• Eddie Peake introduces Concrete Pitch exhibition at White Cube

    By | February 7, 2018

    Featuring legendary jungle pirate radio station Kool London (FKA Kool FM).

    Artist Eddie Peake’s new solo exhibition Concrete Pitch is now open at London’s White Cube gallery in Bermondsey. Featuring new painting, performance and installation work, the centerpiece is the Kool London pirate radio station broadcasting from a booth inside the space.

    A radio station might seem like an odd thing to have in a gallery, but Peake was a regular listener of the station – formerly known as Kool FM – in the early ’90s. It broadcasted illegally from various East London tower blocks and was instrumental in the development of the capital’s early jungle and D&B scenes.

    One of three sound sources in the space, the exhibition also features new sculpture Stroud Green Road, which includes speakers, amps, Technics turntables, CDJs and a mixer.

    Watch Peake and happy hardcore legend and Kool London DJ Billy “Daniel” Bunter explain what you can expect in the short video above and find out more about the show here.

    Concrete Pitch runs until 8th April 2018 at White Cube Bermondsey.

  • Eddie Peake installs legendary jungle pirate station Kool FM into White Cube show

    By | January 30, 2018

    Lock down your gallery aerials.

    Eddie Peake is setting up a pirate radio station inside the White Cube gallery for his new solo exhibition Concrete Pitch, opening in February.

    DJs from Kool London will broadcast daily, live and direct, with Peake working and performing in the space for the duration of the show.

    Kool London, formerly Kool FM, was one of the biggest pirate radio stations in the UK during the 1990s. Known for its role in championing jungle and drum&bass, the station soundtracked Peake’s youth, transmitting airwaves from rooftops across London’s Tower Hamlets.

    Concrete Pitch will also feature paintings, sculpture, installations and sound recordings, including Stroud Green Road, which combines speakers and DJ equipment with objects sourced from local shops and abstractions cast in jesmonite.

    During the show, Peake’s Vinyl Factory collaborations and his entire HYMN co-label catalogue – including the recent To Corpse EP and a new 12″ from Peake and Kool FM – will be available at White Cube.

    The exhibition follows Volcano Extravaganza, a 2017 festival of performance art set across Naples’ renaissance courtyards and the beaches of Stromboli – curated by Peake, presented by Fiorucci Art Trust and The Vinyl Factory.

    Concrete Pitch runs form 7th February – 8th April 2018 at White Cube Bermondsey. Head here for more info.

  • The 10 most collectable records of 2015

    By | November 30, 2015

    We begin our end of year review with a look at the 10 most collectable records of 2015.

    Over the next two weeks we’ll be looking back at the year in vinyl, from the best artwork to the most important reissues, the strongest 7″s to the most complete LPs. As we did last year, we’re starting things off with something a little less clean-cut. Here, more than in any other list, it’s important to set out our terms.

    There are many factors which make a record collectable, and many reasons why those factors will mean more or less to every individual (just take a look at our number one…) The first thing to say is that rather than rank these releases as a definitive list, we’re taking each as an opportunity to discuss a different aspect of what we deem to be collectable, and by extension, valuable.

    The most ostentatious mark of value is, of course, monetary. Given that we’re dealing with this year’s new releases and reissues, the time period in which a record can accrue value is relatively short, so any increase should be treated accordingly. While some records will look to artificially create value through limited runs or extravagant packaging, others will simply go up in value through a combination of quality and demand. The most desirable Record Store Day releases are a good example of the former, Arca’s self-released 12″ which topped last year’s list, a good example of the latter. In every case, an inflated re-sale price tag can only tell you so much.

    Collectability can also be defined in terms of the desirability of an individual object for a specific fan base; a record that acts as a trophy or fills some unassailable void (like Ringo’s No. 0000001 copy of the White Album). By the same token, rather than looking at records as totems, collectability can also be seen in terms of series, where a completed set represents more than the sum of its parts.

