Classics & Experimental

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Classics & Experimental

From a vinyl cutting course with Mr Scruff – to an international exchange across three European cities, take a look back at the exciting projects we’ve delivered over the last 18 months through ‘Classics & Experimental’ – our Arts Council-funded programme for emerging artists.

Vinyl Weekender with Mr Scruff

Curated by Mr. Scruff and facilitated by Birds Hit Records, this three-day vinyl pressing course offered six creative artists the opportunity to get hands-on experience in the creation of lathe-cut records, learning about the process of pressing and mastering.

The course ended in the artists cutting their own records using a custom built, fully manual lathe, to take home on the final day – which just so happened to be Record Store Day. Later that evening Mr. Scruff played each of the freshly cut vinyl during an hour- long set at Cottonopolis in Manchester’s Northern Quarter.

Are You Here with ESKA

We hosted an artistic residency led by Mercury Prize-nominated singer and multi-instrumentalist ESKA with Adrian Jackson  founder and artistic director of award-winning theatre company Cardboard Citizens – joining as associate director. Together ESKA and Adrian challenged 14 emerging artists to create socially conscious music in response to the turbulent political landscape.

“a beautiful amalgamation of love”

– audience member

Courtesy of Adrian, the gig featured a theatrical twist with the musicians riding bikes, eating crisps and dancing on stage.

As part of the project we also recruited two visual artists to create new visual art to feature in the final performance. Check out their work below…

All proceeds from the performance went to the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund in partnership with the British Red Cross following the tragic events at the Manchester Arena.

Hear the tracks which were recorded live at the gig on Sun 28 May 2017 below…

Pee Wee Ellis FUNK: Foundation

The summer of 2017 saw the return of Pee Wee Ellis, funk and jazz saxophone legend and renowned architect of James Brown’s era-defining soul classics of the late 60s. With the help of trumpet player, arranger and composer Gary Winters, the two led an artistic residency for 15 talented musicians – forming two funk outfits to create brand new funk and jazz music which was then showcased at Band on the Wall on Sun 20 August.

“A fabulous event that has given our son an amazing experience and a once-in-a-lifetime chance that will really enhance his musicianship”

– audience member

You can watch the two outfits perform tracks from the gig below…

Field Music Studio Residency

We were delighted to work with Field Music in November for a brand new residency based at their studio space in Sunderland.

Ten emerging musicians and writers came together to explore the process of record-making, pulling apart and putting back together their own unfinished songs or loose ends to create a distinct collaborative record together.

“This entire experience was beyond all expectations for me”

– participant

Three Cities

At the tail end of 2017 we were delighted to collaborate with Le FIL (Saint-Étienne) and Music Pool (Berlin) on an exciting new international commission, Three Cities.

The structure:

  • Create in Manchester
  • Record in Saint-Étienne
  • Perform in Berlin

Working with three wonderful artists, they spent two days at Brighter Sound in February 2018 creating new music of any genre, two days recording at Le FIL, and three days at music industry events and performing at Music Pool in March.

Music Pool documented the final leg of the commission which you can watch here…


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Classics & Experimental was supported by Arts Council’s National Lottery funded Grants for the Arts programme.