Monday, May 22, 2017

ArtsLab II Episode 25: The Letter D

ArtsLab produced and presented by Mark Sheeky
Episode 25: The Letter D
Broadcast Monday 22 May 2017, 2pm to 3pm GMT.

ArtsLab II content is typically original, created by artists and poets for each episode.

Helen Kay, Dee (2017)
Mark Sheeky, Destination D (2017)
Mark Sheeky, Dance Of D (2017)
Lavinina Murray, Dashing Darting Dentures (2017)
Lavinina Murray, You Promised Me The Stars (2017)
Mark Sheeky, Departures To D (2017)
Lavinina Murray, D Sans-Serif (2017)
Simon Ross, In Deed (2017)
Rory Coward, The Last Laugh (2017)
Lavinina Murray, Inside The Wall Cavity With Letter D (2017)
Rebecca Cherrington, The Letter D (2017)
Steven Goodwin, The Letter D (2017)
Mark Sheeky, Destiny: The Summit of the Caldera (2017)

All past ArtsLab programmes can be listened to here:
https://www.mixcloud.com/RedShiftRadio/playlists/artslab/

You can listen live during the broadcast on:
www.redshiftradio.co.uk

Monday, May 15, 2017

ArtsLab II Episode 24: Insects

ArtsLab produced and presented by Mark Sheeky
Episode 24: Insects
Broadcast Monday 15 May 2017, 2pm to 3pm GMT.

ArtsLab II content is typically original, created by artists and poets for each episode.

Lavinia Murray, The Myth Of The Caddisfly Knight (2017)
Lavinia Murray, Unsects (2017)
Mark Sheeky, Requiem For A Midge (2017)
Mike Fuller, The Brave By Nicholas Rowe (2017)
Michael Murray, Riverflies (2017)
Andrew Williams, I Am A Fly (2017)
Andrew Williams, Bumblebee (2017)
Mark Sheeky, Caterpillar (2017)
Trixi Field, Morning Face (2017) Mark Sheeky, Dreams of Flight (2017)
Lavinia Murray, I'm Just A Normal Bee (2017)
Lavinia Murray, Antisects (2017)
Trixi Field, Airborne (2017)
Lavinia Murray, Greenfly Trapped In A Raindrop On A Rose Leaf (2017)
Rebecca Cherrington, Insects (2017)
Steven Goodwin, Spring Picnic (2017)
Lavinia Murray, Queen Ant Flies Too High And Panics (2017)
Mark Sheeky, The Ant Philosopher (2017)

All past ArtsLab programmes can be listened to here:
https://www.mixcloud.com/RedShiftRadio/playlists/artslab/

You can listen live during the broadcast on:
www.redshiftradio.co.uk

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Painting Thoughts: The Resurrection Of Napoleon Bonaparte

My paintings are often quite complex to understand and I find that they really come alive with some explanation, so I've begun to create some videos about them. I thought I'd share my latest one and a few written words too.

Here is Te Resurrection of Napoleon Bonaparte, an oil on canvas work from 2016. The spark of the idea came from last 2015, when someone came into the Macc Art Lounge, a pop-up shop in Macclesfield where I had some work on show. They were looking for paintings of The White Nancy, a local monument, and a popular subject for artists, so I volunteered to paint it. The idea captured my imagination, and I looked up the history of the odd shaped building.

It turned out to be a Napoleonic monument, and I found it irresistible to include Napoleon in the sky, charging heroically away to a glorious horizon. The image was so strong that I was determined to include him, yet made of sky, a ghost, an ever presence. The monument on a high hill was such a perfect position for the charging once-emperor. It's almost as though the famous David painting, which I knew well, was made for Bollington.

Much of my art is about art or references other artworks. In the way the music builds upon predecessors, so does visual art, and each painting now, in this so-called "post modern" era, needs these vital guides more than ever. I think "post modern" is a somewhat bold academic name for this current epoch. It implies that visual art has all been discovered, and now we must merely mop-up the visual pieces and explore and reformulate existing discoveries, rather than discover new things - when of course there are vast numbers of undiscovered art genres and classifications out there - when the well-tempered chromatic scale was documented in music by Bach, did he consider music complete?!

