Next week, as part of the events programme for pop-up exhibition Sound Spaces, Philip Jeck will take centre stage in Gallery 1 with a performance of a new work, using Kinicho's icosahedron sound system. The icosahedron is a 360 degree speaker system currently being used for Shona Illingworth's installation Lesions in the Landscape. Having never worked with such a set up before, Philip has composed and produced an entirely new piece of music for the event, inspired by the idea of an immersive sound environment.
"Ambisonic sound systems offer the opportunity to do something different from my other work. The piece will be far from the style of what you would hear on my new record, as the aparatus gives me the option of playing live in a totally new way. I'm still learning what the icosahedron is capable of, and it will be interesting to find out how well I'll be able to handle the system live!"
Having previously worked on large-scale performances, at times featuring up to 180 vintage record players (for his iconic 1993 composition Vinyl Requiem), Philip has never experimented with 360 degree sound before. On the night, he will be using just two record players and a sampling keyboard, and working on this smaller scale will allow him to focus on creating the immersive sound scape we're looking forward to.
I also asked Philip where the inspiration for using vintage record players comes from in his work. Having worked as a DJ throughout the 1980s in London, Philip graduated from playing disco music to creating his own compositions - "I wanted to take what I created elsewhere - it wasn't for the dance floor" - and so his career as a DJ came to an end as he moved to Liverpool to compose. Having then worked for a few years composing music for theatre and dance, Philip begain to release his own material in album format in the 90s.
So how did Vinyl Requiem come about? Philip trawled car boot fairs and junk sales to collected dozens of vintage vinyl players. "I set myself a maximum budget of £5 for every purchase, and actually bought many of the devices I own for £1 or even 50p!" Not every machine was in full working order, and Philip learnt a lot about how a record player works by fixing those he collected - "the mechanics are self explanatory once you open one up and take a look. If you asked me to do the same with a CD player or computer I'd be lost!". After a crash course in mechanics and a fair share of electric shocks, Philip began to work on large scale compositions with anything from six to over one hundred machines.
In a nod to his fellow performers on the night Tim Shaw and John Bowers, who will also be performing a new composition accompanied by visuals from Simon Bowen, Philip has integrated and remixed some of their music into his piece, making a unique connection between the three artists especially for the event.
Book your tickets now for Philip Jeck's performanceon 22 October, featuring new work from John Bowers, Time Shaw and Simon Bowen.
Philip's latest album, the record referred to above, is due to be launched at a special event in London on 15 October.