Monday, January 30, 2017

ArtsLab II Episode 11: Words

ArtsLab produced and presented by Mark Sheeky
Episode 11: Words
Broadcast Monday 30 January 2017, 2pm to 3pm GMT.

ArtsLab II content is typically original, created by artists and poets for each episode.

Mark Sheeky, Interlude 1 (2017)
Michael Murray, John Paston Writes Home (2017)
Mark Sheeky, Interlude 2 (2017)
Mark Sheeky, Interlude 3 (2017)
Lavinia Murray, Alphabet Into The Past (2017)
Mark Sheeky, Interlude 4 (2017)
Mark Sheeky, The Dark Cliffs (2017)
Steven Goodwin, Words (2017)
Michael Murray, Conversation At A Bus Stop (2017)
Tony Banks, In The Dark (1979)
David Lynch, Strange And Unproductive Thinking (2011)
Rebecca Cherrington, Words (2017)
Mark Sheeky, Interlude 5 (2017)
Lavinia Murray, A Vat Of Verbals (2017)
Matt Nin, Conversation (2017)

All past ArtsLab programmes can be listened to here:

You can listen live during the broadcast on:

Monday, January 23, 2017

ArtsLab II Episode 10: Mountains

ArtsLab produced and presented by Mark Sheeky
Episode 10: Mountains
Broadcast Monday 23 January 2017, 2pm to 3pm GMT.
Special guest Lavinia Murray.

ArtsLab II content is typically original, created by artists and poets for each episode.

Rick Wakeman, Hall Of The Mountain King (2012)
Trixi Field, The Meres: Ice Blossom (2017)
Helen Kay, Swiss Rail Holiday (2017)
Mark Sheeky, The Train (2005)
Mark Sheeky, Himalaya (2017)
Mark Sheeky, The Marble Steps (2008)
Rebecca Cherrington, Mountains (2017)
Steven Goodwin, Mountcushmore (2017)
Mark Sheeky, The Dark Cliffs (2017)

All past ArtsLab programmes can be listened to here:

You can listen live during the broadcast on:

Friday, January 20, 2017

Art Symphonies

So many new ideas in progress! Such excitement. I've said this before, art should have structure and I'm working on new art shows that create curated structural forms that reflect two-dimensional art works like subtle rhymes in poetry to create new things, new feelings and presentations in shows that are multi-sensory, multi-emotional and multi-media. I aim to combine 2D art, words, music and other senses into experiences that transform and convey in exciting ways. I'm now reformulating all of my works towards this.

In music, fragments are often written here and there, picked up, notes, transformed, and then these simple motifs are expanded. I started to do with in images right at the beginning, inspired then partly by fractals, in paintings like The Migraine Tree, where the eye repeats in different forms throughout the image.

This is internal structure, unified by the eye, which varies. It is always important to see the whole structure of an artwork, and an art exhibition (event, show, creation, there is no adequate word for these things) is exactly the sort of thing that demands a global structure. It is exhibitions that use this global structure which I will develop this year.

This is an extension of a process. All of my exhibitions so far have been themed, and from the start I have instinctively aimed to create structures like this; The Seventh Circle exhibition, for example, divided the venue into Heaven and Hell with a curtain, each half playing different sounds, heavenly and hellish music, each half lit differently too. The Phenomenology of Love extended the concept to create many different areas for the paintings, each lit and sounding differently and with different decor.

From now on I'll fix and then create works specifically for these concepts, and so begin to build a new class of art symphonies.

Monday, January 16, 2017

ArtsLab II Episode 9: Blue

ArtsLab produced and presented by Mark Sheeky
Episode 9: Blue
Broadcast Monday 16 January 2017, 2pm to 3pm GMT.
Special guest Mark Willcox.

ArtsLab II content is typically original, created by artists and poets for each episode.

Mark Sheeky, What Is Blue (2017)
J.S. Bach, Unknown Organ Work (?)
Claire Bassi, January (2017)
Mark Sheeky, Homage To A Dying Art (2017)
André Popp arr. Mark Sheeky, Love Is Blue (1967)
Mark Sheeky, Love Is Red (2017)
Rebecca Cherrington, Blue (2017)
Plaything, Steven Goodwin (2017)
Trixi Field, The Meres: Boats (2017)
Mark Sheeky, Shiny Blue Ball (2017)
Blue Oyster Cult, The Reaper (1976)

All past ArtsLab programmes can be listened to here:

You can listen live during the broadcast on:

Monday, January 09, 2017

ArtsLab II Episode 8: Birth

ArtsLab produced and presented by Mark Sheeky
Episode 8: Birth
Broadcast Monday 9 January 2017, 2pm to 3pm GMT.

ArtsLab II content is typically original, created by artists and poets for each episode.

