Einstein on the Beach

I think it was 35 years ago when I was introduced to "Einstein on the Beach". Of course that was a vinyl recording. At the time, I knew the work was conceived and presented as an opera, but obsessed by music as I was then (and still am) I did not give the visual and performance side of the work importance it clearly deserved. All this changed at the Barbican when I was mesmerised by the performance, and the staging.

It is billed as a five hour work, and there is no interval, but patrons are encouraged (allowed?) to come and go as they please. I fully expected to take part in this flow, and had intended to leave the auditorium for refreshments and breaks whenever necessary.

However, once the work started I was transfixed, fascinated and mesmerised. Apart from standing up occasionally to look into the orchestra pit I did not leave my seat in 4 1/2 hours. That is a real testament to the power of the piece and the performance, because in no way did I feel that I was undergoing an endurance test, or a marathon. The same cannot be said about the performers on stage. The dancers showed incredible stamina. The whole ensemble were as inspirational and committed as they were joyful.

The audience were by and large very attentive, although there were annoying chats taking place here and there around me. At one stage I had to implore some audience members behind me to keep quiet. Thankfully they complied.

I learnt a great deal about Opera experiencing this work at the Barbican, because I gained a vast extra understanding and enjoyment of the piece as a result of the staging. This made me realise how limited I have been in attempting to understand and enjoy opera through audio recordings and radio broadcasts alone. Of course, it is usually very expensive to go to the opera and often there is a kind of formal stuffiness that I do not enjoy, although this was not the case at the Barbican that night.

Nevertheless, in the future I shall pay much more attention to staging and theatre when investigating and enjoying Opera, even if the change I make is as small as buying DVDs instead of CDs.

I had a wonderful seat at the Barbican (that was expensive!) on Row C right in the middle, and I know that contributed to my enjoyment and the whole experience. It was seeing that seat on the website and thinking it had my name on it that encouraged me to go, weeks ago when I booked the ticket.

The work started at 6 PM, and I was busy in my studio beforehand, so when it came to be time to leave I felt irritated and frustrated that I had committed (by buying the ticket) to the performance that evening. To be honest, I didn't really want to go in that moment.

This was yet another moment in my life where something that I didn't really want to do it turned out to be incredibly important and inspirational. Still learning that, after all these years and some many positive experiences.

I felt I had waited 35 years for this performance. It was worth the wait.




I had a breakfast meeting recently with Laura, who manages Emmy the Great and she turned me on to "Walls". I bought their new LP "Coracle" and their previous self titled LP both of which are nice pieces of vinyl on Kompakt.

I really like the fact that Kompakt giveaway a CD in each vinyl package. Wonderful. And I have really been enjoying the music of "Walls".

Julia Holter "Ekstasis"

I have played this CD several times in the last few days, and it’s really become part of my life. I was not familiar with the work until I read about this CD on Boomkat but I’m very happy to have discovered her music, even though I am late to the party.

Incredibly accessible yet enjoyably left-field. Really good stuff. Read a review on the BBC website
here. Check out a Guardian review here.

Mini RBMA Italy

Or, to give it its full title, Red Bull Music Academy BassCamp Italy.

Some pics I took

I was invited as a "guest lecturer" to this mini Academy and was delighted to accept. The guest lectures at the Academy that I've been involved in are essentially a chat on the couch with a really nice supportive and well-informed person about music and my career. Then a question and answer session. This makes it fun, and relaxed, and easy to do. So of course I was delighted to accept.

I had such a great time at the Academy in Madrid last year that I asked the Italians if I could stay for the whole weekend to hang out, and to hear the other guest lecturers (Patrick Pulsinger and Morgan Geist) and, to meet up again with Tiger and Woods who I first met at a Red Bull event in Berlin, where I was blown away by their performance skills. They were gracious enough to put me up for the whole weekend and I had a great time.

The collective energy of the group is something remarkable and a wonderful positive energy feedback arises with lots of mutual inspiration and some great collaborations.

I hope I offer something to this collective energy. I know I take away a great deal from it. I know it helps me to raise my game, it refreshes me creatively, it restoreth my soul.

So a very big thank you to all the participants and the Red Bull Italy culture team Francesca, Laura, Damien and to Damir who was my kindly host, and who made my chat on the couch so enjoyable and relaxed.

I have had a few different projects with the Red Bull music team over the last couple of years, and each one has been fantastic in its own way. The whole thing always seems to be all about the music, full of music lovers, musicians, DJs, producers and incredibly knowledgeable music fans. Wonderful.

I wish all applicants the best of luck for the Academy in New York later on this year.


The Smile Sessions



Listening to a preview of the new Gliss album - “Langsom Dans”

Screen Shot 2012-03-01 at 23.13.21

Great sounds and performances. Sad and beautiful songs. I would love to have mixed this one too. (I had the pleasure of mixing Devotion Implosion). It says on the streaming page “
The best description of the band is late night fucked up art pop” and that is a good description I feel.


Flying Lotus. Paddy turned me onto this when we visited Warp last week. At first I found it really scary (!) but as Stephen said - after you have listened to it a few times it becomes a nice inviting blanket. Weird huh? And good.

Electronics Without Tears

F C Judd. Inspirational. He built very early synths (poss. before Moog and Buchla)


Patience (After Sebald)

The Caretaker. Very evocative and mesmerising. Lots of piano from Schubert’s WinterReise. Lovely

A. Human

After a positive meeting with them, it was great to hear A. Human at the Stag’s Head. Great energy! I took some pics with the APS IXUS.

We Have Band

Great to see/hear WHB at Kings College Student Union. Really good to meet the band i the week of the LP release. I took my niece, and she loved it.

Wild Palms

Support at the Garage. Heard two good new songs, but had to rush off afterwards.

The Elixir of Love

The Elixir of Love @ Colisseum London. ENO. The Lead, Nemorino, and his understudy were too ill, so the part was sung in Italian by another singer, Edgaras Montvidas, - to brilliant comic and dramatic effect. Enjoyed this immensely (and I didn’t expect to)

White Rabbits

White Rabbits at Koko. Better than the record. Last time I saw them I didn’t really get it. This time I was very impressed. Every time I am at Koko I remember what an amazingly beautiful venue it is.


Yeasayer at Heaven. I am a huge fan of the record, but the gig didn’t move me so much. Maybe because Heaven was so crowded and I was right at the back? Not my favourite venue anyway.

Depeche Mode at RAH

Really enjoyed DM at the Royal Albert Hall.
I took some pics on my iPhone. Available here
Also a couple of Audio Boos. Applause. Alan and Martin

Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Yeah Yeah Yeah’s “It’s Blitz” - I didn’t really get this record. It seems so scary loud, unlistenably loud somehow for me. No real bottom end. I was disappointed, because I have a great admiration and respect for the people involved. Perhaps I just need to try harder.