In early July 2015, Random Spectacular No. 2 contributors Ultramarine played live on Northey Island, a National Trust property in the Blackwater estuary, off Maldon, Essex.
Although the island is generally leased to private tenants, once a year the Trust takes back the island for Castaway, a wild camping experience.
Music has always been an important aspect of the Castway weekends and this year Ultramarine (Ian Cooper and Paul Hammond) performed a live set (accompanied by saxophonist Greg Heath) which included Decoy Point, a track from their 2013 album This Time Last Year, which was inspired by the Blackwater landscape.
You can listen to three of the tracks performed live below.
Thanks to Ultramarine's Ian Cooper and LTM's James Nice for the photographs included here.
Posted by Simon Lewin on August 2nd, 2015
We're pleased that we'll be working again with artist Charles Shearer who formed part of our 2010 St Jude's In The City exhibition in London.
Charles was born in Kirkwall in Orkney. He studied at Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen and later at the Royal College of Art, London, specialising in illustration. Charles now teaches printmaking in numerous art schools and works on commissions for books and magazines, such Faber's poetry series.
His work also features on a favourite CD at home, Drever/McCusker Woomble's Before The Ruin
His prints are inspired by his extensive travels both here and abroad.
Posted by Simon Lewin on February 19th, 2015
Classical music label Delphian recently won Gramophone magazine's Label of the Year 2014 award.
Specialist online store Presto explains...
"A Robert Mapplethorpe photograph and the playing style of Busoni’s favourite clarinettist - just two of the inspirations behind these six recent British works for saxophone and piano, which are linked by the composers’ relationship to popular music, whether oblique, overt, or antagonistic.
From the pounding muscularity of Graham Fitkin to the blues-drenched melancholy of Mark-Anthony Turnage, Edinburgh duo Sue McKenzie and Ingrid Sawers bring stylistic authority and idiomatic flair to everything they play on this, their debut recording.
Sue McKenzie is a past winner of the British Clarinet and Saxophone Society Young Performers Competition. As one of Scotland's leading contemporary saxophonists she has given UK and Scottish premieres of many new works for saxophone, including those from Gavin Bryars, Graham Fitkin and Amy Quate. Susan is also the leader of the Scottish Saxophone Ensemble and was an Assistant Director of the World Saxophone Congress in 2012.
Ingrid Sawers is in demand as one of Scotland's finest accompanists and chamber musicians, performing in venues including the Usher Hall, Glamis Castle and Scone Palace, as well as widely throughout the UK and abroad."
Posted by Simon Lewin on September 21st, 2014
Available for pre-order and shipping from early December is this beautiful audio/print package from Water Of Life, limited to 300 copies.
Tommy Perman - artist and musician (formerly of FOUND) and Rob St. John - environmental writer and musician - began the Water of Life project in June 2013, aiming to use water as a divining rod for exploring ideas of 'naturalness' in Edinburgh’s urban environment. Water of Life is an alternative travelogue, where water is a conduit for exploring new geographies: field notes from a liquid city.
Recordings made with hydrophone, ambient and contact microphone recordings of rivers, spring houses, manhole covers, pub barrel rooms, pipelines and taps are mixed with the peals and drones of 1960s transistor organs, harmoniums, Swedish micro-synths, drum machines and iPads: a blend of the natural and unnatural; modern and antiquated; hi-fi and lo-fi. Drum beats were sampled from underwater recordings, and reverbs created using the convolution reverb technique to recreate the sonic space of different bodies of water.
The package comprises: a letterpressed folder on recycled card, a 7" record pressed on recycled vinyl and a set of essays by Rob and prints by Tommy exploring the themes of the project, riso printed using soy inks on recycled paper.
Pre-order one of the 300 limited edition packages online and find out more about the Water Of Life project.
Posted by Simon Lewin on November 11th, 2013
Rob and Tommy will play music from their upcoming 7″, essay and print release, using recordings made with hydrophone, ambient and contact microphone recordings of rivers, spring houses, manhole covers, pub barrel rooms, pipelines and taps, mixed with the peals and drones of a 1960s transistor organ, harmonium, Swedish micro-synth, drum machine and iPad: a blend of the natural and unnatural; modern and antiquated; hi-fi and lo-fi. Drum beats have been sampled from underwater recordings, and reverbs created using the convolution reverb technique to recreate the sonic space of different bodies of water.
