Classical licks meet tech tricks
Derbyshire composer Richard J Birkin is a sonic storyteller finding the connection between classical composition and technological advancement. Recorded with the London Contemporary Orchestra (Radiohead, Actress, Steve Reich), his latest album, ‘matterlightblooming’, is a lush, speculative examining of the future of the human race.
Why Richard J Birkin?
Weaving synths, pianos and scuttling percussion into the intricate fabric of an epic orchestral score, ‘matterlightblooming’ is the follow up to 2016’s ‘Vigils’ and is a distillation of Birkin’s experiences so far. His growing CV includes being part of the Abbey Road Masters team, recording production music for film and TV, and working with Nils Frahm on the ‘A Lullaby Hum for Tired Streets’ album. Exploring light and shade, the new record is beautiful and confrontational at once. “I was writing the music and thinking about transformation, other states of being, drastic change,” explains Birkin, referring to the “matterlightblooming phenomenon”, the rush of energy and light that occurs when a soul departs the liminal space between life and death, on which the album is based.
Tell us more…
Music as a narrative device is Birkin’s thing, and it took on new meaning when Man Booker nominated Jon McGregor commissioned him to write a soundtrack for his Costa Novel Of The Year, ‘Reservoir 13’. Working with Derbyshire neighbours Haiku Salut, Birkin delivered the score during McGregor’s book tour via an “orchestra of smartphones”, using the audience’s devices as the PA. Elsewhere, his tech experiments have seen him invent Twinklr, a digital update of the toy music box, and Rubato, which allows performers to control audience’s phones via a footswitch.
‘matterlightblooming’ is out on Reveal