“The icon of post-everything music” - Lawrence English (::Room40::)
”…. he mines a sort of netherworld of sampled loops and hypnotic rhythms to create a garage sale of music. Let’s call it post space-age folk music.” – (Radio Paradise Review – Is It Jazz?)
“What came across most strongly was Cooper’s openness to all sounds and musics, an openness not always seen in free improvisers. but then there are few that have taken such a unique route as him.” (From Richard Sanderson’s blog)
photo – greg weight – (please credit if used) - www.gregweightphoto.com.au
Welcome to those who already know my music and to those who don’t….
MIKE COOPER - plays lap steel guitar / electronics and sings. He is an improviser and composer, song-maker, a visual and installation artist; film and video maker and radio arts producer.
For the past 45 years he has been an international musical explorer pushing the boundaries of his music. Initially a folk-blues guitarist he is as responsible as anyone else — and more so than many — for ushering in the acoustic blues boom in the U.K. in the mid ’60s.
He has, arguably, stretched the possibilities of the genre even more than his better known contemporaries Davy Graham, Bert Jansch, John Renbourne etc. by pursuing it into the more avant-garde musical areas occupied by guitar innovators such as Elliott Sharp, Keith Rowe, Fred Frith and Marc Ribot, with an eclectic mix of the many styles he has practiced over the years. Ranging freely through free improvisation, his own idiosyncratic original songs, electro-acoustic music, exotica, traditional country blues, folk, pop songs, and ‘sonic gestural’ playing utilising open tunings, extended guitar techniques and electronics.
He is also a film and video maker. His 40 minute feature video Hotel Hibiscus City, which he wrote, photographed, edited and scored the music for (originally intended as a live performance piece) is available as a 14 part download for mobile devices from YouTube.
A 2013 artist residency on Lamma Island near Hong Kong initiated a 12 short video installation titled “Island” a work connecting Lamma Island to the Greek Islands of Syros and Aegina and Pulau Ubin near Singapore.
In 2012 and 2013 he was artist in residence on Pulau Ubin, which culminated in ”Walking In Ubin” - a sound map of the island, four short video films and a free download of his field recordings.
His radio art piece Beach Crossings-Pacific Footprints, has been broadcast in Italy, France, Australia, England, Portugal and the Philippines as well as being released as a c.d. and performed live in several countries.
A live audio-visual collaboration, Outback And Beyond, with Australian video artist Grayson Cooke, has been performed in England, Spain, Greece, Germany, Norway, Australia and Japan where it won a prize at the 2013 Japan New Media Arts Festival in Tokyo.
A renewed interest in ‘song-making’ has produced a body of work, called ‘Spirit Songs’, which have been produced using methods similar to William Burroughs and British artist Tom Phillips techniques of cut-up or random selection and elimination of texts – in particular Thomas Pynchon’s two novels Gravity’s Rainbow and V. When performed live both the melody and backing are freely improvised rendering each performance totally unique.
Two recent publications that feature his work are Daniela Cascella’s book En Abime:Listening, Reading,Writing where she discusses his c.d. Rayon Hula; and the Italian arts periodical NERO for which Cooper wrote Magical Thinking, Spirit Songs and Walking On Leaves In Ubin.
YOUTUBE video works - http://www.youtube.com/user/cooparia?#p/u
PHANTOM ISLANDS by Tam Patton
“There are islands that have been believed to exist, islands which have appeared on maps and have even had expeditions mounted to locate or conquer them, yet they have still evaded our observation. Some are eventually established as imaginary; daemonic. Others are seen only on old maps and charts, disappearing in more modern depictions, dismissed as mistakes. Others still are unsuccessfully sought for decades, and dismissed as fanciful or mythic, and then embarrassingly found in plain view, under another, more familiar name. Mike Cooper is perhaps one of these islands. Born in England in 1942, his 40-plus years of constant re-invention, experimentation and quiet genius in a myriad of musical styles has evaded categorization, perhaps as a side-effect of having been almost completely ignored by history. Encompassing Blues, Folk, Roots music, Electronica, Jazz, Exotica / Lounge, Dance, Noise, Modern Composition or Improvisation (amongst others), Cooper’s expansive remit blasts orthodox categorization into the befuddled librarian’s realm where it belongs.”
‘The Limits of My Language are the Limits of My World’. Wittgenstein.
“Hail the Happy Accident – an Interview with Mike Cooper”
CONTACT – firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com