With a reputation as a fearlessly unpredictable pianist and composer, Matthew Bourne is a passionate explorer of sound, possessed of a burning desire to make music on anything old, broken or infirm.
With a nod to the pioneering work of Annette Peacock and Paul Bley, Bourne has turned his considerable talents to the world of analogue synthesisers. Growing from improvised live performances, these compositions took shape in the studio as Bourne explored and moulded the vast sonic possibilities of voltage-controlled oscillators. The seed for this project was planted when he acquired an uncooperative 1982 Memorymoog, having it painstakingly modified and upgraded by Rudi Linhard in Germany. Created without the use of computers or sequencers, moogmemory is the first album to be recorded using only the Lintronics Advanced Memorymoog.
This process also served as a pathway to another of Bourne’s current projects, Radioland: Radio-Activity Revisited, a visceral live audio/visual experience created to mark the 40th anniversary of Kraftwerk’s seminal Radio-Activity album. In collaboration with electronic composer Franck Vigroux and installation artist Antoine Schmitt, Radioland sees Bourne pushing his work with synthesisers into uncompromising new territory, as earth-shattering bass frequencies are contrasted with moments of eerie near-silence.
Born in Avebury, Wiltshire in 1977, Bourne first came to national attention as a winner of the Perrier Jazz Award in 2001, which was followed by an award for innovation at the BBC Radio Jazz Awards in 2002, and the International Jazz Festivals Organisation’s International Jazz Award in 2005. Renowned for his intensely personal and sometimes confrontational solo work, Bourne’s uncanny ability to balance delicacy and virtuosity, while establishing a close affinity with his audience, have become hallmarks of his concert performances.
Bourne’s first solo studio album, Montauk Variations (The Sunday Times’ Leftfield Album of the Year in 2012), was celebrated for its sense of stillness and serenity, marking an important musical turning point in his career and the beginning of a new creative direction. Pieces from Montauk Variations have appeared on compilations by Bonobo and Needwant.
Very much in demand as a collaborator and co-conspirator, Bourne has his fingerprints on a huge number of projects, having worked with artists as diverse as John Zorn, Annette Peacock, Nils Frahm, Nostalgia 77, Broadway Project, and Amon Tobin.
In the last year, Bourne set up studio in his rural West Yorkshire home in order to capture the spontaneous moments of inspiration his concerts have become famed for. With an arsenal of vintage synthesisers, tape delays and a creaky harmonium alongside his trusty piano and cello, he is preparing for a period of intense and varied activity in his own name after many years of collaboration.