm and the performance will start shortly after.

One of the best albums of 2018 was recorded over two years in the early 1980s by a science fiction author and a former classical composer turned Buchla devotee.

Ursula K. Le Guin and Todd Barton’s Music and Poetry of The Kesh was recently unearthed by the Freedom To Spend label, having previously only been available as a cassette bundled with early editions of Le Guin’s 1985 novel Always Coming Home - a detailed description of the art, culture and language of a fictional indigenous tribe residing in North California 500 years from now.

Charged with interpreting the music of the titular Kesh, Todd Barton - who had previously composed scores for radio adaptations of Le Guin’s work - designed, constructed and played entirely new instruments for the tribe, weaving them around a Roland Jupiter-8 and field recordings from the Kesh’s native Napa Valley. The results sounded unlike anything else before or since - something simultaneously ancient and futuristic.

Now, for Blue Tapes, Todd has composed an entirely new work - Multum in Parvo - that scans as some sort of spiritual successor (or should that be predecessor?) to the sonic explorations of the Kesh. This deeply immersive electronic symphony for Buchla Music Easel and Epoch Modular Benjolin seems at times to be performed by an orchestra of almost biological electro-entities, each colouring in the deep space of the composition with their own characterful flutters, whispers and calls.

Please join us at this matinee show to celebrate the launch of Multum in Parvo - an exciting new addition to the oeuvre of a genuine innovator. Todd is much like Carl Stone and Anna Homler, composers who have been quietly crafting whole new soundworlds for decades, and are finally getting the recognition they deserve.

Support for this show comes from Thank You, Merciless Onlookers - the solo live debut of Blue Tapes’ founder David McNamee.

Todd Barton

For more than forty years, Todd Barton has worked as a composer, sound designer, multimedia performer and analog synthesist specialising in Buchla Electronic Musical Instruments. As well as Ursula K. Le Guin, Todd has collaborated with artists the calibre of the Kronos Quartet, Anthony Braxton and Zakir Hussein.

“Listen outdoors and the creek water you hear in Le Guin and Barton’s songs may sync up to the muddy river you’re passing; listen during a city’s winter and the percussive rhythm and bell-like tones will commune with your apartment radiator. These are sounds that seek to speak from then and beyond, to right now.” - Pitchfork

“Le Guin and Barton create a whole other world and they are inside it rather than outside looking in. And they invite us in, not even needing to invite us really because they know this world they’ve made is ours as much as theirs. There’s no Other here, we are all It.” - The Quietus

Thank You, Merciless Onlookers

Thank You, Merciless Onlookers is the solo project of Blue Tapes founder David McNamee. Previously, David has played in the improvisational noise rock trio Kellar and worked as a music journalist for NTS Live, The Guardian and others. In 2003, he co-founded the music and culture magazine and website Plan B.

For this matinee show, David will perform a one-off reinterpretation of his piece for harmonium, acoustic guitar and laptop, The Sea Is Half A Rothko That The Sky Crushes On - released in 2018 on the Pan y Rosas label.