Composition for The Neon Hieroglyph by Tai Shani, presented as part of the Manchester International Festival. Ergot played an important part in the North West’s agricultural, social and medical history: linked to local crops and breads, outbreaks of ergot poisoning caused mass hallucinations, with the last reported UK incident during the late 1920s in Manchester. The Neon Hieroglyph uses these experiences to spark new visions and alternative realities: a dreamlike CGI journey that takes us from the cellular to the galactic, from the forests to the subterranean, from the real to the almost unimaginable.
Turn Of Phrase is rooted in place and bound by time, yet is simultaneously unstuck in both of these things. The record spans a range of locales; the remote coastal town of Morecambe and its harshly beautiful surroundings, the technicolour glamour of the heart of LA, and London - a city whose maze of contrasting environments and tunnel-visioned bustle offers a totally blank slate.
The music however is anachronistic, technically guided by a strict set of rules based in time, the record’s memories and environments are allowed to wander and overlap. The familiar and the personal swirl and collide within an unfamiliar soundscape. The result acts something like a decaying memory, brief shining moments of clarity fighting against something unclear and untethered.
Weaving an intricately detailed tapestry of meditative, spiritual jazz and dream electronics, Maxwell Sterling’s astonishing second album ‘Laced With Rumour: Loud-Speaker Of Truth’ blooms in the gaps between Don Cherry, Talk Talk and Kara-Lis Coverdale, gently coaxing us into a trance- like reverie where the real and artificial morph into one pulsing organism.