However, onward to the painting!

Some technical bits not mentioned in the video. It's oil on canvas in two layers and uses a walnut oil in amber medium for glazing, which gives it an amazing visual quality in real life. Interestingly, David didn't have access, or not much access, to Napoleon, who didn't see the point of realism in art and didn't consider a likeness important at all. So even in David's work (one of the five his studio completed) has only approximate stabs at a likeness, each different.

When I conceived this, a glorious dawn was coming, not a storm. Who knows which was true? I'd like to think the former. Artists might reference the past and its artistic history, connecting with a rich seam of cultural metaphor rooted in nature, yet art should document the present. These are strange times for humanity, but I think, great ones of peace and prosperity, beyond the fearful dawn. In such times artists, not warriors, must become the heroes.

Monday, May 08, 2017

ArtsLab II Episode 23: Space

ArtsLab produced and presented by Mark Sheeky
Episode 23: Space
Broadcast Monday 8 May 2017, 2pm to 3pm GMT.
Special guest John Hartshorn.

ArtsLab II content is typically original, created by artists and poets for each episode.

Ian Parr, The Planets: Earth (2017)
Mark Sheeky, Earth Response (2017)
Ian Parr, The Planets: Venus (2017)
Michael Murray, Dark Energy (2017)
Andrew Williams, Orbit (2017)
Ian Parr, The Planets: Neptune (2017)
Lavinia Murray, Spacers (2017)
Lavinia Murray, Cosmic Versus Cosmetic Space (2017)
Lavinia Murray, Wolf Space Programme (2017)
Lavinia Murray, Pluto Sputnik Planetia (2017)
Ian Parr, The Planets: Mercury (2017)
Mark Sheeky, Stranded At Moonbase Eight (2017)
Ian Parr, The Planets: Uranus (2017)
Rebecca Cherrington, Space (2017)
Steven Goodwin, Space (2017)
Mark Sheeky, Black Hole (2017)

All past ArtsLab programmes can be listened to here:
https://www.mixcloud.com/RedShiftRadio/playlists/artslab/

You can listen live during the broadcast on:
www.redshiftradio.co.uk

Monday, April 24, 2017

ArtsLab II Episode 22: Tuesday

ArtsLab produced and presented by Mark Sheeky
Episode 22: Tuesday
Broadcast Monday 24 April 2017, 2pm to 3pm GMT.

ArtsLab II content is typically original, created by artists and poets for each episode.

Lavinia Murray, Tuesday Betrays (2017)
Lavinia Murray, When Goblins Meet (2017)
Michael Murray, George (2017)
Lavinia Murray, When Goblins Meet 2 (2017)
Deborah Edgeley, Who Chose Choose-a-day (2017)
Mark Sheeky, Tuesday on Sunday (2017)
Claire Bassi, Tuesday (2017)
Ken Dodd, Happiness (1961)
Lavinia Murray, Tuesday (2017)
Venture Lift, The Diamond Way (Finnegan's Wake) (2017)
Helen Kay, Tuesday (2017)
Marianne Faithful, Ruby Tuesday (1995)
Steven Godwin, Descendants (2017)
Andrew Williams, Shrove Tuesday (2017)
Mark Sheeky, Two For One Tuesday (2017)
Andrew Williams, Tyr's Day (2017)
Lavinia Murray, Tuesday Tiger (2017)
Rebecca Cherrington, Tuesday (2017)
Mark Sheeky, The Death Of Tuesday (2017)

All past ArtsLab programmes can be listened to here:
https://www.mixcloud.com/RedShiftRadio/playlists/artslab/

You can listen live during the broadcast on:
www.redshiftradio.co.uk

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Music & Video Synchronisation

Spent all day working on how to create a text file like this, various frame numbers of events in a piece of music (accurate to a 44100hz sample!). This was very frustrating as I was 384 mysterious samples out for each note. After working at it for many hours, I just added 384 to everything! Although this isn't ideal, it's probably the best solution anyway, as fixing this big might make my existing music out of time with newer tracks.

