Sacrum Profanum – more photos

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More photos from the recent Sacrum Profanum concert in Poland – this time by the excellent photographer Bartosz Holoszkiewicz. These go right through from our arrival, rehearsal, backstage banter and make up (B&W) to the final performance (colour). There are even more over on Bart’s site but this is my pick of the bunch, also that’s Prof. Penderecki with Skalpel below.

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Castles made of Sound

In the last week I’ve played in the grounds of three castles – well, two were Forts actually – in Italy, France and the UK. Salerno was the first, actually playing on a rooftop terrace overlooking the sea on the Italian coast (above). Secondly the Nuit Carrées festival in Antibes, France, playing on a stage by a small amphitheatre next to the Fort Carré (below). The sound at this festival was unbelievably clear, most probably due to the acoustics of the amphitheatre and the fort was lit up as a backdrop.

Finally, last night, I played at the Kelburn Garden Party in Scotland on a stage overlooking Kelburn Castle, an incredible site being that two sides are completely covered in art from Brazilian artists Os Gemeos and Nina & Nunca. It is quite a sight to behold, Sau Paulo street art meets Scottish heritage, and was completed in 2007, a year before the same artists covered parts of the Tate Modern in London. Sadly it seems that the render on the castle is being affected by the paint, which is causing it to crumble, so the mural will be lost soon much to the dismay of the owner Patrick Boyle, The 10th Earl of Glasgow.

Apparently parts of the castle are haunted, Tara, one of the organisers who picked me up from the airport, told me she’d been woken the night before by the feeling of being cuddled in bed by something unknown. When he told it to go away she’d been scratched three times on the back of her head and other guests had reportedly had their ribs squeezed and bum pinched whilst staying in the same room. Another time a handbag had flown across the room and hit her on the head and it’s widely believed that the ghost is a mischievous female who was a guest at the castle at one time and liked it so much that she didn’t want to leave. Supposedly there is some kind of vortex in one corner of the room through which spirits can come and go and the temperature is noticeably lower in that part.

Talking of vortex’s, to add to the incredible scenery surrounding Kelburn and nearby town Largs, out between two islands just off the west coast is one of the world’s largest whirlpools. Called The Corryvreckan Whirlpool, it is formed around a single rock jutting up from the seabed, several small whirlpools exist, occasionally widening to form one giant vortex which has been deemed unnavigable.

The grounds of the castle are something to behold, recent winds have caused several huge trees to crash down, one of them taking out a bridge across a stream just a week before. Plans to project my AV set onto the castle were unfortunately scuppered when it appeared that my technical rider hadn’t made its way to the right people and the right cables weren’t available. After my set I got a cab to the hotel in the next town, only to find that everything was locked up and I had no key (we hadn’t checked in, going straight from the airport to the festival). Fortunately a couple with a key arrived shortly afterwards and let me in and I managed to find an unlocked single room to crash in.

Posted in DJ Food, Gigs, Photography. | 2 Comments |

Flint & Food at Factory Road

So much to say about the last few days and the opening of the DJ Food & Henry Flint exhibition at the Factory Road Gallery in Hinckley, Leicester with my friends Sarah (aka Inkymole) and Leigh. I’ve known them for around 15 years now and always enjoy their company so it was a no-brainer when they asked if they could host the work I’d got together for the Pure Evil Gallery earlier this year. What’s unique about this is that the gallery is in their own home, on the corner of a quiet suburban street, not in the middle of a hip part of a big city. A few years ago they did some major architectural restructuring and turned the downstairs of their home into a workspace cum gallery, dependent on what was on at the time. This is the third or fourth exhibition to be held there and, with the help of their intern, Brook, and amazing chef Jed Smith, they managed to make it a very unique event.

The difference between this and the Pure Evil show is that they were keen to feature a sort of retrospective element of my design work with Ninja Tune over the years alongside work that Henry and I had generated for ‘The Search Engine’ album, his book ‘Broadcast’ and past comic work. This took the form of a whole wall running the length of the downstairs plus a tabletop collage under glass of all manner of flyers, sleeves, proofs and other ephemera. Two sides of the central supporting wall were taken up with Henry’s past comic work with prints and original art from the album near the entrance. Near the rear of the gallery we set up a turntable and zoetrope disc to project animations that were also meant for London but didn’t happen as well as a 55 minute mix with visuals based on my planetarium show of the same time.

To add to this Sarah and Leigh always do special merchandise to go with each show, a regular item being a tea towel – or rather a visor / helmet polishing cloth (ooer) – printed locally and hemmed by Sarah’s mum. Also for sale was a limited edition ‘Skullstronaut’ giclee print and locally sourced chocolate bars, cleverly playing on the outer space theme and packaged like freeze-dried astronaut food.

Speaking of food, the killer addition of the night was Jed Smith in the kitchen, whipping up amazing bite-sized, space-themed eats for everyone. The cubed chips, baked pea shells and sauce were the hit of the night, a bowl of ‘space dust’ (homemade sherbert) looked like a moon surface and the dried rice and beetroot dip was literally out of this world (sorry). Everyone who came looked uncertainly at it all, took the plunge and were instantly in for seconds.

It’s rare to attend an opening and to ask the guests if they’ve been to the toilet yet (unless it’s for some sort of nose up) but the bathroom had it’s own charm in the form of Will Cooper-Mitchell’s press shots of me in an astronaut suit, alongside a hand-painted shuttle (by Sarah’s sister, close family ties going on here) and a short musical loop of space-themed sounds.

This, alongside a big barrel of local ale for refreshments, rounded the whole event off beautifully and added to the homely vibe of the exhibition. A steady stream of visitors arrived, both local and from further afield from 6pm until midnight and I talked to everyone from fans to friends, university professors to the local record store owner. Having been there since Thursday afternoon setting up and rearranging things I was beat by then and we had an early start the next morning but that’s another story.

Thank you so much to everyone who came but especially Sarah, Leigh, Jed, Brook and everyone who helped to make it such a success, some of the photos here are by their friend, Nigel, who was also the architect who helped them build the gallery. We realised, once it was all hung and arranged, that we’d fitted in twice the content than in London, in a smaller space too so there’s twice the reason to go and have a look. The show is at 71 Factory Road, Hinckley, Leicestershire, it’s free and on until June 15th, all merchandise is on sale on the Factory Road Shop now.

Spotted in Kid Koala’s studio

I visited Eric San yesterday (aka Kid Koala) and got co-opted into drawing a piece of artwork for his new album (I didn’t mind a bit). While I was there I took these shots around his ridiculously packed studio.

Eric loves anything odd or kooky that makes a noise, he owns a cutting lathe to cut his own tour records, a vintage rhythm machine that plays drum beats on 8-track cartridges and a customised jukebox that plays cassettes!