Blog Archive

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Running a Psy-Trance Label


New Covert Mag Interview up!

This time with label owner Mike Rucinski of Coventry Psy-Trance label Trick Music.

See here for full feature.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Punk-Blast-Art and Flash-Tek-Music

Well I have to say I've been flippin busy recently, which might account for my tune of the week being In The Garage by Weezer, which is most-likely the place I'd love to dissapear to for a wee holiday. As it happens I'm off to the south of Spain instead. Yes, I know, your coughing up phlemmy laughter right now, but I'm not off to the Costa del Sol, I'm nipping out to Europes only desert (Spain's Nevada Desert). Apparently they get flamingos, have gangs of gypsys living in caves near Granada and just north west of Almería there's picturesque mountain-side villages. Sounds good to me, plus an oportunity to try out a little more of my Spanish on the natives :D




Anyways... things have been coming on strong with my freelance work and after having come close to hitting off a big project with Fargo - Coventry City Council's regeneration project (camden/custard factory, so I'm told) and building custom trainer software for Loughborough University, I've been working on a Custom T-shirt Designer program I've developed for the lovely chaps at TeeT Shirts (Version 2 is due to go live on their site very soon!), and my web design / development skills have exploded.

It would also be rude not to mention filthy punk rockers Rebel City Radio, as it looks like I'm doing their album artwork after Mac Mayhem (guitarist) liked what I'd done for his previous band The Strawberry Blondes. The guys seem to be having a good old time at the moment gigging up and down the country. Last time I saw Mac was in the bizarre and highly unpredictable entertainment venue of the Holly Bush in Cradley Heath. He was soo wrecked on ale, he could barely walk or see, but was strangely able to hold a conversation and play a mini piano concerto. That nights other entertainment consisted of a man shouting "Shopping!Shopping!Shoppping!" angrily over a mic in the other room.

Harminder Judge - The Modes of Al-Ikseer 2009-10

I'm excited about a potential project with damn fine gent and brum-based artist Harminder Judge. Last time I asked about his work he was importing tonnes of feathers (literally) from India, so anything could happen..! Other stuff includes putting together my first Augmented Reality work in Flash for my Paperless Design project, and getting to grips with Flash's new 3D and audio reactive processes - something that is being used in the mediaplayer I've built for the lads at Firstfold Records (to go live very soon also).

Japanese AR pioneers

Speaking of Firstfold the guys have a stall at this years Supersonic Festival in Birmingham and I was also asked to VJ. I have no idea if I'll actually be VJing though, due to a complete lack of freetime and a few years out of the VJ scene it's looking unlikely I'll have time to throw something together - which would make it the 3rd time I've tried and failed to play Supersonic :( Anyways - I'll be there at some point as it's my birthday weekend and I should also have some prints available on the stall - so go check it all out if your there! I also have a nice little profile page on their site, good ey?

Here's some other Firstfold releated artwork - available from their Supersonic stall I'm guessing...

Friday, 8 October 2010

Video Art Exhibitions

Just had news that '2 into 1' - a video art project I worked as video editor and soundman with artist Caitlin Griffiths on is getting shown at exhibitions in Twickenham and Berkshire, as follows;

Making it Faking it
Orlean House Gallery
Riverside,
Twickenham,
TW1 3DJ
http://www.richmond.gov.uk/home/leisure_and_culture/arts/orleans_house_gallery/orleans_house_gallery_exhibitions/making_it_faking_it.htm
on until 23rd January.

New Greenham Arts Open Submission exhibition
Corn Exchange
Market Place,
Newbury,
Berkshire,
RG14 5BD.
http://www.cornexchangenew.com/events/event_detail/open_submissions_exhibition_2010/
opens 21st October - 25th November


See more on the voice-swap video project in my original post here:
http://benneal.blogspot.com/2009/11/lip-sync-video-art.html

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Dirty Bristow! Polly Daniel Son. Young Montana?


