In Episode 11, I chat with lap steel guitarist and artist Mike Cooper about his Island project, departing from his project about the Chao Phraya River in the city of Bangkok to his residencies in Pulau Ubin (Singapore) and Lamma Island (Hong Kong). Our discussion takes the form of observations on walking, listening better, listening to the self, acoustic ecology, literature, chance, music and the exotic and how they all connect through the magic of storytelling and narrating.
The show will be broadcast on Friday 17th of January 2014 at 5:00pm to 5:30pm (repeated on Monday the 20th at 1am) @ Resonance FM.
About Mike Cooper
MIKE COOPER – plays lap steel guitar / electronics and sings. For the past 45 years he has been an international musical explorer pushing the boundaries of his music. Initially a folk-blues guitarist he is as responsible as anyone else — and more so than many — for ushering in the blues boom in the U.K. in the late ’60s.
With his roots lying in acoustic country blues he has, arguably, stretched the possibilities of the guitar even more than his better known contemporaries Davy Graham Bert Jansch John Renbourne etc. by pursuing it into the more avant-garde musical areas, also occupied by contemporary guitar innovators such as Elliott Sharp, Keith Rowe, Fred Frith and Marc Ribot, with an eclectic mix of the many styles he has practiced over the years. Ranging freely through his own idiosyncratic original songs,traditional country blues, folk, free improvisation, pop songs, exotica, electronic music, electro-acoustic music, and ‘sonic gestural’ playing utilising open tunings and extended guitar techniques.
He is also a film and video maker in his own right and his work, often featured in his live performances, was recently shown as “Some Sound Point Of View’ at GRIM in Marseille/France in a solo show of 12 films/video. Recently he premiered his first 40 minute feature video Hotel Hibiscus City, which he wrote, photographed, edited and scored music for.
He also composes and performs Live Music For Classic and Contemporary Silent Films. As well as presenting screening/concerts worldwide he has been a guest lecturer and given workshops at universities and colleges worldwide on scoring music for films, improvisation and songwriting.
In 2012 he was artist in residence for one month on Pulau Ubin near Singapore which culminated in “Walking In Ubin” – a sound map of the island, three short video films and a free download of his field recordings and 2013 he was artist in residence on Lamma Island near Hong Kong for three weeks.
* Mike Cooper will present an audiovisual installation titled “A White Shadow In The South Seas” opening February 1st in Rome at Teatro In Scatola. More info can be found here. He is also releasing a new vinyl LP to coincide titled “New Globe Notes” on NoFi Records.
* His essay “Listening Better” also mentioned in the show can be found in the electronic anthology “What Matters Now? (What Can’t You Hear?)” published by NOCH in April 2013. Additional documentation and audiovisual pieces in relation to our discussion can be found on his vimeo page.