These frame numbers make it possible to create perfectly synchronised videos to a particular soundtrack. I used something similar for the Challenger video, which I hope to remaster in HD soon. There's a post about how I made that on here somewhere.

I hope to use this to create more videos soon for Cycles & Shadows. It can be time consuming to synchronise videos exactly, but something like Avisynth and Open Office spreadsheets can be combined to make a text-based animation system!

Monday, April 17, 2017

ArtsLab II Episode 21: Descendants

ArtsLab produced and presented by Mark Sheeky
Episode 21: Descendants
Broadcast Monday 17 April 2017, 2pm to 3pm GMT.
Special guest Rebecca Smith.

ArtsLab II content is typically original, created by artists and poets for each episode.

Lavinia Murray, American Quilt Face (2017)
Andrew Williams, The Descent of Man (2017)
Mike Fuller, Quotes By Dr. Jacob Bronowski (2017)
Lavinia Murray, These Are My Descendants Being Processed (2017)
Epiphany Now, Finnegan's Wake (2017)
Rebecca Cherrington, Descendants (2017)
Trixi Field, A Ducking Romance (2017)
Mark Sheeky, Corridors of Nothing Menopause (2017)

All past ArtsLab programmes can be listened to here:
https://www.mixcloud.com/RedShiftRadio/playlists/artslab/

You can listen live during the broadcast on:
www.redshiftradio.co.uk

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Fledgling

Sometimes in art, in anything where you want to excel, you have to stop comparing yourself to others, and even your own past. As beginners we charge ahead in joyous ignorance, but then we learn about the great things that others have done, and learn from them. After a certain time we must sever that connection too, and make a brave leap, not comparing our work with anything, having only faith in something new and different, releasing the child to the world and its independence. The best art always takes faith.

Monday, April 10, 2017

ArtsLab II Episode 20: Chemistry

ArtsLab produced and presented by Mark Sheeky
Episode 20: Chemistry
Broadcast Monday 10 April 2017, 2pm to 3pm GMT.
Special guests John and Ailsa Booth.

ArtsLab II content is typically original, created by artists and poets for each episode.

Mark Sheeky, Oh Ytterbium (2017)
Andrew Williams, Deadly Chemicals (2017)
Mary & Sarah Jewell, Finnegan's Wake (2017)
Mike Fuller, Dr. Jacob Bronowski, City Summer (2017)
Lavinia Murray, Mothra Is About To Hatch (2017)
Mike Fuller, Dr. Jacob Bronowski, The Death of Garcia Lorca (2017)
Ailsa & John Booth, No One Ever Sang Quite Like Billie (2012)
Christopher Casson, Oh Dear What Can The Matter Be (1967)
Steven Goodwin, Everything's Made Of Chemicals (2017)
Rebecca Cherrington, Chemistry (2017)
Michael Murray, Match Stick (2017)
Lavinia Murray, Sub Atomic Pingpong, Cricket And Chemistry Sets (2017)
Mike Fuller, Dr. Jacob Bronowski, Take Your Gun & Untitled (2017)

All past ArtsLab programmes can be listened to here:
https://www.mixcloud.com/RedShiftRadio/playlists/artslab/

You can listen live during the broadcast on:
www.redshiftradio.co.uk

Monday, April 03, 2017

ArtsLab II Episode 19: Furniture

ArtsLab produced and presented by Mark Sheeky
Episode 19: Furniture
Broadcast Monday 3 April 2017, 2pm to 3pm GMT.
Special guest John Harrison.

ArtsLab II content is typically original, created by artists and poets for each episode.

