Examine the essential ideas, research and context as the work grows through essays, photography and film.

Research, development and the making of bloom and bloom LIVE: institutions, studios and factories.

bloom is the creative outcome of my recent doctoral studies at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, which started back in January 2013. The research department is based at the Faculty of Dance in Deptford, London.

My incredibly supportive and creative PhD supervisors: Dr Dominic Murcott (Head of Composition and Music Technology) and Professor Emeritus Dan Fern (former Head of the School of Communications at the Royal College of Art).

Much of the collaborative writing with Plaid and Manuel Poletti is done remotely but there are a few times when we have come together to test ideas.

Finally, in July 2017 I head to the recording studio. It took just over twelve hours to capture all the parts at Curtis Schwartz Studio in Ardingly, West Sussex.

Two weeks to post-produce the album before heading into the mastering studio with Guy Davie and Chris Potter at Electric Mastering. Their studio is literally built into the A40 flyover. This might not sound ideal for the dark arts of mastering but with some mind-boggling soundproofing they have created an impressive cinematic experience. Vehicles silently fly past just metres from the desk.

A special run of vinyl is being produced so I have been working with Key Production in London and the factory GZ in Holland to prepare and press the records. Seeing the acetates cut and receiving the test prints has been an educating experience — so much skill and knowledge goes into the process.

A technical rehearsal of bloom LIVE in Hall Two at Kings Place in London provides the first opportunity to build the structure, designed by Matt Reed, around the piano. Damian Hale and his team at Treatment Studio then map the visuals.

Sourcing content and filming interviews for the documentary mini series starts with a brilliant encounter with Alex Paterson and Youth.

On Wednesday 20 September, I had the privilege of interviewing Alex Paterson (The Orb) and Martin ‘Youth’ Glover at The Book and Record Bar in West Norwood, London. Our conversation took in everything from their first highly charged encounters with dub music in the mid-1970s to their opinions on changing technology. It was a thrilling meeting with two of the most influential producers and musicians of recent times.

I’ve come up with this thing... Deep Underground Bass, as the acronym for dub
Alex Paterson

Behind the scenes at the first performance of bloom LIVE at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London (UK). Photographs by Michael Robert Williams.

In 2020, the pandemic radically transformed our consumption of live performance. bloom LIVE/STREAM explores new ways of inviting you in.

The second national lockdown was on our tail for the recording of bloom LIVE/STREAM but it was also the spur for creating the show in the first place.

How do you recreate the nuances, and intimacy of a live performance for a remote audience? It’s something myself and many other performing artists have been giving a lot of thought to since March 2020.

With the support of Prof. Matt Wright and the brilliant Music Department, we managed to secure access to a studio in the Daphne Oram Creative Arts Building at Canterbury Christ Church University.

Limited to just the core team of Andre T (Sound Engineer), David Dawson (Camera Operator) and me, we masked up and set to work. Damian Hale and his team at Treatment Studio would be based at their London HQ.

In the original conception of bloom LIVE, the visuals were carefully mixed and generated in real time, often reacting to the live audio data. Damian took this a step further in the new form of bloom LIVE/STREAM, pulling apart the original visual content and bringing the live camera into the mix so I become an integral part of the visuals.

For a deeper insight into the creative process, read our Long Read at Treatment Studio.