The first episode of Ulita’s micro-commission ‘The Secret Elevator’ was recently released, featuring beautiful storytelling in the form of poetry, song, piano accompaniment and visual art. Ulita consists of a creative trio: poetry and vocals from Nishla Smith, piano and arrangements from Tom Harris, and visual art and video editing from Luca Shaw. Although this combination may at first seem unusual, the way in which this combination of different art forms compliment one another, and create new meaning and interpretation through collaboration, is truly inspiring.
We are so excited to bring you the very first in our series of micro-commissions - short, original compositions for the digital era.
The first commission is The Secret Elevator by Ulita, who are lead writer and composer Nishla Smith, composer and musical director Tom Harris, and visual artist and designerLuca Shaw.
Find out more and watch the video.
We caught up with John during the release of the John Pope Quintet's debut album, and chatted about his process, working with the other musicians in the band and memories of Lancaster Jazz Festival.
Wow! 'Mixed With Glass' is an epic piece of work! Could you tell us a bit about the compositions and how the album developed?
The tunes on this record are all pieces I wrote specifically for this band. Some I wrote in a big batch quite early on, and others have drifted in over the years we’ve been playing together. A couple (‘Ing’, ‘Misha’) are tributes to specific musicians, and others are more emotionally driven. When we play live we usually include some cover tunes as well, but for this first album I wanted to keep it all original. I suppose til now I’ve mostly been known as a side person in bands, or as a total improviser, so it was important to me to make a statement as a composer; I do this to! And also it means I have to write another new batch now...
Leeds-based band Slow Loris have just released a new EP on New Year’s Day, 2021 - Sounds Hoof is definitely a powerful and intense first listen for the new year. Mixing influences from rock, electronic music, jazz and even metal, this EP falls under the ‘alternative’ category; it’s precisely this alternative and experimental approach which gives the EP its emotional intensity and unique musical interest. The band’s name Slow Loris is explained on their Bandcamp - ‘Slow Loris is a small nocturnal mammal, he has a toxic bite, a rare trait among mammals’. The band have chosen a name which reflects their sound: music with a fascinating dark intensity, and a piercing and unexpected bite. As a guitar-heavy band, Slow Loris challenge the expectations of rock and guitar-based music through their irregular time signatures, chromatic electronic elements, and complicated grooves - Sounds Hoof has a lot to offer.