Andrew Williams, Chair On A G-String (2017)
Helen Kay, The Aunts House (2017)
Mark Sheeky, Helen's Piano (2017)
Edward Henderson & Lavinia Murray, I Dust Skinheads With Icing Sugar (2017)
Rory Coward, Retired Furniture (2017)
Maharajah, Ann Alive (Finnegans Wake) (2017)
Claire Bassi, Dreams Of Karlanda (2017)
Rebecca Cherrington, Dream House (2017)
Simon Ross, Solitaire (2017)
Mark Sheeky, Helen's Backwards Piano (2017)
Steven Goodwin, Comfortable (2017)
Klaut MD, Amazon Tripe (2017)

All past ArtsLab programmes can be listened to here:
https://www.mixcloud.com/RedShiftRadio/playlists/artslab/

You can listen live during the broadcast on:
www.redshiftradio.co.uk

Monday, March 27, 2017

ArtsLab II Episode 18: Mystery

ArtsLab produced and presented by Mark Sheeky
Episode 18: Mystery
Broadcast Monday 27 March 2017, 2pm to 3pm GMT.
Special guest Ted Eames.

ArtsLab II content is typically original, created by artists and poets for each episode.

Deborah Edgeley, It's A Mystery (2017)
Andrew Williams, Murder Mystery 1 (2017)
Michael Murray, The Mysteries Of Preferment (2017)
Andrew Williams, Murder Mystery 2 (2017)
Lavinia Murray, Who He (2017)
Steven Goodwin, The Mystery (2017)
Body Bender, Delays (Finnegans Wake) (2017)
Andrew Williams, Murder Mystery 3 (2017)
Rebecca Cherrington, Mystery (2017)
Andrew Williams, Murder Mystery 4 (2017)
Mash Ensemble, Crash Poem (2017)
Andrew Williams, Murder Mystery 5 (2017)

All past ArtsLab programmes can be listened to here:
https://www.mixcloud.com/RedShiftRadio/playlists/artslab/

You can listen live during the broadcast on:
www.redshiftradio.co.uk

Monday, March 20, 2017

ArtsLab II Episode 17: Sweden

ArtsLab produced and presented by Mark Sheeky
Episode 17: Sweden
Broadcast Monday 20 March 2017, 2pm to 3pm GMT.
Special guest Simon Ross.

ArtsLab II content is typically original, created by artists and poets for each episode.

Lavinia Murray, Swish Noire (2017)
Mark Sheeky, Herr Mannelig (2017)
Andrew Williams, Abba By Ikea (Some Assembly Required) (2017)
Ingmar Bergman, The Seventh Seal (1957)
Deborah Edgeley, Acorns (2017)
Mark Sheeky, Captured (2017)
Steven Goodwin, Dubbing (2017)
Simon Ross, Finnegans Wake (2017)
Claire Bassi, Gothernberg Spring (2017)
Rebecca Cherrington, Sweden (2017)
Mark Sheeky, Swedenborg (2017)
Lavinia Murray, Swedenborg (2017)
Griselda Sanderson, Nickelharpa (2014)

All past ArtsLab programmes can be listened to here:
https://www.mixcloud.com/RedShiftRadio/playlists/artslab/

You can listen live during the broadcast on:
www.redshiftradio.co.uk

Monday, March 13, 2017

ArtsLab II Episode 16: The Moon

ArtsLab produced and presented by Mark Sheeky
Episode 16: The Moon
Broadcast Monday 13 March 2017, 2pm to 3pm GMT.

ArtsLab II content is typically original, created by artists and poets for each episode.

Ian Parr, Ode To The Moon (2017)
Andrew Williams, How Many Ancestors Do I Have (2017)
Matt Nin, Apollo Problem (2017)
Andrew Williams, The Moon (2017)
Lavinia Murray, Moon Tango (2017)
Mark Sheeky, Angel On The Moon (2017)
Michael Murral, Moon Tango (2017)
Matt Nin, Moonlanding (2017)
Lavinia Murray, The Moon (2017)
Mark Sheeky, Lost On The Moon (2017)
Trixi Field, In The Stillness (2017)
Rebecca Cherrington, The Moon (2017)
Steven Goodwin, The Moon (2017)
Mark Sheeky, Fantasy on Au Clair De La Lune (2017)
Steven Goodwin, Luna (2017)
Trixi Field, Wishes To The Moon (2010)

All past ArtsLab programmes can be listened to here:
https://www.mixcloud.com/RedShiftRadio/playlists/artslab/

You can listen live during the broadcast on:
www.redshiftradio.co.uk

Monday, February 27, 2017

ArtsLab II Episode 15: Ancestors

ArtsLab produced and presented by Mark Sheeky
Episode 15: Ancestors
Broadcast Monday 27 February 2017, 2pm to 3pm GMT.
Special guest Richard Chadwick.

