Electronic composer Kaffe Matthews joins forces with experimental ensemble Regular Music
Ashley Slater, Melanie Pappenheim and Rebecca Askew from Regular Music II performing Jeremy Peyton Jones’s Against Oblivion Part 1. Photo by: Letizia Pettrucci.
Composers Jeremy Peyton Jones and Kaffe Matthews join forces with ensemble Regular Music II for the premiere of a new work based on the writings of Joyce, Kerouac and Delillo.
Jeremy Peyton Jones’s settings of the final paragraphs of modernist novels including Ulysses, On the Road and White Noise.
Two of the UK’s most interesting composers, Jeremy Peyton Jones and Kaffe Matthews, are joining forces with longstanding ensemble Regular Music II, for three performances of a new work this May entitled Endings.
The performances will be a collaboration between Regular Music II and electronic composer and sound artist Kaffe Matthews, based on a series of new compositions by contemporary composer Jeremy Peyton Jones. The end result will be an unusual layering of electronic sound, live manipulation of ensemble music for acoustic instruments and vocal settings of the final paragraphs of literary works such as James Joyce’s Ulysses, Jack Kerouac’s On the Road and Don DeLillo’s White Noise.
Endings will be a powerful live music experience bringing together Regular Music II's vibrantly theatrical amplified acoustic sound (vocals, keyboards, strings, brass, electric guitar and percussion) with the noisy rhythms and abstract cyber landscapes of Matthews' electronic improvisations.
There are three performances of the work on 24, 27 and 31 May, here at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill, The Purcell Room (Southbank Centre) in London, and the Arnolfini in Bristol.
The musicians that comprise Regular Music II have long-wanted to work in collaboration with an electronic artist and chose Matthews because of her particular methods of live processing and manipulation of sound. As instigators of the UK post-systems movement, Regular Music II has been performing and recording since 1991, using amplified acoustic instruments and voices. The Endings project represents an exciting new departure for both the ensemble and for Matthews in its crossing of genres and the interaction of acoustic music with live processing.
Jeremy Peyton Jones, composer of Endings and Director of Regular Music II, says: “I wrote the first ‘ending’ when I was asked to set Molly Bloom’s soliloquy (at the end of Joyce’s Ulysses) to music for the occasion of the wedding of the writers Deborah Levy and David Gale in 1998. I hope I have captured some of Molly Bloom’s spirit and lust for life as she so fervently repeats ‘yes to say yes… and yes I said yes I will Yes’. Since then several more ends of books have suggested themselves to me. Each book I have chosen has a final paragraph, which stands strongly in its own right without the listener necessarily having to know the whole story. I have also incorporated some of these in my ongoing series of music theatre productions, Against Oblivion.”
Jeremy adds: “The final paragraph of On the Road, for example, is a wonderfully evocative description of night falling across America, enveloping the entire continent from east to west as the setting sun rolls across the great plains ‘in one unbelievable huge bulge… and all that road going and all the people dreaming in the immensity of it’. It’s an immensely powerful evocation of place and landscape and, like the Joyce, its stream of consciousness style is entirely without punctuation, and so open to a variety of musical interpretations as to rhythm and meter.
“There is no connecting theme in the endings that I chose to set to music for this work except perhaps the idea of ‘ending’ itself. Don DeLillo at the end of his satirical tour de force White Noise brilliantly uses waiting in the supermarket queue as a metaphor for a powerful sense of our own mortality and fear of death. Several of the settings are about our legacy and what we leave behind when we die.
“The reason for this project and for the collaboration with Kaffe Matthews is my desire to put all the endings together in one overarching structure, using Matthews’ rich electronic soundscape as linking passages and as a means of enveloping the audience in layers of sound.”
Electronic composer and sound artist Kaffe Matthews says: “I am very pleased to be commissioned by Regular Music II to collaborate with them on this project. I see my role as twofold. First, to interact with the existing vocal and instrumental music, creating new layers of electronic sound to be performed live with the ensemble, and second to create links, in the form of new sound pieces related to Jeremy’s music, between the live sections of the performance. I'm excited by the idea of bringing together our two sound worlds to create a new listening experience which moves beyond the conventional concert or electronic sound event.”
Also on the programme are vocal settings of an extract from Pablo Neruda’s epic poem Alturas de Macchu Picchu and vocal settings from recent music theatre productions, including Against Oblivion, using the words of writer David Gale, concerning loss, destruction and decay.
Peyton Jones’s large-scale work And The Days Are Long for electric guitar, live electronics and amplified ensemble will also be performed.
The performance will feature:
Jeremy Peyton Jones (director)
Regular Music II: Rebecca Askew and Melanie Pappenheim (voices), Steve Smith (electric guitar), Charles Hayward (drums/percussion), Ashley Slater (trombone), Yeu-Meng Chan (piano), Jono Harrison (keyboards), Ruth Elder (violin), Benedict Taylor (viola), Tom Jackson (saxes/clar), Mick Foster (saxes)
With Kaffe Matthews (live electronics)
About Jeremy Peyton Jones:
Jeremy is well known for his music for theatre and his work with the ensemble Regular Music II. He has been commissioned by the Royal Opera House, the Balanescu Quartet, harpsichordist Jane Chapman and BBC Radio 3 as well as leading experimental theatre companies. Jeremy’s scores for theatre include A Place in Europe for Impact Theatre Cooperative, numerous scores for Lumiere & Son Theatre Company and collaborations with director Pete Brooks and Insomniac Productions.
