Petrichor, Pierre and Halim

The celebrations for the release of Front And Follow’s 10th anniversary compilation Lessons continues with the unveiling of a new film by Scott Byrne, featuring extracts from Howlround, Swine, BLKwBEAR, TVO and Time Attendant. Having previously made films for Kemper Norton and Exotic Pylon, Scott’s latest is now streaming over at The Quietus. Or you can just watch it here. Either works And don’t forget to order your copy of Lessons here if you haven’t already done so!

Also this week, I would like to here implore you to support this online petition to preserve the home and studio of pioneering composer Pierre Henry, who passed away earlier this year at the age of 89. As the preparations continue for the celebration of what would have been his 90th birthday in Paris (and I’m rather hoping to be able to bring you some highlights from their weekend of events) have a read of this fascinating article from RBMA, including some beautiful photographs of this most unique of living and working spaces. I’d also recommend setting aside an hour and treating yourself to a viewing of The Art Of Sounds, if you haven’t seen it yet –  a fascinating 2007 portrait of the great man at home and at work. It’s a humbling thought that he was still composing daily until just a few months ago. A remarkable life and an incredible body of work, surely this is one legacy we should be falling over ourselves to try and preserve?!

And finally, I must once again on a sad note once with the news from Kent, Ohio of the passing of pioneering Egyptian composer Halim El-Dabh. You might remember I interviewed him last summer and we talked about his decades-long career that included changing the face of electronic music for ever in the year of 1944, time spent at the Columbia-Princeton Centre for Electronic Music; and the release of his latest album Sanza Time, a brand new electronic work produced in his 95th year. Possessed of a warm and gentle personality that shone through even down a slightly temperamental Skype line, Halim uttered the first of many chuckles when I suggested that after eight or more decades spent travelling the world and making pioneering music, he had probably earned himself a retirement. ‘I’ve got a whole big job ahead of me!’, he laughed, before going on to reveal the details of yet another commission he was then working on; ‘Still there’s ahead of me so much to know’!

I have mentioned Halim’s work often to groups of students and workshop participants when travelling around various academic institutions talking about the history of electronic music and creative use of sound; and I always got a collective intake of breath whenever my audience discovered that the pioneer behind the 1944 ‘Wire Recorder Piece’ was still composing! Let us hope that by the time you and I reach the age of 95 we will also be able to say with confidence that ‘there’s still so much to know’. Bravo, Halim, and RIP.

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