ArtsLab II content is typically original, created by artists and poets for each episode.

Matt Nin, Prehistory Part 1 (2017)
Mark Sheeky, Fantasy on Greensleeves 1 (2017)
Deborah Edgeley, The Old Ribbed Butter Pat (2017)
Mark Sheeky, Fantasy on Greensleeves 2 (2017)
Steven Goodwin, Ancestors & Ancestral Tree (2017)
Michael Murray, Lineage (2017)
Nin, Prehistory Part 2 (2017)
Rebecca Cherrington, Ancestors (2017)
Lavinia Murray, Ancestor (2017)
David Lynch, These Are My Friends (2011)
Matt Nin, Prehistory Part 3 (2017)

All past ArtsLab programmes can be listened to here:
https://www.mixcloud.com/RedShiftRadio/playlists/artslab/

You can listen live during the broadcast on:
www.redshiftradio.co.uk

Monday, February 20, 2017

ArtsLab II Episode 14: Gateways

ArtsLab produced and presented by Mark Sheeky
Episode 14: Gateways
Broadcast Monday 20 February 2017, 2pm to 3pm GMT.
Special guest Trixi Field.

ArtsLab II content is typically original, created by artists and poets for each episode.

Mark Sheeky, Shadowed Tunnel (2017)
Imaginary Fly, Gateways (2017)
Mark Sheeky, The First Door (2017)
Lavinia Murray, LA (2017)
Mark Sheeky, Door Two (2017)
Andrew Williams, The Gateway (2017)
Lavinia Murray, LA (distant) (2017)
Lavinia Murray, Gateway 2 (2017)
Mark Sheeky, Rustic Door (2017)
Trixi Field, The Meres: Night Hunters (2017)
Mark Sheeky, The Red Doors (2017)
Trixi Field, Harry's Waterside Bar (2000)
Mark Sheeky, Stepping Out (2017)
Lavinia Murray, Gateway 1 (2017)
Mark Sheeky, The Garden Gate (2017)
Mark Sheeky, The Ocean Gate (2017)
Michael Murray, Emigrant Song (2017)
Rebecca Cherrington, Gateway (2017)
Mark Sheeky, The 7th Bell (2012)
Steven Godwin, The Gateway Cheat (2017)
Mark Sheeky, The Cavern Of Doors (2017)
Trixi Field, The Meres: Sunset (2017)

All past ArtsLab programmes can be listened to here:
https://www.mixcloud.com/RedShiftRadio/playlists/artslab/

You can listen live during the broadcast on:
www.redshiftradio.co.uk

Monday, February 13, 2017

ArtsLab II Episode 13: Love

ArtsLab produced and presented by Mark Sheeky
Episode 13: Love
Broadcast Monday 13 February 2017, 2pm to 3pm GMT.

ArtsLab II content is typically original, created by artists and poets for each episode.

Mark Sheeky, Love Scene Part 1 (2017)
Matt Nin, Forbidden Love (2017)
Claire Bassi, Soul Writer (2017)
Mark Sheeky, Love Scene Part 2 (2017)
Andrew Williams, Tennis Elbow (2017)
Mark Sheeky, Loneliness And Divine Love (2012)
Mark Sheeky, Love Scene Part 3 (2017)
Lavinia Murray, Ghost Love Poem (2017)
Mark Sheeky, Love Scene Part 4 (2017)
Steven Goodwin, Love (2017)
Mark Sheeky, Love Scene Part 5 (2017)
Steven Goodwin, Fairy Tales Do Come True (2017)
Mark Sheeky, Love Scene Part 6 (2017)
Lavinia Murray, The Catastrophic Distinction Boundary Begins Anew (2017)
Lavinia Murray, Love Poem 3 (2017)
Rebecca Cherrington, Love (2017)
Mark Sheeky, Love Scene Part 7 (2017)
Michael Murray, Reassuring Smile (2017)
Trixi Field, The Storm (2017)
Michael Murray, Valentine Card (2017)
Mark Sheeky, Love Scene Part 8 (2017)
Jonathan Tarplee, Venus Vesuvius (2017)

