John Grieve

↑ Machine learning customer service (4 minutes)

ken the robot

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Vibrant Stapler Obscures Characteristic Growth by Hastings of Malawi was an LP released on the Papal Products label in 1981. The album was re released in 2017 on the SubRosa label. You can hear the original LP here

The third Hastings of Malawi album "Axial Incidents" (The Xmas album) was released at the end of 2020 by the SubRosa label on pink vinyl. This is side B ↓

For electric motor, bicycle wheel, large hammer and steel sheet ↓

banging machine

(The title of this piece refers to La Monte Young's composition X (any integer) for Henry Flynt from 1961 which consists of an instruction for a performer to repeat a loud, heavy sound every one to two seconds as uniformly and as regularly as possible for a long period of time)

For sewing machine, motor, guitar, bass drum and hihat. ↓

guitar drum and hi hat machine

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For twelve saws, three bicycle wheels, a dustbin and two motors. ↓

two noise machines

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Older magnetic tape audio recordings can stretch and decay over time. This track for solo saxophone, cymbal, bell and car horns is decomposed.

A steel sheet vibrated by a motor and manipulated by other motors and a hand saw - recorded at the BBC with sound artists Clive Graham, Clive Hall and Michael Prime. Released on Paradigm discs

The same steel sheet and these other instruments were all used in the soundtrack for the sound painting below.

firework sound painting

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Individual saxophone notes recorded to quarter inch magnetic tape, loops created with a razor blade and adhesive tape, loops digitally edited together. Released on Paradigm discs.

Legs of a stack of tables cut, hammered and welded to create organ pipes sounded by passing air through them from a fan hidden inside the table tops. Each table leg tuned to one of the twelve notes of the chromatic scale.

stacked table as organ pipes

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For 52 saxophones. Dense chords created by utilising every chromatic note as with the stack of tables. ↓

For baritone saxophone and synth (features Martin Hackett on Synthesiser) ↓

For tenor saxophone (features Erwan Lamer on drums and Hugo Flux on guitar) ↓

More poems

LP with French sound artist Christian Renou released on the Rotorelief label ↓

For ping pong balls bounced by a fan inside a steel drum and rusted, intermittently working motors.

Individualy recorded organ pipes reassembled as a virtual organ. ↓

Deconstruction of an organ emphasises the air flow within the instrument as it's essential component.↓

100 organ pipe installation

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↑ one hundred organ pipes.

Recital for clay bricks placed on the manuals and pedals of a church organ ↓

organ pipe clusters

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↑ Randomly activated clusters of organ pipes

For cut up piano, mechanical switch and motors (1 minute - VHS from 1986) ↓

band playing metal instruments

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With continuously playing motors ↓

For bowed violins and guitars ↓

Section of a cut up piano as part of a trio of instruments that are played by scraping or dragging wood or metal accross them

Played live here ↓

band playing metal instruments

(video opens in Youtube)

Recorded here ↓

For randomly generated sine waves and church organ pipes. ↓

Sine waves with decayed magnetic tape recordings ↓

For individual letters interpreted by voice synthesis software in Dutch and Swahili accents ↓

In 2018 SubRosa records released the second Hastings of Malawi LP.




Ghosts Before Breakfast [John Grieve, Graham Mackeachan, Roger Skerman], a young bass-drums-sax trio, organized a concert that was at once tedious and affronting. Musically, the three played de rigueur free jazz, ridden with cliches and lacking much to recommend it. At the same time, a video screen on the left side of the stage played a long loop of television commercials. And finally, beneath the fracas, a voice on the sound system read stock reports. Snide and unfriendly, the piece made manifest the group's brief manifesto, which stood in for a description in the program: "We endeavor at all times to provide the best possible service to our customers if you like what we do, tell others; if you don't, then fuck you. We gratefully acknowledge the financial assistance of the London Arts Board." A sloppy, gimmicky speculation on the institutionalization and codification of expression, or perhaps on the plight of the vanguard in the face of commercialism.

- Review of a performance at the First LMC International Festival of Improvised Music - From the book - Extended Play: Sounding Off from John Cage to Dr. Funkenstein by Jon Corbett

"Rarely has an album so consistently made me question what the actual fuck is going on"

- Hastings of Malawi reviewed in The Wire 2018

contact info@johngrieve.org