Sonic Journey: Adrian Utley (from Portishead)
sounduk in partnership with the National Trust have commissioned Adrian Utley (from Portishead) to create the latest in its successful Sonic Journeys series, available online from 15 October 2012 at sonicjourneys.co.uk, nationaltrust.org.uk and thespace.org.
For his Sonic Journey, Adrian has created a new piece of music inspired by a personal walk through some of the remarkable ancient trees located on the grounds of the National Trust’s Croft Castle in Herefordshire. These include the 1000 year old ‘Quarry Oak’*, unique triple chestnut avenue** and mysterious ancient hawthorns.
This new track, and an accompanying hand drawn route map, will be available to download for free to smartphones or mp3 players between the 15 October 2012 and 15 October 2013 via www.sonicjourneys.co.uk, www.nationaltrust.org.uk and at the Croft Castle visitor centre. Visitors can then walk the same route to experience the music on personal headphones whilst moving through the landscape that inspired it through the seasons.
As part of the new experimental digital service The Space, Adrian has also collaborated with Portishead film maker John Minton to create a video of the journey so people have the option of experiencing the visual aspect of the work remotely as well as physically in situ.
Thanks to The Space, sounduk have created videos of each of the previous Sonic Journeys plus make the audio downloads and maps available again. These include Sonic Journey: Will Gregory (of Goldfrapp) of a walk in Eastnor Castle Estate, Herefordshire, Micachu’s Sonic Journey around the Barbican Centre, and Sonic Journey: Shackleton & Vengeance Tenfold of music to two train journeys in North and South Devon.
For those that fancy creating their own Sonic Journey and being part of The Space, sounduk are inviting submissions online of music or music and video to journeys through landscapes the public find personally inspiring. So far they have uploaded music to journeys to Kew Gardens in London, Bregenz in Austria, South Western Transylvania and more. sounduk and the National Trust also ran workshops at Croft Castle to enable local GSCE students to create their own music inspired by walks around the Parkland and its veteran trees.
Adrian Utley is most widely known for his work as a member of Portishead. Moving to Bristol in the mid 80’s and heavily into jazz, Adrian played guitar with many great English and American artists and a growing vintage instrument and studio equipment collection spawned a move into production and film work. Portishead formed in 1990 with the first album Dummy released in 1994 followed by Portishead in 1997. Third was released in April 2008. During his career Adrian has recorded with artists as diverse as Patti Smith to Tom Jones, Jeff Beck to Bat For Lashes, and his film work includes Sound by Nic Roeg and Spiders from Mars with David Attenborough. He recently composed a new soundtrack for silent film classic The Passion of Joan of Arc with Will Gregory, performed by a 23 piece orchestra conducted by Charles Hazlewood and is currently working on various commissions for an electric guitar orchestra.
For the National Trust the Sonic Journey: Adrian Utley (from Portishead) commission represents a really exciting and creative response to some of the huge reservoir of ancient trees in the UK. The National Trust is currently undertaking a national survey of all of their ancient trees which include such historically important trees as Newton’s Apple, which triggered the great scientist to create his laws on gravity, the Tolpuddle Martyrs tree, under which the first trade union was formed, or the original Irish Yew, which has produced every other Irish Yew in the world. The hope is that creative responses such as this commission will help the National Trust raise awareness about, and enjoyment of, these extraordinary trees.
*The ‘Quarry Oak’, is an ancient sessile oak is situated on the edge of the quarry where stone was once used to build parts of Croft Castle. The sessile oak is so-named because its acorns are not carried on stalks (peduncles) but directly on the outer twigs (sessiles). This 1,000-year-old oak started its life long before the first Croft Castle was built, and as such it has seen many historical events. Ancient trees like this are a wonderful habitat and highly valued for their biodiversity, with invertebrate species numbering in their thousands.
**Croft’s unique triple chestnut avenue is an example of wonderfully diverse and architectural veteran trees. The tory goes that the planting scheme of these 350 to 400-year-old sweet chestnuts, stems from James Croft bringing home salvaged nuts, from a ship wrecked in the Spanish Armada defeat of 1588. After decades of storage they were
then planted to resemble the attacking formations of the Spanish ships, commemorating the English victory.
Sonic Journeys is conceived and produced by sounduk / www.sounduk.net.
Sonic Journeys is supported by Arts Council England.
For further information contact: Maija Handover / sounduk t. 020 3609 0242, e. firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editors:
About sounduk: sounduk is committed to promoting the very best new music through live events, PR, consultancy and artist representation. sounduk works across new music in a variety of ways. As well as producing our own creative projects inside and outside the concert hall, we work with a range of clients as publicists and producers and represent a selection of artists who we believe have a distinct and innovative approach to music. www.sounduk.net
About National Trust: The National Trust looks after more than 250,000 hectares of countryside, 710 miles of coastline and hundreds of historic places across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. For more information and ideas for great value family days out go to: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/
About Croft Castle: Home to the Croft family for nearly 1,000 years, Croft Castle is a place of power, politics and pleasure. It nestles in peaceful Herefordshire countryside at the heart of a 607-hectare (1,500-acre) estate of woodland, farm and parkland. Visitors can stroll through the parkland up to the Iron Age hill fort and view 14 of the old counties or explore the miles of woodland trails and find over 300 veteran trees. Among these remarkable trees is the 1000 year old ‘quarry oak’ and Croft’s unique triple chestnut avenue planted to resemble the attacking formations of the Spanish ships, commemorating the English victory.
About Sonic Journeys is an exciting collection of aural landscapes that connect the creator, listener and music with the world around us. Sonic Journeys commission’s artists to create new works in response to specific stretches of landscape that inspire them on various journeys taken by foot and other modes of transport in both urban and rural locations. These works are recorded and available for download for listeners to experience the music as they pass through the same landscape that inspired it. A free map is also available to download that gives the exact route and time frame for the listener to experience each Sonic Journey. The first Sonic Journey took place at The Big Chill festival 2009 (composed by Will Gregory of Goldfrapp) and attracted 2000 downloads in just 10 days. Subsequently we commissioned Micachu to create a Sonic Journey around the Barbican Centre, and most recently Shackleton & Vengeance Tenfold to write and record music for two train journeys in Devon (in partnership with Dartington and Beaford Arts). The latter had over 4000 downloads from more than 69 countries. www,sonicjourneys.co.uk
About The Space: The Space is a new way to access and experience all of the arts – for free.
Available on computer, tablet, smartphone and connected TV, The Space invites you to take part in the biggest summer of arts the UK has ever seen, whenever you want it and wherever you happen to be. You can watch full performances, catch unmissable live events, delve into rare archive and explore interactive collections. The Space is also a place where everybody can experiment with ideas and play with images, text and sound. With all of the arts in one place – and with new material added daily – feel free to discover, participate and enjoy. The Space is managed by the Arts Council and developed in partnership with the BBC. www.thespace.org