All past ArtsLab programmes can be listened to here:
https://www.mixcloud.com/RedShiftRadio/playlists/artslab/

You can listen live during the broadcast on:
www.redshiftradio.co.uk

ArtsLab II Episode 12: Dinosaurs

ArtsLab produced and presented by Mark Sheeky
Episode 12: Dinosaurs
Broadcast Monday 6 February 2017, 2pm to 3pm GMT.
Special guest Dean Fraser.

ArtsLab II content is typically original, created by artists and poets for each episode.

Matt Nin, Dino Hunt (2017)
Michael Murray, Relics 1 (2017)
Trixi Field, The Meres: Ripples (2017)
Lavinia Murray, Tyrannosaurus Rex (2017)
Michael Murray, Relics 2 (2017)
Mark Sheeky, Black Food (2017)
Michael Murray, Changeling (2017)
Helen Kay, Hennosaur Evolution (2017)
Rebecca Cherrington, Dinosaurs (2017)
Steven Goodwin, My Pet Dinosaur (2017)
Mark Sheeky, Folia (2017)
Matt Nin, Jurassic Jam (2017)

All past ArtsLab programmes can be listened to here:
https://www.mixcloud.com/RedShiftRadio/playlists/artslab/

You can listen live during the broadcast on:
www.redshiftradio.co.uk

Monday, January 30, 2017

ArtsLab II Episode 11: Words

ArtsLab produced and presented by Mark Sheeky
Episode 11: Words
Broadcast Monday 30 January 2017, 2pm to 3pm GMT.

ArtsLab II content is typically original, created by artists and poets for each episode.

Mark Sheeky, Interlude 1 (2017)
Michael Murray, John Paston Writes Home (2017)
Mark Sheeky, Interlude 2 (2017)
Mark Sheeky, Interlude 3 (2017)
Lavinia Murray, Alphabet Into The Past (2017)
Mark Sheeky, Interlude 4 (2017)
Mark Sheeky, The Dark Cliffs (2017)
Steven Goodwin, Words (2017)
Michael Murray, Conversation At A Bus Stop (2017)
Tony Banks, In The Dark (1979)
David Lynch, Strange And Unproductive Thinking (2011)
Rebecca Cherrington, Words (2017)
Mark Sheeky, Interlude 5 (2017)
Lavinia Murray, A Vat Of Verbals (2017)
Matt Nin, Conversation (2017)

All past ArtsLab programmes can be listened to here:
https://www.mixcloud.com/RedShiftRadio/playlists/artslab/

You can listen live during the broadcast on:
www.redshiftradio.co.uk

Monday, January 23, 2017

ArtsLab II Episode 10: Mountains

ArtsLab produced and presented by Mark Sheeky
Episode 10: Mountains
Broadcast Monday 23 January 2017, 2pm to 3pm GMT.
Special guest Lavinia Murray.

ArtsLab II content is typically original, created by artists and poets for each episode.

Rick Wakeman, Hall Of The Mountain King (2012)
Trixi Field, The Meres: Ice Blossom (2017)
Helen Kay, Swiss Rail Holiday (2017)
Mark Sheeky, The Train (2005)
Mark Sheeky, Himalaya (2017)
Mark Sheeky, The Marble Steps (2008)
Rebecca Cherrington, Mountains (2017)
Steven Goodwin, Mountcushmore (2017)
Mark Sheeky, The Dark Cliffs (2017)

All past ArtsLab programmes can be listened to here:
https://www.mixcloud.com/RedShiftRadio/playlists/artslab/

You can listen live during the broadcast on:
www.redshiftradio.co.uk

Friday, January 20, 2017

Art Symphonies

So many new ideas in progress! Such excitement. I've said this before, art should have structure and I'm working on new art shows that create curated structural forms that reflect two-dimensional art works like subtle rhymes in poetry to create new things, new feelings and presentations in shows that are multi-sensory, multi-emotional and multi-media. I aim to combine 2D art, words, music and other senses into experiences that transform and convey in exciting ways. I'm now reformulating all of my works towards this.

