DOWNLOAD: New Surface Tension Track

Rob St John releases material from his Thames21-backed project

Rob St John has released some new music from his Surface Tension project. The project is a multi-media affair, focusing on the pollution, life and biodiversity of East London’s River Lea by combining music with photography, writing and field recordings. The latter include the sound of the Myriophyllum plant releasing bubbles into the water and swans taking flight, which St John made using binaural microphones and hydrophones, and combines with traditional instrumentation in the form of guitars, pianos and pipe organs. The full composition can be heard above, with individual field recordings available on the official website here, where you can also purchase copies.

St John will participate in an artists’ talk next week alongside Cheryl Tipp, curator of wildlife sounds at the British Museum. The talk will take place at Stour Space in Hackney Wick, London between 7 and 9 pm on Wednesday, April 22. Entry to the event will be free. An exhibition of photographs taken on 20 and 35mm box and pinhole cameras, most double-exposed and with the negatives treated in Lea river water for a month, will also be on display throughout April.

Reviewing St John’s performance at St John On Bethnal Green as part of Art Assembly’s Saisonscape series, tQ’s Luke Turner wrote: "Rob St. John’s music at first suggests summer, with bird song and contented flute. The musicians play synths, samples and guitar behind a screen on which are back projected silhouettes of water, exposed film, bubbles and leaves. Yet underpinning – or perhaps undermining – any chance of a bucolic reverie are occasional sections of grinding bass noise, and when Rob St John begins to sing a decidedly mournful song in a deep voice reminiscent of Tindersticks’ Stuart Staples, it’s almost startling." Read the full review here.

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