    Being confined to the last twelve months, we’ve also taken into account some more timely trends (perhaps most strikingly where vinyl is concerned with video game soundtracks), nodding to the movements which have seen a revival of interest among DJs, and elevating the artists who have helped define them. There is really no point discussing collectable records in a vacuum.

    One final word before we start. The records we’ve picked below are subjectively collectable, a list of ten releases we believe to retain some intrinsic value. In doing this, we have sought to keep these choices as accessible as possible, opting (for the most-part) against high-end box sets in favour of ten records with ten unique stories to tell.


    Catch up on all our end of year lists:

    The 50 best vinyl LPs of 2015
    The 30 best vinyl reissues of 2015
    The 20 best 12″s of 2015
    The 20 best 7″s of 2015
    The 20 best record sleeves of 2015
    The Year in vinyl tech
    The 10 best vinyl soundtracks of 2015


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    10. Ragnar Kjartansson / The National

    A Lot Of Sorrow

    (4AD)

    If a pragmatist gauges collectability by monetary value – both on release and secondary markets – then, pragmatically speaking, A Lot Of Sorrow isn’t especially collectable. Retailed at £120, it’s not worth an awful lot more six months on, especially in relative terms. But concept can be as alluring as capitalism, and it’s on qualitative grounds that A Lot Of Sorrow scores points.

    The recording captures the collaboration between Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson and The National, who teamed up in 2013 to play the track ‘Sorrow’ repeatedly and continuously for six hours at MoMA. The marathon concert interrogated the potential for repetition to produce “sculptural presence within sound”.

    The release echoes that concept on vinyl – with ‘Sorrow’ pressed down 99 times, across nine, clear, identically packaged LPs; all housed within a functional acrylic box. Like Trevor Jackson’s FORMAT, A Lot Of Sorrow follows the archival turn in contemporary art but through near-laughable obsessiveness it pushes object fetishisation one step further.


    FrameShot4 copy

    9. Christian Marclay / Various Artists

    Live at White Cube

    (The Vinyl Factory / White Cube)

    Thereʼs nothing more collectable than a series, particularly when every sleeve has been hand-screen printed to designs by Christian Marclay. Released in conjunction with the artistʼs solo show at White Cube earlier this year, the series features performances from the worldʼs leading experimental musicians cut direct to disc in the gallery and pressed in editions of 300. Our mobile pressing plant, The VF Press was on hand to produce the records, which are among the first to have ever been pressed live in a gallery.

    Collectable in so far as youʼll need all fifteen to complete the series, here are records you could witness being performed and pressed for free before purchase. OK, we’re a little biased but weʼve included this series to highlight that collectable need not mean prohibitive expense nor outlandish novelty.

    Documents of a process of experimentation and improvisation, a number of specific releases also stand out, notably Thurston Mooreʼs collaboration with Christian Marclay, which rekindles a creative partnership first forged in the spaces of downtown NYCʼs no wave scene in the early ʻ80s and has sold for £70 since.

    And far from an anachronistic practice, the setʼs emphasis on contemporary music also sees Mica Leviʼs return to composition after her score to Jonathan Glazerʼs Under The Skin won a BAFTA at the start of the year, and Ryoji Ikeda collaborate with Marclay on the final 12” of the series. The VF Press was also in operation at Barbican for Doug Aitken’s Station To Station where Savages, Nozinja and Giogrio Moroder were produced in a similar fashion.


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    8. Rupture

    Israel Suite / Dominate En Bel

    (Digger’s Digest, French Attack)

    This year’s lavish reissue of holy grail vocal jazz fusion album Israel Suite / Dominate En Bel is an instant collector’s item. Recorded in France in ’73, but never commercially released, the original has held a mythical position for over four decades. No one knows how many copies were originally made, but you can bet your needles it’s less than 100 – which goes some way to explain why a first pressing has never traded on Discogs and why dealers push four digits for it.

