Guest of the Month October 2010: Colin Riley
Colin Riley is a composer and champion of emerging new music. His work integrates composed scores with electronic and improvised elements as well as aesthetics from popular music, forming a unique and very contemporary entity. As well as being the artistic director of the IF Festival for over ten years he is a senior lecturer at Brunel University and has been a mentor for the Adopt A Composer programme for the last eight years. His recent initiative Music Orbit is a fast-growing network for innovative music artists.
Colin’s work has been performed by a wide range of musicians and as well as being commissioned regularly to compose for chamber groups, soloists and orchestras, he has collaborated with artists from very diverse musical worlds. Alongside this in the last few years he has put much time into the nurturing of his own performance groups.
Colin, (with jazz saxophonist Tim Whitehead) directs the Homemade Orchestra exploring the integration of a jazz and classical language. After two highly acclaimed albums (‘Tides’ and ‘Inside Covers‘) the ensemble has just toured the UK with poet Michael Rosen performing ‘Nonsense’, a work for children. His other ensemble MooV, mixes intimate songs with electronica, and released its debut album ‘Fold’ last year.
Colin’s 2009 collaboration with drummer Bill Bruford (Yes, King Crimson, Earthworks) and pianocircus, harnessing the power of groove-based material and electronics resulted in the highly acclaimed album ‘Skin And Wire’.
In 1996 he launched his own record label, Squeaky Kate, with the albums ‘Close’ and ‘A Green And Yellow Melancholy’, receiving unanimous praise from all sections of the music media.
Colin is currently completing a new work for pianocircus which will be premiered at Kings Place in February 2011 and the music for a set of interactive children’s books, Freddie Freefox.
What has Colin Riley been listeing to? He tells us:
“The following albums have been top of my listening list for the last year or so. I have become very immersed in exploring the kind of procedures and sound-worlds which are able to hang around the simple thread of a song. These artists have the ability to be simple and complex at the same time and also seem to question where the edges of music are. They all seem to achieve it with such seductive results.
- David Sylvian ‘Blemish’
- Susanna and the Magical Orchestra ‘Melody Mountain’
- Alva Noto and Ryuichi Sakamoto ‘Insen’
- Sidsel Endresen, Christian Wallumrod and Helge Sten ‘Merriwinkle’