Kit Downes & Tom Challenger: Dreamlife of Debris

Artists: Kit Downes, Lucy Railton, Seb Rochford, Tom Challenger

Series: Festival of New, Residencies

Ideas explored: developing new work

“This latest record ‘Dreamlife of Debris’ (ECM) is the continuation of a process that stretches right back to my initial residency as part of the ‘Open Space’ programme I participated in with Tom Challenger. There we created a project around rural local churches and organs, designed to be a collection of field recordings documenting both extended techniques and improvisations. This became the album ‘Vyamanikal’ (SLIP Imprint), which we then performed live as part of an ‘Organ Crawl’ at the Aldeburgh Festival (complete with vintage buses taking the audience from church to church).

“Since then, I went on to record a solo organ record of improvisations for the ECM label called ‘Obsidian’ – this also featured the organ at St John the Baptist in Snape as a call back to our residency. The themes and processes that we developed on that residency have continued to run through all my work – themes of duration, vibration and mechanics – which has now toured all over the world (from Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival to the Elb Philharmonie in Hamburg to Rochester Jazz Festival in New York to the Yugawara Festival in Japan). The work and improvising again developed whilst being toured (both solo and in duo again with saxophonist Tom Challenger) and this led to the development of new material for this new record and new ensemble – featuring Lucy Railton on cello, Seb Rochford on drums and again Tom Challenger on saxophone. This current collection of material is the progeny of the material developed on the Open Space programme 4 years ago, and it is very exciting and gratifying to be bringing it back to ‘Festival of New’ in its current form.”