    The reissue, a joint production from Digger’s Digest and French Attack, brought this rare groove masterpiece back within reach, but with just 500 released, it sold in a flash. With demand still far outweighing supplying, and no sign of a repress, this one’s a wise investment.

    Other reissue collectables this year include Mariah’s absurdly cult album Utakata No Hibi, and ‘Disco Shitan’, a super rare Italian cosmic disco banger from the ‘70s. We also reckon Athens Of The North’s 100 copy reissue of soul burner ‘Thousand Years/Party Time’ has the makings of a rarity, just like the revered father pressing.


    shit and shine2

    7. Shit & Shine

    Chakinʼ

    (Rock Is Hell Records)

    Craig Clouse rarely does things by the book. Following Shit & Shineʼs stellar showing in 2014’s top 100 records list, this yearʼs contribution comes in the form of five differently coloured, hand-printed editions of Chakinʼ, which originally appearedon just 250 cassette tapes. As collectable as those are is, weʼre here to talk about the vinyl, and why Chakinʼ is a perfect example of how hand-crafted anomalies can be both collactable in themselves and relative to the market.

    Not shackled by round numbers, there are 407 copies of Chakinʼ out there, each with variously different sleeve patterns. Hereʼs the breakdown: Green background print, limited to 149 copies. Green/Grey background print, limited to 3 copies. Green/Yellow background print, limited to 8 copies. Grey background print, limited to 99 copies. Yellow background print, limited to 148 copies.

    While ‘Green/grey’ is obviously the combination to covet, the concept is charmingly shambolic, somewhat random and wonderfully egalitarian. While weʼre not suggesting Shit & Shine super-fans are going to go out and complete the set, this kind of variation lends an intrinsic value to each individual object. Needless to say, the record is also heisse scheisse, and the kind of thing that should sky-rocket when S&S finally get the credit they deserve.


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    6. Chiwoniso

    Zvichapera

    (Nyami Nyami)

    French label Nyami Nyami debuted earlier this year with the final recording of late Zimbabwean singer and mbira player Chiwoniso Maraire who sadly died aged 38, at the peak of her career. Weeks before she passed, Chiwoniso stopped by a studio in Harare where she and fellow musician Jacob Mafuleni, captured an enchanting, stripped-down take of ‘Zvichapera’ – a song popularised by Thomas Mapfumo.

    “It was one of the most emotionally intense sessions I’ve ever experienced,” writes Nyami Nyami label head Antoine Rajon in the record’s liner notes.

    The swan song, remix from her brother Tendai Marare (one half of Shabazz Palaces) and silk screened artwork all make for a fitting and beautiful testament to the artist. Totting up those elements and a limited run of 350, we’re taking a punt that Zvichapera will mature into a sought-after item.


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    5. David Wise

    Battletoads (‘Dark Queen’ edition)

    (Iam8bit)

    Digital composers of the ‘90s introduced teens to trippy and daring electronic music while they mindlessly bashed buttons on the NES and Sega Megadrive. It might have been background noise then, but it’s a digging treasure trove in 2015.

    Right up there is David Wise’s glitchy soundtrack – featuring the best pause screen music ever – for the impossibly difficult 8-bit beat’em up Battletoads. Iam8bit pressed up the soundtrack in a limited batch of 300 and sold it exclusively at the San Diego Comic Con back in July. That ‘Dark Queen’ gatefold variant – which plays music when you open it (like a massive birthday card) – now attracts three digits on second hand markets. It’s since been repressed without frills in a generous run of 3000.

