Headrow House: October launch for Leeds’ latest music venue

Headrow House is set to be one of the biggest, boldest, most ambitious venues to launch in Leeds.

Music for University of Leeds promotional videos

I was recently asked to write some music for the University of Leeds to use in some promotional videos.  The short videos are designed to allow far-flung former students to ‘revisit’ the campus as it looks now by watching panning shots of different locations on campus.

The Alumni and Development team at the university gave me quite a broad brief, so I went with what I knew best – business funk.

The videos are here – however, they’re all quite short, so I’ve also uploaded the tracks to Soundcloud. Enjoy!

 

‘Hidden Music Gems’ published by Marketing Leeds

A piece I wrote on where’s good to experience live music around Leeds has been published in Style Guide to Leeds: Live It, Love it 2012.

Produced by Marketing Leeds, this annual guidebook is available free from tourist information centres, airports and other locations around the region.  Should you find a copy, you’ll find what I’ve written on page 98 – but if you can’t get hold of one, just click here to read it!

Be sure to check out the rest of the articles, too.

 

Further Galaxians gigs coming up!

My band, Galaxians, have a few gigs coming up.  Here’s the list so far:

More details will be forthcoming on all.  We’ll also have a website for all Galaxians-related matters in the very near future!

Galaxians to play British Wildlife Festival on 4 March

My band, Galaxians, will be on the bill for the awesome British Wildlife Festival in Leeds this March.  Spanning three days, it’s the sixth annual weekend of exciting music from all over the world (and Leeds).

We’re going to be playing Oporto on Sunday 4 March.  Doors are at 3pm and it’s a donation entry.  My bandmate Matt Woodward will also be performing as part of Azores on the Saturday.

More info about Galaxians can be found here – and here’s a copy of the flyer.  Roll on March!

 

Culture Vulture: Group Inerane / Flower-Corsano Duo

Published 5 December 2011 on Culture Vulture

Howard Assembly Room, Leeds

Saturday 3 December 2011

Sonic intensity: that’s the Flower-Corsano Duo.  Known for his collaborations with Bjork and Richard Bishop of the Sun City Girls, Chris Corsano is a visually fascinating, technically brilliant and highly experimental drummer.  Watching him incorporate violin strings, Tibetan singing bowls, mallets, bows and hybrid thrash-jazz into his performance knocks you for six, making you wonder if he has some secret, additional arms growing somewhere else.

He’s joined by Leeds’ own Mike Flower from the drone ensemble Vibracathedral Orchestra, who has at his hands a shahi baaja, a fascinating instrument that’s a type of Indian zither, amped up and overdriven to the point where it’s not that far away from heavy metal.  Add a dronebox into the mix and the set becomes an explosive mix of sonic rises and falls, the sound soaring upwards towards a white-noise peak – then slowly, gradually falling again into a calming drone.  Exhilarating.  Cleansing, even.  Think of Lightning Bolt, then turn it up a notch.  Leeds should be proud that one of these brilliant musicians is from this city.

Group Inerane are from Agadez in northern Niger.  With two electric guitars, bass and drums, the Tuareg music they play is instantly danceable, similar to the music of the slightly more famous Tinariwen.  Their music is part of a musical revolution originating in the Libyan Berber refugee camps in the 1980s, with the guitar substituting the rifle as a political weapon.  Unfortunately, Group Inerane have been forced to change their lineup since their first album was released in 2007, after their second guitarist, Adi Mohamad, was shot dead during the recent Tuareg rebellions in West Africa.

This electrified Sahara sound is, essentially, amazing party music.  It’s a shame that the Howard Assembly Room has seats tonight, but nevertheless people are dancing in their chairs, the balcony and the aisles – the rhythm shuffles and syncopates so much that you’ve just got to move your body somehow.  If there’s one criticism, it’s that this evening seemed a bit short, but perhaps that’s because the music was so engrossing.

Leeds – more gigs like this please!

Spotlight on: Are You Listening Leeds?

This time last year, myself and two friends (Kristina Diprose and Joshua Sadler) were busy packing up an art project we’d just completed called Are You Listening Leeds?  It condensed 24 hours of city life into 24 minutes, all contained within a spectacular audio-visual exhibit in a disused shop.

We did this as part of the Leeds City Council initiative called ‘Art in Unusual Spaces’, and we thought that a good way of exploring this would be to turn this around and take a mixture of familiar and unfamiliar spaces, but document them in an unusual way – through sound.

Borrowing a digital hand-held recorder, we trekked around Leeds over the course of six months capturing sounds from places like Kirkgate Market, offices, restaurants, demonstrations, pubs, lectures, children’s choirs, people having dinner…you get the picture!  We also managed to record a scrap metal orchestra rehearsing in a different empty shop unit, which makes for fascinating listening, and spent an awfully long time in search of hooting tawny owls (we finally got one on the last night of recording).

We decided that we would make three separate recordings of each place, before mixing them all down into 24 minutes of multitrack audio.  More or less all of this was done by Josh, which took him absolutely ages but sounded amazing in the end.  I think he maxed out his state-of-the-art Apple Mac to the point where he only had 2MB of space left on his hard drive, but he kept going!

On top of this, we hired a camera from local AV company Lumen Arts, and created a 24-hour timelapse video that we synchronised with the sounds.  The camera was good enough to take about 5,000+ images, about one every five seconds, and once again it fell to Josh to stitch these together and create a long, continuous video out of it.

Our space was in the Leeds Shopping Plaza, next to the old Virgin Megastore.  We used four speakers and a projector to create an immersive soundscape that, I think, made us all pay attention to what our city sounds like a little bit more.

You can find more about it here, on my site, in ‘Projects’. 

Watch the video:

Are You Listening Leeds? from Jed Skinner on Vimeo.

We thanked them at the time, but thanks are still due to:

Katie Harris for lending us the Zoom recorder; Lumen Arts for letting us borrow the camera for three days but only pay for one; Nina Baptiste and the staff of Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills for letting us put a camera up overnight (three nights running); everyone we recorded; Leeds City Council, in particular James Hill and Yvonne Carmichael.

Music section totally revamped

I’ve changed my music section around.

There’s two subcategories that I’ve called ‘music for fun’ and ‘compositions for my degree’.  (This was also fun, too).

So now, I’m hoping things will be both simpler and more informative, as I’ve tried to include a bit of background information about some of the pieces I quite like.

You can now learn out all about why I smashed a piano to pieces and recorded it, discover the academic justification for me recording the vibrations of the Humber Bridge, and read up on all the 20+ samples I made a song from once.

Enjoy!