Professor Chill Live at Yellow Arch, Sheffield

Professor Chill’s next live gig is in Sheffield, at Yellow Arch, 16th June 2019.

Sheffield Poster2

The gig is with 3 other acts, Manchester’s Marconi Union and Bing Satellites, as well as North Wales’ very own Antonymes. Professor Chill adds home town Sheffield sounds. It’s a Sunday, so Professor Chill’s set starts early at 7.15pm, so don’t be late!

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Yellow Arch was originally a recording and rehearsal studio, and more recently expanded into live gigs as its Neepsend surroundings became increasingly the coolest part of Sheffield. Richard Hawley records all his albums there, produced by one of the owners Colin Elliot, who has produced everyone from Hawley through to Kylie. It’s also home to Planet Zogg club nights, and where the Arctic Monkeys used to rehearse before they achieved planetary orbit. It’ll be a great event, and we hope to see you there.

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Professor Chill Lecture on Ambient Music

Professor Chill gave a lecture in 2018 at the Ambient @ 40 conference, which celebrated 40 years since Brian Eno released his Music for Airports album, and first coined the term Ambient Music. It discusses the ancient roots of ambient music, as well as the development of electronic dance music versions of ambient in the early UK rave scene of the late 1980s. You can see this talk on YouTube here:

Professor Chill talks to the New European Newspaper

https://www.theneweuropean.co.uk/top-stories/prehistoric-music-david-attenborough-lascaux-montignac-france-1-5818209

By 17,000 years ago, with Neanderthals having long since died out, Homo sapiens had triumphed as the only surviving species of the human family tree, and their dominion over the Earth was truly beginning. But their manipulation of the world around them began not with farming, which came some 5,000 years later, but with art.

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This strange world of prehistoric sights and sounds has been brought to life by the project Songs of the Caves, which brought together academics from Britain and Spain to investigate the archaeo-acoustics of five painted caves in northern Spain. In doing so, the project began to give some idea of what Prehistoric music may have actually sounded like. Using reconstructions of the Hohle Fels flute and a vulture bone flute from Isturitz, as well as cow horns, drums, a bullroarer (a flat piece of antler, swung by a cord to create a humming sound), and the human voice, they powerfully evoked the soundscapes that Paleolithic man may have created, recapturing an ephemeral artform that is easily lost and forgotten in the face of vivid and iconic cave art.

Rupert Till, professor of music at the University of Huddersfield, led the Songs of the Caves project. He got a step closer to the reality of sound for early man when he recorded the replica Isturitz flute being played in the very cave it was found in. The recordings were used on Till’s Dub Archaeology – an attempt at ‘sonic time travel’, he says – taking Leftfield’s Leftism and Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon as key influences.

Reverie situated those recordings in ‘a wash of electronic sounds’, while the single Isturitz used a recording of the flute made in another cave over a chill-out track, giving it a world music feel. Egyptian musician Mina Salama, performer on Isturitz, is a player of the ney – a long, open-ended flute from the Middle East of 5,000 years provenance – and was instantly able to play the tens of thousands of years old flute, suggesting the universal nature of basic music technology. In melding the very ancient and the very modern, Till has created music that forces us to think about the common characteristics that make us human.

Till was also instrumental in the production of a series of CDs released by the European Music Archaeology Project (EMAP), an international project supported by the Culture Programme of the European Commission, which sought to trace the sounds of Prehistory through to traditions which still survive today. Volume Four, titled The Edge Of Time, featured reconstructions of flutes from Geißenklösterle, Hohle Fels, and Isturitz being played by flautist Anna Friederike Potengowski, with accompaniment from percussionist Georg Wieland Wagner, to explore “the eternal musical truth of breath on bone”. The results are often mournful, and incredibly haunting.

David Attenborough’s recently-released two-CD set My Field Recordings from Across the Planet includes bone flutes being played by indigenous peoples in South America only half a century ago. In this we see – or rather hear – a collapse of time, the gap between us and Paleolithic people narrowing dramatically.

Ultimately, whether used for leisure, work or worship, music was a means of social cohesion for early man, and the EMAP project put the emphasis on finding ‘sound-evidence’ of Europe’s ancient common roots where “musical instruments played a key role in creating a network of interconnections, cross-references and shared features among the various European cultures”.

Music binds us to our neighbours and, as such, it is a means of survival. But above all, prehistoric instruments movingly remind us that whether over tens of thousands of years ago or today, music is so often how we keep the darkness at bay.

Professor Chill Live Performance @ Jabeerwocky in Sheffield

Professor Chill is performing Live in Sheffield, playing material from his album Dub Archaeology as well as new material. It’s a laptop set using Ableton Live. This software’s interactive structure allows him to essentially remix the music live, mixing in material from synths, drum machines and effects. Jabeerwocky is a cool new bar in Professor Chill’s home town of Sheffield, and a perfect venue. He’ll be followed by DJ John Muir spinning tunes and getting the dancefloor’s groove on.

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Professor Chill on The Quietus

There’s a great piece on The Quietus music website on Dub Archaeology, telling some details about the background of the album.

“I wanted to explore sonic time travel.” How Martyn Ware of the Human League, acoustic models of Stonehenge and bits of bone tens of thousands of years old led to one of 2018’s oddest albums tquiet.us/PC

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Using Ableton Live 9 with Roland MX1 Mix Performer and a Mac

I’m getting my live set together, and am using Ableton Live 9 on a Mac laptop, and want to use my Roland MX1 Mixer as the main output device. I set everything up as instructed in the (rather pathetic) manuals, but got no sound from the Mac on the MX1. It took me at least half an hour of searching manuals and reading posts to work out what was going on. After installing the drivers, setting the sampling frequency to be the same, putting the MX1 in mixer mode, connecting the laptop to the MX1 PC input, setting the sync settings still no joy. The MX1 will only play the main outs from Ableton if you set Live to output its master signal on channels 17&18, rather than the more common sense, preset, 1&2. So you have to set the master channels to output on channels 17&18. It’s not so easy to find out how to do that in the Live manual, but it is quite simple once you know, and solved my problem.

Ableton Master Section  Ableton Master Secion io

In the bottom right corner of the Ableton screen, there is a button labelled I-O which is probably greyed out as you can see above left, unlit. If you click on it, the button lights and the input output settings will appear. Set the Master Out to 17/18 and you should hear the Ableton master output through the MX1. I’m using this system in a couple of weeks in a Professor Chill set at the Samsara Festival 2018 in Hungary.

 

First single Isturitz released from Dub Archaeology

The first single is out from Professor Chill’s new album Dub Archaeology!

Isturitz Single Cover

You can stream it on Spotify right now.

https://open.spotify.com/embed/album/1mWWBTWbiQ0apMLVGIEIv1

You can also download it from iTunes

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/isturitz/1394920043?i=1394920390

Please also like the track, and follow Professor Chill

It features a recording of the Isturitz Flute, an archaeological reconstruction of a 30,000 year old vulture bone flute, found in the Isturitz cave in southern France, as well as grooves, funky guitars and electronic soundscapes.

Mina Salama is playing the flute. Technically it is not a flute, it is a bone pipe, as it is open at each end, not closed at one end like a flute. This design is similar to the Ney or Nay, an Arabic instrument. As a virtuoso Ney player, Mina was ideally suited to playing this ancient instrument.

The Quietus has featured the track, you can read the article here.