In music, fragments are often written here and there, picked up, notes, transformed, and then these simple motifs are expanded. I started to do with in images right at the beginning, inspired then partly by fractals, in paintings like The Migraine Tree, where the eye repeats in different forms throughout the image.

This is internal structure, unified by the eye, which varies. It is always important to see the whole structure of an artwork, and an art exhibition (event, show, creation, there is no adequate word for these things) is exactly the sort of thing that demands a global structure. It is exhibitions that use this global structure which I will develop this year.

This is an extension of a process. All of my exhibitions so far have been themed, and from the start I have instinctively aimed to create structures like this; The Seventh Circle exhibition, for example, divided the venue into Heaven and Hell with a curtain, each half playing different sounds, heavenly and hellish music, each half lit differently too. The Phenomenology of Love extended the concept to create many different areas for the paintings, each lit and sounding differently and with different decor.

From now on I'll fix and then create works specifically for these concepts, and so begin to build a new class of art symphonies.

Monday, January 16, 2017

ArtsLab II Episode 9: Blue

ArtsLab produced and presented by Mark Sheeky
Episode 9: Blue
Broadcast Monday 16 January 2017, 2pm to 3pm GMT.
Special guest Mark Willcox.

ArtsLab II content is typically original, created by artists and poets for each episode.

Mark Sheeky, What Is Blue (2017)
J.S. Bach, Unknown Organ Work (?)
Claire Bassi, January (2017)
Mark Sheeky, Homage To A Dying Art (2017)
André Popp arr. Mark Sheeky, Love Is Blue (1967)
Mark Sheeky, Love Is Red (2017)
Rebecca Cherrington, Blue (2017)
Plaything, Steven Goodwin (2017)
Trixi Field, The Meres: Boats (2017)
Mark Sheeky, Shiny Blue Ball (2017)
Blue Oyster Cult, The Reaper (1976)

All past ArtsLab programmes can be listened to here:
https://www.mixcloud.com/RedShiftRadio/playlists/artslab/

You can listen live during the broadcast on:
www.redshiftradio.co.uk

Monday, January 09, 2017

ArtsLab II Episode 8: Birth

ArtsLab produced and presented by Mark Sheeky
Episode 8: Birth
Broadcast Monday 9 January 2017, 2pm to 3pm GMT.

ArtsLab II content is typically original, created by artists and poets for each episode.

Deborah Edgeley, Birth Essence (2017)
Mark Sheeky, Intrauterine (2017)
Mark Sheeky, Raw (2016)
Mark Sheeky, William Blake And The Bird (2015)
Rory Coward, Lightning Tree (2017)
The Settlers, The Lightning Tree (1973)
Rebecca Cherrington, Birth (2017)
Helen Kay, Hammock (2016)
Trixi Field, The Meres And The Damselflies (2017)
Marilyn Monroe, Happy Birthday Mr. President (1962)
The Beatles, Birthday (1968)
Steven Goodwin, Birth (2017)
David Bowie, Kooks (1971)

All past ArtsLab programmes can be listened to here:
https://www.mixcloud.com/RedShiftRadio/playlists/artslab/

You can listen live during the broadcast on:
www.redshiftradio.co.uk

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

On Free Music

Right now I';m working on a new album, currently titled Cycles and Shadows. I've listened to a lot of music over the past year, practised piano a lot, and listened to, written and read a lot of contemporary poetry; and these things have all influence this album which is partly Romantic in style but part highly modern, almost like free-form poetry as music. All of this has inspired me to write a few words about music creation methods, but also contemporary music generally... onward!

