A new Sloth Racket live album is released today on Luminous! Obviously 2020 hasn’t quite gone as we’d planned, and so instead of touring this year we are putting out this lovely recording from our 2019 tour.
It’s the full set from our gig at Arco Barco in Ramsgate, hosted by our friends Extra Normal Records. This was a really great night at a brilliant quirky seafront venue (accessed via a ladder!), where we shared the bill with Evan Parker playing a solo set. Anton Hunter was on recording duties and Alex Bonney has mixed it for this special live release.
The album is a digital-only release, our first one ever and mainly to keep costs down during these ‘times’. However, I had always planned to do new Sloth Racket shirts in 2020, and even with no tour I’ve gone ahead and got them made. There are three colours to choose from and a brand new scribbly logo design. The shirts are organic cotton, printed with eco-friendly inks by I Dress Myself in Frome. I’m really happy with how they came out – they are really soft and the print quality is excellent. The mockup image below shows the colours – head to the Bandcamp page for a size guide.
Hope you enjoy the music! I enjoyed listening through last year’s tour in the process of making it. Here’s to the slothtours of the future…
Last month I was invited by my friend the artist Mio Ebisu to take part in her exhibition ‘Deep Autumn: how does my neighbour live, I wonder?’. Taking its title from a haiku, this was a group show organised by Mio at SET Lewisham over the weekend of 24/25 October, where artists presented something from their experience of lockdown.
The exhibition in progress
I have been sharing a studio at SET with Mio, Sam Andreae, Tom Ward and Hannah Marshall this year; the exhibition included work from everyone in the studio group plus Otto Willberg. There were paintings, text, sounds, drawings, seeds, photographs and a DIY table tennis table – all insights, sometimes quite personal, into how people have been getting through 2020 so far.
My Bin Percussion wall
I decided to bring photographs of the percussion instruments I made out of items from the recycling bin, and I ended up drawing all over the wall around the pictures too (which was fun, but meant there was a lot of cleanup at the end).
Painting by Mio
Tom Ward’s photos of the loaves of bread he has baked in lockdown
This was the first time I’d taken part in an exhibition and it was a very interesting and enjoyable thing to do. We were lucky to be able to put it on, too, as the SET public programme has now closed again as England goes into its second lockdown. We all agreed it would be great to do another one in the new year though, and I’ll keep this blog updated on that. Who knows what the next lockdown will bring that we can share when it’s possible to do so?
***NB: These are just some photos I took on my phone, and they don’t cover everything that was in the room – when better documentation of the show appears I will link to it from this post!
Martin Clarke’s label oem Records has released a set by Dee Byrne, Craig Scott and me today, recorded a BRåKFest in February this year. It was the first time the trio had played together – and so far, the only time, as that gig turned out to be one of the last ones before the coronavirus lockdown struck. It was an enjoyable combination though, and one we hope to repeat! Check out the album on the oem Bandcamp site:
Imaginary Junction, the upcoming quartet album that I am a part of with Tom Ward, Martina Verhoeven and Dirk Serries, is now available to pre-order from Dirk’s label A New Wave Of Jazz. You can reserve your copy now either through the label’s own site, or on their Bandcamp site. There’s also a four CD pre-order offer on both sites for those who want to get stuck into even more new music from the label….
Disembark! is out today on Luminous. It’s the first duo release from Dee Byrne and me – I’m so happy to see it out there after the release (and a tour that was supposed to happen earlier this year) got derailed by the pandemic. It’s available now as a digital album, the thirteenth release on the label, with amazing cover artwork by Dee. I hope you enjoy the music! And keep an eye on Luminous over the course of this Autumn, as we have a few more things up our sleeves….
This week The Noise Upstairs are screening the latest edition of their lockdown video series ‘The Noise Indoors’ – curated by me! I invited four really great artists to record a set for it: Tullis Rennie, Rachel Musson, Sophie Cooper and Sam Andreae. The episode premieres at 8pm on Thursday 17th September from the link below….join us! And it will be available to watch again, along with the rest of the series, after the screening.
Dirk Serries has published an excerpt of an upcoming release that I’m a part of: a quartet recording with Dirk, Martina Verhoeven and Tom Ward. We recorded this in July from our homes, over the internet using JackTrip; Dirk and Martina near Antwerp in Belgium, Tom and I in London. Everyone was so happy with the results that Dirk suggested releasing it on his label! The album is out in October as part of a set of four new CDs on A New Wave Of Jazz. Have a listen…
Some really excellent news to announce today! I have been selected as one of the artists for the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (hcmf//) COVID-19 Commissions. The commissions are the festival’s response to the pandemic, offering artists some paid work now when things are pretty bleak for live performance. I’ll be writing a new piece for trio, to be performed at hcmf// at a later date. With my 2020 year planner in the recycling bin due to loads of future work being cancelled or postponed indefinitely, this is really brilliant news and I feel very lucky to have been chosen. I’ll be writing about the project on the blog as it develops.
In other news, there’s a new merch item up on the Sloth Racket site for tomorrow’s Bandcamp Friday and it’s something quite special. For many years, our bass player Seth has been collecting people’s verbal reactions to his double bass (usually when they see him on public transport or walking down the street) using the hashtag #doublebasscomments. Sloths guitarist Anton recently decided that this needed to be taken to a whole different level, and asked the brilliant artist and friend of Sloth Racket Angela Guyton to make a cartoon of some of the comments. The resulting A2 POSTER is now on sale!! Edition of 20, so grab one quick for the bassist in your life…
A new set is now up on the site! Duo with Johnny Hunter from BRÅK last November. Possibly our first duo set? Hopefully not the last anyway. It’s available as a name your price download, with the income split between Johnny and me as per usual. Check it out:
Johnny has also made an extract available in video form:
The lovely Vonnegut Collective have swung into action during the lockdown with their ‘Mindful Miniatures’ project, and I was very happy to be asked to contribute a track. For the project, participants take a guided audio walk and then respond with a piece of text, an image, a video etc. These are then passed on to artists for us to respond in turn with some music and sound. A nice process! I took the opportunity to experiment with multi-tracking the homemade percussion instruments I’ve been making, as well as blowing on a piece of plastic pipe from the beer shop with a sax mouthpiece (of course). I’m pretty happy with the results, and had a joyous morning creating the track. You can listen to it on the Vonneguts’ website. Hats off to VC for providing some work for artists during the pandemic and creating good vibes.
Some percussion bits (taken on a different session – no cymbals were used on the VC track).