His 1996 CD North South East West containing eight works written for the ensemble Regular Music II was voted Best Modern Composition CD by The Wire in their round-up of musical excellence of 1996. His piece for multiple guitars 18 Guitars was premiered at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival and has since been released on Tim Brady’s latest CD 10 Collaborations. In 1999 his Concerto for Electric Guitar and Amplified Ensemble was premiered on a UK tour culminating in a performance at Cabot Hall, Canary Wharf. In 2000 he wrote the music for Deborah Levy’s Macbeth False Memory. In 2002 he was appointed Composer in Residence at the Queensland Conservatorium, Brisbane. He is currently writing a series of music theatre works under the title Against Oblivion, Part 1 of which was premiered at Toynbee Studios, London in March 2007, and Part 2 at the Tête á Tête Opera Festival Riverside Studios in July 2009. Other recent works include commissions for harpsichordist Jane Chapman and the duo Keynote + as well as the soundtrack for Stunde Null by Imitating the Dog Theatre Company which premiered at the Platform Theatre, Kings Cross in January 2012.
Jeremy teaches composition and contemporary music studies at Goldsmiths, University of London.
About Kaffe Matthews:
Kaffe Matthews is a pioneering composer and sound artist who works live with things and places worldwide to make new electro-acoustic music for wide ranging audiences. Violin, theremin, star maps, desert stretched wires, NASA scientists, melting ice in Quebec and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra – these have all contributed to a growing body of work for sites such as concert halls, audio bicycles, public spaces and the human body.
In 2004 her collaboration Weightless Animals was awarded a BAFTA, she received a NESTA Dreamtime Fellowship in 2005 and won an Award of Distinction, Prix Ars Electronica 2006 for Sonic Bed London. In 2006 she was made an Honorary Professor of Music, Shanghai Music Conservatory, China.
Kaffe is currently completing a 3D composition from diving with hammerhead sharks in Galapagos and making an opera, 'Where are the Wild ones?' with Northumberland school children and artist Laura Harrington, from the journeys of wild salmon up the river Tyne.
She is also collaborating with artist Mandy McIntosh to make star-gazing seats and and album for Yird Muin Starn, a shelter project in the Galloway Forest, Scotland, and she s working with timelab, Belgium, on The swamp that was…, a satellite linked bicycle opera for TRACK, 2012.
Having spent the last four years making sonic furniture works with ongoing project music for bodies, Kaffe’s seventh solo album will be released on Annette Works fall 2012.
About Regular Music II:
Regular Music II was formed in 1991 as a new incarnation of the 1980s UK post-systems ensemble Regular Music whose work straddled the spheres of rock, minimalism and post-punk. The original Regular Music was a loose collection of musicians who met in and around Goldsmiths College and SE London in the late 70s and early 80’s including pianist/composers Andrew Poppy, Helen Ottaway and Jon Parry, saxophonist/composer Jeremy Peyton Jones and This Heat drummer Charles Hayward. In early concerts Regular Music performed works by Philip Glass, Gavin Bryars, Frederick Rzewski, John Cage and others as well as works specially written for the ensemble by Peyton Jones, Poppy, Jon Parry, Maria Lamburn and Geoff Warren. Their first album was released on Rough Trade (ROUGH 73) in 1985. In 1991 the ensemble reformed under the title Regular Music II with a larger line-up including trombonist Ashley Slater, singers Melanie Pappenheim and Mike Henry, and viola player Jocelyn Pook. In 1996 Regular Music II recorded the CD North South East West, voted ‘Best Modern Composition CD’ by The Wire in their round-up of the year. Other recordings include several works on Unknown Public and Deadwood on the Robi Droli compilation Century XXI.
The original group started out performing in art galleries including the AIR Gallery and the CME Gallery in London, and the Midland Group, Nottingham. They toured the UK, including performances at the ICA and the Bloomsbury Festival and also toured France, at the Reims Festival and MIMI Festival, where they played in the bullring at St Remy, Avignon. In its new incarnation, Regular Music II has performed across the UK including the Unknown Public Holiday event at QEH, the NOW Festival, Canary Wharf and Kings Place. They have collaborated with theatre companies such as Lumiere & Son Theatre Company and video artist Steve Littman, recorded a featured broadcast for BBC Radio 3's Hear and Now series and their work is regularly broadcast on adventurous new music programmes around the world. The ensemble was included in Gramophone Magazine's top 18 international contemporary music ensembles survey in 1999. Recent successes include two new music theatre productions Against Oblivion Part 1, premiered at the Toynbee Studios Theatre in March 2007, and Against Oblivion Part 2, premiered at the 2009 Tête á Tête Opera Festival, London, as well a programme for eighteen electric guitars for Graham Fitkin's Multiplier Series, Kings Place in May 2009.
Posted on Friday, 20 April 2012