Its just after 8am as I type this, and I’m seated down the back of a gorgeous organic coffee joint in New York’s Meatpacking district, bleary-eyed after attending the Best of Year Awards at the IAC Centre last night.
It's warm, low lit, kind and welcoming as early December varnishes the tarmac with frost outside.
I think that Americans do hospitality better than most, and there's a vitality in this city which Ive missed so very much.
In a previous (and recently re-ignited) incarnation, I was a designer / illustrator – these efforts recently vindicated by some gorgeous work on some evidently award-winning projects for Alex & Co in Sydney, Australia...who sent me here for the weekend. I couldn't be prouder. All art, for me, is cross-modal, interdisciplinary, and often synestheasic - I feel like Alex & Co fundamentally 'get' this - the awards they continue to be nominated for are a testament to a business / design model seeking to be wholistic, dynamic, and interdisciplinary. They are risk takers, in all the right ways.
It's nice to be engaged in these kinds of capacities as a maker-of-work.
Meanwhile…a few photos from... London...
It’s been an incredible few months, based in Hackney , jumping between grimy Dalston, Berlin and now New York for a few more days.
I’m too beleaguered to begin to even comment on the ‘shock and awe’ I’m currently witnessing in London, but the voices of critique and dissent are as strong and pointed as ever. After years watching and reading the work of writes like George Monbiot and Adam Curtis, these slabs of critical theory are hitting home, packing a sucker-punch for those of us straddling the worlds of privilege and survival as arts practitioners and educators. I'm honestly not sure how the story of Britain ends. No one seems to be.
In the light of all things tenuously ‘pre-Brexit’, I’m humbled by the psychic tenacity which London stalwarts are mobilizing in the face of late-capitalism’s protracted death rattle.
London has always been a tough place to survive, and perhaps even more so as class-divides parse further. It's a city unlike any other I've lived in - a definite 'slow burn' seduction, far removed from the curiously robust US postivity, which endures vibrantly in the face of ruthless dictatorship. I'm honored to nestled in Hackey - to take it all in, wide-eyed and very much a small, small fish in a sprawling pond.
After Berlin, I admit I wasn’t entirely braced for the sort of value-shift I’ve encountered in the UK. Meanwhile, the big world turns, and the privilege of being afforded a flat to rent, a bed and warm places to be cannot be overstated. All this with the embrace of an astounding partner…
Gigs and speaking engagements continue, and with them new opportunities and experiments in sonic experimentation, public discourse and teaching work.
I was actually back in Berlin, several weeks previpus, speaking at the remarkable Ableton LOOP conference, as well as making the European debut of my Acharné project, LIVE at the Funkhaus concert hall. The project has been a long time in genesis, and as a live experience was profoundly special to me. The entire LOOP event was unlike any I’ve attended before – a profound exercise in forward-thinking programming and curation, with a welcome focus placed on accessibility, equity and diversity in music practice and education.
Show me a single music ‘conference’ which covers this range of diversity and I’ll be there in a moment’s notice…
Additionally, speaking with Help Musicians, Emika and Nosaj Thing on issues of mental health in arts practice was wonderful, particularly when followed up by a 6am dj set at Tresor the next morning (with luminaries Giles Peterson and Greg Wilson, and new heros JLin, the Discwoman collective and my new absolute hero Sarah Farina.)
Hopefully video footage of the conference will be made available soon. Some vital discourse offered here, and I feel inspired and completely humbled.
2017 has been the year where non-cis voices are finally being heard, and it changes the very fabric of an event like Loop, which is totally greater than the sum of its combined parts. The tide is slowly turning, and thank god that these voices are being given floorspace. We need it.
If you can attend in future years, please consider it.
I'll leave off for here now (there's a big city out there to explore), but I'll leave you with a couple of free audio tools I've been working up, just for fun.
These (FREE DL's!) are far, far from the conceptual work I've been exploring as Acharné... full-body tools / experiments rather than cerebral exercises.
Id been wanting to do a rework of this tune by The Roots for years, and i think the following (with bonus instrumental) hits some sweetspots. It's far, far from perfect, but a worthwhile experiment in low-end theory, boom and bap...
Good Enough (The Grind) is my second offering here... more familiar to Deepchild listeners, chuggy, overdriven...and even a little bit vocal.
More music news to come, and Im very much interested in visual collaborations as things bleed toward 2018. Cast all your votes for dancing...