I’m writing to you from a tube train en route to see Cee Haines speak on a panel at this year’s Oram Awards ceremony at Kings Place, all masked up in a pre gig lurgy prevention bid! Feeling very lucky to be collaborating with this marvellous human. It’s hard to believe that it’s already November and our premiere at The Glasshouse International Centre for Music is on Thursday! If you’re within striking distance of Newcastle it’s not too late to get your tickets and explore CRYSTALQUEER in its full audiovisual glory. We also have the amazing MeLostMe supporting too!
It’s been an intense month- bouncing straight from mixing my album with the amazing Adrian Hall and his gorgeous cats and rabbits to WOMEX in A Coruna, Northern Spain. As soon as I dragged my (super heavy) suitcase through the doors of the venue to the conference I was warmly welcomed by Deborah from Ty Cerdd, who I worked with on an amazing composers project just last year, bearing both a wide smile and a Welsh cake. Suddenly the world got a little bit smaller!
The following days passed in a blur of chatting, dancing and non-alcoholic-beer-drinking with so many wonderful new friends. When asked what part of the world my music comes from, I had to explain that I make roborecorder music from an imaginary world, which seemed to go down well! A particular highlight for me was meeting Moshe from the Maqamat School for Eastern Music who was busy serenading passers by before plying them with an array of home made pickles. In these dark days it was inspiring to hear about his school where people study Palestinian, Arabic and Jewish traditional music side by side.
I also got to try Chopin University’s new spatial audio modelling which places you on stage in the middle of the action through virtual reality. The head tracking worked perfectly, although I have to say the sound was almost too perfect, better than any I’ve ever experienced on stage in the real world!
In between networking we were treated to some fantastic showcase performances, including a tour de force from The Breath, whose guitarist Stuart I was fortunate enough to work with earlier this year at Real World Studios. I was also fed some very welcome biscuits by his lovely agent, Barry from Midnight Mango, and caught up with another old friend, CATSELF. After an incredibly powerful final performance from BCUC which left me in tears- particularly their emotional thank you to their agent, Andre from Earth Agency– we did a little impromptu tour of the city, seeing the Tower of Hercules, and took in an amazing jazz gig from SUMMRA in Santiago de Compostela, in which the drummer, Lar Legido, gave a virtuoso performance on duck tape amongst other unusual objects. And there was me thinking my album had been the first duck tape spectacular!
After all of these new experiences I was in a state of sensory overload. The plane back to London was a bit like the school bus home, with everyone dissecting the week in a state of total exhaustion. I was totally wiped out, but found myself nipping home to pick up my Peli before heading to Paddington Station for….my birthday party! I was blown away that so many people were able to come celebrate with me at an admittedly strange time on a Monday evening so that my day was filled with love and laughter on top of the public transport! And then I jumped on the last train to Newcastle ready to workshop CRYSTALQUEER with Cee at the Glasshouse.
Taking the ideas we have worked with for so long into the actual space was incredible- to hear it actually working and be able to take the time to polish everything and get the effects we wanted. The team at the Glasshouse have been beyond supportive and even provided us with some custom made props which you will see more of if you come to the show…. We also did a little social media takeover- check my Instagram for the evidence on the highlight reel! Complete with trolley action and the lowest recorder you’ll ever hear.
Atop all this, the new series of Spiral Dial is now available to listen to. I know social media updates for this have been scanty and I hope you’ll forgive me for getting behind myself amid all the chaos. After this show expect more news but until then I leave you with a couple of pictures from my birthday celebrations. Hope to see you on the 23rd- tickets are here!