The Human Orchestra Project was unwittingly born this year, after writing a piece for a string orchestra made up of beginners and professionals alike, each with different parts. Inspired by Bill Drummond’s ideas in his book ‘The 17′, as well as the challenges I faced composing scores people of all abilities could perform, the project gathers groups of humans together in specific places, times and occasions to perform music using their voices and instruments brought along. The music they make is unlike any music you have heard before. If you come to a concert, you will be a member of the Human Orchestra Project, and will be an integral part of the performance. Prepare to be a part of something transcendent!
Pearse McGloughlin and myself made a record together this year called ‘Idiot Songs’. I was in cold snowy Canada, and Pearse was in Dublin. We shared recordings on dropbox and in a month we had a very unique and beautiful record made. We had both loved reading ‘The Idiot’ by Dostoyevsky, and felt a great kindredness to that most lost and pure soul Prince Myshkin.
The record came out in July on Urchin Collective and people in the press and at shows all found it very moving. We were happy about that.
“I’m utterly overwhelmed by the quality of work here and more than anything, long to abandon my place in front of this laptop and, with these songs drifting outwards, want to pull The Idiot from my bookshelf and disappear for a week. It’s a beautiful homage to the empathy and creativity of Dostoyevsky and without a doubt one of the best concept albums I’ve heard in my time.” -Harmless Noise-
“a series of sonic gems (gifted with beats and beautifully spectral spoken-word inserts) that breathe life and art into electronic music.” 4**** -Irish Times-
“the pair create what the best albums manage to do, an atmosphere exclusive to itself with its own identity.”
Album of the week -Nialler9-
Violinist, singer and electronicist Justin Grounds describes himself as ‘a solitary purveyor of sound’ and yet experiencing him perform live you would be forgiven for imagining an entire orchestra on-stage.
Sending his 5-string viola and (self-named) “cellolino” (strung an octave lower than a conventional violin) through a laptop, feet tapping on all manner of home-made pedals, he builds layer upon layer of rhythms and melodies into what STU magazine called ‘…a holy and magical crescendo.”
Sending these sounds through electronic filters and effects, Grounds sings overtop to produce onstage a sound vital and post-modern and yet also somewhat fragile and ancient.
Given a violin at age 4, Grounds’ childhood of classical training melds together in his music with his time touring and recording with live drum’n'bass act Keiretsu in his early 20s. And within this electronic and acoustic musicality, there is a deep sense of the poetic, a wistful yearning inherited from his current home on the southwest coast of Ireland.
Fiercely independent and no stranger to the road, Grounds has in the last 5 years produced 4 solo records and toured N.America, Europe, China and Australia. He has leant his music to television, radio and film, collaborated with live projectionist Liam Ahern and is a founder member of The Headland Collective in West Cork, a group committed to producing collaborative work and encouraging emerging artists.
AUTUMN SHOWS Brittania/Eire
25 OCTOBER: DUBLIN: Doyles
26 OCTOBER: CARDIFF: Gwdihŵ
30 OCTOBER: CAMBRIDGE: CB2 Basement
10 NOVEMBER: CLONAKILTY: De Barras
Thanks to everyone who came out to the shows on the summer tours in China and Australia. It was overwhelmingly positive, carried along by all of you. There will be a handful of shows in the UK and Ireland this autumn before work starts on a new record, so watch this space in the next week or so for dates.
For now, here is a film made by Marcus Flack of Liquid Creations about myself and Paul Davies and some unusual violins.