Dust 1 EP Now Available from Curious Music

I’m thrilled to be releasing Dust 1 today through Curious Music, the first in a series of instrumental EPs . I’ve had a great time putting these together, with a huge amount of support and encouragement from the label, and particularly enjoyed creating Dolby Atmos and binaural mixes. Available now from Bandcamp and all the usual streaming platforms.

Links to all versions here.

The EPs all explore ways of combining improvisation alongside software I’ve written to take what I’m playing and push it back at me in unpredictable ways, inspired heavily by the work I’ve done with Brian Eno over early two decades.

Petulia Mattiola has produced stunning artwork for the three EPs, reflecting my interest in natural and mathematical processes. Dust 2 will be available on 20th July.

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Satellites released through Curious Music

I’m very pleased to have joined the Curious Music label with the release of a new track “Satellites”. Click here to find it on streaming and the Curious Music Bandcamp page. I’m currently enjoying recording a new album for them, for release in 2024.

Cover image for Satellites

Curious Music is a fascinating US label with a focus on creating unique, high-quality limited-edition vinyl and digital releases, museum installations and fine art editions.

Their work includes music and visual art from Amanda Berlind, Hans-Joachim Roedelius, Tim Story, CM von Hausswolff, Kate St. John, Harold Budd, Heavy Color, Eve Maret, Suki Sou, Fabio Capanni, Dieter Moebius and Dwight Ashley.

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Brian Eno SHIPS Live

I recently returned from a short European tour with Brian Eno and the Baltic Sea Philharmonic, conducted by Kristjan Järvi. I played keyboards and triggered various electronic sounds live, and we were also joined by Leo Abrahams, Melanie Pappenheim and Peter Serafinowicz.

It was an extraordinary experience, taking in beautiful venues in Venice, Berlin, Paris, Utrecht and London. BSP are unique, the way the arrange and improvise is more like a band than an orchestra, and Kristjan is more a force of nature than a conductor. Hearing the arrangements – particularly for The Ship itself – transform through rehearsals and the live dates themselves was a wondrous thing to behold. I feel privileged to have shared a stage with them.

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Keith Lowe & Peter Chilvers – Open Air

I’m delighted to be releasing Open Air with double bassist Keith Lowe today. This began with a video Keith posted on Facebook, improvising bass in his garden one morning, with the sound of birds, wind and running water around him. I couldn’t resist sampling it, shaping it into a song and playing over it. The rest of the EP felt like opening out Russian dolls – I sampled and treated sounds from the first track to create a strangely alien soundcape which we both then played over. I created sampler instruments from Keith’s bass and cello, and played the final track. It’s been a very organic and enjoyable way of making music.

What I particular admire in Keith’s playing is that, despite being an extremely accomplished session bassist, he has the taste and restraint to play only those notes that are really needed. The first track could easily have been New Age – it has wind chimes, birdsong and treated piano, for heaven’s sake! – but his monolithic bowed bass takes it somewhere profound.

I’m enjoying getting back into recording and have a number of collaborations and solo works in the pipeline. Elsewhere, work with Brian Eno continues to take me to unexpected places. As it should!

You can listen to the tracks on my bandcamp page. My entire bandcamp collection, including collaborations with Tim Bowness, Thomas Feiner and Jon Durant can now be purchased at a discount.

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Brian and Roger Eno live / Tim Bowness live / Jon Durant collaboration

I lost the habit of updating this site during the pandemic, but plenty has been happening. So here’s a big catch up…

Back in 2020, as the first lock down took hold in the UK, I began collaborating with fretless guitarist Jon Durant. As a teenager, I fell in love with the great ECM recordings of the 70s and 80s. Recording with Jon felt like travelling back to that period and finding an undiscovered star. It was a joyful and effortless recording, a live album somehow recorded despite lockdowns on opposite sides of the Atlantic. We released an album (Vista) and an EP (Almost Golden Sands), both of which are available from my Bandcamp page.

As we moved out of the last (I deeply hope!) lockdown in 2021, something very unlikely happened. Brian Eno was asked to play live, and said yes. Specifically, he and his brother Roger were invited to play at the Acropolis. I was initially purely there as a technician, looking after generative visuals and keeping Brian’s keyboards working, but that soon shifted to having me actually play the keyboards as well. It was equal parts exciting and stressful, battling with post-Brexit travel, the precariousness of lockdown restrictions and, just to make things extra spicy, temperatures reaching 45 degrees. Laptops, we soon discovered, don’t like going above 38 degrees, which meant we couldn’t start soundcheck or playing until 9:30 pm. Also ash was falling from the sky.