Look out for the bizarre and illusive Dirty Bristow magazine at a summer fete in Birmingham on Sat Aug 28th.
Run by the duo of Bounder (Jon Bounds of Birmingham It's not Shit fame, I think) and Probably Drunk (Danny Smith) - this mag offers artistic freedom and a No-Adverts policy.
They asked me to write something on the topic of 'Birth' after reading my Tweets and the mag is to be released at a summer fete at The Edge, Cheapside, Digbeth.
Originally to have a glass cover (!?) the magazine is somewhat shrouded in mystery and I can't wait to see what the physical thing is going to look like...
Also at the event is music from Brumcast and 8 bit Ninjas... oh and there will be teddy bear bungee too ...?
Meanwhile keep your eyes out for my music video 'Love Guns' for Polly Daniel Son at this years Artsfest and possibly on Big Screen Birmingham too. I had my '2030 Memory' video shown there a while back when there was a lovely beach set up in Victoria Square.
Polly Daniel Son are currently hybernating but you can hear the 4 track EP we recorded on the MySpace : http://www.myspace.com/pollydanielson and also see a couple of video-experiments we did.
If your living near Coventry - there's a couple of experimental electronica events coming up worth going to - Young Montana? is playing Hedonics at the Tin Angel (Friday 20th Aug, £3) and there's Electronica & Dubstep at KICK!SNARE!DISCO! (Sat 4th Sept) on at the Free Mason's Club.. erm... I mean Taylor John's house.

Here's Coventry's Young Montana? proving that good things really do happen in Coventry:
on east village radio w/GASLAMP KILLER by Young Montana?

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Another Covert Interview


Just gone online....

Read my interview of Capsule and Supersonic Festival co-founder Lisa Meyer now online at:

http://covertmag.com/2010/07/28/interview-with-lisa-meyer-of-capsule-and-supersonic-festival/


Thursday, 15 July 2010

Touchpad Meat and Japanese Cock Metal

Meatfeast (my screaming-muso-mental-metal band) are back in the studio again after a long spell of recording misfortune thanks to unprofessional engineers, Jazz Thrash Assassin's dissolve, some never-seen TV footage, and a single that never saw the light of day (until Chris from Brumcast played it on Rhubard Radio a few weeks ago...)

Anyway, gigs have been good recently, at the Actress & Bishop back in May, and Katie Fitzgerald's in Stourbridge on the night Algeria made England look like Accrington Stanley. I even bought a Kaossilator to liven up the sound textures - so expect additional spazfinger solos from now on...

This guys just LOVEs his Kaossilator... I want to be him


So anyways were recording Sparrow Mask and Self-Inflicted Hair-cut with Tommy from metalcore grinders Random Conflict. So keep em peeled for that sometime soon..!

Joe Roger's Words are Meaningless Sofa from the Plus Design Festival a few years back

That aside I DJ'ed for the first time in a longtime at my Mr.Grizz's 30th birthday - an amazing opportunity to play loads of really dodgy 80's hairmetal, scummy punk and Bon-Jovi Jungle remixes. I was so pleased to play out again I even joined talented illustrator Joe Roger's Mixtape Project and now send mixes including the likes of this to randoms every month...



If your after some stunning Detroit Techno mixes for free then you should download this young lads stuff - here's Noccio from Italy - these are easily some of the best techno mixes I've heard for years!! Enjoy!

Meatfeast next play the Actress & Bishop on Thursday July 22nd

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Covert Magazine


I've just started getting involved with Covert Magazine - an independent culture mag on the Coventry scene.

Your excited already - I can tell. But really - it's a great mag! I love it's frivolous and mischievous approach and it's glitchy artwork and off-the-wall style. Content is of a high standard too, with many national and international features alongside more local stuff.

I've just finished an interview with Richard March of Bentley Rhythm Ace on his Godiva Festival experience.

You can read the whole thing here.

Just a note for anyone following this blog - some of my would-have-been-posted-on-here features may now shift over to Covert in the future - so it's worth keeping your eye on both from now on, as posts will probably be split 50/50.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Winner of Worcester Open Prize!

