Goldsmiths alumnus Neil March (MMus Composition, 2010 & PhD in Music, 2015) reports on an new compilation album launch.
A unique compilation album released by local label Demerara Records features seven tracks involving Goldsmiths alumni. Ben Vince, Graham Dowdall (Gagarin), Joshan Mahmud, Bobby Barry (Far Rainbow), Dilara Aydin-Corbett (Environmental Sound Foundation ft. Dilara), Guy Avern and I (Neil March) all appear on the album. Since Environmental Sound Foundation is also me, I have the privilege of appearing on two tracks, one being a collaboration with my close friend Dilara.
The album Vanishing Point (Vol. 1), named after our bi-monthly live event held at Nunhead’s Ivy House (less than a mile from Goldsmiths), contains nineteen tracks in total offering a groundbreaking and unique spectrum of experimental, ambient, contemporary classical, electronic and leftfield music and Sound Art. Included on the album are some leading lights including the aforementioned Ben Vince and Gagarin as well as others like Rothko, Jenni Roditi’s TIC (The Improvisers’ Choir) and Hwyl Nofio. Dilara also appears on two tracks, as one of two featured vocalists on TIC’s track Grange.
Since curating the album and putting everything in process for a crowdfunding campaign and general release in November, I have additionally launched Vanishing Point Solo, currently being staged at the Cafe of Good Hope in Ladywell Place – a pop-up space on Lewisham High Street where the old Ladywell Baths once stood. The inaugural event, originally billed as The Music of Sound, features Goldsmiths lecturer Gagarin supported by Electronic Music and Sound Art practitioner Precocious Mouse and me as Environmental Sound Foundation with Dilara.
Crowdfunding the album
The album has been launched with a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to cover the costs of mastering and manufacturing a CD version of the album.A pre-release download version is available exclusively via Demerara Records’ Bandcamp page. Anyone who buys the pre-release version prior to the album’s general release on 1st November will receive a CD copy in November as a thank you for supporting our campaign, enabling the artists on the album to get paid for their efforts. The campaign has made a promising start but we still need to sell more copies to recoup the costs and begin paying the artists from subsequent sales. The CD will be on sale for the first time at the Vanishing Point Solo gig on 1st November in Lewisham.
In the Media
Media reaction to the album has been very encouraging so far. Elizabeth Alker played one of my oldest and closest friends, the Forest Hill-based artist paulfcook’s track Mater Gloria on her show Unclassified on BBC Radio 3. Music and broadcasting legend Tom Robinson, whose Fresh on the Net moderating and reviews writing team I work for, has asked me to remind him to listen properly to the album when he returns from his current UK tour in November. I will see him at the band’s Shepherds Bush Empire show on 27th October so I will be sure to remind him then too! I am hopeful that he will feature tracks on his flagship Saturday Night show on BBC Radio 6 Music and maybe on the Sunday Night BBC Introducing Mixtape show too.
We have had airplay for the Crystal Palace-based Rookery’s track The Projectionist on Source FM in Cornwall, a promise of ‘featured album’ status on Graham Belchamber’s Paradise by the Sea show on Conquest FM in East Sussex and I will be special guest on the Friday Night show on Radio Dacorum with Gatsby (aka Marc Ainscough) in my hometown of Hemel Hempstead. All these shows and stations now broadcast to audiences across the world and not just in their local areas. Marc’s offers me the opportunity to talk extensively about the album and play seven or eight tracks. Exile FM have also played tracks by Cholly and Environmental Sound Foundation ft Dilara.
It is not just radio responding well to the album. Three artists in as many weeks were voted into the Fresh Faves by the Fresh on the Net Listening Post audience. Not bad for what is meant to be a ‘niche’ album of leftfield experimental music. As I have just signed Cholly to Demerara Records and will also be managing her, I am particularly delighted with how she has been received by the listening public thus far. Jon, whose band she also plays in, headlined our Vanishing Point gig in August and he and his multi-instrumentalist line-up gave a fantastic live performance of his music which is contemporary, original and rich in diverse influences
My relationship to Goldsmiths
I am delighted too for all the Goldsmiths alumni, every one of whom is a personal friend. Dilara was the first person to perform my music with pre-recorded environmental sounds at a concert in Deptford Town Hall in 2014. A few months later I released my first ever solo set Urban Art Music, the album of my PhD portfolio in essence and three years later I had the honour of playing the BBC Introducing stage at Latitude.
Joshan Mahmud and Guy Avern were involved in our groundbreaking 2015 compilation This is Tomorrow Calling and I released albums by both in 2016. Gagarin (aka Graham Dowdall). is the only musician I know who has collaborated with not one but two members of the Velvet Underground (Nico and John Cale). He is a current member of the legendary US Post-Punk pioneers Pere Ubu. Bobby Barry of the duo Far Rainbow is another alumnus of Goldsmiths. I mentioned Ben Vince at the start of this article. Ben, a recent student of Goldsmiths, has just completed UK and European tours. A few weeks ago he performed a live session onBBC Radio 3’s Late Junction.
So all in all this is an album the music department and the University have every reason to feel proud to be associated with. I recently spent a day with Mark L Beazley (aka Rothko) who mastered the album. He remarked to me that, in over a decade of mastering albums for artists and labels, this was one of the best he had worked on.
I hope soon to come and speak with students at Goldsmiths and share all the experience and knowledge I have been fortunate to amass from my years in the music industry. The past few years have seen my activities intensify as a composer and recording-performing artist, a journalist and blogger, a label manager and a live events promoter. I have even written a guide (which is a living document that I periodically update and expand) to managing ones music career.
Our website (Demerara Records) has articles about music, all copies of my Trust The Doc blog, the aforementioned guide, links to buy albums and EPs, pages about our associated composers and various other resources.
- View the guide via Demerara Records
- Read about the new album and upcoming events via Demerara Records
If the album is as successful as we hope it will be one of many. I would love to receive track submissions and contact from current and former Goldsmiths students and staff who have music they want to see released, distributed and promoted or if they are looking for opportunities to play live.