Deborah Edgeley, Birth Essence (2017)
Mark Sheeky, Intrauterine (2017)
Mark Sheeky, Raw (2016)
Mark Sheeky, William Blake And The Bird (2015)
Rory Coward, Lightning Tree (2017)
The Settlers, The Lightning Tree (1973)
Rebecca Cherrington, Birth (2017)
Helen Kay, Hammock (2016)
Trixi Field, The Meres And The Damselflies (2017)
Marilyn Monroe, Happy Birthday Mr. President (1962)
The Beatles, Birthday (1968)
Steven Goodwin, Birth (2017)
David Bowie, Kooks (1971)

All past ArtsLab programmes can be listened to here:

You can listen live during the broadcast on:

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

On Free Music

Right now I';m working on a new album, currently titled Cycles and Shadows. I've listened to a lot of music over the past year, practised piano a lot, and listened to, written and read a lot of contemporary poetry; and these things have all influence this album which is partly Romantic in style but part highly modern, almost like free-form poetry as music. All of this has inspired me to write a few words about music creation methods, but also contemporary music generally... onward!

The curse of modern music is rhythmic regularity, mechanical regularity due to the digital sequencer and drum machine. This perfect regularity kills expression. This can be useful as a contrast for natural organic rhythms and emotions, but even in such circumstances the cold emotionlessness of regular rhythm would always appear bright, jarring, unnatural compared to an organic performance.

Regular rhythms are felt by all of us and all things, and intercepted by others. In music we use this to synchronise with each other and the emotions of the musician, the composer and the performer. Thus the rhythm forms a base track, like a spinal thread from which the other emotions grow and branch. All organic rhythms are imperfect in terms of exact and accurate timing because biology could never evolve a perfect structure of this form. Evolution demands variety to exist. Evolution demands, if you believe in perfection, imperfection.

Removing the key element of rhythm and replacing it with electronic timing forces all other emotions to strive towards this metallic track, and always be inferior. The only alternative in such a situation is to create digital attachments, new electronic parts that match, but this process can only go so far. A wholly electronic track would be completely emotionally removed from biological rhythms, and the connection between music artist and audience is broken. In such circumstances the creator and the audience alike now become consumers, aspirants to the digital perfection, worshippers of the electronic god.

At this point the creator is no longer a master, but a slave to the machine. This is evident in reality; the club disc-jockeys who manipulate the timing of tracks, blending one into another are not creators, but like rocks in the river of sound, manipulators. The same is true of early electronic musicians such as Tangerine Dream, who manipulate live regular rhythms rather that create. It is the manipulation of this existing digital stream that creates the emotional flow, rather than the composition.

The true art of music is in its creation because art is about human to human communication. Art is not machine to human communication. A machine can tell us nothing about what it is to be human (although it could tell us about what it is like to be a machine! A valueless concept! A rock that informs us about being a rock is not an artist). However, each individual has their own definition of what art is, so perhaps those who consider everything art can consider all art good and then end this argument in an aesthetic bliss!

Art must ultimately be a form of human to human communication through a communication medium, and that medium should be as direct as possible. Pressing the START button on a rhythm machine is creating art only as much as the act of pressing, and then only when that act is known by the listeners. The sound that comes out of the machine is not remotely art! If the machine happened to turn on by itself, would random chance, would fate then be an artist? No! So, in this case it is the act that is the art, not the music. As so it is with electronic music generally.

Manipulating a flow of electronic music then makes the manipulation, not the music, the art. This is also evident; bands since Tangerine Dream focus on the live performance element, and produce large volumes of music because the music content is not the art as much its modulation by the operators. The manipulation is the only emotional content, and so the music is weak, and difficult to discern emotionally.

In terms of sonic quality, music is very mechanical now, and so emotionless and therefore artistically weak; it convey less and less deeply. Even voices are becoming purely electronic. One day perhaps, the music of the early twenty-first century will be seen as twee and emotionally vacant as Victorian poetry, which because of its rhyming structures suffered the exact problems that digital music suffers from today. Victorians of the time didn't think so, however!

The true artist much be empowered to create and express emotionally. The power of classical music comes from the very fact that each player is a human, expressing their own feeling. This is a key revelation. In pop music, the emotional expression comes from the players and the producer, but less people overall than in an orchestra (less people isn't always worse, of course, often the most expressive music is a solo performance).

There is hope. Since the late 20th century, music has become digital. In some ways this quantises emotion and so can be a constraining factor, even now in a "32-bit 96khz" world people talk about the superiority of analogue recording, of course this is true, yet in a simple digital recording of a symphony, the emotion is evident and need not be a constraining factor. Even in a pure digital sequencer, we can move it, we can change it to make it evocative. This has always been the job of the musician, to give some soul to a mechanical instrument.

Digital tools can be used, or developed, to represent emotions, and given evocative voices.

The biggest enemy of expression is fixed temporal regularity, fixed volume, and fixed repetition. No emotion repeats. Such laziness must be avoided.

The root of art is emotion and its birth. It is time to seek and develop new ways to create music in the way that visual art is created; with the concept first, and the music to grow from it like a drama, or temporal sculpture.

Errors and omissions frankly probable. This is one of several musings on life the universe and everything listed in the Writing and Essays section of