    Other gaming collectables this year include Yozo Koshiro’s incredible Streets Of Rage score on Data Discs, Minecraft on Ghostly, Mondo’s reissue of the The Last Of Us, and Super Mario by Koji Kondo on 7”.


    tame impala_currents ltd

    4. Tame Impala

    Currents (Limited / numbered edition + prints)

    (Fiction Records, Interscope records)

    One of the yearʼs heavyweight releases and a collectable record in the traditional sense of the word. While loads of releases will throw in a limited edition run with a print or some kind of extra, these only occasionally become truly collectable. Hereʼs how Currents hit that sweet spot. This edition of was sold exclusively online through Get Music in Australia; it features five individually numbered lenticular prints of the album cover and the singles that preceded it; the appetite and size of the bandʼs following (over a million on Facebook alone) dwarfs its five hundred-copy run.
    
    While all these factors create fertile conditions for collectability, thereʼs one simple fact which has elevated Currents in this instance and pushed its value up ten-fold to between £200 and £300 on the re-sale market, and itʼs perhaps the simplest and most over-looked of all. Currents is a damn good record with emphatic artwork that delivers for Tame Impala fans on every level, and this run is the ultimate trophy edition. No wonder 500 was never going to be enough.


    Len Leise edits

    3. Len Leise

    Edits 001

    (Len Leise Edits)

    One place where value and rarity tends to stay constant is on the international balearic underground. Not so much a genre as a state of mind (once defined simply as anything that came out of Daniele Baldelliʼs record bag a little slower than intended), this brand of cosmic, afro-infused downtempo dance music has played a major role in 2015, both in the glut of reissues weʼve seen from labels like Music For Memory and Emotional Response but also in new music pushed by the likes of Stump Valley and, of course Len Leise.

    A relative enigma, here is an example of a year making a man. Culminating in his first LP Lingua Franca released on International Feel and a stunning afro-dance mix for us, 2015 began with the quiet release of Edits 001 in a run of 150 hand-numbered copies. Doing the rounds in no time, these two tracks sent the price of this 12” spiralling – a modern balearic rarity for a scene of seasoned collectors and DJs experienced enough to have a accrued a fair bit of disposable income.

    Such is the appetite for new music in the scene, and such is the international flavour of its cognoscenti – from Growing Bin in Hamburg to Music From Memory in Amsterdam and Claremont 56 in London – this 12” is a great example of the workings of a global online community in action. There may be a repress in the wind, but for a self-released 12” from an unknown artist to push £70 (itʼs never sold for less than £40) on Discogs is quite something. And if Lingua Franca charts well this winter, you know where those figures are heading.


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    2. PM

    Sweet Thrash

    (Paul McCartney Self-Released)

    The tide somewhat turned on Record Store Day this year, with labels, consumers, even record shops, knocking the annual festival. There’s a feeling (amongst some) that majors have co-opted the event: clogging pressing plants with pointless and novelty reissues – that are then turned out on eBay for dizzying profit.

    In the thick of it is this ‘secret’, self-released Paul McCartney record, with two previously unreleased mixes of ‘Hope For The Future’. Pressed as hand scrawled white labels only, selected shops in the UK and US received a single copy and were instructed to quietly file it away. No prior advertising, nor was it listed with the rest of the RSD releases; presumably the idea was that genuine fans riffling Beatles’ racks would find the record, rather than grasping market flippers.

    But with only 100 copies pressed down, it’s become risibly sought-after and inevitably invited three figure sums on Discogs and eBay alike. One fan even splashed £865 on it. Perhaps the insert card with details of how to download a ‘3D printable Paul’ figurine was one temptation too far. Easily one of most valuable records of the year (in price gain at least), completist McCartney fans can visit Discogs to fight over a copy. That’ll be $1,500 please.


    lee scratch perry - i am paint

    1. Residence La Revolution (Richard Russell & Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry)

    I Am Paint

    (RLR)

    Buying records can be an awfully passive affair. The simplicity with which you can access records online is both liberating and a little worrying. The period of contemplation between desiring a record and buying it is often brief, card details typed in and confirmation sent before youʼve had a chance to ask yourself whether you really wanted it. Sometimes, the answer would have been no, had there been any more resistance along the way.