I'm very pleased to announce that the video art piece "2 into 1" by Caitlin Griffiths won the Worcester Open Prize!

See the links below for more info on the project and my involvement:
http://benneal.blogspot.com/search/label/Caitlin%20Griffiths

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Worcester Open Video Art

Copyright © Caitlin Griffiths 2009-2010

2 into 1 : After Gillian Wearing is a video art piece in which George Reynolds (a man affected with Foreign Accent Syndrome) speaks through artist Caitlin Griffiths, and vice versa.

Copyright © Caitlin Griffiths 2009-2010

I did the video-editing and the sound recording, and good fun it was too. Last time I mentioned it it was being shown at The Vaults in Birmingham (see here).

Right now it's being shown in Worcester Art Gallery & Museum as part of the Worcester Open - which also includes works shown at The Pitt Studio (run by curator/owner Nathaniel Pitt - a nice bloke, and one I once shared an office with).

So anyway - go have a look! It's one of the more interesting projects I've worked over over the last few months, and is well worth dropping into Worcs for - alongside all the other stuff on. See the official Worcester Open Website for more on what's on.

See my original post here for some more background.

Friday, 14 May 2010

WierdPaintinCoventryArtSceneDeadBands&Kiwis

Dont seem to get the time to update this much these days, so might just start doing uber-speedy blogs like this one... it's so fast it's in italics...
  • Went Austria - saw real Dracula and Wolfman paintings and other oddities in Schloss Ambras Castle .
  • Also amazing art - snow sheep made by catching breath, then distilled to alcohol - then drank by arty types at Private views, then breath caught back on sheep. Wow.

  • Coventry - Fargo - new Digbeth / Camden on my doorstep - great!

  • New business venture *Paperless Design - www.paperlessdesign.co.uk - multimedia in schools! Get in touch please if you want to work with us!

  • Scary Canary shop open in Stourbridge - great vintage clothing - go have a look!

  • Meatfeast (formerly Jazz Thrash Assassin) - Gigs!! Screaming!! New tracks!! Got played on Kerrang! again and other stations.

  • Also - read Blue Whale Blog on duff promoters killing Midlands band scene...

  • Got Coconut - opened after trouble - all mouldy.. eek.. binned it. Got another. Drank milk like sexy Bounty man.

  • I'm working on Andrew Cross show at Ikon Gallery - video of technical drumming - guy from Emmerson, Lake & Palmer - coming soon!

  • Flight of Conchords at NIA on Monday - well funny, best bit where Bret fell off the stage doing sexy dance.

Phew! ...aaaaand... relax...

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Digbeth Witch dies...

One of the most significant moments in Birmingham's history is about to happen... If you haven't heard already - there is a cashpoint opening in Digbeth (and it doesn't charge for withdrawls).

I know - your amazed that the Mediaeval hex warding them from Digbeth has finally expired, and you can get money out without traipsing all the way back into town, or being struck down by bubonic plague, or crushed by a sudden downfall of frogs and newts...

There will even be an opening ceremony...

More here: http://digbeth.org/2010/04/the-cashpoint-saga-the-official-launch-ceremony/

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Sunday, 21 March 2010

The Luke-Skywalker-cum-Tresor-Techno affair

Atsuhiro Ito

Caught Japan's Atsuhiro Ito at Capsule's show at VIVID in Birmingham & nice to chat to a few folks down their I ain't seen for a while.

Ito essentially plays a strip-light through a few fx pedals to create a kind of live Audio-Visual noise-techno - by tapping the light on and off rhythmically, and waving it near a light-sensitive sensor, which creates distorted sounds. Gripping stuff, very atmospheric and driving. Kind of a solemn Luke-Skywalker-cum-Tresor-Techno affair.

I'm guessing that this was the guy mentioned when, in 2006, I went to Sonar with the Capsule gang - whom I missed... Well, it's been a few years postponed, but glad I caught him this time!

Nikki Pugh got some nice pics on Flickr here

In fact - check him out on Youtube!

