FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

23 May 2022

 

Key Dates:

24 June               Album Release Date

25 June–13 July       Tour: Oxford, Manchester, York, Leeds, Tunbridge Wells, Ludlow

15–28 Aug             Performances at Summerhall, Edinburgh Fringe Festival

 

Larkhall presents

Classical Piano Virtuoso and Algorithms Make Art at Summerhall

Music, visual art and technology collide in Larkhall’s moving, cinematic performance. A composer, pianist and creative coder, he has written software to turn the nuances of each performance into reactive visual projections. His harmonious music has earned accolades from across Europe and the USA, with his 2019 debut album The Sea Was Never Blue reaching the #2 spot on the iTunes Classical chart. Centred around his experience overcoming depression after the birth of his second son, Say You’re With Me is his new album and show for 2022.

 

Algorithms play a role in our daily lives, shaping everything from weather forecasts, to driving directions, to social media feeds. But can they be… art? Composer-pianist and software developer Larkhall presents a show combining new classical piano compositions with live visuals which are created by his music as he plays. These “vividly beautiful,” “enchanting” compositions (Hämeenkyrön Sanomat / Chicago Sun-Times) shed new light on how STEM subjects can be applied outside of a traditional engineering context.

 

“A new exciting voice on the contemporary scene.” Hannah MacInnes, Times Radio

 

“Innovative, unique and moving.” Jonathan Robinson, ThinkMusic

Listing Information

Venue: Summerhall, Red Lecture Theatre (Venue 26)

Tickets: £13 (£10 conc, £8 preview)

Previews: 16 August            Dates: 16–28 August

Time: 19:30 (60 min)

Box Office: 0131 226 0000

Website: summerhall.co.uk

 

ENDS.

For further information, images or interviews please contact Charlie Williams on [email protected] or 07904 414244.

Social media:

Instagram: @larkhallmusic

Twitter: @larkhall

Facebook: Larkhall

YouTube: LarkhallMusic

Print resolution photo download:

https://www.larkhall.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/Larkhall_Say-youre-with-me_EPK.zip

About Larkhall:

Larkhall is the performance alias of composer/pianist and creative coder Charlie Williams. Born in a small mining town on Minnesota’s Iron Range, his family struggled to afford music lessons in his childhood. He largely taught himself to play the piano, at times taking it apart to find ways to get new sounds out of its insides. He attended Northwestern University on a scholarship, winning the university’s concerto competition and going on to claim the prize for new music performance at the International Shostakovich Piano Competition. He came to the UK and earned an MPhil at University of Cambridge’s Centre for Music and Science, where he developed SingSmash, a game you play by singing. That landed him a job helping to develop audio-recognition app Shazam, where he built an audio-reactive “listening” animation. Returning to creative pursuits, in 2016 he released his first album of compositions as Larkhall. His 2019 album The Sea Was Never Blue hit #2 on the UK iTunes Classical Chart, and introduced his signature style of musically-reactive visuals.

 

Keywords:

MUSIC: Neoclassical / electronic / melodic / soundtrack / minimalism / ambient

NEW TECHNOLOGY: Algorithms / new media / live art / generative art

MENTAL HEALTH: Men’s mental health / depression / parenthood

I’ve been sitting on this for a while waiting for the official announcement, but super excited to finally be able to say I’ll be performing at the 2022 Edinburgh Fringe as part of Summerhall’s programme.

Everyone I talk to says “ooh, Summerhall, that’s the place to be” and looking at their programme they have SO MANY GREAT THINGS happening. So come see my show (7:30pm, every day in the 2nd half of the Fringe) and also come to Efterklang and Tune-yards and a million other things.

Get info and tickets to my show here: http://summerhall.co.uk/events/larkhall-piano-creative-coding/

(tldr: 

new music here

 + video sneak peek below + 

live shows

 are once more a thing)

Friends! Way back in 2019, I had the privilege of debuting my live-reactive visual system, in prototype form, at St George’s Bristol, as part of their International Keyboard Festival.

Then, in 2020, two things happened in 2020: 🤣

I was awarded funding from Arts Council England’s DYCP (“developing your creative practice”) fund, to develop this into a bigger, faster, stronger, system that would let me make better art.

…And we had that lil’ pandemic thingie.

DYCP supported me to work with geniuses like

Matthew Ragan

and

Aurelian Ionus, and my pal Laura programmed me for an early performance at a 360° projection dome in Plymouth’s Market Hall. I learned an incredible amount about digital/algorithmic/live/visual art, and got to perform it in the most incredible setting. (That’s where those pictures up top came from!)

