North East-based Man Power (aka Geoff Kirkwood) has returned to his Bet Wetter alias to launch his latest project, 'NXS8', at the renowned Sage Gateshead.
The symphony, and curated launch event, sees the Me Me Me imprint founder fuse the creative worlds of experimental electronica and classical composition, plus his two years of work as resident at Sage Gateshead, into a piece which reflects regional identity, internationalism and examines the prejudices which act as barriers to self-expression in working-class North East communities.
Written alongside Fiona Brice - a collaborator with the likes of Radiohead and Kanye West - 'NXS8' will be performed by the duo and The Northern Sinfonia. It'll also feature a live performance by one of Kirkwood's key inspirations, William Basinski, and two DJ sets from broadcaster and DJ Tom Ravenscroft.
The multi-sensory work is also accompanied by an audiovisual showreel featuring footage from local young filmmakers, and with funding from Arts Council England, the films capture North East spirit incorporating footage of local landscapes and interviews with factory workers of all ages.
"It really is the greatest honour of my creative career to have been appointed as artist in residence at Sage Gateshead," explains Kirkwood. "Growing up where I did, when I did, means that I come from a generation of North Easterners made to believe that arts and culture were for other people and not for "the likes of us". It's a testament to the region that in less than a quarter century (since I left school) that someone like me can find themselves not only supported in my desire to create an artwork that the North East inspires, but that I would find that support coming from such an iconic local musical institution recognised around the world.
"As much as things have improved in my lifetime, I think that there are still so many barriers that remain for members of the working classes and those with less privileged backgrounds when it comes to access to participating in the arts, and I hope this role, and the work it has enabled me to create, might go some way towards removing those barriers and inspiring people with similar backgrounds to my own - or anyone who feels excluded in any way simply because of who they are or where they are from.”
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'NXS8' premieres on November 4 at Sage Gateshead, you can get your ticket to the event here.
Niamh Ingram is Mixmag's Weekend Editor, follow her on Twitter