SXSW and The Listening Machine / by petergregson

I'm sitting at Austin airport heading home after a manic week at SXSW. I was there for a sniff of Interactive, then the whole music/beer experience. It was really quite incredible. I was there to do the Nonclassical Showcase, which I co-hosted with Steve Snowden (composer, gent and co-founder of Fast Forward Austin), and we had a really fun lineup - percussion, a sax quartet, a percussion trio, me, solo bass..it was pretty wild. We also had a really receptive audience, who completely proved that the only classical panel ("We used to call it Classical...") in the afternoon was basically pointless: everyone there got that this wasn't Mozart, but were still comfortable being in the room for a few hours, listening to some great/weird/loud/quiet music. It was absolutely ideal! There were people clapping in the 'wrong' place and just getting carried away with it all. Isn't this exactly what it's all about? People getting into music they didn't know before? Discovering something new and finding it refreshing? From where I was sitting, that's what we managed to do - and I'm thrilled to have been a part of it.

I'm hurtling back to London now to prepare for The Big Unveiling of  goPlay. I'm stupendously excited by this - as I've mentioned before, it's probably best summed up as music controlling music, no buttons and no wires: an attempt to really approach 21st century chamber music. It's all very cool. Come along on Friday if you're in London and curious..

Then then then... scooting to Glasgow on Saturday to do this Bang on a Can / Scottish Music Centre Composition Marathon thing, which looks like it'll be interesting! I've had to learn pieces quickly before, but never had them written on a deadline and learned fast... Will no doubt report back on that afterward.

It's also full steam ahead with The Listening Machine, my collaboration with Dan Jones and the Britten Sinfonia. Really, it's an unholy amount of work but from the tests we've been playing around with over the last couple of days... it's really exciting and will be launched properly on May 1st on The Space as a digital installation / live soundtrack. Seriously. A lot of work.

I'm looking forward to April - although there's no travel, which I <3, there's no travel, which is tiring! So it's one part yay, one part boo. It's a nice problem to have, I suppose...!