    Thereʼs a little more activity involved in getting hold of rare records, particularly new releases (although Warp last year put pay to that by entering collectors into a ballot for new limited edition of Syro). None however, have required such active participation as Richard Russell and Lee ‘Scratch’ Perryʼs I Am Paint, where prospective ʻbuyersʼ were tasked with creating something of equatable value to be bartered for a copy of the record.

    Beyond the fact that the record itself was limited to two hundred and fifty uniquely (and literally) hand and foot-painted sleeves by Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, the project has spawned a series of unique artworks that are more or less collectable in their own right.

    Profiled on Richard Russellʼs tumblr, some of the most creative barters include a 3D printed teapot, a painted brick proclaiming itself as ‘I Am Stone’ and our personal favourite from Lee Waller, who first sent a letter suggesting he trade his own birthday for a copy, only to have his attempt denied for not having ʻmadeʼ his own birthday. Resubmitting both his letter and XLʼs response as a single image seems to have done the trick.

    An original, generous and endearing project that turns the concept of value, monetary or otherwise, on its head, itʼs been impossible to look beyond ʻI Am Paintʼ for this list. Thankfully, there isnʼt a single one up for re-sale on Discogs, making it not only the most collectable record of the year, but one with which those who own it may never want to part.


    Illustration by Hector Plimmer

  • How Christian Marclay redefined what an exhibition can be

    By | November 20, 2015

    Thurston Moore, Mica Levi and more join Christian Marclay to discuss his ground-breaking show at White Cube earlier this year.

    “We’ve broken the silence”. Maverick sound artist, conceptual heavyweight and experimental DJ Christian Marclay has never been afraid to be loud. From pioneering a disruptive form of turntablism as part of NYC’s downtown scene in the ’70s and ’80s to capturing the world’s attention with his timeless a/v collage The Clock, Marclay has always thrived on performance and improvisation.

    Taking over London’s White Cube gallery for three months earlier this year, he created a productive, experimental environment that facilitated that same passion for disruption. Artists and musicians were invited to perform improvised works in the gallery space in response to the exhibition, with London Sinfonietta on hand to interpret their radical scores. The VF Press was installed in the space to press those performances live in the space, and Coriander Press were invited to realise Marclay’s designs on hundreds and hundreds of record sleeves a week.

    More than a static gallery, White Cube was transformed into a hub of activity, production and collaboration that really did break the silence. In the words of Steve Beresford “I think that really redefines what an exhibition is”.

    Speaking with Marclay and the project’s key collaborators, including Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore, Mica Levi fresh from her BAFTA winning score to Jonathan Glazer’s Under The Skin, experimental saxophonist John Butcher and pioneering improvisor Steve Beresford, this film captures the essence of creativity and verve than coursed through the show.

    Over the duration of the exhibition, fifteen limited edition hand-screen printed 12″s were produced, documenting performances from the world’s leading experimental musicians. Alongside those featured in the film are live recordings from Ryoji Ikeda, Okkyung Lee, David Toop, Laurent Estoppey, Elliott Sharp, Mark Sanders, Nicolas Collins, Roger Turner, Elaine Mitchener, Gunter Muller and Rie Nakajima.

    Special thanks to Jon Lowe at White Cube for providing extra footage without which this film would not have been possible.

  • Ryoji Ikeda and Christian Marclay collaborate on limited edition vinyl

    By | June 9, 2015

    Unique compositions by Ryoji Ikeda and Christian Marclay at White Cube are available now on 12″ vinyl.

    Earlier this year, Christian Marclay had London at fever pitch with his major solo exhibition at White Cube. As part of the show, Marclay curated a dynamic programme of live performances, including new works from Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore and a new spine-tingling composition by rising star Mica Levi.

    The programme culminated in a new piece by Japan’s leading composer Ryoji Ikeda, who most recently took over Brewer Street Car Park with supersymmetry, his immersive CERN-inspired exploration of particle physics. A firm highlight in the ten week programme at White Cube, Ikeda’s disorientating performance was recorded live and then pressed by the VF Press to create the A-side of this new record.