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Repetition and Pirate Tales

One of my video-art pieces is being shown at The Public in West Bromwich this friday. The video consists of me repeating words or phrases in 30-40 minute loops. A while back I did a live variation of this at the Crowd 6 gallery - find out more - and read an excerpt of my artist's statement here in the original post.


Another participant in the live event was Ed Wakefield (aka Captain Ed) who's just published a book titled "Blood and Rorschach". I've just finished reading it and it's damn fine. It's a small black artifact, with the look and feel of a little hymn book. I got mine autographed; it reads "To Ben MEATFASTE UMMF" with a small illustrationsigned "Love Cap Cap x x".

The story is about the slightly salty and paranoid Captain Blood who has been harrassed for some years by marauding sea pigeons. One day he finds Rorschach washed up outside his beach hut and the two set off across the waves for pirate adventure.

Here's a favourite moment:
"For a full minute he stood in the shadows, the tinkling of urine against the wall the only sound. He finished and then tussled his goose barnacle back into his pants. A strange urge to look at the parchment overtook him. He reached inside his coat and unfurled it. All of a sudden an avian scream ripped through the silence, and before he knew what was happening a shape tore past him and the parchment was gone.

'Damnit!' he roared.

'The parchment!' Blood was enraged, watching the offending sea pigeon take off with the trophy. 'Ye whelp!' bawled Blood and set to cuffing Rorschach about the ears"

There's even some bits on the Insertspace YouTube channel:


"Blood and Rorschach" is for sale from from Ikon Gallery, Birmingham - £5.

Screening 1 runs at The Public in West Bromwich from March 13-April 25. Free!

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Popeye-Pope's Bacon & other Street Vibes


Just a quick update on my last 2 blogs...

The Vaults Bazaar was pretty cool - a nice venue The Vaults, I'd recommend you go and wander through it's stoney arches and go buy a meal there. The place was perfectly suited to the kind of offbeat arts on show and just off St. Paul's square if you know the area.

On entering we were greeted by a crowd of polystryrene cups and with faces, burlesque dancing and a mirror-faced waiter who endlessly refilled and waited upon invisible people, breaking the occasional glass. My favourite piece on show however (apart from the thing I worked on of course;) had to be Steve Varndell's Popeye-Pope. Ok, so I'm a little biased as Steve had me laughing before hand so I was in a receptive mood, but I did like the subtlety and darkness of the 'painting'.

On my first viewing of The Vaults I completely missed it - it was in the depths, on a black wall behind a group of seated wine-drinkers, but after Steve pointed out where it was, I was quite struck by the piece. Let me explain... Under an alcove, dimmly lit, was an even darker Francis Bacon-esque illustration of Popeye; in the seated pose of Francis Bacon's "Study after Velazquez's Portrait of Pope Innocent X" (See above). You had to get close to see it, and it was oddly malevolent as Popeye sat like a gummy-devil, eyeing up the passers by from his tunnel.

Secondly I just wanted to add some more videos from the Adam Buxton show. Here's a few treats I forgot to mention in the 1st blog:





And here's Major Lazer's Pon de Floor (which I cant embed at the mo)

Sunday, 21 February 2010

The Vaults Bazaar - Video Art

A video-art project I worked on with artist Caitlin Griffiths is being shown on Wednesday in Birmingham. The piece involves a voice-swap, lip-sync technique and a man affected by Foreign Accent Syndrome.

Other artists include Steve Varndell & Elizabeth Short of Crowd 6. Trove is Curated by Charlie Levine.













Image of from 'The Book of Caitlin (2007)


See event details below



TROVE, in association with ARC, presents The Vaults Bazaar
One night only: Wednesday 24th February
2010 6-8pm with music till late

The Vaults, Newhall Hill, Birmingham, B1 3JH

TROVE is the first gallery invited by ARC to present a one night only exhibition at The VAULTS in the Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham, UK. Each month ARC invites regional guest curators to present an exhibition of works to be exhibited at The VAULTS, with TROVE kicking off their 2010 programme.