The performances will accompany screenings of the 1964 film ‘Rain on the Roof’, an Edinburgh Water Corporation production featuring a forward-looking blend of pastoral, mechanical and futurist visions for the city’s aquatic landscapes. The film has been specially digitised by the Scottish Screen Archive for this rare screening.
Full details of Rob and Tommy's performance in Edinburgh can be found on the Summerhall website.
Posted by Simon Lewin on November 3rd, 2013
I realise this is akin to copying someone's homework but I'd been trying to put a few words down about Ultramarine's latest album - the first in fifteen years - when I came across this review by Kevin Pearce over at Caught By The River...
"Elements of This Time Last Year will seem familiar, but they are stripped down, taken apart, manipulated and put back together in pleasantly surprising ways. Fans of Ultramarine will welcome the presence of skittering jazzy beats, the itchy funk, the dub daze, the Brazilian traits, the fusion flourishes, burbling and percolating electronics, and so on. But what is very apparent with this record is the underlying acoustic warmth, like the gentle guitar motifs chopped up and treated and stirred back into the mix in such a seductive way. The LP as a whole is such a curiously attractive blend of the ancient and modern, in sound and technique, it is almost impossible to really pin down."
Couldn't have put it better. Read Kevin's review in full.
The album's artwork has been designed by illustration/print studio Heretic who have recently worked with the Sonic Cathedral label, Tim Burgess, Andrew Weatherall’s Asphodells project and The Quietus. We're delighted Heretic and Ultramarine will be contributing to the next issue of journal Random Spectacular - sign up to our newsletter for details.
You can also purchase a copy of Heretic's limited edition poster marking the release of the album.
Posted by Simon Lewin on October 2nd, 2013
Spent some time today looking at, listening to and playing Sarah Kenchington's Wind Pipes for Edinburgh installation which was commissioned for the 2013 Edinburgh Art Festival.
This elaborate work is created from over 100 decommissioned organ pipes, assembled from salvage yards and eBay, powered by six large bellows.
The installation can be found in Trinity Apse, just off the High Street. This originally formed part of Trinity College Kirk which was demolished in 1848 to make room for Waverley Station. It was intended that the entire kirk would be rebuilt from carefully numbered pieces of masonry, but ultimately just one transept and the choir were rebuilt on the current site, renamed Trinity Apse.
Posted by Simon Lewin on August 28th, 2013
I'll be heading over to the Kingdom of Fife soon to visit Jonny Hannah's contribution to this year's Pittenweem Arts Festival where Jonny is an invited artist.
He'll be exhibiting at Lesser Church Hall, James Street, Pittenweem from 3rd to 11th August 2013, 10am until 5pm. Find out more.
On Tuesday 6th August, at 5.30pm, Jonny will launch a new box set of prints, 'Might Just Get By', inspired by the songs of Fife's own King Creosote who will perform a few songs at 6.00pm.
Posted by Simon Lewin on August 1st, 2013
Several years ago, a chance meeting at our former Norfolk gallery with Paul Hammond of Ultramarine - a band I'd followed since their first album Folk - led to discoveries of shared interests/inspirations.
Now writing and recording again, 2013 will see the release of the band's 6th album This Time Last Year.
We're delighted that Ultramarine will feature in the second issue of our journal Random Spectacular - with an interview by James Nice of LTM Recordings, illustrated by Heretic. A specially written audio piece will accompany.
Ultramarine's This Time Last Year will be released 30th September 2013 on Real Soon.
Posted by Simon Lewin on July 15th, 2013
On Friday 12th July 2013 our friends at Caught By The River and the BFI are celebrating the launch of A London Trilogy: The Films of Saint Etienne 2003-2007 with special guests, filmmaker Paul Kelly and Saint Etienne’s Bob Stanley, Sarah Cracknell and Pete Wiggs.
From a beautifully conceived film-poem and an imaginative exploration of the Lower Lea Valley to an uplifting documentary on a London landmark, the collaborations between electronic indie trio Saint Etienne and filmmaker Paul Kelly (Lawrence of Belgravia) document London’s ever-changing environment and landscapes with music by the band.
Released together by the BFI on one DVD for the first time (on 15 July 2013) the trilogy of Finisterre, What Have you Done Today Mervyn Day? and This is Tomorrow is accompanied by rare and previously unavailable short films.
The event takes place at Rough Trade East with the screening of a selection of the shorts followed by a Q&A with Paul Kelly and Bob Stanley.
Posted by Simon Lewin on June 12th, 2013