    Music by Christian Marclay forms the B-side. In an inspired and personal gesture, Marclay chose to work with vinyl records pressed by The Vinyl Factory from the curated programme. Using two turntables, Marclay manipulated the records to build a percussive and improvised remix of works created during the run of the exhibition.

    With artwork by Christian Marclay himself and screen printing by Coriander Studio, the record is available in a limited edition of 500. Check out the sleeve design below, and order a copy from VF Editions but move fast because this one won’t hang around.

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    Ryoji Marclay 500

  • Ryoji Ikeda to perform a unique composition this weekend at Christian Marclay’s White Cube show

    By | April 10, 2015

    Japan’s leading electronic composer and visual artist Ryoji Ikeda will present a one-off live performance on Saturday 11 April.

    The final weekend of performances in a unique ten week programme curated by Christian Marclay, culminates in a new work performed by revered composer Ryoji Ikeda. Accompanied by musicians from the London Sinfonietta, Ikeda will present a special live performance exploring the sonorities of glass, created in response to one of the key works within Marclay’s White Cube exhibition. The composition will be record direct-to-disc and pressed to vinyl on site by The VF Press, our mobile vinyl pressing plant.

    Later this month The Vinyl Factory will collaborate with Ikeda once more; this time to present the UK premiere of supersymmetry, a major new work that explores music and visual art through mathematics and physics. Taking place at Brewer Street Car Park from 23 April – 31 May, click here for more information about the exhibition.

    See below for details on the final weekend of performances at White Cube:


    Performances / The VF Press
    Saturday 11 April: Ryoji Ikeda

    Sunday 12 April: Elliott Sharp

    Performances start at 3pm and are free but spaces are allocated on a first-come-first-serve basis so arrive early.

    The Vinyl Factory Press is in operation every Thursday and Friday during the exhibition, pressing performances from the previous weekend straight to vinyl.

    Christian Marclay at White Cube
    28 Jan – 12 April
    Tuesday – Saturday, 10am – 6pm and Sunday, 12 – 6pm
    Address: White Cube, 144-152 Bermondsey Street, London SE1 3TQ

  • Watch a trailer for our forthcoming film on Christian Marclay and The VF Press at White Cube

    By | March 26, 2015

    Christian Marclay’s solo show at White Cube has been a feast for the senses.

    With just over three weeks to go until the show closes, we’re excited to share a trailer for our forthcoming shot film documenting the vibrant live performances, collaborations and recordings that have taken place over the last two months.

    With big name musicians like Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore and Mica Levi invited to perform new works in response to the show alongside experimental sound and visual artists like John Butcher and Steve Beresford, the programme has also spawned a series of limited edition vinyl releases, which were cut and then pressed live in the gallery by The VF Press, the world’s first mobile pressing plant.

    Documenting this process, we’ll be talking to Christian Marclay and a number of the musicians and artists involved to capture the show from the inside. With all that still to come, we’ve thrown together a little taste of what’s been happening down in Bermondsey and what you can expect from the rest of the show.

    Christian Marclay at White Cube runs until 12 April at White Cube Bermondsey. Click here for more information on how to visit and a programme of forthcoming performances.

    Credits:

    Filmed by Anoushka Siegler, Kamil Dymek and Pawel Ptak for The Vinyl Factory.
    Additional footage provided by Jon Lowe from White Cube.
    Music composed and performed by Thurston Moore with London Sinfonietta on Sunday 8 February 2015.