The Vaults Bazaar brings together a selection of regional and national artists that TROVE invited to take part in this exhibition. Each offering a different proposal of work, each vault will be different from classic painting through film to performance, a truly bizarre mix.

Artists include:
Jane Ball, Coco Deville, Graham Chorlton, Caitlin Griffiths, Daniel Lehan, Brigid McLeer, Milk,Two Sugars, Paul Newman, Elizabeth Short and Steve Varndell

2 for 1 on selected cocktails

Website

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Adam and Joe & Music Video

The other day I had the pleasure of going to the Leicester Comedy Festival to see Adam Buxton present a series of music videos from Bugs (at the BFI) and it was outstanding, easily the best thing I've ever seen him do, and I've been rather enjoying his xFM podcasts recently too.

It mainly consisted of him (after dancing, raggamuffin-raver stylee to sushi) showing music videos and reading us there accompanying comments from YouTube. It was hysterical.

And MY GOD there we're some gems in there! So... I shall waste no time and say to thee - watch this, and laugh, and be "pummelled with fists of SUCCEED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

[ I can't embed it, so JUST CLICK HERE
--- REMEMBER TO COME BACK though! ]

Seriously, the guy responsible is a genius, and I dare you - no - double dare you, to even try to watch all the videos on his YouTube profile in succession without giving yourself a cracked face and aching belly from laughing.

'Shredding' (as the YouTube term for dubbing musicians with new, really bad soundtracks seems to be) isn't new, but this guy is an expert! Adam informed us that ST's next video will be a dub of Blade Runner - in it's entirety - and you can see from this preview - it's going to be amazing!



Some other delights included showing a video by breakcore-mentalist Ladyscraper showing Transformers playing the drums to spazzed-out gabba. Adam enquired if there were any Ladyscraper fans in the audience, therewas a resounding 'no', but there was one - me!

Another weird video was this one below from Die Antwoord - a South African serious?/pisstake?/art project? clip which will haunt you in your sleep and is just odd, odd, odd.



Adam was what you might term 'proper sound' and even had a pint and a little chat with yours truley after the show at the bar. If you liked any of that - there's more on Adam's YouTube Channel here - 'Sausages' is recommended - and some of the other stuff shown can be seen on the BUGS website here The 'Themselves' video on the far right is flippin' mental.

Boo-ya!!

Friday, 29 January 2010

Created in Birmingham shop in Bullring


Just picked up this from Created in Birmingham - they are opening a shop in the Bullring to sell and support local creative talent.

For starters they are looking for illustration, photography, paintings, t-shirts, books and zines. How brummin' exciting!

Here's the original post from their blog.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

New Media Art? The Black Country?

A while back I wrote up a small group talk I'd shared with artist Richard Billingham (here), and noticed that he is currently showing his photographs of the Black Country at The Public in West Bromwich.LinkRichard Billingham's photo of Reddal Hill library Cradley Heath (?). If it is, it's just up the road from the lovely lads at TeeT Shirts

I went to The Public a while back to meet Caitlin Griffiths (another blog entry here on a recently completed project I worked on with her) and was actually a bit shocked - the place is not only OPEN - it's damn good!!

How these things had slipped past me (being wide-eyed when it comes to art, and local) I can only put down to pretty bad marketing on their part. Anyway after spending about 20 minutes trying to find the gigantic black and pink building from the high street (it's unbelievable well hidden for it's size) I then failed to find the entrance, and circled the place once or twice, before sitting down across the road, only to see a huge, pink sliding door so big and inset into the architecture, I'd walked past first time round.

Well, once inside (after a meeting over soup, with Caitlin) I had the pleasure of going round the place - and it is jammed with really cutting edge, inspirational and engaging new media art. My favourite was Blast Theory's Flypad (2008) in which you can stamp on a pad and float weird 3D virtual fighters around on a video screen over the actual the gallery space. The characters look like oddball mutant wrestlers and you fly around grappling other users (there can be many - all jumping on pads around the gallery) with cameras tracking your guy overlaid on realtime video footage of the space. It's flippin wicked! Blast Theory were there themselves too (I recognised them as I did a 3 day workshop with them creating virtual worlds a few years ago at Warwick Art Centre). GO! PLAY! It's great.