Despite all the challenges, the gig was very enjoyable. There were pieces from Brian and Roger’s Mixing Colours album (with Roger playing piano and Brian providing live treatments), new tracks from Brian (the performances became part of FOREVERANDEVERNOMORE), a selection of songs Brian hadn’t played since the 70s (By This River is a personal favourite), plus more. The sublimely talented Leo Abrahams and Cicely Eno were also with us.

Much as I’d enjoyed the performance, it was a huge relief when it was over. That said, I ended up reliving it multiple times, first in assembling the pieces for Brian’s stereo mix and then in putting together the Atmos mix with some very nice people at Dolby. I love working the format, it’s amazing hearing sounds coming from all around, and it particularly suits Brian’s music. The concert was screened briefly in UK cinemas and can now be viewed on Stage Plus.

The stresses didn’t put me off gigging, and I performed several intimate gigs with Tim Bowness, for the first time in a long while. We were joined by guitar maestro and all round nice guy Matt Stevens, who gave us a much fuller and occasionally rockier sound. Hopefully we’ll do more together.

That brings me up to date, I think. Work with Brian continues as always, exploring strange new ways to use technology to make art. I’m currently working on some new solo material, as well as some very exciting collaborations, I hope to get back to releasing music regularly this year.

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Videos – Roger and Brian Eno, Tim Bowness and more

I’ve created a playlist of the videos I’ve made over the last year, for my own music and for other people including Roger and Brian Eno, Tim Bowness and Markus Reuter.

I was pleasantly surprised at how many there are – sixteen in total – I started creating animated videos as part of my Shadowplay EP in late 2019, then extended the technique for two tracks from Modern Ruins, my album with Tim Bowness.

Brian Eno suggested filming in slow motion from trains for his collaboration album with Roger Eno, Mixing Colours. I jumped at the idea and filmed many more for the official album releases. I submitted an additional one, Dark Sienna, when they opened up the project as a competition. This became the official video for Managanse from the accompanying EP.

I’ve since had three commissions ; two videos from Tim Bowness’s Late Night Laments album, and Across the Azure Blue, a beautiful instrumental improvisation from Markus Reuter and Gary Husband.

In other news, while somewhat hampered by the pandemic, I’ve been creating alternative mixes from Modern Ruins, making beautiful textures with fretless guitarist Jon Durant, bringing all the apps up to date and attempting to push my generative work further. More news as it happens. Or probably several months later when I remember I have a website.

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Tim Bowness & Peter Chilvers – Modern Ruins

Tim Bowness & I are releasing Modern Ruins, our follow up to California, Norfolk on April 10th through Burning Shed.
It’s been 18 years since we released California, Norfolk. I’d started to think this was never coming out, but at last the planets seem to have come into alignment. The album was mixed by Peter Hammill, one of my favourite singer songwriters. I still haven’t quite wrapped my head around that one.

We’re also reissuing California, Norfolk, again as a double CD. Letka’s Far Off Country, with guest vocals from Brian Eno is also available at a reduced price.

Buy now from Burning Shed or download from my Bandcamp page.

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Roger and Brian Eno – Mixing Colours videos

One of the more enjoyable things I’ve been able to count as “work”: filming videos and matching them to tracks from Brian and Roger’s upcoming album Mixing Colours. I wasn’t involved in the album itself, this was a lovely way to get to know it. More of the videos to follow in the coming weeks.

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Shadowplay – now available

“Shadowplay”, a five part series of animated instrumental improvisations is now available to watch on YouTube and Vimeo.

Having worked on Bloom, Scape et al with Brian Eno for over ten years, I think I’ve developed a form of synesthesia, and it seems as natural to think of a piece visually as sonically. I created unique software for each piece, which interpreted my playing in realtime to create the visuals. I often projected these onto the wall as I improvised, it’s a very pleasant way to work!

The audio only version can be purchased from my new Bandcamp page and is available from all the major streaming platforms including Apple Music and Spotify.

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Shadowplay

On November 1st, I’ll be releasing “Shadowplay”, a five part series of animated instrumental improvisations. Having worked on Bloom, Scape et al with Brian Eno for over ten years, I think I’ve developed a form of synesthesia, and it seems as natural to think of a piece visually as sonically.

I created unique software for each piece, which interpreted my playing in realtime to create the visuals. I often projected these onto the wall as I improvised, it’s a very pleasant way to work!

The videos will appear on Youtube and Vimeo on November 1st. At the same time, audio only versions will be available for purchase via Bandcamp, and for streaming from Spotify, Apple Music and more.

Meanwhile, I’ve uploaded a free track to my new Bandcamp page. “Undercurrent” was recorded immediately after the Shadowplay sessions. Although darker in tone, it gives a hint of the mixture of improvised piano and electronics to come.

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