Summer 2017: Video, Opera, Forests of Recorders

An update on what’s been going on in the last few months:

At the beginning of the Summer, I contributed sound and music to brilliant artist Marianna Simnett’s new film, Worst Gift, a visually stunning and characteristically disturbing fable, partly shot on location in a Botox factory. The installation at Matt’s Gallery comprised the film and a synchronised array of illuminated syringes.

Marianna Simnett, Worst Gift - installation view

Marianna Simnett, Worst Gift – installation view

I spent much of August-October in Berlin, working on Stepha Schweiger’s music theatre piece The Mark On The Wall, an atmospheric adaptation of the Virginia Woolf short story. I appeared as the narrator/speaker, my rumbling voice counterpointed against the wonderful soloist Anna Clementi, and players from the European Music Project. We performed a concert version in London (appropriately enough at RADA in Bloomsbury), before a fully-staged run in Berlin.

Performing 'The Mark On The Wall' in London (photo: Claire Shovelton)

Performing ‘The Mark On The Wall’ in London (photo: Claire Shovelton)

At the end of October, ace record quartet The Flautadors revived my 2001 piece De La Salle, in a new version: four recorder players utilising twenty-one instruments between them. This was part of their 20th anniversary celebration concert at Milton Court, the wonderful new concert hall in the shadow of the Barbican – and they’ve just recorded the piece too – take a look at their new album here!

The Flautadors rehearsing 'De La Salle' at Milton Court

The Flautadors rehearsing ‘De La Salle’ at Milton Court

Finally, I’m delighted to have been nominated for a second British Composer Award, for my vocals+sinewaves+postcards piece Affix Stamp Here, premiered by EXAUDI last year. Again, the whole shortlist is full of inspirational composers and music, look:

British Composer Awards Nominees 2017

British Composer Awards Nominees 2017



Jasleen Kaur’s YOOROP at the V&A

I’ve written the soundtrack for Jasleen Kaur‘s stunning video piece, YOOROP, which is currently installed in Room 10a (Noble Living, 1350-1500) at the V&A museum, London. (It’s projected onto the ceiling.)

It was commissioned as part of the Collecting Europe project and is only being exhibited for a few days – catch it before February 7th!

Jasleen Kaur, YOOROP, installation view.

Jasleen Kaur, YOOROP, installation view.

British Composer Awards 2016

Happy New Year!

I forgot to add a note here about the end of 2016 – I won a British Composer Award for the piece Freezywater, which Apartment House premiered at the Wigmore Hall back in February.

Gratitude to all involved!

I’m pictured here with Jennifer Walshe, Laurence Crane and Brian Irvine, who were also nominated: tremendous and inspiring company to be amongst!

Jennifer Walshe, Leo Chadburn, Laurence Crane and Brian Irvine

BASCA British Composer Awards 2016 at the BFI on Tuesday 7 Dec. 2016.
Photo by Mark Allan.

Postcards / Shouting / Films

Lots of things have been happening in the last few weeks – performances, projects-in-progress, new music… here’s just a few highlights:

I had the pleasure of joining the exciting new percussion ensemble Abstruckt for a gig at the enterprising 840 Series in Islington – we played two new songs by me, based on ‘righteous’ and rather alarming texts by the 1970s anarchist revolutionary group The Angry Brigade and Malcolm McLaren. Four drummers and my unamplified voice; I really “projected”, trying hard to aim my voice through the wall, like a bass siren going off. I’m hoping to make some more songs along these lines soon. Here’s a photo of us in action:

Bookish + Abstruckt in Action

Bookish + Abstruckt in action at St. James Church, Islington.

I’ve being working on a project (our second collaboration) with the fascinating and uncategorisable artist Frances Scott. Her new project is based around 16mm film footage, shot on location in Venice and Canvey Island. I wrote the music – also recorded on location in Essex. More details about this soon – it’s coming to the Focal Point Gallery in Southend in July.

Frances Scott directing 'Canweye'

Frances Scott directing ‘Canweye’

Finally, I’ve been working on a new piece for the phenomenal vocal ensemble EXAUDI. Called Affix Stamp Here, it’s scored for voices and electronics, and consists of dreamy settings of the messages on postcards sent by British travellers and holiday makers throughout the 20th century. The final version will be ready for a gig on the 23rd October at LSO St. Lukes. They’re singing it very, very, beautifully. This is the one of the postcards providing inspiration…

Found Postcards - Affix Stamp Here

Found Postcards – Affix Stamp Here


If you want some more news about what’s coming up, follow me on the social medias, or subscribe to the emailing list. Lots going on.


February – Two Performances This Week

There are two quite different things happening this week:

I’m doing a solo performance at interesting new music night ‘More News From Nowhere in Walthamstow/London’ this Wednesday, 24th February. First London show since last Summer, including the live version of the RED AND BLUE EP. Also on the bill, brilliant vocalist/improviser Sharon Gal.

Details on the Facebook page here.

Then, Saturday 27th February, Apartment House premiere my new piece FREEZYWATER, for strings, piano, percussion, reed organ and recorded voices. It’s a piece about London, déjà vu, silence repetition and surprises. They’re playing it at the plush Wigmore Hall, alongside some great music.

Info and tickets here.

Wigmore Hall Flyer

Image by Anton Lukoszevieze

See you at one/both of these…



The new EP is available now on all digital platforms.

Listen to it (and buy it for a bargainous price, perhaps) on Bandcamp here:

Red and Blue [EP] – Coming Soon

I am releasing a 16 and a half minute, one-track EP at the end of the month… the first Simon Bookish recording in quite a while. Digital only, available from all your favourite / most hated online stores.

Red and Blue - Out Soon


More details soon!

Paul Pierce

In case you missed it, here’s my studio recording of New York experimental composer Travis Just’s hypnotic and unsettling piece ‘Paul Pierce,’ which I performed live on my tour earlier in the year. This version features the brilliant Laura Moody on ‘cello and Chris Branch on synthesisers/noise.

The Quietus featured the track last month – have a look at what they had to say about it here.