The curse of modern music is rhythmic regularity, mechanical regularity due to the digital sequencer and drum machine. This perfect regularity kills expression. This can be useful as a contrast for natural organic rhythms and emotions, but even in such circumstances the cold emotionlessness of regular rhythm would always appear bright, jarring, unnatural compared to an organic performance.

Regular rhythms are felt by all of us and all things, and intercepted by others. In music we use this to synchronise with each other and the emotions of the musician, the composer and the performer. Thus the rhythm forms a base track, like a spinal thread from which the other emotions grow and branch. All organic rhythms are imperfect in terms of exact and accurate timing because biology could never evolve a perfect structure of this form. Evolution demands variety to exist. Evolution demands, if you believe in perfection, imperfection.

Removing the key element of rhythm and replacing it with electronic timing forces all other emotions to strive towards this metallic track, and always be inferior. The only alternative in such a situation is to create digital attachments, new electronic parts that match, but this process can only go so far. A wholly electronic track would be completely emotionally removed from biological rhythms, and the connection between music artist and audience is broken. In such circumstances the creator and the audience alike now become consumers, aspirants to the digital perfection, worshippers of the electronic god.

At this point the creator is no longer a master, but a slave to the machine. This is evident in reality; the club disc-jockeys who manipulate the timing of tracks, blending one into another are not creators, but like rocks in the river of sound, manipulators. The same is true of early electronic musicians such as Tangerine Dream, who manipulate live regular rhythms rather that create. It is the manipulation of this existing digital stream that creates the emotional flow, rather than the composition.

The true art of music is in its creation because art is about human to human communication. Art is not machine to human communication. A machine can tell us nothing about what it is to be human (although it could tell us about what it is like to be a machine! A valueless concept! A rock that informs us about being a rock is not an artist). However, each individual has their own definition of what art is, so perhaps those who consider everything art can consider all art good and then end this argument in an aesthetic bliss!

Art must ultimately be a form of human to human communication through a communication medium, and that medium should be as direct as possible. Pressing the START button on a rhythm machine is creating art only as much as the act of pressing, and then only when that act is known by the listeners. The sound that comes out of the machine is not remotely art! If the machine happened to turn on by itself, would random chance, would fate then be an artist? No! So, in this case it is the act that is the art, not the music. As so it is with electronic music generally.

Manipulating a flow of electronic music then makes the manipulation, not the music, the art. This is also evident; bands since Tangerine Dream focus on the live performance element, and produce large volumes of music because the music content is not the art as much its modulation by the operators. The manipulation is the only emotional content, and so the music is weak, and difficult to discern emotionally.

In terms of sonic quality, music is very mechanical now, and so emotionless and therefore artistically weak; it convey less and less deeply. Even voices are becoming purely electronic. One day perhaps, the music of the early twenty-first century will be seen as twee and emotionally vacant as Victorian poetry, which because of its rhyming structures suffered the exact problems that digital music suffers from today. Victorians of the time didn't think so, however!

The true artist much be empowered to create and express emotionally. The power of classical music comes from the very fact that each player is a human, expressing their own feeling. This is a key revelation. In pop music, the emotional expression comes from the players and the producer, but less people overall than in an orchestra (less people isn't always worse, of course, often the most expressive music is a solo performance).

There is hope. Since the late 20th century, music has become digital. In some ways this quantises emotion and so can be a constraining factor, even now in a "32-bit 96khz" world people talk about the superiority of analogue recording, of course this is true, yet in a simple digital recording of a symphony, the emotion is evident and need not be a constraining factor. Even in a pure digital sequencer, we can move it, we can change it to make it evocative. This has always been the job of the musician, to give some soul to a mechanical instrument.

Digital tools can be used, or developed, to represent emotions, and given evocative voices.

The biggest enemy of expression is fixed temporal regularity, fixed volume, and fixed repetition. No emotion repeats. Such laziness must be avoided.

The root of art is emotion and its birth. It is time to seek and develop new ways to create music in the way that visual art is created; with the concept first, and the music to grow from it like a drama, or temporal sculpture.

Errors and omissions frankly probable. This is one of several musings on life the universe and everything listed in the Writing and Essays section of www.marksheeky.com