  • “There’s something weird about chance in an art gallery”: Mica Levi on composing for new contexts

    By | March 7, 2015

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    From indie star with Micachu & the Shapes to composing the BAFTA nominated score to Jonathan Glazer’s Under The Skin, Mica Levi’s journey in music has been marked by her openness to unconventional collaborations. This spring, she was invited by Christian Marclay to compose a piece in response to his solo show at White Cube, which was performed in the gallery last month with London Sinfonietta and cut direct to disc to be pressed by The VF Press. We caught up with Levi after the show to discuss the project and her approach to scoring music in new and bold contexts.

    “The thing is with a concert hall, if you’re sat down in a seat and you’re watching a concert you can just be in your own zone, you don’t have to stand and you don’t have to distribute your weight”. Nestled quietly in the middle of our short interview following the performance of a new composition at White Cube, this deft observation seems to strike at the heart of Mica Levi’s skill and sensitivity as a composer.

    Half an hour before the performance was due to begin, the White Cube was already fizzing with anticipation. As people crowded around the quartet of music stands in a room encircled by empty beer glasses, the shifting a weight was almost audible. To the left of the stage, cutting engineers were carefully preparing the lathe to cut the performance direct to disc. A large group of people trying to suppress their excitement in an environment that demands silence can create a strange and urgent sense of nervousness. After the success of her acclaimed score to Jonathan Glazer’s psychological thriller Under The Skin, the sense of occasion around the performance of a new work by Mica Levi was high.

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    The act of shifting one’s weight while watching a performance in a crowded but sterile environment is a subtle and highly personal thing. It also, by its very nature creates a sense of tension in the body. It is the physical manifestation of the microtonal levels of tension and release that have come to define her compositional work, both with Under The Skin and here at White Cube.

    “In terms of writing this piece it felt like it was good to just think about the shape of the sound as opposed to thinking about the melodic aspect of it”, she explains, unrolling a crumpled piece of paper on which the gestures of the piece have been laid out for the quartet from her long time collaborators at the London Sinfonietta. The piece itself is a series of surges, textural splashes of sound that throb and fade over close to fifteen minutes to slight yet profound tension and release.

    For this unique performance, Mica had been invited by multi-media artist Christian Marclay to respond to work in his ongoing solo show at London’s White Cube gallery. This performance, as with the full programme of weekend collaborations that have included Thurston Moore, David Toop and Steve Beresford, were cut direct to vinyl, before being pressed and printed in the gallery by The VF Press and Coriander studios.

    glasses

    And yet for all the word-play and audio-visual trickery that have grabbed the headlines for Marclay, it was the exhibition’s more visceral relationship with alcohol and sound that informed Mica’s work. “Basically, I came into the first rehearsal on quite a big hangover”, she explains coyly, “and it’s just a really bad place to be if you’re hungover because it’s full of glass and it’s bright white.” These beer glasses lined up scientifically around the room’s perimeter exude a certain brittle, shatteringly disorientating atmosphere. The sound of glass being kicked along the pavement drifting over from the video pieces in the corridor only add to the potential for anxiety. She describes the piece as “surges, when you’re heads pounding and you feel sick”, or the hungover state of intense vulnerability that can make you aware of even the slightest shift in your surroundings, the slightest change in the distribution of weight.

    Like the manufacturing element at the exhibition, the performance of Levi’s piece last month was a study in process. Certain things about the composition are fixed and certain things are left to chance, and while cello and violin both play a fifth, “it basically depends on what pitch everyone starts to play”. “It can be quite a tonal process of quite an atonal process,” she explains, “but you don’t find out until it’s really loud”.

    mica levi

    During our short discussion it becomes clear that Levi is given to questioning everything, even her own ideas. Often her answers are qualified with ‘I guess’ or ‘I don’t know’; an attractive modesty that also manifests itself as a highly perceptive and interrogative streak. “There’s something weird about the idea of chance in an art gallery that makes me feel a bit uncomfortable,” she muses. “We’re already all here to see something happening by chance, but it really would be more happening by chance if it was happening outside, if you see what I mean? It [the gallery] is already such an organized space…” She breaks off as her phone rings as if proving her point. Interviews can be equally inhibitive to expression.

