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Vestige and a birthday cake

Updated: Sep 12, 2023


Straight in with the news: Riot Ensemble released a new album!

The music on Vestige was composed by Ashkan Behzadi, Michaela Catranis, Alex Groves, Elisabeth Lutyens, Naomi Pinnock, Enno Poppe, and Peter Wilson. I highly recommend listening to the CD in one go. It flows beautifully and is a wonderful homage to chamber music and song, taking you by the hand and leading you past lights and colours you didn’t know you needed to see. I’m biased, of course, but it is stunning!

Happy birthday, Mainly Two! We turned ten last month and did a little mini tour in Europe to celebrate. We started at the beautiful Lit & Phil in Newcastle and continued in the Netherlands with concerts at Splendor in Amsterdam and Paradijskerk in Rotterdam. The latter was a fully-improvised set and we had the luxury of the beautiful acoustics and huge open space of the church. We decided to start at the back, behind the audience, and then we just wandered the space wherever the sounds took us. Our Dutch concerts were made possible by Christine Cornwell’s collaborative series Sounding Here which is based at Batavierhuis. If you’re ever in the area, we highly recommend you go check out both Batavierhuis and Splendor. They are fantastic venues and communities that always have something eye-opening or mind-boggling going on!

The other programmes were a mixture of music by Laurence Osborn, Kirsty Devaney, John Garner, Pauline Oliveros and Eden Lonsdale, who wrote us a mesmerising duo for our anniversary. We premiered it in Amsterdam and we cannot wait to take this one into the studio. For a little taster, you can listen to a live recording on Eden’s Soundcloud page!

The tour finished in Germany at the workshop studio of a harpsichord maker that I’ve known since I was a toddler. Volker Rabus is based in a fairytale-like courtyard in Durlach in the Southwest of Germany, right around the corner from my family’s music school. His studio is packed with beautiful harpsichords and other instruments he’s been crafting throughout the past few decades and it’s a joy to just be in that space let alone to make music here.

Another anniversary-year premiere happened back in May. Eric Skytterholm Egan’s Ábifruvvá was created in a highly collaborative way and we are so grateful to Durham University, TONO, Komponistenes Vederlagsfond, and the Norwegian Composers’ Society for enabling the three of us to spend much time together, exploring and recording sounds and finding the true voice of the piece. This was part of Exploring Arctic Soundscapes, a multi-disciplinary research project which combines existing world-leading expertise in the Departments of Geography and Biosciences in Arctic and marine politics, cultures, ecologies, and ontologies with ongoing world-leading work in Durham’s Department of Music that explores the sonic invocation of environments. Next stop on Ábifruvvá’s journey is Oslo next month!

Circling back to improvisation, I would like the share with you the video of an ad hoc getting-together of John Garner, John Pope and myself to open Thomas Dixon’s improv night Thursday Night Prayer Meeting at The Globe in Newcastle. This was the first time the three of us improvised as a trio (add another 100% and you’ll arrive at Anarchist Reading Group…) and we had an absolute blast!

For now, stay hydrated and don’t forget to listen to live music every now and then!

Love and laughter,


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