Blast Theory are bloody genius and well worth keeping a close eye on. They are very active in the art world and have done some incredible projects from 3D worlds explored on surfboards Desert Rain (1999) to Kidnap (1998) : a piece in which you could volunteer to be kidnapped! (You didn't know where or when or for how long or what was going to happen, but eventually it did..!). Mental note: I should really look up what they have been doing over the last 10 years... lol
Alongside Flypad there were interactive drawing touchscreens and virtual video hugging and a host of other technology-hungry stuff. I was a bit saddened by the "3D sound corridor" - which I put in a proposal for before the place went pearshaped - which was not really very hi-tech. A victim maybe of all the budget cuts etc. that the place has suffered from?

A good friend of mine Jon Garbett (and guitarist from Meatfeast / Jazz Thrash Assassin) took his kids and they loved it too. So my thoughts on the whole Public/West Brom/Disaster embargo is this - it's there, it's great, stop moaning and GO. It's a damnsite more exciting than Millenium Point, i'll tell you that.

Speaking of the band... and here comes a plug... we're back up and running with a new sax player woohoo! ...and JTA got voted 64th Best Band in Birmingham over the last Decade by public votes, collated Blue Whale Studios. I've mentioned this a million times, but it's been a rocky year for us (rocky as in bad, not rocky as in; we've been running up steps punching the air) and we need a boost to keep us positive and on-track... Keep your ears peeled for gigs in the Midlands soooon.

Monday, 11 January 2010

Folk & Pictures


Last night I went to Warwick Arts Center and saw Lewis Garland and the Kett Rebellion. Lewis is a friend of my girlfriend's and we'd been to see him at his last gig in Coventry at the scarily somber Taylor John's. They played Glastonbury a while back and have just finished a UK tour (including a date in Ireland which they refused to play after being informed on arriving that the venue wanted £150 from them to play it..?!).

The Kett Rebellion ain't my usual cup of tea, I'd be the first to admit, but I totally enjoyed the gig. The band play a good variation of folk from soft vocal-acoustic stuff to full on stomp-your-foot gypsy; complete with double-bassist, squeeze-box and mandolin. His lyrics are interesting and draw a few parallels between art and music (Life Drawing - alludes to, well yeah you guessed it... and Art has a cute Damien Hurst heart-in-formaldehyde theme) The band look pretty young, but are very polished, and it's sad to hear that Lewis' getting a bit peeved with the industry and is most likely going to have a break for a while, as they seem to have everything in place for success.
Review - Lewis Garland & The Kett Rebellion - CD to buy

A couple of weeks back I also went to the Capsule closing party at VIVID and saw Modified Toy Orchestra, who were great as always, wielding their speak'n'spell instruments. Briefly got a glance at Catweasel's vvvv set-up for the Toy Orchestra's visuals too - I must work out how to build GUI's using it... also caught PCM too, who always seem to please with a taste of dark Drum'n'Bass. Sadly I missed all the other acts who I haven't seen yet and wanted too, but bouncing round the room like a drunken fool with Tim Jones ("I'm a raver! I'm a raver!") and the slightly sozzled Ashley Cole (AKA toy-mangling grunge-o-naught Concrete Belly) was so much fun I didn't really care.


Here's Concrete Belly getting down with his bad-self (& me VJing) from a while back just before he trashed the place and got banned...lol

Dropped in on the De Montfort University MA Photography Show at the Custard Factory which was a little underwhelming, although it did have some nice panoramic shots of beach huts and seafronts, but was more impressed by the artwork in The Framers next door. If you want cool stuff to hang on your walls go here, you will not be disappointed! See photos below...

Speaking of pictures - if you want loads of free digital prints - try signing up for free accounts with the following, so far I've notched up over 150 free digital prints just by starting an account with them: Tesco, Photobox, Snapfish or Jessops. Duno if they are still doing it but it's worth a try...