    However, when you’re cutting direct to disc, even the slightest chance disturbances have consequences. Mica smiles when I mention the screaming baby for whom the tension proved too much, now cut to record and preserved for ever as the incidental backdrop to the performance. “That’s quite an opportunity, I mean it can’t happen that much that a kid lands on a vinyl by mistake like that”.

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    And that’s really the point. In a sense Mica Levi is the perfect artist for this project, bringing an appreciation of collective experience and collaboration (whether planned or unplanned) into the solitary realm of the composer and the staged environment of an art gallery. When the performance had drawn to a close and she was on stage begrudgingly accepting the audience’s applause – big glasses and backpack on – the tension was finally released, the shifting of weight slackened by this diminutive, smiling figure for whom this was just another part of an ongoing process of experimentation. “When you work with other people and you put two things together… if you work well at your bit and the other person gets into their bit, the stuff that occurs that you can never plan, that’s the best stuff”.

    Mica Levi and the London Sinfonietta will have another opportunity to refine the recording when the piece is performed at White Cube this Sunday. It’s free to attend on a first come first served basis and will start at 3pm, but given the popularity of last month’s event we recommend you get down there early. Click here to see the full performance schedule and find out about The VF Press.

    Portrait by Steven Legere.

  • A mobile vinyl factory will press live recordings at Christian Marclay’s White Cube show

    By | January 13, 2015

    Designed by Christian Marclay, The VF Press is the first mobile vinyl factory of its kind.

    The Vinyl Factory Press will be installed at White Cube and used to press live performances from multimedia artist Christian Marclay’s major solo exhibition, which runs from January 28 to April 12.

    Marclay has been experimenting, composing and performing with vinyl records and turntables since his student days in 1979. His early series ‘Recycled Records’ (1980-86) was a tapestry of fragmented and reassembled vinyl records that became hybrid objects that could be played, replete with leaps in tone and sound. Fast forward to the present day and his latest exhibition continues to explore the boundaries of sound and art through vinyl.

    Comprised of a collection of paintings, works on paper and visual installations, the exhibition will be accompanied by a dynamic programme of live performances which will take place on weekend afternoons over the course of the exhibition. A number of high-profile contemporary composers and the London Sinfonietta will perform newly commissioned compositions and improvisation sessions in response to Marclay’s encircling video installations.

    The performances will be recorded direct-to-acetate and for the rest of the week, The Vinyl Factory Press will work away to print each performance in batches of 500 records. Fine-art printmakers Coriander Studio will complete the process on site, crafting unique silk-screen record sleeves to encase the records, which will be sold for £25 each.

    The exhibition and all of the performances are free and open to the public, but arrive early because admission is on a first-come-first-served basis. The show runs from January 28 until Sunday April 12 at White Cube, 144-152 Bermondsey Street.

  • The Vinyl Factory collaborates with Christian Marclay to press records at White Cube show

    By | November 14, 2014

    White Cube to host a series of performances for the sound artist’s forthcoming solo show.

    In late January 2015, The Vinyl Factory will collaborate with White Cube in London to present a major solo exhibition by Christian Marclay. Featuring a collection of all new paintings, works on paper and video installations, the show will be accompanied by a dynamic programme of live performances, with The London Sinfonietta and a series of contemporary sound artists lined up to perform in the space every weekend.

    The performances will then be pressed to vinyl in situ on The Vinyl Factory Press, a mobile pressing plant temporarily installed at White Cube Bermondsey in order to physically hand press the series of improvisations and newly commissioned pieces on record. They will then be housed in silk-screened record sleeves, crafted on site by Coriander Press.

    Running from the 28 January – 12 April 2015 at White Cube in Bermondsey, the exhibition and all of the performances are free and open to the public, but spaces will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.

    You can sign up to receive more information as the full programme is announced by emailing marclay2015@whitecube.com

    Photo: Dan Kassem

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