Review: Leap of Death with Robert Stillman

May 9, 2014

Over on Inquire, editor Matthew Gilley pens an insightful review of Robert Stillman’s Leap of Death project, part of Sounds New 2014 that took place earlier this week.

Read it online here.

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Out of this world: review of Icebreaker at Sounds New 2014 by Miscriant

May 9, 2014

The ubiquitous culture-blogger, Miscriant, has been at it again; here’s a terrific review of the Icebreaker concert at the festival last week, featuring Brian Eno’s beautiful response to the NASA moon-landings footage, Apollo: for All Mankind, a premiere by Ed Bennett, and pieces by Julia Wolfe and Roy Carrol. Plus some lovely photographs. as usual.

Image: Miscriant

Image: Miscriant

Read the review online here.


Launch night review: Miscriant blogs

May 7, 2014

Terrific review of the launch night of Sounds New 2014 from culture-vulture and Kent-based blogger, Miscriant, which includes some very fine photographs of the Piano in the a Woods exhibition and Janek Schaefer’s sound-installation at the Sidney Cooper Gallery.

sidney_cooperRead for yourself online here.


Evan Parker Birthday gig 4 May: change of venue

April 24, 2014

For all you fans of improvisation-meets-electronics who have zealously scribed the Evan Parker 70th Birthday gig into your diaries on Sunday 4 May, please note that the venue has now changed: the performance will now be in the wonderfully light, airy and sonorous acoustics of St Peter’s Methodist Church, just off the High Street in Canterbury.

More about the event online here.See you there…


Curious Curator at Sounds New 2014

April 23, 2014

The popular ‘Curious Curator’ exhibition returns to Sounds New this year, as students, sound artists and writers respond to the festival.

The exhibition this year features students from Canterbury College and University of Kent sound boffins, together with local writers. Inspired by Robert Wyatt’ss 2003 album Cuckooland, one of the pieces featuring in the ‘Cuckooland Revisited’ project with the Brodsky Quartet on Thursday 8 May at the festival, participants will respond to his music in a variety of ways.

Robert Wyatt is most famous for being a part of the Canterbury scene in the 1970’s as a founder-member of prog-rock giants, Soft Machine, and was himself educated locally at Simon Langton Boys’ Grammar School.

This year, for the first time, ‘Curious Curator’ will be exhibiting in Canterbury College’s Palette Gallery, in the main college building on the New Dover Road. Doors open on 2nd May, and the exhibition runs until 9th June, from 10am to 4pm; admission in free.

Curious Curator 2014

Curious Curator 2014

Come along to Sounds New to both see and hear ‘Cuckooland…’


Not long to go…

April 23, 2014

With fewer days until Sounds New bursts into life around Canterbury than there are fingers on your hands, excitement is building; make sure you’ve downloaded your festival programme, to guide you through all that’s to come between 2nd – 9th May.

Click to download (pdf)

Click to download (pdf)


Prime Suspect: interview with Ed Bennett

April 22, 2014

In a few week’s time, Icebreaker Ensemble brings a premiere, Suspect Device, by Ed Bennett to Sounds New. Intrigued, I talked with Ed about the piece and the background to the new work.


DH: I’m intrigued by the title of your piece – it sounds potentially explosive! – from whence did the inspiration come ?

ed_bennettEB: Suspect Device recycles material from the original song of the same name by Northern Irish Punk band Stiff Little Fingers. The band who were mainly active during the height of the Northern Irish ‘troubles’ in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s provided optimistic and energetic anthems for the disaffected Northern Irish Youth culture who wanted nothing to do with the violence and political rhetoric of the time (myself included). My work attempts to capture the spirit and energy of the original music but reinvents the original musical material in my own way. When I worked in a supermarket as a teenager we had to look for ‘Suspect Devices’ at the end of a working day (I’m sure that wouldn’t be legal now ?!).

DH: How did you come to be working with Icebreaker ?

EB: Icebreaker were one of the first contemporary music groups I ever heard live (almost 20 years ago in Belfast), it was hugely inspirational and since then I’ve always fancied the idea of working with them. James, the group’s artistic director, got in touch with me saying that he’d heard my music and liked it so I proposed that I wrote them something at some point. That was a few years ago but now it has finally come to fruition.

DH: Was Icebreaker closely involved with the piece from the start, or does their involvement come after the piece is finished ?

EB: They were involved in so much, as I knew their repertoire and ethos well and I knew the context in which the piece would be featured. James had this idea of recycling material from existing work which is where Suspect Device came from. The piece later becomes refined in the rehearsal process with them, I’m very open to changing things in this process.

DH: Did you write the piece specifically for the players in Icebreaker, and if so, how did this inform the compositional process ?

EB: Yes. As above really. My music is often very pulsed and rhythmic, as an ensemble Icebreaker specialise in tackling work like this.

DH: You cite Joni Mitchell and David Byrne amongst your musical influences; what do you draw from two such disparate figures ?

EB: Well, I think I mentioned that I like their work in the context of lots of other stuff. I have very broad listening tastes and the music I write is not necessarily clearly influenced by that which I listen to; it could be in some more subtle way for example the melancholy in Mitchell or the energy in Byrne. I wasn’t thinking of either here though.

DH: Does directing your own ensemble (Decibel) have an influence on your composing ?

EB: Yes, definitely. Being outside of institutionalised ensembles and organisations allows you to be much freer in your approach. The best way to make music is with friends who completely trust and commit to your work. The way it should be.

DH: What are you up to post-Sounds New next moth ?

EB: I have new projects with the Crash Ensemble, Decibel, the pianist Xenia Pestova and I hope to finish a new CD of my work for release at the end of the year.


Find out more about Icebreaker and Suspect Device at Sounds New here.

With thanks to Ed for his time!


Led Bib’s latest album: 7/10 from NME

April 21, 2014

NME has awarded 7/10 to Led Bib’s latest album, describing it as capturing the ‘dense, sonic uninhibitedness of their show.’

You can judge for yourself when Led Bib brings its brash, driven jazz-fusion to Canterbury at Sounds New on 4 May.

Read the review online here, and find out more about Led Bib at Sounds New here.


Festival feature in the news

April 12, 2014

Delightmemt and excitement coursing through the corridors of Sounds New HQ at this feature in the local press on Thursday.

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Find out about all the events at Sounds New next month online here.


Out of this world: Equator Festival comes to Sounds New 2014

April 11, 2014

We’re very excited to be welcoming two acts from the Equator Festival to Sounds New next month.

Kasai Masai

Kasai Masai

Step out of Canterbury into the depths of Africa on Monday 5 May, as Congolese group Kasai Masai brings infectious dance-rhythms and percussion from Africa to St Gregory’s Music Centre. The five-piece group has a wonderful stage presence and terrific way of engaging and involving the audience in their performances (see the review from when the group came to the Gulbenkian Theatre in 2010 here.) The performance is at 2pm, and includes a free workshop.

Then on Friday 9 May, we’re delighted to be welcoming sarod master Ustad Wajahat Khan to the festival. This exceptional exponent of Indian classical music is the nephew of the late Ustad Vilayat Khan, part of a lineage that traces its history back to the sixteenth century and the renowned court-musicians of the period.

Wajahat Khan

Wajahat Khan

With a special reduction for children and students, these are two gigs you won’t want to miss. Find out more about these and all the other events coming to Sounds New next month online here.