Meanwhile another funding body, Help Musicians, helped make recording possible, partially at Peter Gabriel’s iconic Real World Studios (the food there is fantastic) but mostly at a little place called Steinway Recording.

I had the pleasure to work with many friends on making this album— and I’ll shout about all of them when the whole thing comes out— but for this first single my genius pal Jay Chakravorty added some modular electronic weirdness that’s the absolute perfect thing.

And now it’s ready for your ears. This track is called “Eleven Japanese Streams” — yes, it’s sort of a pun, sorry— and it’s the first single off my forthcoming album Say You’re With Me, out this summer. 

Head to @bandcamp to pre-order and get the track on Friday when it’s officially born. (Bandcamp remains the best place to buy music in terms of supporting the artists you love.)

If streaming is your thing, please know that pre-saves are weirdly helpful to small artists like me. Here’s the link, you know what to do: https://show.co/fIxnC2F

So wait— what’s that about live visuals? I’m releasing the video with the track on Friday, but I wanted to give you pals a chance to be the first to see it. So here’s the video link.

If you’re in the UK, I’ve got live shows booked in Bristol, Exeter, Manchester, Leeds, York, Ludlow, Honiton, Tunbridge Wells, Corsham, Box, and (sssh, not public yet) Edinburgh. Come see the live show!

(In the spirit of asking the universe for what you want, I’d really like to book shows in Coventry, Sheffield, Birmingham and Hull. Any leads there?)

Thanks for reading this far. It’s been a weird couple of years for everyone, and we’re not done with it yet. But the sun is shining and there’s music to listen to, so I’m feeling guardedly hopeful that we’ll get there eventually.

<3 to infinity,
Charlie / Larkhall

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of visiting Steinway Recording in Lincolnshire, to record some new music. I found the studio on a deep dive looking for a studio with a proper piano— most studios I’ve been in focus on instruments that the musicians bring in themselves, with possibly a sad/tired piano in a corner. As a pianist and composer of piano-driven music, I wanted to find a place where I could capture the full power and complexity of a really beautiful instrument.

The first few moments I spend with a piano are when it feels the most alive— it’s like meeting a new person, or perhaps since the piano can’t exactly speak back, like meeting a new dog. Is it friendly? Does it want to play with you? The piano’s individual character comes through and there’s a brief friends-making process when everything the piano does is new and full of little surprises.

Spencer’s piano did not disappoint here— those who don’t play piano might be surprised at how rare it is to play a truly great instrument, but the combination of their nonportability and expensiveness means that we, in general, have to play what we can get. It’s a really emotional experience playing a great piano for the first time; kind of like being on a first date that’s going really well.

Anyway I recorded four new pieces over two days, and they sounded so good I decided I need to go back and re-record a couple of pieces which were recorded at a not-to-be-named Other Studio.

Larkhall at the piano

 

I’ve always had a mixed relationship with theory: on the one hand, who cares what something’s called? What matters is what it sounds like, what it does to your ears, your head, your heart.

On the other hand, you don’t build a building without knowing what your tools are called. Having names for things lets you think more precisely about them, and identify what kind of tricks other musicians are using (so you can steal them, of course, in your own work).

There is a danger of over-intellectualising things, and I think that’s where the “pop” school of “just listen” has a point— it’s possible to do clever things with structure or pitch relationships or theory and still write incredibly dull music. And on the other hand, all musical innovations will have started as something that isn’t quite captured by existing theoretical tools.

Still.

I think especially for people who love music but are just starting out understanding how it works, a little explainer can be helpful.

One thing I notice beginner musicians wondering about is what it means to be “in” a key. That’s an interesting question because it’s tied up with the question of where music wants to “go”, and how music can “want” something in the first place! Of course the wanting isn’t in the music itself, that happens in our heads as we listen to it.

But why do we want music to go somewhere? It turns out that there are some fairly simple things happening in the relationships between notes that cause our ears to want the notes to resolve in a certain way.

So I made a little video about it:

 

What do you think? Should I make more explainer type videos? What topics would you like to hear about?

It feels like a year of pause. But now, finally, seemingly every artist is scrambling to get back out in front of people. I’m very excited to share the new music I’ve been writing over the last year, and the new visuals I’ve been creating for both new and old music.

There are lots of things in the works, but one thing I can share is that I’ll be performing at Puncture the Screen festival in July. (Direct ticket link)

Looking forward to sharing more with you as things continue to open up!